The Best Eats In Los Angeles For Under $10
Just because we're not all able to afford dining at fancy restaurants, it doesn't mean we have to eat at McDonald's on the regular either. There are plenty of solid cheap eats around Los Angeles that can fill you up for $10 or less and sate your cravings—from Asian-fusion rice bowls to Italian sandwiches with high-quality meats and comforting bowls of pho. Here are our favorite eats in Los Angeles that will cost you less than a Hamilton. As always, let us know yours in the comments.
As the saying goes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so that's why you have to do it right. Grand Central Market's Eggslut is our go-to spot to get a delicious, indulgent breakfast sandwich. They've got a few choices that all run under $7, from the bacon, egg and cheese; to the sausage, egg and cheese; and the Fairfax—scrambled eggs and chives, cheddar cheese, caramelized onions and sriracha mayo. And they are all sandwiched between pillowy soft brioche buns. Need we say more?
Eggslut is located at Grand Central Market at 317 S Broadway in downtown L.A.
Hoy Ka's spare rib tom yum noodles topped with chicharrones (Photo by Jean Trinh/LAist)
Hoy-Ka Thai Noodles
Sure, it's pretty easy to get Thai food on the cheap in Los Angeles, but there's something special about Hoy-Ka—mainly their addictive soupy noodles (and friendly service). Some of our favorite bowls include their spare rib tom yum or their roast duck and boat noodles. All the broths are complex and flavorful, the fillings plentiful, and you can get each one to the spice of your liking. They all run from about $6 to $8.50, with half sizes offered for some of the bowls at $4. We suggest ordering a bowl of crispy chicharrones for a buck or two more to top your soup. And if soupy noodles don't float your boat, they also have tested and true favorites like pad see ew, pad thai and papaya salad all running around $7. Pro tip: there's a free parking lot in the back.
Hoy-Ka Thai Noodles is located at 5908 Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, (323) 688-3558
Sopressata (Photo via Sopressata/Facebook)
Sopressata at Black Hogg
The owners of Black Hogg may have changed the format of their restaurant to poke bowls, but thankfully, they've kept their Sopressata sandwich shop inside as is. This is where you can get a seriously good Italian sandwich (for around $9) full of high-quality ingredients, from fresh French bread to fine cuts of mortadella and of course, sopressata. Expect these sandwiches paired with fresh ingredients, from wild arugula to artichokes and red onions, and covered in olive oil and aged balsamic. Are you salivating yet? Because we sure are just writing this.
Sopressata at Black Hogg is located at 2852 Sunset Blvd. in Silver Lake, (323) 953-2820
Rice Bar's pork longganisa rice bowl (Photo by Jean Trinh/LAist)
Rice Bar may inhabit a tiny 275-square-foot space, but it sure goes big when it comes to its delicious Filipino rice bowls. Chef Charles Olalia, formerly the executive chef from high-end French restaurant Patina, and his partner, Santos Uy, who owns Papilles and Mignon, bring kicked-up home cooking to downtown L.A. Their bowls are made with heirloom rice and they have toppings like house-made pork longganisa pork sausages, Bistek Tagalog—soy-marinated Angus beef—and crispy anchovies. Don't even get us started on the garlic, jasmine fried rice. The bowls go from $7.50 to $9.75, and you can even grab house-made, gourmet rice crispies or coconut iced buko for $3.50 if you have a hankering for dessert.
Rice Bar is located at 419 W. 7th St. in downtown L.A., (213) 807-5341
Look at that beauty from Banh Mi My-Tho (Photo via Facebook)
Bánh Mì My-Tho
This tiny bánh mì shop located in a strip mall in Alhambra is our dependable source for Vietnamese sandwiches. It's all about the little touches that make a bánh mì special, like fresh French bread rolls that are crispy on the outside and pillowy soft on the inside, pickled veggies that offer a crunch, and quality, meaty fillings. We're fond of the cold cut sandwich (especially because of the healthy spread of pâté and butter-mayo) and the roasted pork. The best part is that all of the bánh mì run at most $3.50. You can also pick up a pre-packaged broken rice or vermicelli rice noodles plate for around $5. If you need a real pick me up, grab a Vietnamese iced coffee. And remember to bring cash since this place doesn't take credit cards.
