26 Best Cheap Eats in L.A.

Dive into the best tacos, burgers and affordable bites in Los Angeles.

Cheap Eats in Southern California

Los Angeles is one of the best cities in the world for eating well on a budget. It’s a city of immigrants from every corner of the globe who have brought the flavors of their cultures with them to sunny Southern California. Pair the international array of cuisines with the region’s incredible produce, and exceptional flavors ensue. Though there are plenty of fine-dining treasures in town, top-notch cheap eats make feasting in Los Angeles accessible, fun and, of course, delicious. Here are 26 favorite finds for $10 or less in the City of Angels.

Noodle Bowls at LASA

Chinatown’s Far East Plaza’s food game is strong, with plenty of tempting options to choose from. If it’s Filipino food you’re after, look no further than LASA, a pop-up that spawned a brick-and-mortar restaurant that’s making waves in the LA food scene. At lunch, the hearty bowls deliver comforting Filipino flavors for $10, like the Drunken Pancit, an egg noodle dish with Chinese sausage, XO sauce, greens, pickled Fresno chiles and crispy shallots.

Crispy Taco at Tito’s Tacos

Tito’s Tacos has been serving the unique LA-style crispy taco since 1959. Its reputation keeps the lines forming at its Culver City location year after year. Tacos start at just $2.30 without cheese, but it’d be insane to get just one. Don’t miss a small, medium or large side of Tito’s guacamole, delicately spiced with a propriety blend of herbs and spices.

Quarter Bird at Howlin' Ray's

It’s not the easiest task to get a meal at Howlin’ Rays. The ever-present line is a formidable foe, and can deter casual visitors from the Far East Plaza staple. But the chicken is well worth the wait. Between the sweet and fiery flavors and the perfect, densely crunchy texture, it could be the best fried chicken outside of Nashville. At $9, the Quarter Bird presents a massive hunk of golden-skinned chicken (either a breast and wing, or a leg and thigh) on a slice of white bread to soak up the spicy juices. The pickles on the side add refreshing, briny freshness between bites.

Go to: Howlin' Rays

Fried Chicken Honey Breakfast Sandwich at Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken

If you’re looking to start your day with a bang, head to Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken for the epic fried chicken honey breakfast sandwich. For $5.75, the fry-centric shop serves a fried chicken breast with hot sauce and honey butter on your choice of a savory doughnut, potato roll or cheddar biscuit. The combination is served until 11 a.m. Monday through Saturday (and all day Sunday).

Beef on Weck at Top Round Roast Beef

Top Round Roast Beef is the brainchild of Chef Steven Fretz, an idea born from a drive to make chef-driven fast food using all-natural ingredients, with nothing on the menu topping $10. The Beef on Weck ($6.49) features the restaurant’s hand-trimmed, slow roasted beef that cooks for a whopping 10 hours in-house, atop a caraway and sea salt bun with atomic horseradish. Don’t forget an order of the hand-cut fries.

Go to: Top Round

Nong Lá Banh Mi at Nong Lá Vietnamese Cafe

This portable bargain bite comes from Nong Lá Vietnamese Cafe, a popular family-owned Vietnamese outfit with two locations in Los Angeles. For $7, the banh mi gets stacked with a meat — including grilled pork, steak or chicken — with mayo, picked carrots and daikon, cilantro, and jalapeno, all on a warm eight-inch French baguette. For $1.50 extra, customers get a full foot-long sandwich.

Pupusa at Sarita’s Pupuseria

Long before Grand Central Market was as hip and social-media famous as it is today, Sarita’s Pupuseria was turning out its handmade Salvadoran pupusas using the owner’s family recipes. Start with a Kola Champagne —a Salvadoran orange cream soda — and the pupusa revuelta ($4), with pork, beans and plenty of cheese.

Go to: Sarita's Pupuseria

Chocolate Chip Cookie at Diddy Riese

These impossibly affordable cookies are baked from scratch throughout each day, every day, ensuring guests a hot and fresh fifty-cent treat. Westwood bakery Diddy Riese Cookies uses a family recipe to make its dangerously affordable cookies, like chocolate chip walnut, sugar cinnamon, and peanut butter. Take home a Diddy Dozen of the classic chocolate chip for only $4.75.

