Cheap Eats 2010: Rangoli

100 places that offer great food at low prices.

Why go: This strip-mall gem is decked out with beaded lanterns and curved booths. Dapper owner Kumar Iyer works the room, which is usually full of loyal Loudoun County customers who come for vivid Indian cooking that’s as refined as the setting.

What to get:
Vada pav, a small, chili-flecked potato patty served on a bun, Bombay’s answer to the slider; chicken chettinad with scorching peppercorns; black-lentil stew with ginger and garlic; a beautifully thin masala dosa; hunks of chicken in a tomato-and-butter sauce.

Best for: A romantic date on the cheap—this feels far more luxurious than it costs.

Insider tip: There’s free delivery within a five-mile radius.

>> See all 2010 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 Petworth.