Someone on DCist commented that none of my top five DC restaurants are all that affordable. Actually, funnily enough, all of them except for Beck can be easily affordable if you know when to go or what to do. And these ways were pretty much the only way I have had the chance to enjoy them. The key is to know how and when to choose, I suppose. I will also add that service at a few of them when I’ve gone has been poor to middling. But it still hasn’t impacted my feelings about the food. I’ve eaten in a lot of places with poor service and good, cheap food, but feel they ranked pretty high.
Restaurant Eve – Perhaps I should specify that their $13.50 lunch in their bar is what is affordable. I have never eaten anywhere else, but that experience was enough for me to push them to the top of my list. Choose any two items from their lunch menu and only pay $13.50. I have probably paid more for a crappy sandwich.
Restaurant Kolumbia – $9 bar lunch. Closing. =( Nuff said.
Bob’s Shabu Shabu – If you go with friends you can walk out with about five or six courses (not shabu shabu though, which is admittedly average) for around $20/person. Ditto Bob’s Noodle. Where else could you get that many courses for that price? Or get a really good dish on rice for less than $10.
Comet Ping-Pong – Their basic cheese and tomato is $8, and amazing. Add one or two basic toppings and it ends up at $10. You’d easily pay as much for delivery pizza that can’t match it. Unless of course you choose the Domino’s 5-5-5 deal. Heh… but that’s another story.
Recs after the jump…
Other cheap places I love:
Naan and Beyond – with cheap samosas and biryanis, I can easily get out for under $5.
Kotobuki – Wow. Beat a horse with a dead stick nearly. I no longer get sushi anywhere else. It just isn’t worth it. Also because I don’t want to overfish the seas, so it’s good that there is distance between us.
Daruma – Noodle bar makes me happy.
Korean Korner’s side kitchen – Out in Wheaton, but I love getting their dishes. Everything is under $10. Unfortunately outside of my other writing’s geographic scope.
Max’s Kosher Cafe – I went back last week. Sweet Jesus. Their falafel makes everyone else’s taste like hard, nasty kibble.
Julia’s Empandas – Pretty much any empanada here is amazing with the green sauce. Lots of spicy green sauce. Easy to escape under $5.
Urban BBQ – Soul rolls. Deep-fried egg roll skins filled with BBQ and a side of chili and cheese. Allegedly this is an appetizer. Pulled pork is also primo.
Ba Le – My favorite little secret. Buy five banh mi get the sixth free. About $13 for the six depending on which ones you choose. Lunch for an entire week. Bright, crisp veggies with any assortment of roasted pork, chicken, Vietnamese pate or lemongrass meat. Bread could use a little help, but for the price you simply cannot beat it. Grab a spring roll and dip it into the duck sauce while you wait.
Pho 75 or Pho 88: Pho. Plain and simple. Pair it up with some soda chanh or Vietnamese coffee. Easily under $10.
Vit Goel/Lighthouse Tofu: Soon doo boo chigae. Spicy tofu stew with meat. Makes tofu takes like spice and meat or seafood.
Uncommon Cafe: Their breakfast sandwiches are fantastic. I always get the sausage, egg and cheese. I also love their lunch sandwiches. They toast the bread, and don’t throw it on the grill to make it a nasty, greasy mess.
Angelico’s in Tenleytown – My go to pizza delivery place. Their spinach and artichoke pizza is delicious with feta and fresh tomatoes. Skip the prosciutto though or get the ham. It’s cheaper.