Bánh Mì My-Tho is located at 304 W Valley Blvd. in Alhambra, (626) 289-4160
Blue Window next to Mud Hen Tavern (Photo via Instagram/Blue Window)
Blue Window At Mud Hen Tavern
You can't miss the tiny, bright blue stand joined by the hip to Chef Susan Feniger's Mud Hen Tavern restaurant on Highland Avenue. Like its name suggests, you order from a small window Feniger's Asian-inspired street food offerings. And just like street food is often sold, you can take these items to go or eat at their standing bar outside. The menu changes every six months, but at the moment you can expect items like Hong Kong-style bao made with BBQ jackfruit and peanut hoisin sauce; chicken wings with gochujang hot sauce; albacore tuna poke and bánh mì sandwiches with miso pork belly—each for $7. Also, they'll make everything vegan for you if you request it. You can also get sides like a watermelon shiso salad, and drinks like a Vietnamese iced coffee or Thai iced tea all for $6 and under.
Blue Window at Mud Hen Tavern is located at 742-B N Highland Ave. in Hollywood, (323) 203-0500
We can take pride in the fact that the French dip sandwich was invented in L.A. Now, whether Philippe or Cole's was the originator of the over century-old sandwich is another story, but we enjoy stepping into Philippe because we always feel like we're transported to a restaurant off Route 66. You order at the always busy counter in the back of the restaurant from the old-school cashiers, with items including beef or lamb dip sandwiches (ask for double-dipped if you want more of that au jus), coleslaw, pie and even a cheap can of Bud Light—all for under $10. Grab a seat at the cafeteria-style tables, plop your feet down on the sawdust floor, and remember to grab a bottle of mustard so you can slather your sandwich with it.
Philippe the Original is located at 1001 N. Alameda St. in Chinatown, (213) 628-3781
Sweet buns from Atlantic Seafood (Photo by Kristie Hang/LAist)
Atlantic Seafood Restaurant
Over in the bustling Atlantic Times Square Plaza in Monterey Park, you can get some pretty good dim sum on the cheap. While other dim sum spots charge their dishes on a tier basis, Atlantic Seafood has one price for everything—that's $1.98 per dish on the weekdays and $2.38 on weekends and holidays. The dim sum ladies will push their carts through the aisles and you can arch your head and ask for shrimp and pork dumplings, steamed BBQ pork buns and custard egg tarts to fill your belly. Like with other dim sum restaurants, this one charges a $1.18 tea fee for each person at the table. We suggest bringing a group so you can get more bang for your buck and get to sample a variety of items.
Atlantic Seafood Restaurant is located at 500 N. Atlantic Blvd., Suite 200, in Monterey Park, (626) 872-0388
Santouka's signature shio salt ramen from the Mitsuwa Japanese market food court. (Photo by Kristie Hang/LAist)
Long before the Great Los Angeles Ramen explosion, there was always Santouka. The Japanese chain's outposts in Southern California are all food court stalls at Mitsuwa supermarkets, so their approach to serving a delicious bowl of ramen comes without any B.S. Best known for their shio ramen, the salty broth isn't as thick as your typical tonkotsu broth, but is just as hearty with even more of that umami kick. Your face will pucker when you bite down on the the crunchy and petite umeboshi that tops each bowl, but you won't be able to resist eating it. —Carman Tse
Santouka Ramen is located in the food courts of Mitsuwa supermarkets at 3760 Centinela Avenue in Mar Vista, (310) 391-1101, and at 21515 Western Avenue in Torrance, (310) 212-1101.
