30 Great-Value Dishes

Our critics pick their favorite bang-for-your-buck dishes.

Chicken and waffles at Marvin.



Two grilled-shrimp tacos at Surfside, $9.95

Hanger steak with mashed potatoes and creamed spinach at Ray’s the Steaks, $19.95

Chicken and waffles at Marvin, $16

Silken Shawl Imperial Autumn Rolls filled with pork and prawns at Present, $3.95

Fried-oyster po boy with coleslaw at Hank’s Oyster Bar, $15

Sorbillo’s Original, a ricotta-mozzarella-and-salami-filled turnover at Pete’s Apizza, $7.95

Crab masala with jumbo lump crab, onions, and spices, $9.95 at Passage to India

Macaroni and cheese for two at Westend Bistro, $10

Adana kebab of skewered ground lamb, house-made harissa, grilled tomatoes, and sumac onions at Zaytinya, $7.50


Pad thai at Nava Thai.

Mini-jars of red and black caviar with house-made blini and crème fraîche at Johnny’s Half Shell, $19.75


Eel kamameshi, glazed eel over rice with four side dishes at lunch at Kotobuki, $10.95

Charcuterie board, which two can share at the bar at Restaurant Eve, $16

Roast-to-order chicken, $14, and truffled cheeseburger, $12, at Palena Cafe

Half order of pasta for half the price of a full order at the bar during lunch at Tosca

Four lacquered, grilled quail halves with blood-orange slices at Four Sisters, $8 to $9

Bun cha, northern-style grilled, marinated pork with vermicelli noodles at Minh’s, $9.75

Sambusas, $2.75 each, and yebeg wat, $11, at Etete

Lamb karahi for two at Ravi Kabob House, $19.99

Pot of mussels for two at Café du Parc, $19.95

Floating Market Noodle Soup for two, $7.95, and crispy mussels with hot sauce, $9.95, at Nava Thai Noodle and Grill

Grilled stuffed calamari with green sauce, $7.95, and Margherita pizza, $10.95, at 2 Amys

Duck confit with savoy cabbage and roasted beets, $15, and grilled flatiron steak with rapini, $14, at Cork

Lamb sausage with lentils at Brasserie Beck, $14

Roast chicken with mustard sauce at Leopold’s Kafe & Konditorei, $18

Boudin blanc, boudin noir, or merguez sausage with braised red cabbage at Mannequin Pis, $12

What are your favorite bargain dishes? Tell us in the comments below. 

Related Links:

This appeared as part of the 100 Very Best Restaurants section in the February, 2009 issue of the Washingtonian

100 Best Restaurants Database

Printable List of 100 Best Restaurants

Best Restaurants in Washington, DC

Best Restaurants in Virginia

Best Restaurants in Maryland

Critics Pick the 25 Best Dishes

30 Great-Value Dishes

Restaurateurs of the Year

The 2009 Foodie In and Out List

100 Best Photo Slideshow

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 Petworth.