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Best Cheap Eats in DC: Satisfy Your Craving Without Breaking the Bank

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Who doesn’t love cheap and delicious food? Whether you’re a fan of fast, gourmet, or comfort food, there are plenty of affordable places to eat in DC. But which restaurants really stand out? 

In this guide, we will cover all the best cheap eats in DC, so you can find an option that suits your needs without blowing your budget.


Wiseguy Pizza: The Closest Thing to Real New York Pizza in DC

New York City may be a train ride away, but if you’re craving a thin New York slice without traveling you’re in luck! Wiseguy Pizza has what you are looking for. 

This pizzeria opened its doors in 2012, and they have since been creating classic and specialty pizzas. Whether you like traditional cheese or handcrafted mushroom truffle pizza, Wiseguy has something for you. They have three convenient locations in Foggy Bottom, Navy Yard, and Chinatown. 

We recommend checking out the Penne Alla Vodka slice. It comes loaded with creamy pasta and extra sauce. But if you want to take the traditional route, the Margherita is delicious too. Why not live a little with a carb-loaded slice?

💰 Price: Slices from $5

🌎 Cuisine: Italian

📍 Location: 300 Massachusetts Ave NW #1, Washington, DC 20001

 

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RASA: Fast, Casual, and Delicious Indian Food

If you are looking for something with a bit more spice, RASA is right up your alley. The shared dream of two families, the restaurant opened its doors in 1991. They now have three locations in Ballpark, Mount Vernon, and National Landing. 

As soon as you walk in the door, the colorful, warm, and aromatic atmosphere welcomes you. The menu and ordering process is simple. You pick your base, which includes basmati rice and greens. Next, you choose a main, which includes classics like chicken tikka and lamb kebab. Finally, you top it all off with house-made sauces and veggies.

💰 Price: Bowls from $11

🌎 Cuisine: Indian

📍 Location: 1247 First St SE, Washington, DC 20003

 

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Old Ebbitt Grill: Raw Bar Delights for Happy Hour

Oysters are often considered expensive, luxury food. But what if we told you they are half off every day between 3 and 5 PM? Now, that changes things! At Old Ebbitt Grill, you can expect to find the best raw bar happy hour every day of the week. 

While the decor and atmosphere are a bit more upscale, the happy hour price slashing will blow your mind. If raw food isn’t your thing, they also serve up toasty, classic Reuben sandwiches and delicious cocktails. 

Happy Hour:

Every day 3-5 PM

Sunday-Thursday 10 PM-12 AM

Friday and Saturday 11 PM-1 AM

💰 Price: Full oyster plates from $16

🌎 Cuisine: Seafood

📍 Location: 675 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20005

 

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District Taco: Yucatan-Style Mexican Eats

Who doesn’t love Mexican food? Although it originated in Mexico, every city has a taco joint. In Washington, DC, the best option for Yucatan-style Mexican food is District Taco. It first opened its doors in 2009 as a food truck. Now, they have 13 locations throughout Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and DC. 

Our favorite part about this place is the taco plates. You can build your own, starting with a protein base. Then, you add your toppings and sauces to create your perfect taco. We recommend this place for pre-party sustenance or a quick working lunch. 

💰 Price: Taco plates from $9.99

🌎 Cuisine: Mexican

📍 Location: 1309 F St NW, Washington, DC 20004

 

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Rocklands Barbeque: Beef Brisket and a Hot Sauce ‘Wall of Fire’

Get your fingers sticky and your shirt messy with American comfort barbeque food. Rocklands Barbeque offers all the barbeque fixings your heart could desire. The menu includes mouth-watering beef brisket, cornbread, baked beans, and coleslaw. 

Our favorite part about this BBQ joint is the “Wall of Fire,” a mammoth sauce bar with everything from super spicy to Kansas City style sweet. We recommend the Rocklands Pearl, a bowl full of mac n’ cheese, baked beans, pulled pork, and original BBQ sauce. If you’re more of a sandwich person, the pulled pork is a bargain.

