L.A.'s 31 Best Cheap-Eats Spots (& What To Order)

Photo: Courtesy of @jennymichellely.
The Uber receipts are piling up. Your landlord is raising your rent. The blow to your wallet that is wedding season is on the horizon. If we can all agree on something, it's that life in L.A. ain't cheap.  

Now, we can't change the fact that you have five destination weddings on your docket this summer, but we can help you save some serious dough when it comes to one of Angelenos' favorite pastimes: dining out. That's right, being able to hit up the city's best restaurants isn't a privilege only for the deep-pocketed — L.A. has endless choices when it comes to affordable, delicious meals. The only trick? Finding where they are. So, to help you navigate the world of cheap eats, we've rounded up 31 of the best spots L.A. has to offer. From tried-and-true diners to new hotspots, click through to peek our list. Your wallet will thank you.
Advertisement
1 of 31
The Spot: Ink.Sack
What To Order: Cold Fried-Chicken Sandwich

This tiny, grab-and-go spot is the perfect place to refuel between credit card swipes on Melrose. The menu offers a slew of affordable sandwiches, but our favorite is this yummy fried-chicken version, which rings in at a mere five bucks. Score!

Ink.Sack, 8360 Melrose Avenue (near North Kings Road); 323-655-7225.
2 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of @hungryinla.
The Spot: Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery
What To Order: The Godmother

Ask anyone what to get at the legendary Bay Cities in Santa Monica, and nine times out of ten you'll be told — nay, ordered — to get The Godmother. It's packed with four different kinds of Italian meat, provolone, lettuce, tomatoes, homemade Italian dressing, and more.

Bay Cities Deli, 1517 Lincoln Boulevard (near Colorado Avenue); 310-395-8279.
Advertisement
3 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of @xo.rie.xo.
The Spot: The Grilled Cheese Truck
What To Order: Cheesy Mac Fully Loaded

When a food truck is dedicated to a single specialty, you know it's gotta be good. The key to the next-level deliciousness? Unique ingredients. This sandwich is complete with sharp-cheddar macaroni and cheese, BBQ pork, and caramelized onions. Bonus: You can walk away with the sandwich and a side of tater tots for under $10.

The Grilled Cheese Truck; various locations.
4 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of @komodofood.
The Spot: Komodo
What To Order: Komodo 2.0 Tacos

Boasting two brick-and-mortar locations plus a food truck, there's always a convenient way to get your Komodo on. You haven't lived until you've tried the Komodo 2.0 taco with seared top-sirloin steak, jalapeño aioli, and Southwest corn salad.

Komodo; various locations.
5 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of @freerangela.
The Spot: Free Range L.A.
What To Order: The Original Free Range L.A. Chicken Sandwich

Nothing on this food truck's short-and-sweet menu is over $11. Do yourself a favor and try its signature chicken sandwich, which is stuffed with tempura-fried free-range chicken, chili coleslaw, and whole-grain mustard sauce.

Free Range L.A.; various locations.

6 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of @diddyriese.
The Spot: Diddy Riese
What To Order: Diddy Dozen

You do the math: You can get yourself an Alfred's latte for $4, or you can get a dozen Diddy Riese cookies for the same price and be the most popular person in your office. You can mix and match from the Westwood shop's lengthy list of flavors, including peanut butter, oatmeal-raisin nut, chocolate chip with walnuts, and more.

Diddy Riese, 926 Broxton Avenue (near Weyburn Avenue); 310-208-0448.
7 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of @miscutiefoodie.
The Spot: Guerilla Tacos
What To Order: Kurobuta Pork-Sausage Taco With Fried Egg

Guerilla takes the simple street taco to the next level with ingredients like wild boar, fried eggs, oxtail, pancetta, and more. With humble origins as a two-person street cart, Guerilla has never sacrificed quality as they've expanded to become a bona fide Mexican-food staple in L.A.

Guerilla Tacos; various locations.
Advertisement
8 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of @eggslutla.
The Spot: Eggslut
What To Order: Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Sandwich

This DTLA spot inside the Grand Central Market is an institution for good reason: great food, affordable prices. What more could you ask for? If you think its bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich is going to be like any other version you've had, you're sorely mistaken.

Eggslut, 317 South Broadway (near West 4th Street); 213-620-1071.
9 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of @kogibbq.
The Spot: Kogi BBQ
What To Order: Short-Rib Tacos

Kogi BBQ may very well be the OG food truck in L.A. (In any case, it's certainly one of the best.) When in doubt, go with Kogi's signature item, the short-rib taco. Made with two homemade corn tortillas, double-caramelized Korean BBQ, salsa, cilantro relish, and a chili-soy vinaigrette, it's truly a feast for your mouth.

