Los Angeles is home to the most dynamic food scene in the country — from authentic street food to prestigious James Beard winning restaurants. From late-night food trucks to wholesome locally-sourced ingredients. The choices are endless and we can all agree that an Angeleno’s favorite pastime is dining out — but going out to eat every day can add up.
Good news: L.A. happens to be home to some of the best budget-friendly eateries and we’ve taken the legwork out of finding your next favorite, affordable meal. Here’s a roundup of the 10 best spots L.A. has to offer for a meal under $10 that is worth every penny. Your wallet will thank you.
Where is it? Downtown L.A.
What to get: Pork Longganisa Bowl
RiceBar is a hole-in-the wall restaurant dishing out Filipino comfort food, custom-made for you and your lunch break. The entire space—kitchen, seating, storage—is only 275 square feet. RiceBar is a takeout machine, cranking out rice bowls that feature Heirloom grains directly from the Philippines. The spotlight is on their house made Pork Longganisa served over a bed of rice, which is a combination of sweet, spicy, and sour from the pickled vegetables. We recommend adding a fried egg on top —because everything’s better with a fried egg. This is the kind of quick, cheap, and downright satisfying food you need in your life.
Where is it? Watts
What to get: Cheeseburger and Fries
Chefs Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson are the masterminds behind this healthy and affordable fast food spot. LocoL serves high quality meals made with nutritionally-dense ingredients and incorporates umami flavors, acidity and lots of herbs. They are competing against large chains without turning to processed foods and artificial flavors. An average meal at LocoL will cost you around $7. Chef-driven burger. Under $10. Yes please.
3. Rutt’s Hawaiian Cafe
Where is it? Culver City
What to get: Hawaiian Royale
Newcomers and regulars are drawn to Rutt’s Hawaiian for their staple Hawaiian comfort foods, generous portions, and down-to-earth staff. Their menu is several pages long and includes the classics like Loco Moco, Spam Musubi, Kahlua Pork — and they offer breakfast all-day. Rutt’s Famous Hawaiian Royale starts at $7 and includes 2 eggs, rice, Portuguese sausage, and char sui. Expect to be transported to a mini island-getaway with the tropical decor and have leftovers to look forward to the next day. Or not. We don’t judge.
4. Boo’s Philly Cheesesteak
Where is it? Silverlake and Koreatown
What to get: Basic Cheesesteak
If you want a taste of the East Coast without booking a plane ticket: head over to Boo’s Philly Cheesesteak. They don’t cut corners when it comes to the classic Philly Cheesesteak. They use rolls directly from Amoroso Bakery, a well-known bakery open since 1904 that is a staple to Philadelphia when it comes to bread. Even the deli meats and ribeye steak are shipped directly from the City of Brotherly Love. The Basic Cheesesteak costs $7.95 and comes with meat, onions, and choice of cheese — which some may argue the most appropriate choice is, of course, Cheez Whiz.
5. Pasta Sisters
Where is it? Culver City and Mid City
What to get: Arrabiata
Who said handmade pasta has to be expensive? Pasta Sisters is a tiny family-owned restaurant specializing in affordable handmade pasta. This is the place for a hearty plate of carbs and sauce at an affordable cost. The Mid-City location only has a few bar stools, a couple of tables, and has a serious takeout operation. Build your own pasta bowl by choosing your type of noodle and sauce to go with it. For only $9.75, you can devour a bowl of freshly made pasta tossed in the rustic Arrabiata sauce.
6. Fala Bar
Where is it? Venice and West Hollywood
What to get: Kale Burger
Eating on a budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice healthier options. Fala Bar has some seriously good Mediterranean eats with a menu personally curated by a holistic nutrition coach. The Kale Burger fulfills all your falafel cravings and will leave you wanting more (check out their Gigi’s Snack Cup). The combination of Kale falafel, house-made Thousand Island dressing, lemony kale, pickled purple cabbage, grilled onion, and avocado is downright satisfying—especially since it’s for just $8. The menu is dairy-free, nut-free, vegan, organic, and kosher. At Fala Bar, you can trust that the food is prepared the absolute best way.
7. Hugo’s Tacos
Where is it? Studio City
What to get: Al Pastor Tacos
There are some days where only a trio of tacos can make things better. Hugo’s Taco’s is all about using simple and clean ingredients to create their authentic Mexican recipes. Their Al Pastor taco at just $3.49 is balanced in flavor and isn’t overpowered by superfluous add-ons. Eating lunch with a vegan and omnivore? No problem — their menu caters to vegetarians, vegans, carnivores, and omnivores so everyone can enjoy a quick, affordable meal.
8. Nonna’s Empanadas
Where is it? Beverly Grove
What to get: Beef Empanada
Looking for a pocket full of flavor, or a momentary mental escape to Argentina? Nonna’s Empanadas will offer you some satisfaction. They’re known for a mind-boggling variety of baked empanadas, from traditional flavors like ground beef and spicy cheese, to more international flavors like Filipino Chicken and Samosa Veggie. Each golden pocket goes for just $4, so if you can’t decide between two flavors — why not both?
9. Sack Sandwiches
Where is it? West Hollywood
What to get: Veggie Bahn Mi
We’ve all heard the phrase, “Patience is key.” In this case, patience will get you a $6 handcrafted sandwich made by one of the top chefs in L.A. Top Chef winner Michael Voltaggio created this casual sandwich shop to take classic sack lunches to the next level. “Making the ordinary sandwich, extraordinary.” The Veggie Bahn Mi features BBQ tofu, cucumbers, pickled veggies, jalapeños, and cilantro. With that orchestra of ingredients, we promise you won’t be missing meat.
10. Prime Pizza
Where is it? Fairfax and Little Tokyo
What to get: Slice of Pepperoni Pizza
A New York-style pizza joint that sells by the slice? We found you one. Prime Pizza is a slice-driven pizzeria with slices that start at $4. Owner, Zak Fishman, is dedicated to bringing the NY pizza movement to Los Angeles. “A huge part of what makes that it New York pizza is the size of the pie, that big slice.” The thick pepperoni transports homesick New Yorkers at first bite. And if you’re craving a midnight snack — don’t worry, they are open till 2:00 a.m. on the weekend.