Let’s face it, living in LA isn’t exactly cheap. Once you’ve paid all your monthly bills, if you’re lucky, you might find yourself with a couple bucks left over to spend on a few drinks at the bar or a fancy meal.
While it’s pretty hard to get anything in LA cheap these days, there are still a few places left where you can get a decent meal without breaking the bank. Here are the best meals in LA under $10.
This foodie favorite opened this year and specializes in Sonoran-style carne asada (grilled over mesquite) and chimichangas. The tacos come in at around $3, and three should more than fill you up.
Since opening in 2015, this hole-in-the-wall Filipino place has quickly developed a reputation for tasty takes on classics like bistek and longanisa. Most of the rice bowls come in at under $10 and should do you for lunch or a light dinner.
Australia’s one real innovation is the meat pie, a miniaturized version of the classic English pie.
You probably need to start with the original, or — if you’re feeling adventurous — try Australia’s other great invention, the sausage roll. They also make classic Australian pastries like the caramel slice, ANZAC biscuits, custard tarts and, of course, Lamingtons.
One $7 egg sandwich can keep you going all day, you just have to be prepared to stand in line for an hour.
Phillippe the Original
Yes, it’s the classic French dipped sandwich (a beef, pork, or turkey sandwich dipped in gravy). You can even add a side of potato salad and still come in at around $10.
Mixto Comida Latina
If you love tacos and burritos but are watching your waistline, then Mixto is the taco stand for you. The ingredients are fresh and organic and the vibe is pure Silver Lake. Tacos come in at around $3, and the bowls are packed full of vegetables at $8.
My Vegan Gold
Great selection of vegan burgers, soups, salads, and noodles that come in under the $10 mark.
Ramen of York
Okay, so the ramen is just over the line at $10.50 at this new Highland Park joint. If that breaks the bank, they do have a selection of delicious rice bowls that all come in under $10.
U Pick Café
What can you say about a huge kabob plate for under $10, other than, ‘bargain!’
If you’re on the go, all the wraps also come in at under $10. Of course, there’s tasty falafel for the vegetarians.
All the tacos (except the seafood tacos) come in at under $3. The problem is, they’re so good you might be tempted to blow your budget.
There are vegetarian options and they will do a vegan taco on request.
Michael Voltaggio-approved gourmet sandwiches for a very reasonable $7. If you’re a vegetarian, lucky you, you can probably get something under $5.
You’ll often hear people say that this is the best ramen in LA. That may be true, but there’s some stiff competition, so I’m not going to come down on that one. Plenty of options under $10 here, and for a few bucks more you can get a combo.
Kaya Street Kitchen
Delicious Malaysian/Singaporean inspired bowls with a Californian twist. Most bowls come in at around $8. If it doesn’t break the bank, add the “Kaya toast” (toasted bread with coconut jam) for dessert.
Falafel is good. So are burgers. When you combine the two, you get a falafel burger, which may not double the goodness, but it’s pretty damn good—and it comes in at around $8.
You know it as the favorite of LA’s elite, but it’s also surprisingly affordable.
You won’t see celebrities actually hanging out here, but you will see their assistants running in and out to pick up that macrobiotic detox meal.
This classic diner has been around for more than 60 years, and you’d have to say it’s a Valley landmark. More than that, the prices are insane. You can grab a burger for $3.50, or roast beef and mashed potatoes for $5.50.
Bowl & Burger
If your appetite is huge, but your budget is small, then Bowl and Burger is the answer.
As the name suggests, they specialize in burgers and bowls—but you’d have to say that the latter is where value is. We’re talking huge piles of protein and salad for under $10. I guarantee you won’t leave hungry.
Nothing better than a banh mi at the spicy price of $5.70. The lemongrass chicken is excellent, but everything on the menu is good here. Don’t forget to ask for extra chili.
This hole-in-the-wall is known for the torta ahogada, a Gaudalajaran sandwich drowned in salsa. It’s as good as it sounds.
Johnny Pacific is all about the Hawaiian empanadas. You can grab three for under $10, or go for their $8.50 lunch special.
Aside from serving up generous portions of old-school Chinese classics and fusion dishes, Chubby Rice also has the honor of being the best-named Chinese restaurant in LA. The General Tso’s chicken is recommended, as are the gigantic egg rolls.
Decent burgers, sandwiches, Mexican classics and poke, with pretty much everything coming in under the $10 mark.
It looks unassuming from the outside, but walk through those doors and you’ll be treated to one of the best burgers in LA. Honestly, you can come away more than satisfied for around $5 here.
If you’re willing to spend a few more bucks, you probably won’t have to eat for the next 24 hours.
Whatever you think of the constant storm of food-scene politics engulfing this place, you can still get a decent meal for under $6.
This popular Jamaican restaurant does classic brown stew and jerk chicken for under $10. If you’re on a tight budget, they run a selection of Jamaican sandwiches and wraps for under $7.