Kogi BBQ; various locations.
10 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of @alexronald47.
The Spot: California Chicken Cafe
What To Order: Kale Salad

With locations everywhere from Venice and Santa Monica to Encino and Northridge, California Chicken Cafe has tons of solid, under-$10 options that will keep you full — and definitely coming back for more.

California Chicken Cafe; multiple locations.
11 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of @fooddesignlove.
The Spot: Guisados
What To Order: Mole Poblano

Whether you're in Boyle Heights, Echo Park, or DTLA, you've gotta head to Guisados to get your fill of quality Mexican food on the cheap. The mole poblano taco is a standout — it comes with shredded chicken breast in a poblano-style mole, plus sour cream, queso fresco, red onion, and dried chile.

Guisados; various locations.
12 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of @tu_awesome.
The Spot: Eastside Market Italian Deli
What To Order: Roast Beef Sandwich

Santa Monica's Bay Cities Deli has met its Eastside match in this equally amazing spot, which serves up out-of-this-world, Italian-style sandwiches. You won't find a single menu item over $10, which is impressive considering the heft of these sammies.

Eastside Italian Deli, 1013 Alpine Street (near Centennial Street); 213-250-2464.
Advertisement
13 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of @jennymichellely.
The Spot: The Lobos Truck
What To Order: Nachos & Wings

Listen: Your quest to be more healthy can wait a minute. This food truck specializes in the ultimate comfort food items like nachos, wings, mac 'n' cheese, and more. Oh, and the criss-cut fries are not to be missed.

The Lobos Truck; various locations.
14 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of @ntmrkt.
The Spot: Night + Market
What To Order: Som Tum

Night + Market does Thai street food like no other. Under-$11 winners at this spot — which has locations in both WeHo and Silverlake — include the spicy som tum papaya salad and the next-level pad thai.

Night + Market; various locations.
15 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of @coolhaus.
The Spot: Coolhaus
What To Order: Fruity Pebbles Cookies

From fried chicken and waffles to avocado, Coolhaus dreams up the most creative ice cream flavors around. In addition to its Culver City and Pasadena brick-and-mortar stores, you can find the food truck roaming around the city to get your fix on the go.

Coolhaus; various locations.
16 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of @lurkin_it.
The Spot: Santouka Ramen
What To Order: Spicy Miso Ramen with Salmon Bowl

A cheap-eats list would not be complete without the ultimate budget-friendly staple: ramen. But, don't expect anything run-of-the-mill about this Mar Vista outpost of the Japanese chain, which makes some of the tastiest, most flavorful bowls you'll ever have.

Santouka Ramen, 3760 Centinela Avenue (near South Venice Boulevard); 310-391-1101.
17 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of @janicedd.
The Spot: Green Truck
What To Order: Kale Yeah Bowl

Organic, healthy, and reasonably priced bites from a convenient food truck? Green Truck is like music to our ears. Don't miss the Kale Yeah Bowl with kale, quinoa, mushrooms, shaved raw beets, and more.

Green Truck; various locations.
Advertisement
18 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of @jennymichellely.
The Spot: Big Daddy and Sons Pizza
What To Order: Fish Tacos

No stroll down the Venice boardwalk is complete without a stop at this unassuming — yet downright delicious — food stand. From pizza to BBQ, this place has you covered no matter your craving, but we're partial to the fish tacos.

Big Daddy and Sons Pizza, 1425 Ocean Front Walk (near Market Street); 310-396-4112.
19 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of @eatatlink.
The Spot: Link
What To Order: Alcatraz Link

Located a stone's throw away from the Beverly Center, this sausage specialist builds tasty sandwiches around its signature, nitrate-free links. The Alcatraz — with a spicy pork sausage, pickled red onions, cilantro, and habanero-lime aioli — is calling your name...

Link, 8486 West 3rd Street (near La Cienega Boulevard); 747-221-6207.
20 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of @jennymichellely.
The Spot: Kaya Street Kitchen
What To Order: Shrimp and Pork Meatballs Bowl

Kaya Street Kitchen has mastered the art of Southeast Asian cuisine (think: Indonesian, Malaysian, and Singaporean dishes). How could we possibly pass up under-$9 bowls like shrimp and pork meatballs or grilled chicken satay?

