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10 Tasty Spots to Eat on the Cheap in Dallas



Dallas’ food scene is flourishing with upscale eateries, where pricey steaks and $100 tasting menus are not uncommon. But fortunately, for every high-end restaurant there are dozens of budget alternatives, so you don't need to empty your wallet in order to eat a fabulous feast. And we’re not talking about spots that offer cheap snacks for happy hour or early-bird dining deals, these are places that offer terrific meals for $20 or less.

Fancy a juicy slab of prime rib with roasted veggies? How about pan-seared salmon? Then head over to Edith’s French Bistro, a newly opened bakery/café that cranks out delicious all-day breakfasts along with a slew of Gallic classics and desserts. If you have more of a hankering for schnitzel, sausages and sauerkraut, then Kuby’s Sausage House is always a good bet.

Or maybe you’re more in the mood for Korean food? For that, you’ve got options. There’s bibimbap, kalbi, Korean fried chicken and a host of other delicacies on tap at Bbbop. Or when you’re ready to eat yourself into a carnivorous coma, hit Gen Korean BBQ. Here you can indulge in all-you-can-eat meat, seafood and side dishes for around $20. Plus, it's even cheaper if you go for lunch.

And for those who think good sushi can’t be had on a budget, behold Kula, a perpetually buzzing kaiten-sushi joint that delivers plates of sushi and other Japanese snacks to diners via a conveyor-belt. The best part? Almost everything on the menu is priced at $2.25 apiece.

Hungry for more? Then this list should come in handy next time you’re on the hunt for Dallas’ best bargain bites.


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Truck Yard
Photo courtesy of Truck Yard


For nights when being surrounded by four walls don't quite cut it, this 15,000-square-foot urban playground of food trucks, flatbeds and mismatched lawn furniture might be exactly what's on order. The place is so popular that it even landed a spot on the Travel Channel's "101 More Amazing Places to Chowdown." And chow-down you can: In addition to a variety of food trucks dishing out everything from Korean BBQ tacos to sliders, pasta and pizza, there's also a permanent eatery slinging out cheesesteaks made every which way. Better still, most everything (including alcoholic beverages) is priced under $12. Speaking of booze, the Yard boasts several bars, including one perched up in a tree and another inside of an old Airstream trailer. Oh yeah, they also host weekly concert performances on a stage made from a flatbed truck.




When chef-restaurateur Nick Badovinus opened his pocket-sized burger joint in the Design District back in 2012, it became such a hit with locals that it was almost impossible to get in during the short hours it was open. Now in its new Trinity Groves location, Off-Site Kitchen not only keeps later hours, it's also sporting grander digs, complete with communal tables, patio dining-- and games--like shuffleboard, ping-pong and bumper-pool. Most importantly, the quality remains high while the prices remain low. We're talking a freshly ground, quarter-pounder Angus chuck patty with onions, lettuce, tomato, pickles and mayo on a bakery fresh roll for $4.65. And that's only the start, for a few dollars more, you can order 'em up with everything from roasted jalapenos and smoked bacon relish to caramelized onions and muenster cheese. Burgers aren't the only draw, there's tacos, fried chicken, sloppy cheese fries and sandwiches too. And what's better than a craft beer to wash down your burger? A frozen bourbon cherry cola, that's what.


First Chinese BBQ
Photo courtesy of First Chinese BBQ


Craving Chinese barbecue? Got a penchant for Peking duck? Then this no-frills Richardson stalwart will be your new happy place. In fact, First Chinese is so renowned for its roast meats – which can be seen hanging by the front window – that it's a go-to spot for some of the city's high-profile chefs on their nights off. Along with roast duck, pork and chicken, diners will find a huge menu crammed with everything from rice and noodle dishes to seafood, hot pots, Szechuan specialties and more. Don't ignore the more adventurous options: think duck feet in black bean sauce and combo plates filled with marinated pig intestines, ears and tongues. The best part is that most meals are priced under $10, plus it's BYOB.


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Velvet Taco
Photo courtesy of Velvet Taco


Three words: Chicken tikka tacos. That's just one of the flavor mash-ups worth seeking out at Velvet Taco, a buzzy, late-night taco joint perched on the corner of Henderson Avenue and Central Expressway. Other killer taco twists run the gamut from shrimp and grits to falafel with tahini crema, Cuban pig, Akaushi bacon burger and even ahi poke. Everything is made from-scratch and tacos are priced from $3.75 to $6.75 each. You'll probably want some elote corn or red curry coconut queso with that too. Don't overlook the red velvet cake either. Keep an eye out for weekly taco specials, like karaage chicken or lobster avocado. Speaking of specials: on Mondays they offer a backdoor takeaway rotisserie dinner (easily enough to feed 3-4) for only $10.


