Cheap Eats that Washingtonian Missed!
Every year, we look forward to the Cheap Eats issue of Washingtonian magazine. We always find a new place to try! But there are so many fantastic cheap eats that are not mentioned. We surveyed our team and came up with our own recommendations of Cheap Eats that Washingtonian missed.
1909 Mt. Vernon Avenue in Alexandria, VA 22301
This cute little Japanese restaurant in the heart of Del Ray offers a great happy hour menu with $5 drinks and some great food that won’t break the budget (think $5 maki rolls). Kaizen is known for its sushi but offers other items like great tasting tacos ($4.50)
106 S. Union Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
A favorite amongst everyone in town, Virtue has a great menu and is even better during its happy hour which offers some of their best dishes at a great price. Pair a mezze platter ($10) or the duck poutine ($12) with your favorite drink and enjoy your evening.
103 N. Alfred Street, Alexandria, Virginia, 22314
Right off of King Street in Old Town, The People’s Drug brings fresh flavors to everything on its menu. It offers fantastic sandwiches ($10 and up) and bowls ($10), which always hit the spot. No matter what you decide to order, everyone recommends including a side of the parmesan truffle fries ($8).
407 Cameron Street, Alexandria VA 22314
If you blink, you will drive right pass Cafe Banh Mi. It’s a small little restaurant but if you can get there at the right time, you won’t have to wait in the line which can snake out the door. Caphe Banh Mi’s pho ($10) and vermicelli (starting at $9) are both amazing and totally filling. Of course, you can stick with its amazing traditional Banh Mi for just $6!
2400-B Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22301
On a Friday night, you will find a line out the door at Taqueria El Pablano but if you have thoughts about going somewhere else, all we have to say is “Don’t!” It’s well worth the wait. Get the best margarita ($7.50) in the DC area (according to the Washington City Paper 2014-2017) while you chow down on a fresh fish taco ($4.50) or the divine guacamole ($7.95).
621 Wythe Street, Alexandria, Virginia, 22314
Located right off of Washington Street, The Italian Place has quickly made a name for itself since opening in 2016. The cheap, great-tasting sandwiches, dinners, and desserts will taste just like it was made in Italy. It’s a great place to grab a quick bite to eat or bring home dinner for the whole family.
727 N. Henry Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
The goal behind Grateful Kitchen Co is to create a small shop where neighbors feel welcome to chat, meet people, and get great tasting, healthy food. They make sure that they know where their food comes from and to focus on seasonality so everything is always fresh. Try one of the bowls ($10) or smoothies ($8-$9) or the Pesto Eggs with Multigrain Toast ($7).
728 North Henry Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
Serving up contemporary food since 2015, Mason Social has become a favorite amongst everyone who lives nearby — and our team! The dinner menu is fabulous but we highly recommend the brunch with all but one meal under $15 — and $7 mimosas. Mason Social’s food is the epitome of comfort food and you’ll want to go back to try everything on the menu.
7601 Fordson Road, Alexandria, VA 22306
With a focus on Greek and Italian food, Mamma’s Kitchen got the name from the owner’s mom who she used to watch cooking. Mamma’s serves food that will remind you of a home-cooked meal. Grab some pasta or a gyro platter and soon you’ll feel like you are in Europe. Be sure to check out Mamma’s $8.50 lunch specials.
Vola’s Dockside Grill
101 N. Union Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
Vola’s Happy Hour (Monday – Friday from 3-7 p.m.) is the perfect place to come after work to grab a cocktail ($6), a glass of wine ($6) or beer ($3). Be sure to order one of the “bar bites” to hold you over, like the crab nachos ($3) or shrimp sliders ($5). Located along the Potomac at the Torpedo Factory, the atmosphere is a great pairing to Vola’s food and drinks. Not only is the happy hour great but so is the food on the dinner and brunch menus. Sit back, relax and enjoy the view!
The Rest of the Best of Virginia
7263A Arlington Blvd. Falls Church, VA 22042
The Celebrity Delly in Falls Church offers a New York-like deli experience, but without the New York City prices. If you find yourself craving stacked high sandwiches and matzo ball soup, this deli is definitely a place you need to check out. The quirky spot with movie posters lining the walls offers affordable breakfast and lunch options. Try the half sandwich and soup for just $9.
