Feature

10 Best Things to Eat Under $10 in Atlanta

By Christopher Hassiotis  |  August 3, 2015
Credit: Christopher Hassiotis

With the restaurant revival that's happened in Atlanta over the past 15 years, high quality has come at a high price. In a world of gourmet burgers and handcrafted tacos, it's tougher and tougher to find a meal that qualifies as a bargain without relying on cut-rate ingredients. These 10 spots keep hope alive, wish dishes big enough for a meal that still come in at under a sawbuck.

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  • Credit: Christopher Hassiotis

    Soup/Entree Combo at Lee's Tofu House

    The global eats found on Buford Highway offer a wonderland of low prices and big flavors. One of the best deals right now is at Korean newcomer Lee's Tofu House, where the combo comes with a selection of bubbling-hot soup and rich, savory meat. Choose from kimchi, hot tofu or hangover soup, among others, and go for a bulgogi or pork dish. Dive into the dazzling array of banchan that arrive in an endless stream at the table.

    Price: $8.99

    5301 Buford Hwy. NE; 770-797-5153

  • Taco Combo at Tacos La Villa

    This Cobb Parkway taqueria serves up three tacos (some of the city's best), refried beans, rice and a drink, all for fast-food prices and at much, much higher quality. Pick from multiple meats — savory al pastor, spicy chorizo, rich lengua — which arrive unadorned atop corn tortillas. Garnish on your own from the salsa bar offering onions, cilantro, radishes, a wide array of salsas and other spicy accoutrements. 

    Price: $5.99

    2415 Cobb Pkwy. SE, Smyrna; 770-951-0415

  • Pho/Banh Mi Combo at Lee's Bakery

    This venerable Buford Highway eatery's held down the Vietnamese scene for years, and set the standard by which most spots have been measured. The combo meal offers a reasonably sized bowl of pho and half of a banh mi sandwich. Looking to save even more money? Lee's discounts banh mi that are taken to go, and offers a buy-five-get-one-free deal as well.

    Price: $8

    Multiple locations

  • Seafood Gumbo at The Optimist

    There's not much at this Westside spot that comes in under $10, unless you're talking snacks or sides. One filling exception, however, is the seafood gumbo. It's in the appetizer section of the menu, but a bowl's more than enough for a lunch or light dinner. A dark roux provides the base for the thick, spicy stew, loaded with shrimp, crab claws, andouille sausage and served with a crusty baguette hunk slathered in garlicky butter.

    Price: $8

    914 Howell Mill Rd.; 404-477-6260

  • Credit: Christopher Hassiotis

    Samosa Chaat at Masti

    Though it's listed on the appetizers portion of this vibrant Druid Hills Indian restaurant, the samosa chaat is big enough for a meal in and of itself. Three savory samosas packed with potatoes, peas, onions and herbs sit atop a bowl of chana masala — spiced chickpea stew. Get a little rice to go along with it and you'll have a full — and happy — belly.

    Price: $7.99

    2945 N. Druid Hills Rd.; 470-236-2784

  • Sabich Pita at Yalla

    Chef Todd Ginsberg's Middle Eastern food stall in Krog Street Market turns out many hearty plates at less than $10. The veg-friendly sabich, an Israeli fried eggplant and hard-boiled egg sandwich, comes generously stuffed with hummus, tahini, herbs and spicy mango amba sauce. It also comes in a bowl ($11) or rolled in a giant laffa flatbread ($12)

    Price: $7

    99 Krog St.; 404-506-9999

  • Credit: Christopher Hassiotis

    The Special at Eats

    This Ponce institution is holding strong against the forces of rapid neighborhood change going on around it, offering soul food, jerk chicken and pasta at bargain prices. The Special, available every day, matches a choice of meat (jerk chicken, lemon pepper chicken, meatloaf, etc.) with rice and black beans rather than any of the daily vegetables, and is served with cornbread.

    Price: $6.75

    600 Ponce De Leon Ave. NE; 404-888-9149

  • Vegetarian Paella at La Fonda Latina

    The local Spanish-Cuban-and-more chain La Fonda turns out low-priced, tasty meals at its numerous ATL locations. The paella won't necessarily be the most authentic, but it's a flavorful, filling dish. The vegetarian version skips the seafood of the regular paella (pictured) and comes in at under $10, and picks up some Indian flavors thanks to a dash or three of curry powder. In place of the traditional seafood mixed into the saffron-infused rice you'll find eggplant, olives, artichokes, peas, mushrooms and more.

    Price: $9.50

    Multiple locations

  • Sandwiches at Victory Sandwich Bar

    You'll need two sandwiches at either of Victory's locations to make a meal, but at $4 that still keeps you below the $10 mark. The Beast on Yeast combines pot roast and horseradish, while the Beeter is a great vegetarian sandwich, packed with smoked beets, kimchi and spicy Thai mayo. And order the Victory at Sea if you're with someone who claims not to like anchovies — the mild white variety are refreshingly briny but not off-puttingly salty.

    Price: $4

    Multiple locations

  • The Village at Village Burger

    In a world of $15 burgers made from prime meats, it's nice to find a burger joint that turns out delicious patties at nostalgia-inducing prices. This modest Dunwoody spot (there's a location up in Johns Creek too) delivers the goods with its signature burger — two never-frozen beef patties loaded up with the traditional toppings. Things like bacon, chili and coleslaw will run you a little extra, as will fries, but you'll still stay well under the $10 limit.

    Price: $5.39

    1426 Dunwoody Village Pkwy., Dunwoody; 770-522-1600