💰 Price: BBQ sandwiches from $7.29

🌎 Cuisine: American barbeque

📍 Location: 2418 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007

Ben’s Chili Bowl: Original Half-Smokes and Chili Bowls Near U Street

If you want to dive right into the DC food scene, then Ben’s Chili Bowl should be your first stop. This casual dining restaurant is a quintessential part of the DC experience. Ben’s was opened more than 62 years ago by Virginia Ali, a woman with a dream and a plan. Now, they’re serving up the best half-smokes in DC at six locations.

Ben’s is home to the original half-smoke, which is like a giant sausage but way better. You can grab yourself a bowl of the classic chili on its own or smother your half-smoke in it. Either way, it’s not to be missed. You can find this restaurant in the famous U Street neighborhood. 

💰 Price: Half-smokes from $7.69

🌎 Cuisine: American

📍 Location: 1213 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

Cava: Build Your Own Mediterranean Bowl

If your idea of a fabulous lunch involves filling a bowl with your choice of the freshest Mediterranean ingredients, then Cava is your best bet. The restaurant opened in 2009 and is now partnering with local groups around DC to bring healthy, fast meals to residents. 

Our favorite part about Cava is that you can build your own bowl. Start with a base of protein and rice, then top it off with delicious hummus and Mediterranean sauces. We recommend you try the falafel and hummus for the most authentic flavor experience. 

💰 Price: Bowls from $11

🌎 Cuisine: Mediterranean

📍 Location: 707 H St NW, Washington, DC 20001

 

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Flower Child: Healthy, Fast Food in Foggy Bottom

If you’re looking to shed a few pounds, then Flower Child is perfect for you. Guests can eat tasty dishes that won’t break your calorie counter. They serve up hearty and huge salads, which you can customize by choosing a protein base and dressing.

We especially liked their wraps with fresh avocado and hummus. We recommend checking out Flower Child for a light and healthy lunch. 

💰 Price: Mains from $11

🌎 Cuisine: Healthy with a Mediterranean twist

📍 Location: 2112 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Suite 101, Washington, DC 20037

 

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District Doughnut: Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Okay, so we covered the healthy stuff, but what about the decadent desserts? District Doughnut has you covered with plenty of menu items to satisfy your sweet tooth. The store’s cheery and colorful exterior perfectly matches their donuts. 

One great thing about this donut shop is they change their menu every month or so, which adds to the excitement of visiting. Although you can check their donut menu online, we recommend not spoiling the surprise. Our favorite thing to do is ask for a dozen donuts and let the friendly employees choose them for you. 

💰 Price: Donuts from $2.50

🌎 Cuisine: Bakery

📍 Location: 749 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003

 

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Potbelly Sandwich Shop: Fresh Deli Sandwiches in NoMa

There’s nothing quite like a cold-cut deli sandwich. Something about it brings you comfort and loads of calories. Where can you get the best cheap deli sandwich in DC? Potbelly Sandwich Shop

They serve up all the deli classics like pastrami on rye and Italian. If you’re on the run, deli sandwiches are the ultimate portable food. Potbelly has locations all around DC, making it even easier for you to grab a quick lunch bite.

💰 Price: Sandwiches from $5.40

🌎 Cuisine: American deli

📍 Location: 409 3rd St SW #105-107, Washington, DC 20024

Clyde’s: Georgetown Cheeseburger and Wing Joint

If you’re around Georgetown and want a classic American experience, check out Clyde’s. You’ll find fantastic prices, friendly people, and delicious food. The booth tables remind you of sitting with your family for dinner, which we loved. Because this is more of a sit-down restaurant, save this joint for another day if you’re looking for a quick bite. 

If you want to relax and enjoy a meal with fantastic service, then this is your spot. You will find classic American burgers, pub grub, and mouth-watering cocktails. 

💰 Average: Burgers from $14

🌎 Cuisine: American

📍 Location: 3236 M St NW, Washington, DC 20007

 

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Dining out doesn’t have to break the bank, and it shouldn’t. Whether you’re craving a burger, deli sandwich, or healthy bowl, there’s something for everyone in downtown DC.

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