You may not think of Los Angeles as a great destination for budget restaurants, but dig a bit deeper and you’ll find a whole selection of AMAZING places to eat in LA serving up food from across the globe. If you want delicious meals (with a, quite frankly, delicious price tag) the City of Angels is THE place to be.
These cheap eats in LA might not be world-famous, but they are frequented by native Angelinos, giving them an authentic local atmosphere. The best part is that they’re available for significantly lower prices than all the tourist traps you might find – result! Read on for 16 of the best places to eat in LA on a budget.
The original Daikokuya is a gem in the Little Toyko district of downtown Los Angeles, and they have loads of other locations too. If you go anytime from Thursday to Sunday, there’s a high chance you’ll have to wait to be seated and it’s cash only, but it’s worth it – this is really good ramen. For $12.00, you can get a huge bowl of their original best seller ‘Daikoku Ramen’. The other dishes are cheap and delicious too, but you’re gonna want to go for the ramen – it’s their shining glory. It’s open late, perfect for those post-night out ramen cravings, and easily accessible by the Metro Gold Line in downtown.
Address: 327 E 1st Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
There are plenty of places to eat in LA that embody the city’s rich Latin American culture, starting with these taquitos! There are loads of food stands in Placita Olvera (a really cool market area next to Union Station) but Cielito Lindo is one of the places to eat in LA that’s world famous for its tacos, so it’s a great pick. For $3.50, get two taquitos in their homemade salsa verde, which is a must-try – it’s drool-worthy! They also have chile rellenos (stuffed peppers) as a vegetarian option, which are super hearty with a kick of spice. Cielito Lindo is accessible by many lines via public transport, right across the street from Union Station.
Address: 23 Olvera St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
This restaurant in the Valley, north of downtown, is a must-try – go for a bowl of the spicy miso ramen for $8.50 which tastes incredible. If you’ve got space, don’t miss the teriyaki beef ribs, fried chicken (don’t forget the lemon) and the pork-fried rice. It’s small so you might want to call ahead for large groups, but the hours are late – perfect for fulfilling your cravings at any hour.
Address: 15355 Sherman Way, Van Nuys, CA 91406
El Indio Mexican Restaurant
El Indio is a 24 hour get-and-go eatery, and you’ve got to go for the nachos – but these are no ordinary nachos. The guac, beans, salsa, sour cream, meat and cheese layer perfectly to produce the most dreamy batch of nachos ever (we aren’t exaggerating), all for under $8. For even more of a carb fest, go for nacho fries – steak fries instead of tortilla chips. They also have pretty hefty loaded burritos *drool*.
Address: 17019 Roscoe Blvd Northridge CA, 91325
Casa Bianca Pizza Pie
Casa Bianca is a little gem in Eagle Rock – go for the small sausage pizza with their signature thin crust for just $7.55. This is the perfect place to eat in LA if you’re looking for cosy, old-fashioned, homemade vibes – the pasta with family recipe marinara sauce is also delish if you’re veggie or all pizza-d out. You’ll need to reserve though – they open at 4pm so it’s always rammed!
Address: 1650 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041
This place is all about the tacos. The carne asada (beef) tacos with cilantro and onion are a classic and just $1.99 – add a kick with some salsas from their salsa bar, or pickled carrots – they go surprisingly well! The soups are also delicious – go for the pozole or menudo, classic Mexican dishes served with cabbage on top that taste great.
Address: 7213 Balboa Blvd, Van Nuys, CA 91407
This place has amazing breakfast burritos. For $6.00 (for steak, less if you get ham or cheese) you get a burrito loaded with potatoes, eggs, cheese and their original salsa. It’s spicy but delicious! If you don’t want a burrito – literally anything on the menu is good, trust us.
Address: 310 S Victory Blvd, Burbank, CA 91502
San Carlo Deli
This deli in the valley is a local favourite, with great service and even greater sandwiches. The peppered turkey with provolone is just divine, but they also also make an amazing calzone. Plus, the owner is so nice you’ll feel like you’re part of his family, which is exactly why it’s one of the best places to eat in LA.
Address: 10178 Mason Avenue, Chatsworth, CA 91311
La Mascota Bakery
This bakery has a delicious assortment of Mexican sweet breads and tamales (small balls of dough or maize with different fillings). Chile verde (green salsa) with chicken is one of our favourites, but the beef in red sauce and cheese tamales are also popular. If you fancy something sweet, go for their sweet tamales for a delicious snack. The specials, such as $6 for any plate on a Monday and $1.50 tamale Tuesday, make this an ideal destination for hungry travellers on a budget.
Address: 2715 Whittier Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90023
This restaurant serves a huge range of home-cooked Mexican food. The pozole and tamales are fantastic, but they also have sopes, thick fried tortillas topped with meat, sour cream, lettuce, beans and salsa. Their chile verde plate, made with pork and served with Mexican rice and beans, is a neighbourhood favourite.
Address: 1242 Pico St. San Fernando, CA 91340
Another Cuban restaurant in downtown Los Angeles, the shining star of El Colmao is their signature breaded chicken dish that comes with rice and black beans. Don’t miss their platanos fritos (fried plantains), which are great as a side. For $4.50, grab a bowl of Caldo Gallego, a gorgeously flavoursome and hearty white bean soup.
Address: 2328 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006
Lido’s is the original Italian ChiChi’s pizza chain. As you enter you’ll see chefs making pasta and pizza dough from scratch, so you know this place is authentic! Don’t miss the pasta entrée made with their famous meat sauce for $11.95. Their cheese ravioli with meatless sauce is also divine, as is the antipasto salad.
Address: 15232 Victory Blvd, Van Nuys, CA 91411
In N Out Burger
A list of cheap places to eat in Los Angeles would not be complete without including the famous In N Out Burger. Loved by locals and tourists alike, for $6.25 you’ll get a quality cheeseburger, fries and a drink. For the veggies among you, their grilled cheese with grilled onions is also incredible. Don’t worry, we won’t tell if you visit more than once…
Address: All over!
This is not an official restaurant, but found in the form of carts throughout LA. They are cash only, and many offer ice cream, chips or fruit. If you’ve had one too many American burgers, go for the fruit – they’ll cut up whichever combination you choose. One of our fave combos is watermelon, cucumber, and mango, or pineapple, coconut, cantaloupe and honeydew melon. They put lemon and Tajin (a powder spice) on it, which makes for a perfect snack. Try ‘chamoy’ too, a candy sauce with a kick – it’s great with mango.
Address: You just stumble upon them!
About The Author
Ashley is from Los Angeles, and is currently a junior in college studying in Pennsylvania. She’s also a major foodie and loves all of the places on this list, so she hopes you enjoy them too!
Any other cheap places to eat in LA you’ve fallen in love with? Let us know in the comments!
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