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Money low but hunger high? Hit these top D.C. value restaurants



When it comes to food, many of us just want to get the most for our money whether it is at a chic, upscale restaurant or a homestyle diner. The dollar amount on value is different from person to person. When 10Best went looking for the top value restaurants in Washington, D.C., we searched a wide range of prices from cheap eateries to celebrity chef-owned venues.   

When looking at restaurants that offer the best for your money, you can't beat Jose Andres' Zaytinya which offers a four-course mezze lunch of Eastern Mediterranean fare for $25 or Ambar that features an unlimited brunch and Balkan dinner every night.  

Looking to be a little more frugal but still fill your belly with tasty dishes? Head to 2 Amys for one of the best true Neapolitan pizzas this side of the Atlantic. Up for some comfort food? District-favorite Ben's Chili Bowl can not be beaten. You may even see a celebrity or politician there. 

Whatever dollar amount you associate with value, Washington, D.C. is sure to have a restaurant or eatery that will make you feel like your meal is money well spent.

 

 


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Stuffed French toast, buttermilk pancakes and poached egg hashes are just a small sample of some of the breakfast menu items at Founding Farmers. With a focus on quality and natural ingredients, the restaurant prepares dishes with sustainably farmed, grown and harvested American foods. Vegan and vegetarian dishes are available. For those who come to lunch or dinner, a bevy of classic cocktails are available plus a plentiful wine selection. Make sure to try one of their made from scratch sodas including the delicious New York egg cream featuring chocolate syrup, milk and soda. If you still have room, the dessert menu offers blue ribbon apple pie, red velvet cake and house churned fresh ice cream. METRO: Farragut West

Recommended for Best Value because: If you need to grab and go or want to sit down for a meal, this chain offers a good price for locally sourced dishes.

Gina's expert tip: Be sure to check out the artwork as the restaurant collaborates with local artisans.

Read more about Founding Farmers →


Daikaya


Located near the Verizon Center, this casual venue features a ramen shop on one level and an izakaya â€" a Japanese comfort restaurant on the other. You will want to visit both. Stop in the ramen shop for a quick bowl of Sapporo style ramen noodles which are the same offered in Japan. You can also get a cup of sake to wish them down. Head to the izakaya for dinner and drinks. Try some fun bites like grilled oyster or yamaimo or skewers featuring chicken liver, zucchini or beef tongue jalapeno. You may just want to go straight to the rice and noodle dishes including cod roe spaghetti and pancit udon. METRO: Gallery Place/Chinatown.

Recommended for Best Value because: Whether it's a quick bite or a leisurely dinner, this is the spot for ramen.

Gina's expert tip: You must order the ramen at this eatery. You will thank us later!

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Clyde's of Gallery Place


You know how some restaurant kid menus only have a few items? That's not the case here. Kids have more than a dozen entrees to chose from and the list is great for foodies or picky eaters. Care for some salmon teriyaki? How about grass-fed cheeseburger sliders or a cheese pizza? Adults also get a bountiful selection as well including salads, burgers, sandwiches pasta, and seafood. Check out their daily afternoon delights menu which gives patrons of the bar deals on meals. Don't leave without sampling the créme brulee off the dessert menu! METRO: Gallery Place-Chinatown or Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter.

Recommended for Best Value because: Big portions and lots of choices makes this restaurant a value winner.

Gina's expert tip: They offer gluten-free pasta for an additional $2 for those with dietary needs.

Read more about Clyde's of Gallery Place →


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Florida Avenue Grill
Photo courtesy of Florida Avenue Grill


Founder Lacey C. Wilson Sr. saved up tips from shoe shining in order to open a restaurant dedicated to serving home cooking to the masses. Marking its 70th anniversary this year, the eatery continues to delight diners and fill their bellies with delicious food. Breakfast is served all day long and you will want to try the hotcakes, french toast and buttermilk biscuits. You will want to come back for dinner too once you have sampled some of the dishes including bar-b-que pork spare ribs, southern pan-fried chicken and Cajun fried catfish. METRO: U Street

Recommended for Best Value because: They boast that their special recipe hotcakes have been flying off the grill since before you were born.

Gina's expert tip: The restaurant is closed on Mondays and does not accept reservations.

Read more about Florida Avenue Grill →


Ted's Bulletin


This classic American diner with a 1920s/1930s vibe offers patrons multiple comfort food dishes to chose from all day long. Buttermilk chicken fried steak, the walk of shame breakfast burrito, the Ty Cobb salad and Ted's famous grilled cheese and tomato soup are among the favorites. They even make their own pop tarts! You will want to save room for their milkshake offerings including standard favorites (vanilla, chocolate) and more daring choices (PBJ or s'mores anyone?). They also have an adult milkshake menu featuring white Russian and key lime pie. METRO: Eastern Market or U Street.