2055 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA 22201
This classic bagel shop and deli is about as close to a New York bagel as you can find in Northern Virginia. Their monstrous breakfast sandwiches are under $5, which is a rare find in the DC area. Lines are often out the door on Saturday and Sunday mornings at this cash-only establishment. Be sure to try the extra sweet french toast bagel and pair it with your favorite breakfast classics.
4238 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA 22203
Whether you’re hoping to hang out or grab a quick bite to take back home, the newly opened Quarter Market has something for everyone’s taste buds. Similar to Union Market in D.C, the Ballston Quarter Market is filled with locally-sourced eateries that call our area home such as District Doughnut and Sloppy Mama’s BBQ. The Quarter Market is also Metro-accessible o n the Orange and Silver lines and is walking distance from most of Ballston’s high rise condo and apartment buildings.
5837 Washington Blvd. & 3123 Lee Highway, Arlington, VA
Get made-to-order Italian “Philadelphia-style” subs and gourmet sandwiches and the best New York-style pizza at this local, family-owned shop. Pizza by the slice starts at just $2.85 and calzones are just $9.99. The mouth-watering sandwiches are all under $10! As an added bonus, you can pick up fresh, homemade style ravioli and pasta, cheeses, meat, and Italian wines in the market.
1513 17th Street, NW Washington, DC 20036
Getting its inspiration from East London cuisine, Duke’s Grocery is a reasonably-priced pub where every menu item is priced under $15 (including short ribs and salmon). The food is great, the atmosphere is fun, and most importantly, you’ll want to go back so you can try everything on the menu.
2305 18th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009
Serving up traditional dishes from regions like North India, Nepal and Tibet, Himalayan Heritage modernizes them. Start with a veggie samosa ($6) followed by one of its curries ($10 and up) or a biryani ($13 and up). The restaurant is highly recommended by everyone who goes for their great food, relaxed atmosphere, and attentive service.
1065 31st Street, NW, Washington, DC 20007
Getting its name from being only steps away from the C&O Canal, Il Canale is one of the first places people think of for Italian food in DC. Joe Farruggio left Sicily at the age of 17 and headed Brooklyn where he immediately got into the restaurant business, so he knows a thing or two about cooking Italian food. Make sure to swing by for lunch and have some amazing pasta (starting at $13) or an authentic Neapolitan style pizza ($12 and up).
3715 Macomb Street, NW, Washington, DC 20016
With everything on the menu priced at $16 or less, Two Amys is the perfect place to grab a quick bite or spend the evening, chatting with friends and drinking a glass of wine. The wood-fired oven adds the perfect amount of smokiness and char making a perfect pizza every time. Extra hungry? Try the stuffed Ripieno Extra with ricotta, grana, salami, prosciutto, pancetta, tomato for just $15.95.
Various Locations in Arlington, Alexandria, and D.C
With several different locations, you are almost guaranteed to be close to a South Block. They offer some of the best smoothies ($7 and up), bowls ($10 and up), and toasts ($5 and up) around, which will allow you to grab something quick and healthy for lunch or breakfast. It’s hard to find better food for the price.
Glen’s Garden Market
2001 S Street, NW Washington, DC 20009
With a focus on sustainable food and helping the environment, Glen’s Garden Market runs entirely on solar energy and creates zero food waste. Not only is the food good for the environment it also tastes amazing. Glen’s has a cafe, deli, and even brunch, so make sure to swing by to grab that morning coffee ($2.50) or grilled cheese ($4.99) for lunch.
3513 12th St. NE Washington, DC 20017
Murry and Paul’s is the definition of a hidden gem, hole-in-the-wall diner. This Brookland family-owned institution has been around since 1964 serving up huge hot breakfast entrees as well as lunch sandwich specials all for under $10. Make sure you saddle up to a counter stool or booth nice and early before the line is out the door!
The Bottom Line
The DC area is home to so many fabulous restaurants including lots that won’t break the bank. Did we miss your favorite cheap eat? Let us know so we can check it out soon!
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