Restaurants to Get the Best Value for Your Dollar in Philadelphia

Trying to pin down words like frugal, value, and deal can be exasperating because different people have different ideas of what cost savings means to them. For some, it simply means where they're going to get the most food for their dollar. For others, it means where they get a little extra with their meals. Philadelphia dining patrons looking for something a bit out-of-the-ordinary for definitely-ordinary pricing would rank other places at the tops of their lists. For 10Best, the range we stick to is actually quite broad - we include impossibly cheap eateries with amazing menus on our list of best value eateries. In addition, we also share really nice restaurants that have especially nice perks such an impressive wine list with no corkage fee or a terrifically affordable prix fixe menu. Little extras, value-enhanced specials, perks that bring up the value of your dining experience no matter where the venue falls on the pricing scale are places that make it to our lists. If you're looking for Best Value restaurants in Philadelphia, let us introduce you to a few of our city-wide favorites, starting with Banana Leaf and Paloma. They're low in expenditures and high on appeal. Other great values worth mentioning come from staple establishments like San Kee or Nam Phuong. Value has never tasted so good.

Bubby's Brisket & Bugsy's Weiners
Get a lot for a little at this intimate little gem of a foodery in Logan Square. While it's nothing special as far as looks or ambiance, this place rocks where it counts - in the food department. If you want brisket done like nobody's business, this is the place for you. Sample their hot dogs for a basic dish that's built to satisfy. Great for lunch on the run on a weekday, or a quick tasty meal when you're in the area, this place delivers. It's not open on the weekends, but stop by Monday through Friday for no nonsense choices you'll return for. (215-569-0184)

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Dalessandro's Steaks
Modest signage announcing "Steaks Beer-Hoagies" and the simple redbrick facade in no way prepare you for what this Roxborough treasure has in store. Indeed, those in the know claim that Dalessandro's may serve up the area's top cheesesteak -- there's just something special about the way they cram fried onions, shaved seasoned steak and American cheese into those tasty hoagie rolls. What else sets this place apart from those closer to Center City? Well, at Dalessandro's you can chase your cheesesteak with a cold brew if you'd like. Parking isn't as much of an issue in Roxborough, either. Seating at Dalessandro's isn't very plentiful, but the food is plentiful and filling, which is what matters most. (215-482-5407)

Tommy DiNic's
Founded by an Italian family that had been operating butcher shops and sandwich stands in South Philly since 1918, Tommy DiNic's is still ran by the same family, serving some of the finest sandwiches in the nation. In fact, the Travel Channel voted Tommy DiNic's roast pork w/broccoli rabe and provolone the best sandwich in the nation not too long ago. The rest of the menu is equally as appealing and worthwhile as well. With most sandwiches in the shop running well under ten bucks, it's easily in the running for the best bang for your buck in all of Philadelphia. ((215) 923-6175)

Banana Leaf
Wood paneling and painted bamboo shoots give this Malaysian restaurant an authentic feel, one that is fully born out in the menu. Guests are faced with a combination of exotic and familiar dishes. The seafood lo mein is a particularly benign dish when compared to the crispy pork intestines. However, never fear! The helpful servers will steer you towards (or away) from certain dishes if you ask, and they are well-versed in what sits well with first-time patrons, so heed their advice. While many dishes are tasty and will leave you already planning your return trip, some may out you off when first tasting them, so ease in gently. Once indoctrinated, you're ready for anything. (215-592-8288)

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Ray's Cafe & Tea House
It's no wonder that Ray's Cafe & Tea House is perennially crowded. Authentic and affordable Taiwanese specialties such as beef noodle soup and Taiwanese rice noodles populate the menu, and the plump dumplings are without peer in Philadelphia. Pony up for the affordable and delicious dumpling sampler for the chance to taste a variety of options. The main draw here, though, comes from the exquisite coffee and tea that Ray's produces. Using a siphon coffee maker, the full flavor and aroma of the premium grounds are released. The process itself is a show worth watching -- the coffee brews upward before falling back into the pot. Be sure to take a look and try a cup. (215-922-5122)

