Dirt Cheap Eats

From Northern Indian curries to New Haven–style pizza, here are 61 of our favorite places to eat for less than $15.

At Annandale’s Honey Pig, diners enjoy top-notch Korean barbecue. Photograph by Stacy Zarin-Goldberg.

Going out for a great meal is often a luxury, especially in a down economy. Good news: You don’t have to spend as if you’re at CityZen to enjoy a delicious dinner. Or at least you won’t at the 61 places in our annual guide to Dirt Cheap Eats, where there’s a wealth of choices for $15 a person or less.

We found restaurants to fit almost any mood. Looking for a comforting end-of-the-day repast? Head for Honey Pig, a 24-hour Korean barbecue spot where the charred pork belly and beef bul goki are as satisfying as the staff is gracious. Or maybe you want an alternative to standard-issue lunchtime sandwiches. We dug into plenty of terrific fill-ups, from the excellent traditional Vietnamese subs—a steal at $2.75 to $3.25 each—at Song Que to the innovative daikon-and-mint-topped burger created by Top Chef alum Spike Mendelsohn at his Good Stuff Eatery.


Then there’s the new wave of street carts, including one proffering recipes by a former cook at the Inn at Little Washington. And if you’ve got a hankering for the decadent shrimp ’n’ grits at Vidalia or the power-lunch crab cakes at Johnny’s Half Shell, we’ve got alternatives that will satisfy your cravings but go much easier on your wallet.

So go ahead and dig in. There couldn’t be a better time to enjoy the feast.

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.