Kaya Street Kitchen, 109 North Fairfax Avenue (near Beverly Boulevard); 323-879-9288.
21 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of @kyesmontana.
The Spot: Kye's
What To Order: 5 Spice Peanut KyeRito

This Santa Monica spot is known for its KyeRitos: burrito-style bites wrapped in either nori or romaine, which make for a quick, healthy lunch option to bring to work. Just stick 'em in your purse and go!

Kye's, 1518 Montana Avenue (near 16th Street); 310-395-5937.
22 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of @welovemcafe.
The Spot: M Café
What To Order: The Big Macro

What you won't find at M Café: eggs, dairy, red meat, or poultry. What you will find: Ridiculously yummy dishes like The Big Macro, made with a whole-grain brown-rice-and-vegetable patty, lettuce, soy mozzarella, tomato, pickles, onion, and alfalfa sprouts on a whole-wheat bun.

M Café; various locations.
Advertisement
23 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of @kittykatkibble.
The Spot: The Original Pantry Cafe
What To Order: 2 Eggs, Potatoes, Toast, and Coffee

So, you're broke, you're hungry, and it's 2 a.m. Solution? The Pantry. Load up at this ultra-cheap, 24-hour DTLA spot for diner staples whenever you want 'em.


The Pantry, 877 South Figueroa Street (near West 9th Street); 213-972-9279.
24 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of @wexlersdelii.
The Spot: Wexler's Deli
What To Order: Bagel with Pastrami, Egg, and Cheddar Cheese

Breakfast: It's the most important meal of the day. Do it right at this DTLA spot, which is perfect for grabbing a filling bagel sandwich before work.

Wexler's Deli, 317 South Broadway (near West 4th Street); 213-624-2378.
25 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of @tinicooltits.
The Spot: Ms Donuts
What To Order: Glazed Donuts

It's no secret why this old-school donut shop has become an Echo Park establishment: The donuts are the bomb, and the prices are cheap. Plus, it's open late to satisfy your cravings at any time of day.

Ms Donuts, 1353 Glendale Boulevard (near Sunset Boulevard); 213-484-0927.
26 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of @ryan_del_rosario.
The Spot: Pink's Hot Dogs
What To Order: Chili Dog

Pink's Hot Dogs is the restaurant that needs no introduction. But, how about a little refresher: You can nab yourself a chili dog, fries, and a drink for about $9. In other words, it's high time to revisit this L.A. staple.

Pink's Hot Dogs, 709 North La Brea Avenue (near Melrose Avenue); 323-931-7594.
27 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of @breannajwilson.
The Spot: Tatsu
What To Order: Wagyu Ramen Burger

This is not a drill. We repeat, this is not a drill. Tatsu's $7 ramen burger should be put on your L.A. culinary bucket list, STAT. The restaurant's ramen bowls, with fresh, house-made broth, aren't too shabby, either.

Tatsu Ramen, 2123 Sawtelle Boulevard (near West Olympic Boulevard); 310-684-2889.
Advertisement
28 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of @v_crooks.
The Spot: Phil's Deli and Grill
What To Order: Pastrami Sandwich

Food options can be overwhelming at The Original Farmers Market at The Grove, but Phil's Deli is a tried-and-true choice. For $10.75, you'll walk away with a heavenly pastrami sandwich, French fries, a potato salad, and a drink.

Phil's Deli and Grill, 6333 West 3rd Street #540 (near South Fairfax Avenue); 323-936-3704.
29 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of @stirmarket.
The Spot: Stir Market
What To Order: Farro and Kale Breakfast Bowl

This food hall just opened in November, but it became one of our go-tos in record time, thanks to its ultra-healthy dishes and grab-and-go lunches.

Stir Market, 7475 Beverly Boulevard (near North Gardner Street); 323-879-8283.
30 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of @croftalley.
The Spot: Croft Alley
What To Order: Vermicelli Noodle Bowl

Located in the alley behind Melrose Place (yes, really), this new joint just opened its doors a few months ago. Its under-$11 menu includes this top-notch noodle bowl, plus creative items like yogurt with chlorophyll and a prosciutto-and-fontina grilled-cheese sandwich.

Croft Alley, 8428 Melrose Place (near North Croft Street); no phone.
31 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of @jeffmindell.
The Spot: Dinette
What To Order: Avocado Toast

One of the newest additions to the Echo Park food scene, Dinette features a menu with an eclectic mix of items, including pizza, avocado toast, waffles, and spaghetti. Because, well, why not?

Dinette, 1606 Sunset Boulevard (near Echo Park Avenue); 213- 278-0301.
Advertisement

More from Los Angeles

Watch

R29 Original Series