Top Round (Photo via Facebook)
If downtown is too far for you to venture for Cole's or Philippe and Arby's doesn't do it for you, then let Top Round satisfy your craving for a quick and easy roast beef sandwich. With a retro fast food joint decor, Top Round feels like an anomaly in the middle of Los Angeles. Their cheap yet delicious sandwiches are packed full of thinly-sliced slow-roasted beef and won't set you back more than $8. There are classics like the beef on weck (with their "atomic" horseradish) and the beef & cheese, and more decadent varietals such as the barbecue or the Horse & Hole (with Provel cheese and mushrooms). If you're not on a budget, splurge for some beef fat-fried curly fries and chase your meal with some frozen custard, that Midwestern favorite. —Carman Tse
Top Round Roast Beef is located at 1000 S. La Brea Ave. in Mid-Wilshire, (323) 549-9445.
Sushi Stop (Photo via Facebook)
Sushi Stop is a cheap and easy sushi place that's a great bang for your buck. Nearly every item is $2.95, and includes standard rolls, specialty rolls, hand rolls, mini udon bowls, salads, appetizers and desserts. A few items may cost a couple dollars more, but we've been able to get full at around $10. The Franklin Village location also has a bar with reasonable prices. —Juliet Bennett Rylah
Sushi Stop has locations in Pasadena, Sawtelle, West L.A., and Franklin Village.
A special lamb birria taco at Guisados (via Facebook)
Sure, you can find cheaper tacos at trucks across L.A., but Guisados is still the place to go if you're looking for super fresh, quality ingredients, while still keeping the tab under $10. Whether you're chowing down at their original spot in Boyle Heights, or at one of their outposts in Echo Park, downtown L.A. or West Hollywood, you're going to find ridiculously delicious tacos on fluffy tortillas, freshly made throughout the day. Choose from slow-simmered braises like the flank steak with salsa roja, the spicy Yucatán speciality cochinita pibil or the vegetarian mushrooms with cilantro and queso fresco, each for $2.75 (seafood tacos are $3 and also great). Or if you have trouble deciding, order the sampler platter and get six mini-sized tacos for $7.25, which you can mix-and-match to your liking and even choose all veggie ones. And if you have a few bucks to spare, you're definitely going to want to cool off with the Armando Palermo—Guisados' version of an Arnold Palmer, featuring fresh lemonade and hibiscus iced tea. —Danny Jensen
Guisados is located at 2100 East Cesar E Chavez Ave., Boyle Heights, (323) 264-7201; 1261 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park, (213) 250-7600; 541 S Spring St #101, downtown L.A., (213) 627-7656; and 8935 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, (310) 777-0310.
Pieology (Photo via Instagram)
While most pizza joints will charge you an extra buck for a handful of onions or olives, Fullerton-based Pieology allows you to pile on as many toppings as you'd like onto their wood-fired pies, while the price stays the same. An 11.5-inch pie costs $7.95, and you can load it up with toppings like all-natural spicy chicken, artichokes, Kalamata olives, garlic and more. You can also choose among sauces like classic red, 3-cheese Alfredo, herb butter, pesto, fiery buffalo and BBQ. Their crusts are homemade and you can pick original, wheat or gluten-free for an extra $2. You can also get a sauce drizzled over your pizza for extra flavor. —Juliet Bennett Rylah
Pieology has several locations around Los Angeles including Culver City, Koreatown, Westwood, Pasadena and Northridge.
Doni Burger (Photo by Juliet Bennett Rylah/LAist)
This Korean fast-food joint is tucked away on the third floor of a galleria near Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue. Their signature Doni Burger consists of beef and bulgogi on a potato bun with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles. They also have a deep-fried pork tonkatsu burger, regular ol' burgers, and sweet potato and regular fries. The Doni Burger is $4.75. A combo with fries and a soft drink will costs you a few bucks more. —Juliet Bennett Rylah
Doni Burger is located at 621 S. Western Ave. in Koreatown, 213-381-2009.
