Why go: This bustling, family-run restaurant isn’t as embracing and warm a destination as it used to be, but the cooking retains its homespun character. Neither as fiery and bright as Thai nor as layered and spiced as Indian, Burmese food is a blend of the two, and this kitchen manages the feat of turning seeming exotica—sour mustard, gram fritters—into dishes of pure comfort.
What to get: Spring-roll salad, a meal in itself and a fascinating study in textures; crunchy, vividly dressed ginger salad; stir-fry of broad noodles with fried egg, shrimp, and bean sprouts; pork with sour mustard greens; catfish in red sauce.
Best for: Vegetarians and others looking for big flavor without loading up on meat.
Insider tip: Desserts are no longer a sure thing. shweji, a creamy, steamed cake made from Cream of Wheat, remains a bargain at $3 but is less luscious than it used to be, and coconut ice cream served in a coconut shell resembles the kind of finish you find in tourist traps.
>> See all 2010 Cheap Eats restaurants here