Bbbop Seoul Kitchen
Photo courtesy of Bbbop Seoul Kitchen


This fast-casual eatery has such a cult following that the owners opened up several more locations around town. The attraction? One word: Bibimbap. Really good bibimbap. Here, diners can tuck into eight different set-ups of the Korean staple, ranging from the traditional version with short ribs— to spicy chicken & dumplings and coconut curry with tofu. And if you don't like the configured choices, there's plenty of ways for you to create your own. And if you don't want your dinner in a bowl, they've also got everything from loaded kimchi fries and samosa egg rolls to Korean fried chicken, kalbi and glazed pork belly, most of which can be had for $15 or less.


Ten Ramen
Photo courtesy of Ten Ramen Facebook


Miniscule in size, massive in quality, this Tokyo-inspired ramen shack has taken Dallas by storm with its stellar bowls of silky smooth, slurp-able soup noodles. Located in the Sylvan Thirty complex, Ten Ramen (Ten, meaning heaven in Japanese) is the brainchild of James Beard nominated chef Teiichi Sakurai, who also owns the popular Tei-An restaurant in the Dallas Arts District. The menu, which is displayed on a large blackboard, offers three ramen choices, plus weekly specials, soups and a few rice bowls thrown into the mix. Expect to find shoyu, tonkotsu and mazemen (dry ramen with pork jowl) as well as innovative options such as venison chili ramen and even gumbo ramen. Speaking of Ten, you can easily be well nourished for around $10, that is if you don't get carried away with the add-ons. Either way, it's a terrific option for a cheap, yet quality meal. The only downside is that the Oak Cliff location is standing room only. For more space to spread out, your best bet is to head to the new locale in The Colony.


Kuby's Sausage House
Photo courtesy of Kuby's Sausage House


This family-owned German market and restaurant has been anchoring the corner spot in Snider Plaza since 1961. And, not only does the place boast one of the best selections of meats, cold cuts and European food imports in town, it's also the best place to find authentic Teutonic specialties like brats, wursts and schnitzels. Kuby's house-made sausages even impressed Travel Channel star Adam Richman enough to feature the restaurant's wurst teller platter (sausages, sauerkraut, red cabbage and hot potato salad) on the show Man V. Food Nation. Kuby's serves up plenty of other Bavarian goodies as well, including potato pancakes (with applesauce and sour cream), rouladen (thin beef rolled with bacon, onions and pickles) and frikadellens (a German-style hamburger). While breakfasts and lunches are a big draw, the place really pulls out the stops at dinnertime (weekends only) by dimming the lights and bringing on beer and live traditional music. Oh, and did we mention that everything on the menu is priced under $10?


Kula Revolving Sushi Bar
Photo courtesy of Kula Revolving Sushi Bar


The best sushi in Dallas? Perhaps not. But if you're looking no-frill hand rolls and nigiri that won't bust your budget, then Kula is the spot. Hailing from Japan, this buzzy kaiten joint (aka conveyor belt sushi) churns out all manner of sushi (think: albacore, sea urchin, lobster rolls and spider rolls) for a flat price of $2.25 a plate. Not a sushi fan? No problem, you can also order up everything from soft-shell crab tempura to miso cod, dumplings and ramen, all of which still comes in under $8 a dish. To drink, the restaurant serves sake, Japanese beer, green tea, and sodas. If you have a sweet tooth, be sure not to let the Japanese-style soy milk donuts pass you by.


Gen Korean BBQ
Photo courtesy of Gen Korean BBQ


Talk about getting a bang-for-your-buck. You'll be hard pressed to score a better meal deal than the one on offer at Gen Korean BBQ, a cavernous, neon-lit AYCE (all-you-can-eat) yakiniku chain restaurant based out of California. But don't be surprised if you find a long wait for a table, the place is always jam-packed — and for good reason. For one set price (lunch $15.99 / dinner $20.99), diners can plow through a lavish menu that includes everything from seven kinds of banchan (side dishes) to a variety of meats, seafood and vegetables—all of which are to be cooked over table-top grills. It's all top-notch, so your best bet is to try a little of everything. The only drawback is that you have a two-hour time limit to scarf it down.


Edith's French Bistro
Photo courtesy of Edith's French Bistro


You normally wouldn't think of French food when it comes to cheap eats, but that's exactly what you'll find at this cozy bakery and bistro tucked away in Mockingbird Station. Practically everything on the menu here is priced under $15, with the exception of prime rib, which you can score with roasted veggies and potatoes for a mere few dollars more. Speaking of prime rib, they also serve it in a crepe with caramelized onions, roasted mushrooms and raclette cheese. Other menu must-haves include the likes of short rib poutine, duck confit tartine, pan seared salmon and signature sandwiches served on house-baked bread. And that doesn't even cover the breakfast items on offer all day (think ricotta pancakes with blueberry sausage and berry compote, short ribs hash, omelets, crepes). And, don't forget the excellent desserts, coffees, $3 mimosas and reasonably priced wine.


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Meet Ilene Jacobs

As a perpetual wanderer, foodie freak and wannabe chef, Ilene is always on the lookout for the best places to see, eat, drink and sleep. When she's not writing about the latest happenings in...  More About Ilene

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