Cheap Chow! 15 Under-$15 L.A. Dishes That Are Oh-So Delish

We Angelenos hustle hard for our moolah, and nothing bites more than blowing that hard-earned cash trying to satisfy a surprise snack attack. And yet, we're also staunch believers in avoiding the drive-through by all means necessary.
But, don't fret — you won't go home hungry tonight. Whether you're in the mood for refined tapas, a massive bowl of noodles, or just a slammin' slice of pizza, Lala's got your back in the cheap-cuisine category. In fact, we've scouted 15 must-try dishes — under 15 bucks! — that will send your taste buds on a delicious trip. One ticket to chow town, please!
1 of 15
Nana’s Frito Pie at Bar Amá, $13
Bar Ama’s nod to authentic Tex-Mex cuisine can get you into some serious trouble. The need-for-stretchy-pants kind of trouble. Go in focused, because you will want to order one of everything, and by no means will you skip the Frito Pie. Unlike the sloppy chili in a chip bag variety we’ve tried, this version is made with lengua (yes, that lengua) and served in a heaping cast-iron skillet. It’s handsome, it’s hearty, and you will feel no shame for scraping up every last bit.
Bar Ama, 118 West 4th Street (between Main Street and Spring Street); 213-687-8002.

Photo: Courtesy of Dylan + Jeni
2 of 15
The 50/50 Burger at Slaters 50/50, $9.95
While the merge of burgers and bacon isn't that big of news, a burger patty that is actually 50% bacon should be something to perk your taste buds to attention. This 50/50 masterpiece gets even more intense with the teetering addition of a fried egg and avocado. You can even add more bacon on top of this gut buster if you’re so inclined. Go ahead, get hog wild and make time for a nap afterwards.
Slaters 50/50, 61 North Raymond Avenue (at Union Street); 626-765-9700.

Photo: Courtesy of Bread & Butter PR
3 of 15
Taco Sampler at Guisados, $6.99
Tacos are a dime a dozen in Lala Land, but some handheld treats taste better than the rest. And good grief the six-taco sampler at Guisados is impressive! Not only because of its rich slow-braised flavors, but for the amount of food. Grab a buddy to split this mando-meal, pronto. Don’t forget to pace yourself and refresh with a melon agua fresca.
Guisados, 1261 West Sunset Boulevard (between Innes and Marion avenues); 213-250-7600.

Photographed by Kristin Guy
4 of 15
The Burrata Pie at Pitfire, $9.95
If we could come back as a pizza, this one just might fit the bill. It’s classic. It’s timeless. It’s very popular. This mouthwatering 'za is topped with burrata cheese, wild arugula, caramelized onion, hazelnuts, and a pesto drizzle. We’re pretty sure it’s the kind of pizza that tells the best jokes at parties and always writes a thank you note. It’s perfectly delightful that way.
Pitfire Artisan Pizza, 801 North Fairfax Avenue (at Waring Avenue); 323-544-6240.

Photo: Courtesy of Wagstaff Worldwide
5 of 15
Spicy Corn Dogs at The Charleston, $10
There are days that only a corn dog can fix, perhaps because it’s on the top of our childhood-nostalgia list. These mini battered beauties have a spicy kick, and taste mighty fine alongside one of The Charleston’s signature cocktails. You’re not going to want to share these little guys, which is fine because double dipping is an absolute must.
The Charleston, 2460 Wilshire Boulevard (at 25th Street); 310-828-2115.

Photographed by Kristin Guy
6 of 15
Chubby Pork Belly Bowl at Chego, $8
We’re pretty sure any place that puts pork belly and a fried egg in the same bowl will score high marks on our test. This dish hits all the requirements of savory, sweet, pickled, and something mystical called “kochujang-lacquered kurobuta." Hot momma, it’s good! Pro tip: Chego is BYOB and if you bring your receipt from the liquor store next door you’ll receive 5% off of your libations of choice. Thumbs up indeed!
Chego, 3300 Overland Ave (at Rose Avenue); 323-380-8680.

Photo: Courtesy of Chego
7 of 15
Fried Oyster Poutine at The Parish, $15
Did someone say fried oysters and french fries? Would they happen to also be drenched in rich pork gravy and a creamy gribiche sauce? Yes, yes, yes! This Parish staple is a hit among many and the perfect late-night relief for pretty much everything. Dig in!
The Parish, 840 South Spring Street (at 9th Street); 213-225-2400.

