12 Yummy Cheap Eats In L.A. — Straight From The City's Hottest Chefs!

Each week, it seems like there's a new, must-visit venue to add to our ever-growing grub bucket list. So, while our waistlines may be expanding due to the influx of great gourmet meals, our bank accounts are actually starting to look a bit thin. What's a gal to do when Top Ramen is most certainly out of the question? She hits up L.A.'s coolest cooking pros for their fave cheap eats around town.
Naturally, these off-duty dishes aren't served at Michelin-starred eateries, but inexpensive, hole-in-the-wall haunts that you'd be hard-pressed to find without a guide. Problem solved: from tacos to tofu, pho to pastrami, this menu of cheap, noteworthy noshes is filled with a ton of flavor. Did we mention that your final bill will be less than your weekly mani? Seriously, being frugal never tasted so good.
Photographed by Lauren Sklar
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Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, Animal and Son Of A Gun

"We love Ruen Pair for Thai food. It's fast, delicious, and always satisfies."

Ruen Pair, 5257 Hollywood Boulevard (between North Serrano Avenue and North Harvard Boulevard); 323-466-0153.

Photos: Via Facebook/Animal; By Lauren Sklar
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Jordan Toft, Eveleigh

"I love the Lengua Tacos at Pinches on Sunset."

Pinches Tacos, 8200 Sunset Boulevard (at Havenhurst Drive); 323-650-0614.

Photos: By Lauren Sklar; Courtesy of Eveleigh
3 of 12
Ashley James, Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles

"I love Greenblatt's Deli for several reasons: It's very close to where I live, it's open every day until 2 a.m., they have great service, and they have a fantastic selection of wines! You wouldn't think it, but I once popped in just to have a sandwich and when I asked for a glass of wine it was as if I was being treated by a sommelier from my own restaurant! They knew everything about the winemaker and gave an excellent description. I also love the chicken Matzoball Soup, Reuben Sandwich, and Chocolate Cake."

Greenblatt's Deli, 8017 Sunset Boulevard (at North Laurel Avenue); 323-656-0606.

Photos: By Lauren Sklar; Courtesy of Bullfrog & Baum
4 of 12
Ricardo Zarate, Picca and Mo-Chica

"I've been following Roy Choi's BBQ truck for a while now. I especially like the Short Rib Taco — the complex mix of flavors between the rich short ribs, spices, and lime make these tacos my favorite two bites. The Sliders (I request them with pork) are also great. The combination of the pork sesame mayo, cheese, salsa roja, and cabbage (romaine slaw tossed in a chili-soy vinaigrette) all piled on toasted buns, makes this slider a must. Roy's approach to food is fun and delicious. It shows his passion for a wide variety of cuisines."

Kogi Truck, check schedule for times and locations, 323-315-0253.

Photos: Via Facebook/Kogi Truck; Courtesy of SauceLA
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Joshua Whigham, The Bazaar by José Andrés

"The best place to go late night in Koreatown is Dan Sung Sa (a.k.a. 6th and Berendo). The food is spot-on every time and the vibe is very laid back. The Seafood Pancake and Pork Belly with Kimchi is amazing. But please don't go — I want to be able to get a table!"

Dan Sung Sa, 3317 West 6th Street (at South Berendo Street); 213-487-9100.

Photos: Courtesy of Bullfrog & Baum; Via Dan Sung Sa
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Zach Pollack, Sotto

"The kitchen's slowly simmered 60-hour broth (the evil-but-delicious mutant offspring of suine and seafood) is rich by itself, but combine it with chewy noodles, fatty roast-pork belly, and a perfect soft egg, and you'll find yourself seriously reevaluating the importance of your cholesterol level. After all, Japan has the world's longest life expectancy, right?"

Tsujita LA Artisan Noodles, 2057 Sawtelle Boulevard (at Mississippi Avenue); 310-231-7373.

Photos: Courtesy of SauceLA; By Lauren Sklar
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Steve Samson, Sotto

"Where else in L.A. can you find a great hot pastrami or tongue sandwich on crisp, double-baked rye for under $10? Label's Table is a hidden gem that's been on Pico Boulevard for over 30 years and is within walking distance of our restaurant. It's a great place for a quick, inexpensive, and flavorful bite."

Label's Table Delicatessen, 9226 West Pico Boulevard (at Glenville Drive); 310-276-0388.

Photos: Courtesy of SauceLA; Via Facebook/Label's Table
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Jeff Mahin, Stella Rossa Pizza Bar

“On any given night off, I pick up Hot and Sour Soup from Mao’s Kitchen. They do such a good job in general, but their soup is great.”

Mao's Kitchen, 7313 Melrose Avenue (between North Fuller Avenue and North Poinsettia Place); 323-932-9681.

Photos: Courtesy of Bullfrog & Baum; By Lauren Sklar
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Kris Yenbamroong, Night + Market

"Los Tacos is one of my go-to spots. It doesn't have the best tacos. In fact, not the best anything! But they do a formidable dish of refried beans and fantastic guacamole (the watery sort that doesn't taste much like avocado). This is not the sort of spot that would be top five in some food blogger's taco hunt, but I think it's delicious. The lard usage and high salt content — plus the fact that they serve 24 hours —make it a great stop after a night of heavy drinking. It's also guaranteed to induce heartburn."

Los Tacos, 7954 Santa Monica Boulevard (at North Hayworth Avenue); 323-848-9141.

Photos: Via Facebook/Night + Market; By Lauren Sklar
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Bryant Ng, Spice Table

"This Ecuadorian spot has a bigger and fancier sister restaurant by the same name down the street, but I prefer the original. The chef in the kitchen cooks with the soul of a grandmother and may actually be one. Their Carne Apanada is as close to a perfect breaded-pounded steak as you can get. But what I usually get is the Llapingachos Con Fritada (pork riblets). Here, Llapingachos are mashed-potato patties filled with cheese and they're served with tender pork riblets, rice, a pan-fried egg, and peanut sauce. What's not to love?"

El Caserio, 401 Silver Lake Boulevard (at London Street); 213-273-8945.

Photos: By Lauren Sklar; Via Facebook/Spice Table
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Antonia Lofaso, Black Market Liquor Bar

“Pho Cafe is in a small shopping center next to a laundromat and has the best Chicken Pho ever! It's so perfectly balanced with bok choy, onions, and broth, which you can tell has been developing for hours. All the garnishes — Thai basil, chili, and limes — seem as if they are cut to order or just picked. Very fresh.”

Pho Cafe, 2841 West Sunset Boulevard (at Silver Lake Boulevard); 213-413-0888.

Photos: By Lauren Sklar; Courtesy of Bullfrog & Baum
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Waylynn Lucas, Fonuts

“El Carmen, a few doors down from Fonuts, is my go-to for post-work drinks. I’m a sucker for tequila and they make a great margarita. Oh, and they make great fish tacos!"

El Carmen, 8138 West Third Street (between South La Jolla Avenue and South Kilkea Drive); 323-852-1552. ‎

Photos: By Lauren Sklar; Courtesy of Bullfrog & Baum

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