All too often, we equate a great meal with spending a lot of money. In reality, an $8 entree can sometimes be just as satisfying as one that costs $30 or more. Keeping this in mind, here's a list of overlooked eateries that offer amazing options for less than $10.
It's easy to start your day at one of the national coffee chains, but why not keep those dollars local? You've got to get your caffeine fix, so have one of their on-the-spot espresso drinks starting at $2.25, and, if you're hungry, fill up on one of their weekday combos served from 8-11 a.m.: two strips of bacon, an egg, home fries and toast for just $5.95, making your total meal cost $8.20.
If a diner doesn't fit into your hectic morning, Iso Fusion Cafe is a great option for coffee and a snack. Get in and get out for less than $10 with a hot mocha for $4 and a large bowl of fruit for just under $6, getting you fueled and caffeinated just under the $10 wire.
This longtime Westwood Boulevard mainstay has been serving up kosher options for breakfast, lunch and dinner for more than 20 years. Recently, the place has become a nighttime hotspot, offering a hookah room until 9 p.m. Despite the recent changes, Nathan's still serves up generous portions on the cheap. Diners can eat like a king here and enjoy Nathan's Extravaganza: a bagel, two types of cream cheese, white fish salad, nova lox, tomato, cucumber, tomato, pickles and olives for $9.95. Free wifi is also a plus.
This small grocery store, operating in the shadow of the SunAmerica building, bills itself as LA's best salad bar. Regulars here rave about the variety and extent of options, the freshness of the produce, and, of course, the affordable price. The salad bar here runs about $8 per pound, and with vegetarian and vegan options alike, everyone leaves happy.
On the other end of the spectrum lies Mongol's BBQ. This meat-centric eatery is popular among UCLA students for its ability to let customers build their own meals from veggies, proteins and sauces. Especially popular is their lunchtime "pack all you can" option, coming in at just under $8.
This centrally located after-work sports bar is a local hit for its . The menu here is populated with American comfort food classics, from tasty fried treats to bulking burgers. Most of the entrees are more than $10, but many of the appetizers are under $6, and other favorites, like the Bleu cheeseburger with sauteed mushrooms and cheese crumbles make it in under our limit at $9.75.
It can be tough to find decent Italian at affordable prices. Mio Babbo is no exception: most of the tasty dishes here do cost more than $10, but the menu does offer ways to eat out on a budget. If you manage to make it over here at lunchtime, a sizable portion of gnocchi is $8.95. For dinner, customers have a variety of under-$10 appetizers to choose from, or can opt to fill up on bread while enjoying a side of pasta and sauce for just $6.95.
Persian, like Italian, is a cuisine that can be on the pricier side. Fortunately, Shaherzad offers up a bevy of low-cost options that can fill you up without emptying your wallet. Any of the appetizers, salads or soups are under $10. Try a salad Olivieh sandwich, featuring a hearty amount of chicken and potato for $8.95.
For those who enjoy trying new and interesting types of food, sticking to a budget can be a major impediment to exploration. Here at Ramayani, in operation for nearly three decades, the traditional Rijstaffel, or "rice table," a full table of many small plates of varying types of food, can be out of reach for many of the budget conscious. The Indonesian eatery does offer specials, however, that act as a gateway into the cuisine here, like the Martabak, an appetizer served in a thin, fried bread with beef, onions and eggs, with a side of pickled veggies for $8.95. Or a noodle dish like Bihun Goreng, a wide rice noodle served with chicken.
After a long day of dollar-conscious dining, exploring options from breakfast to lunch to dinner, it's time for a little treat. La Provence affords their customers that opportunity. Whether your sweet tooth is set on rich, gourmet cupcakes, or delicate Parisian macarons, a modest selection of either can be had for well under $10.