Lorenza at Sonoratown

Sonoratown hooks diners as soon as they walk through the door. The tiny, vibrantly colorful downtown taqueria pulses with energetic Mexican music. The Northern Mexican food is as bright as the decor. Try the Lorenza ($4), a crispy corn tostada with Monterrey jack, salsa, avocado and cabbage — also available vegetarian with poblano chile and pinto beans.

Classic 1/3-Pound Hamburger at The Oinkster

The Oinkster is an LA burger institution, and one of the first places in town to offer creative burger combos like the Bacon Crispinator ($10.50), with triple bacon, American cheese, crispy fried onions, chipotle ketchup and mayo. Stick with the $7.25 classic, a 1/3-pound burger made with Nebraska-sourced Angus beef, house-made thousand island dressing, dill pickles, onions, tomato and lettuce. For a buck more, customers can add American or sharp cheddar cheese.

Go to: The Oinkster

Tostada at Guerrilla Tacos

With a new brick-and-mortar space opening in Los Angeles, Guerilla Tacos’ famous uni tostada is easier to access than ever before. The famed dish brings together the best flavors of the ocean, delivered via yellowtail tuna and sea urchin, atop a crispy corn tostada. For those feeling ambitious, pick up Chef Wes Avila’s cookbook and recreate the iconic street food at home.

Go to: Guerrilla Tacos

Chili Dog at Pink's Hot Dogs

Open since 1939, Pink's Hot Dogs is an adorable, beloved, greasy and cheap fixture of Fairfax. The family-owned institution has won over guests from around the world with its tasty, affordable dogs and colorful signage. While you're at one of the oldest hot dog stands in the country, try the $4.50 chili dog, garnished with chili and onion.

Go to: Pink's Hot Dogs

Dan Dan Noodles at Pine & Crane

The East Side's hottest Taiwanese restaurant is surprisingly comfortable and approachable. Pine & Crane's menu is full of Taiwanese classics like scallion pancakes ($4.50) and pork dumplings ($6), but a favorite is the dan dan noodles ($7.50), with sesame-peanut sauce, chile oil, cucumbers and peanuts. A cold Taiwan Beer goes great on the side.

Falafel at Dune

Atwater Village has gained prominence for years as a food destination, thanks to the range of low key eateries along Glendale Boulevard. One of the staple spots along the main stretch is Dune, a Mediterranean gem. Get the falafel sandwich ($9.50), a mess of house flat bread, herbaceous falafel, hummus, house pickles, marinated cabbage and onions, tahini and shoestring potatoes.

Combo #2 at India Sweets & Spices

India Sweets & Spices is a solid pick when you want a lot of variety for not a lot of money. Combo #2 ($6.50) gets you two curries of the day, basmati rice, chapati or puri, a vegetarian samosa, pickles, salad and a soda. The restaurant opened in 1984, and has since spread throughout Los Angeles County, per owner Kumar Jawa's life dream. If you don't save room for dessert, take some of Indian sweets, like gulab jamun, home with you for later.

Audie Cornish Sandwich at Wax Paper

Tucked away in Frogtown, Wax Paper is hands down one of LA’s best sandwich spots. The shop piles fresh ingredients on bread from Bub and Grandma’s, a local bakery with a serious cult following. (One bite into your sandwich and you’ll see why.) Try the Audie Cornish ($9), with ham, sharp cheddar, honey butter and a cornichon vinaigrette. Like all of the sandwiches at Wax Paper, it’s named after a National Public Radio host. The sandwich tastes like something from childhood that’s been luxuriously revamped for your adulthood lunching needs. In a hurry? Go for the $8 grab-and-go options, a favorite speedy option for walkers and bikers on the LA river trail.

Ramen at Slurpin' Ramen

Slurpin’ Ramen in Koreatown offers value without sacrificing quality. For $10, you get a whopping 16 ounces of rich tonkotsu pork broth with green onion, garlic, dried seaweed, black garlic oil, noodles and your pick of meat like fatty pork, chicken or tofu. Go full vegetarian for the same price. If you’re not hungry enough for the generous portion, the still-satisfying eight-ounce portion is $8.

