DC can be incredibly expensive, but as long as you know where to stay and look, you can find tons of local favorites and mom and pop shops scattered throughout the area.

So leave your hotel, get your metro pass ready and check out these budget-friendly restaurants that’ll leave your wallet and your tummy happy.


1. Meats and Foods

Do you love eating like a neighbor? Do you also love homemade sausages and chili? Meats and Foods is your best friend if you said yes to both.

A neighborhood and local favorite, Meats and Foods (as seen in the image above) makes homemade spicy chorizo sausage that has the perfect amount of spice and kick.

They also make an incredible veggie sausage and smoked japaleno chicken sausage. The beef chili is incredibly tasty, and they definitely don’t hold back on the beef. The best part? All grilled sausages on a bun only costs $6.

  • Nearest Metro: Shaw-Howard U


2. District Taco - Metro Center

District Taco Metro Center Washington DC

When you think budget food, you probably think of tacos. You would be right to, because not only are they delicious, they also tend to be deliciously affordable.

At District Taco, not only will you have some of the best tacos in DC, but you’ll only spend $8 and most. 3 regular or breakfast tacos cost $8, or if you’re really hungry try the $7 massive breakfast burrito!

  • Nearest Metro: Metro Center


3. Wiseguy Pizza

Wiseguy Pizza Washington DC

Pizza is good for the soul. It’s also good for your bank account, especially Wiseguy Pizza.

Wiseguy Pizza makes some of the best NY style pizza in DC, to the point even a New York pizza snob would admit that it tastes like home.

The slices are so big that you need a separate plate for each one. For $10 you can get two huge slices with toppings and a soda. Not too shabby if I do say so myself.

  • Nearest Metro: Judiciary Square 


4. Burger Tap & Shake Foggy Bottom

Burger Tap Shake Foggy Bottom Washington DC

Burgers are an American staple for cheap and filling food. But, you don’t need to resort to fast food to save money!

Burger Tap & Shake is the burger savior you need to try. Their burgers are ground in-house with 30 day aged beef and brisket, and put on warm buttered buns they bake right in the restaurant.

For $6 you can get a regular burger, or go for a $10 deal that includes a burger, fries and drink from 11am-3pm on weekdays. Or, if you want to live on the wild side, try one of their signature burgers for different combinations and meat choices at just $8.

  • Nearest Metro: Foggy Bottom-GWU


5. Donburi

Donburi Washington DC

A lot of people think japanese food in DC is expensive, and they’re right to think so… mostly.

At Donburi, you get tons of food at a reasonable price (you definitely won’t leave the restaurant hungry). A donburi is a japanese staple for satisfying hunger, which includes a big bowl of rice topped with pickled veggies, some type of meat or mushroom and sauce.

My personal favorite is the Karaagedon. “Karaage” is chicken that’s been marinated in soy sauce and coated in panko crust before it’s deep fried. At $11 for this popular choice, it’s a great way to fuel up for a busy day in DC without breaking the bank.

  • Nearest Metro: Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan


6. Ivy & Coney

Ivy & Coney Washington DC

Fans of all things Chicago, Detroit and hot dogs will become a fan of Ivy & Coney. Their classic chicago hotdog comes with pickle, relish, mustard, tomato, onion, sports pepper and celery salt for that authentic chicago taste.

Also, you can’t forget the coney hotdog with beef chili, mustard and onion (lafayette style). Your hunger won’t stand a chance. Oh, and did I mention these two staples are only $4?

  • Nearest Metro: Shaw-Howard U 

7. District Rico

Ivy & Coney Washington DC

District Rico makes Peruvian style roasted whole chickens, and their 50 year recipe is INSANELY GOOD. It’s pretty much impossible to eat there and not be full.

A quarter chicken with two sides and two sauces only costs about $8. Or, to get the most for your money, get a family sized meal for $18 which comes with a WHOLE roasted chicken, 2 large sides and 6 sauces.

With that you could feed a family of 3, or just save the leftovers for future meals (if you have the self-control not to just eat it all, which I don’t think I do).

  • Nearest Metro: Union Station


By Kate Howard


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