Cheap Eats Critics' Picks

These dishes stood out among the many we sampled for the 100 Best Bargain Restaurants issue. Check back Monday for the full Cheap Eats guide.

By: Todd Kliman, Cynthia Hacinli, Ann Limpert, Kate Nerenberg, Rina Rapuano

See All Cheap Eats Restaurants
What is a Cheap Eat?
The Best Cheap Eats Dishes
Cheap Eats Photo Slideshow
Incoming and Outgoing Restaurants
The codwich at Eamonn's in Old Town Alexandria gets our vote.

Best . . .

Use of a breakfast staple: Home-style bacon with peppers, onions, and salty black beans at Hong Kong Palace.

Reason to order a salad at a pizza place: Chickpeas with lemon and kaffir lime at Comet Ping Pong.

Bar snack: Tandoori chicken wings at Spice Xing.

Chili high: Karahi, a stir-fry of ginger, garlic, chilies, and tomatoes with chicken or beef at Ravi Kabob House and Ravi Kabob House II.

For fiery-food-phobes: Creamy, gently spiced green curry with shrimp at Amina Thai.

Nod to the West Coast: Shrimp tacos with pineapple salsa, lime sour cream, and yellow rice at Surfside.

Lamb dish: Lamb fateh, tender meat smothered in yogurt and sprinkled with pita chips at Lebanese Butcher & Restaurant.

Southern-inspired sweet: Lemon chess pie at the General Store.

Near-the-Beltway barbecue: Smoky, char-crusted pork ribs smothered in sweet sauce at KBQ Real Barbecue.




Two meals in one: Chilaquiles with rojo sauce, fried egg, and fried-chicken cutlet at La Sirenita.

Spring rolls: Silken Shawl Imperial Autumn Rolls—with pork, prawns, and a lacy, handmade wrapper—at Present.

Upscale Filet-O-Fish: The Codwich—just-fried cod, lettuce, and freshly made tartar sauce on a warm, crusty roll—at Eamonn’s.

Authentic Chinese cooking that will please timid palates: Sizzling beef with black pepper in hot pot at Full Key.

Bargain charcuterie: Cevapcici—small, garlicky Bosnian sausages with hot, house-made bread and sour cream—at Cosmopolitan Grill.

Drinkable dessert: Toasted-marshmallow milkshake, the sweetness tempered by Greek yogurt, at Good Stuff Eatery.

Rice dish: Lamb kebabs over shirin polo—rice with sugared orange peel, almonds, and pistachios, topped with shallot yogurt—at Shamshiry.

Dumplings: Mantu—delicate meat-filled dumplings with yogurt—at Faryab.

Way to satisfy a steak craving on the cheap: Au poivre burger with blue cheese and sautéed mushrooms at Ray’s Hell-Burger.

Fun-to-share dish that’s not pizza:Seafood pancake at Gom Ba Woo.

Picnic fare: Perfectly seasoned fried chicken at Flavors Soul Food.

Fish for less: Seafood ceviche at La Limena.

Most elegant dish for less than $10: Roasted quail with lime dip at Four Sisters.

Fatty indulgence: Pork belly with bright-green long beans, ginger, and bamboo at Sichuan Village.

Savory pastries: Salteñas at La Caraqueña.

Meal on the go: Pete’s Original tomato-and-cheese slice at Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza.

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