Go to: Slurpin' Ramen

Gyro at Papa Cristo’s

Come for the Greek food, stay for the owner’s incredible mustache at Papa Cristo’s. The jovial Chrys “Papa Cristo” Chrys owns and operates the restaurant and importing business with his daughter, Annie Chrys, serving traditional, home-style Greek cuisine. Order the chicken or lamb gyro ($8.99) for a comforting and substantial lunch or dinner. Follow it up with a from-scratch pastry from Papa Cristo’s bakery, like baklava or kataifi.

Go to: Papa Cristo's

Biscuit Sandwiches at Division 3

Start the day with a Southern accent at Division three, where flaky, buttery Southern biscuits hold hearty breakfast sandwiches. From 7 to 11 a.m. weekdays and all day weekends at both the Glassell Park and Hollywood locations, the biscuit sandwiches are served in combinations like corned beef with egg, jack cheese and D3 sauce, or fennel-cured salmon, soft scrambled egg and chive creme fraiche, all for just $5.

Wildberry Toaster Pastries at The Front Yard

Hiding in The Garland, a boutique Hollywood hotel opened in the 70s, is a taste of childhood that’ll only set you back $5. The hotel’s restaurant, The Front Yard, serves house-made Wildberry Pop Tarts — complete with frosting and sprinkles — during brunch, nodding to the property’s affection for nostalgia. Relive childhood memories outside on the restaurant’s sunny patio.

Fish Taco at Ricky's Fish Tacos

Savor the flavors of Baja in Los Feliz at Ricky's Fish Tacos, a legendary seafood taco institution. The menu here is short and sweet, showcasing just three items: the fish taco ($3), the shrimp taco ($3.25) and the Ricky Special, a combo of both fish and shrimp for $4. It may be one of the few places in Los Angeles where you can go crazy and order the whole menu without too much financial or physical pain.

Go to: Ricky's Fish Tacos

Cruffin at Mr. Holmes Bakehouse

Mr. Holmes Bakehouse took over San Francisco back in 2014, but Southern Californians joined the pastry party in 2016, when the Instagram-famous bakery opened up in Highland Park. News of the Cruffin, a cream-filled half-croissant half-muffin, spread fast, drawing lines of enthusiastic pastry-seekers. With rotating flavors, the Cruffin ($4.50) offers plenty of reasons for repeat visits.

Go to: Mr. Holmes Bakehouse

Chicken Leg and Waffle at Roscoe's House of Chicken & Waffles

You don’t have to travel too far in LA to find Roscoe’s House of Chicken & Waffles’ namesake dish. Now with seven locations, Southern California’s world-famous fried chicken is conveniently located for most locals. Opt for either a leg or a thigh and a waffle for under $9.

Go to: Roscoe's House of Chicken & Waffles

King Steam Dumplings at Myung In Dumplings

There's something about the dumpling that makes it delicious, seemingly no matter where they're eaten or when. Korean mandu is no exception. At Myung In Dumplings in L.A.'s Koreatown, the king steam dumplings ($8) with pork and vegetables are bulbous and hearty. Where Korean restaurants really shine in the value department comes on the side. Banchan are the little, often-pickled dishes that come along with your meal. At Myung In, guests receive infinite servings of kimchi, both spicy and regular, and a bowl of soup to complement the dumpling goodness.

Nacho Raised Donut at Trejo's Coffee and Donuts

Danny Trejo is one of the most-beloved names in Hollywood, thanks to his iconic mustache and knack for playing the bad guy, but he also does something else magical in Los Angeles that has nothing to do with the big screen: make doughnuts. At Trejo’s Coffee and Donuts — Trejo’s new addition to his growing restaurant empire — you’ll find some of the city’s most-interesting and tasty doughnuts. One winner is the Nacho Raised Donut ($3), with jalapeño, chives, Trejo’s hot sauce and melted cheddar cheese.

Omega 2 Taco at Tacos Quetzalcoatl

One of the tastiest vegetarian tacos in town only sets you back a couple of bucks. Head to Tacos Quetzalcoatl, a taco truck on the corner of Olympic Boulevard and Arizona Avenue in East Los Angeles. Owner Max Enriquez assembles a semi-healthy mix of seasonal vegetables and cheese on a freshly made tortilla. Wash it down with a Mexican Coke, or maybe just another taco.

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