Photo: Courtesy Wagstaff Worldwide
8 of 15
Dinner Special #3 at India Sweets & Spices, $6.99
This plate might not be a looker, but it’s sure not lacking in personality. It’s delish and quite the bang for your buck if you’re in need of some major belly filling. Take it to go, or grab a seat inside to soak up the Bollywood movie of the day. The special includes two sides, a samosa, naan bread, and a mango drink. On your way out be sure to scope the market next door, which is stockpiled with incense, bulk spices, and even jewelry. Talk about a full-service pit stop!
India Sweets & Spices, 3126 Los Feliz Boulevard (between Glenfeliz Boulevard and Edenhurst Avenue); 323-345-0360.

Photographed by Kristin Guy
9 of 15
Anticucho Black Cod at Picca, $15
Who doesn’t like to eat things on sticks? The utensils provide mess-free fingertips, and despite their compact stature, these mini munchies from Picca are busting with flavor. This cod skewer is no exception, high fiving your mouth with miso anticucho and served with crispy sweet potato. Chef Zarate is a sculptor when it comes to presentation and flavors — and this is one edible art show you don’t want to miss.
Picca Peruvian Cantina, 9575 West Pico (between Edris and Smothwood drives); 310-277-0133.

Photo: Via Picca
10 of 15
Wasabi Poke at Poke-Poke, $7
This unassuming surfside alley is hiding your next favorite thing: A tropical food oasis. Poke-Poke offers traditional mounds of fresh ahi tuna on top of rice in a variety of seasonings (we prefer that wasabi zing). Adding seaweed or avocado is a must to complete the island experience, as is grabbing a seat on the boardwalk to take in the fantastic oddity that is Venice Beach. Each bite will transport you straight to a hammock, across the Pacific Ocean — and yes, Harry Perry will even roll up to serenade you mid-grub.
Poke-Poke, 1827 Ocean Front Walk (on the Venice Boardwalk at 19th Street); 424-228-5132.

Photographed by Kristin Guy
11 of 15
Tonkotsu Original Ramen at Jinya Ramen Bar, $8.55
We are firm believers in the magic healing powers of soup. This massive serving of ramen will not only cure your day’s ailments, we’re pretty sure it’ll send you into a fit of flavor flares (a.k.a, jazz hands) upon first noodle slurp. Get it with the seasoned egg for an extra buck and an extra wow!
Jinya Ramen Bar, 2208 Sawtelle Boulevard (at Olympic Boulevard); 310-481-0977.

Photo: Via Jinya Ramen Bar
12 of 15
Crispy Duck Egg at Cliffs Edge, $10
What is it about fried food that gets our tummies grumbling? This small plate is a culinary wonder rocketing into the first place of taste with a deep-fried duck egg decked out with pickled mushrooms and soy-braised bacon. This is the egg that dreams are made of. Take note and head to Cliffs Edge, stat.
Cliffs Edge, 3626 West Sunset Boulevard (at Edgecliff Drive); 323-666-6116.

Photo: Courtesy of Cliffs Edge
13 of 15
Braised Baby Octo at Barnyard, $6
They say that all colors should be present for a healthy plate, and boy oh boy, this dish is a head turner! The vibrancy of its pigment is also present in its flavor — you’re going to want to bunker down in this cozy beachside, yet rustic, space and give respect to every single bite. It deserves it.
Barnyard, 1715 Pacific Avenue (at 18th Avenue); 310-581-1015.

Photographed by Kristin Guy
14 of 15
The Salmon Crudo at Fig & Olive, $13
When you’re hankering for something light and from the sea, get yourself in front of this gorgeous crudo ASAP. Fig & Olive is known for its expansive olive oils, and while this dish may seem simple at first glance, the quality and flavor of the oil along with the sprinkle of crispy fish skins will have you satiating your palette with some serious sophistication.
Fig & Olive, 8490 Melrose Place (at La Cienega); 310-360-9100.

Photo: Courtesy of Wagstaff Worldwide
15 of 15
Chicken & Waffle Croquettes at Street, $10
Good things come in small packages, especially if they are drenched in maple syrup. Chicken and Waffles are pretty much the new PB&J, and this croquette interpretation will send you into super scarf mode with sticky fingers and a heart full of glee.
Street, 742 North Highland Avenue (at Waring Avenue); 323-203-0500.

Photo: Courtesy of Bread & Butter PR