Recommended for Best Value because: With all-day menus, guests can order a meal that feels like home without having the cleanup and at a good price.

Gina's expert tip: If you are short on time, online ordering is available.

Read more about Ted's Bulletin →


2 Amys Neapolitan Pizzeria


To be considered a Neapolitan pizza, strict requirements must be followed. You must only use soft-grain flour, fresh yeast, water and sea salt to make the dough. Forget extra toppings because only Italian plum tomatoes, mozzarella di bufala, extra virgin olive oil and fresh basil or dried oregano are allowed. Once your pie is complete, it must be cooked in a wood-burning oven. Who knew? Thankfully 2 Amy's dedication to these rules is well worth it when you sample their marinara or Margherita pies. If you crave other ingredients, the shop offers other pizza selections and toppings that are also not to be missed. METRO: Cleveland Park

Recommended for Best Value because: Diners will get a mouthwatering pizza full of flavor that won't break the bank.

Gina's expert tip: Save room for the homemade ice cream and sorbets. Flavors change daily.

Read more about 2 Amys Neapolitan Pizzeria →


Hill Country Barbecue Market
Photo courtesy of Hill Country


Looking for a little taste of Central Texas? No need to buy a plane ticket or gas up the car. Mosey on over to this restaurant right here in the nation's capital in Penn Quarter. Carnivores prepare yourselves. They smoke their barbeque â€" a selection of beef, pork, sausage and bird, "low and slow" over Texas post oak and the meat is only carved after it is ordered. It might be tempting to just order meat but the sides, which come in three sizes, are a must-try including longhorn cheddar mac and cheese and green bean casserole. Looking for some entertainment with your meal? Check out their concert calendar featuring live Americana music. METRO: Judiciary Square

Recommended for Best Value because: High-quality meat cooked low and slow will fill up your belly without hurting your wallet.

Gina's expert tip: The bar menu is available after 3 p.m. and during NFL and college football games so head here to cheer on your favorite team.

Read more about Hill Country Barbecue Market →


Zaytinya


Don't know what to grab for lunch? Why not head to this Jose Andres gem and get the mezze lunch special boasting four courses for $25. Served in small plate style, you'll find delicious dishes throughout the entire Greek, Turkish and Lebanese focused menu. Named for the Turkish word for olive oil, patrons will discover a bevy of spreads, soups, salads, flatbreads and mezze options to devour. Reservations for lunch and dinner are recommended. If it's a nice day, grab a table outside on their patio which seats 70 guests. METRO: Gallery Place/Chinatown

Recommended for Best Value because: Zaytina, from Jose Andres, is a top DC dining spot that serves an affordable, innovative menu.

Gina's expert tip: You can not make a reservation for a patio table. They do take seating requests but it is on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Read more about Zaytinya →




With affordable prices and mouth-watering dishes, this U Street favorite has been serving celebrities, politicians and everyday folks since 1958. Ben's famous all meat chili dog, chili con carne and jumbo beef dog are menu specialties. Healthier, yet still tasty, options include a tuna sandwich, veggie burger and rice bowl. While your trainer might get mad, you won't want to miss side orders of chili-cheese fries and homemade cole saw. Make sure to wash it all down with one of Ben's famous thick creamy 16 oz. milkshakes. METRO: U Street.

Recommended for Best Value because: In business for more than 50 years, folks still line up for this district favorite.

Gina's expert tip: The counter, booth and stools, are all original to the 1958 opening.

Read more about Ben's Chili Bowl →


Ambar
Photo courtesy of Ambar


For those who crave value yet still want delicious food, this Balkan cuisine restaurant is a must-visit. Saturdays and Sundays feature an unlimited brunch for $39. A bottomless Balkan dinner is offered every night for $49 with unlimited plates and drinks. This is a great way to samples multiple dishes. There is a two-hour time limit on brunch so you can't stay all day to enjoy. Dinner menu selections include almond-crusted chicken, drunken mussels and cabbage casuela. You can't go home without trying some of their dessert offerings like forest gnocchi and capri. Reservations are accepted. METRO: Eastern Market

Recommended for Best Value because: Unlimited brunch and bottomless Balkan dinner for a great price? Yes, please!

Gina's expert tip: Everyone at your table must participate in the per person rate.

Read more about Ambar →


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Meet Gina Gallucci White

Gina Gallucci White is an award winning freelance writer with articles appearing in such regional publications as Frederick Magazine, The Daily Record, Montgomery Magazine and The Gazette. She...  More About Gina

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