Cheap Eats 2009: Cafe Assorti

Great food, low prices, lots of fun.

Why go: The filling, carb-heavy menu of Eastern European pies, breads, and dumplings will comfort the weariest of travelers, and the setting—orange walls, high ceilings, tall windows—is just as soothing.

What to get: Garlicky carrot salad; creamy beet salad with walnuts; soft yeast buns (called samsas, pirozhoks, or rasstegais, depending on the shape) stuffed with meats, egg, fish, or vegetables; Assorti ground-beef steak, a moist patty topped with a sunny-side-up egg; manti, three large, mounded dumplings filled with beef; Napoleon cake, layered with thin, crispy pastry and whipped cream.

Best for: Diners looking for variety. One side is a bakery and coffee shop, the other a sit-down venue with full menus and crayons to keep kids busy.

Insider tip: Baked goods—savory and sweet—are made fresh and replenished throughout the day, so not everything is available at all times; ask a staffer what just came from the oven. Soups and entrées change daily.

Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

>> See all 2009 Cheap Eats restaurants here

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.