The 25 Best Inexpensive Restaurants in Washington

Our Cheap Eats issue hits newsstands today—these are the top picks.

Our favorite dumplings by the dozen can be found at China Bistro in Rockville. Photograph by Scott Suchman

For the past six months, our food team has subsisted on a steady diet of kebabs, banh mi, Peruvian chicken, and other delicious meals-on-a-shoestring to find the 100 best cheap eats restaurants this area has to offer—all places where two diners can get a meal and drinks for under fifty bucks. Now, you can dig in too. Our annual Cheap Eats issue hits newsstands today (and the full list will be online soon).

What’s different this year? There were plenty of wondrous discoveries—the joys of Yemeni food, for instance, or the city’s best half-smoke (sorry, Ben’s), or some of the best mole we’ve ever tasted, hiding in a Hyattsville strip mall. We also decided to call out 25 places as the brightest stars on the scene—the most delicious barbecue, crave-worthy ramen, and tastiest tacos this city has to offer. Read on to find out about those—these restaurants are where we’ve had some of the most thrilling meals of the year. At any price.

The Best 25 Inexpensive Restaurants in Washington (listed alphabetically)

Amoo’s Restaurant – Persian
Bayou Bakery – Southern
Bob’s Shanghai 66 – Chinese/Taiwanese
China Bistro – Chinese
Cosmopolitan Grill – Bosnian/German
Cuba de Ayer – Cuban
Curry Leaf – Indian
Daikaya Ramen – Japanese
DCity Smokehouse – Barbecue
Eamonn’s – Irish
Enat – Ethiopian
G by Mike Isabella – Italian-American
Haute Dogs & Fries – American
Huong Viet Restaurant – Vietnamese
Jewel of India – Indian
Kogiya – Korean
La Caraquena – Venezuelan
Ravi Kabob House I and II – Pakistani
Rice Paper – Vietnamese
Ruan Thai – Thai
Rus Uz – Russian/Uzbek
Saba – Yemeni
Taqueria el Mexicano – Mexican
Thai Taste by Kob – Thai
Thip Khao – Laotian

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.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.