If you're looking to stray a bit off the gastronomical straight and narrow, few places in Philly can match the delightful daring of Paloma. This restaurant is a few miles northeast of Center City, and delivers a fascinating amalgamation of haute French and Mexican inspirations. Rich, flavorful and artfully presented, owner-chef Adán Saavedra's cookery is unlike much of what you'd find elsewhere, and his attention to detail and creativity truly rewards diners. What makes this place such a value is that during the week, Paloma runs a 3-course fixe prix menu at prices that beat even those of Restaurant Week. Try $30. iCombine that with the fact that it's BYO, and this gem quickly becomes one of the best places you can dine on a budget. Even the regular menu is filled with reasonably priced options. Reservations are strongly encouraged; the last seating is at 8:30pm. (215-533-0356)

Mama's Vegetarian
When in the mood for something delicious, convenient and vegetarian, think Mama's Vegetarian. This scrumptious, kosher, Middle Eastern eatery serves up delicious vegetarian fare every weekday. With menu options like soup of the day, platters made up of veggie patties, eggplant slices, grape leaves, hummus and falafel that tastes too good to be true, you know you're in for something up a notch from hum-drum. It's affordable, it's quick and easy, yet it's easy and works with vegetarian and kosher eating plans. That's added value right there, and if you believe what others say about the falafel being stupendous, that's even better. Good food at good prices that's not special-diet-crushing is worth talking about. (215) 751-0477)

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McGillin's Olde Ale House
A Philly staple since 1860, McGillin's has remained true to its heart over the years, serving great eats and cold beer to everybody from Ed Bradley and Ethel Merman to Robin Williams and Will Ferrell. Inside, the place has the timeless look of a neighborhood tavern � dark-stained wood, plaster walls, red floor tiles and tall windows. Adding a certain kitschy sense of tradition to the place is the unique display of Pennsylvania tavern licenses that hang on the wall behind the bar, one for each year the place has served alcohol. Keep your eyes peeled to the calendar and plan to stop in when McGillin's hosts a karaoke night � they're a blast. Occasional live music as well. (215-735-5562)

Nam Phuong
South Philadelphia's Vietnamese delicacy, Nam Phuong specializes in delicious food using quality ingredients, combined with exceptional service. The restaurant itself is wide open and feels spacious. There are a variety of menu items to select from, ranging from soups to salads to noodle dishes, rice dishes, pho, stir fry, vegetarian choices and seafood. Order in English or Vietnamese and choose family-style dinners as well for groups ranging in size from 2, 4, 6, 8 or 10. Portions are large, and options are many so that everyone in your group can be easily pleased. You won't go hungry when ordering from this eatery. (215-468-0410)

Sang Kee
This 3-story eatery can easily be missed upon first glance. With fresh produce hanging in the front, you might miss the restaurant that's on the side next to the big windows. Once you know it's there, however, you'll want to point it out to friends and visiting family members. The food here is Hong Kong cuisine, and is served family-style. This offers an advantage to many, as it can be difficult to choose what to have. This way they are free to sample from several dishes. What can you find here? How about delicious won ton soup as well as traditional Chinese specialties like crisp duck and golden scallion pancakes. Whether you select chicken, beef, pork, or seafood, you can't go wrong, so dig in. (215-925-7532)

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Maps and Directions

Dalessandro's Steaks 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Local Specialty
Neighborhood: Roxborough
Cost: $
Tommy DiNic's 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Deli
Cost: $
Banana Leaf 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: Asian, Malaysian
Neighborhood: Chinatown
Cost: $
Ray's Cafe & Tea House 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Neighborhood: Chinatown
Cost: $
Paloma 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: European, French, Latin, Mexican
Neighborhood: Northeast Philly
Cost: $$
Mama's Vegetarian 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: Middle Eastern, Vegetarian
Nam Phuong 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: Asian, Vietnamese
Neighborhood: South Philly
Sang Kee 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Neighborhood: Chinatown
Cost: $
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