We know L.A. is a mecca for all-things tacos, but when you have a hankering for a solid fish taco, Baja-style, you know who you can depend on: Ricky. Ricky's Fish Tacos is a mainstay in the city, occupying a silver food truck that you can normally find in East Hollywood during lunch hours. The batter for Ricky's fish or shrimp tacos is always light and crispy, and the seafood fresh, topped with shredded cabbage and pico de gallo, and wrapped in a high-quality tortilla. Be liberal with your crema and homemade salsas as you top your tacos that cost about $3 each. If you think $3 is a lot for a fish taco, just know they don't skimp out on the fillings, so you get your money's worth. If you have a few extra bucks on hand, grab one of the truck's aguas frescas—like our favorite, the cucumber mint.
Ricky's Fish Tacos is located at 1400 N Virgil Ave. in East Hollywood, (323) 906-7290. Check their Twitter for their schedule.
Whenever we make it out to Chinatown, we have to make the obligatory stop at Roy Choi's Chego. After all, the godfather of Kogi BBQ can expertly meld bold Asian and Mexican flavors together, and that's no exception when it comes to his rice bowls. Most of his bowls are under $10, and big enough to fill you up for even two sittings. Some of our favorites include the Kimchi Spam Bowl and Chubby Pork Belly, but if you're feeling less carnivorous, the Leafy T is a great one for vegetarians—complete with tofu, fried egg, Thai basil, Chinese broccoli and more. What we also love is the chill vibe, the hip hop blasting on the speakers, and the fact that you can get Ooey Gooey Fries as a meal, too. Wear your stretchy pants for this one.
Chego is located at 727 N. Broadway in Chinatown, (323) 380-8680
The perennial long lines outside Golden Deli is a testament to the fact that this Vietnamese spot is doing something right. The restaurant delivers when it comes to piping hot bowls of flavorful pho chock full of tender brisket and rib eye, or tendon and tripe—whatever you prefer. The bowls mostly come in at around $8 and they're filling, so come with an appetite. We're also fans of their rice vermicelli dishes and broken rice plates, especially their grilled pork ones, which we love covering in fish sauce. Those also all run under $10. It's a bang-for-your-buck meal at Golden Deli, and you might even be able to save some to take home in a doggy bag for later. Spring for some egg rolls as they're tasty and cost a few bucks. You won't regret it.
Golden Deli is located at 815 W Las Tunas Dr. in San Gabriel, (626) 308-0803; and 9664 Las Tunas Dr. in Temple City, (626) 285-2899
Myung Dong Kyoja
When we need some Korean comfort food stat, we head on over to our trusty Myung Dong Kyoja. This Koreatown spot offers hot bowls of dumpling soup, and pan-fried or steamed dumplings for under $10. And it's open early in the morning or late at night, so you can get the food as a hangover cure or something to curb your late-night munchies. Make sure to try their complimentary garlicky kimchi, which is so delicious that you can't stop eating it no matter what potential dates you may scare off.
Myung Dong Kyoja is located inside the Koreatown Wilshire Center at 3630 Wilshire Blvd. in Koreatown, (213) 385-7789
Behold, The Godmother at Bay Cities (via Facebook)
Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery
This Santa Monica institution has been serving up reasonably priced bites since 1925 and shows no signs of stopping. Any talk of the "best sandwich in L.A." will undoubtedly bring up praise of The Godmother, the deli's signature sandwich. Layers of Genoa salami, prosciutto, mortadella, coppacola, ham and provolone cheese are stacked inside of a length of housemade, crusty-on-the-outside-fluffy-on-the-inside Italian bread, which is then treated to "the works"—mayo, mustard, Italian dressing, onions, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, and chopped peppers (go for the hot ones). This massive sandwich can be had for under $9 for a large (and even less if you order a small, but who would do that?). And if you're looking for an outstanding vegetarian option, hit up the Burrata Caprese with fresh burrata cheese, tomato and basil on that amazing bread. Pro-tip: order your sandwiches online and head straight to the back for pick-up, skipping the huge line that generally gathers at the deli case most of the day. Then grab your sandwiches and head to the beach for a picnic, if you can resist eating it for that long. —Danny Jensen
Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery is located at 1517 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 395-8279