Best Cheap Food in Philadelphia

September 3, 2015
·
by Zagat Staff

Zagat’s top-rated restaurants under $25.

Dalessandro's Steaks
Roxborough · $
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.2 · Service 4.0

A second ownership change has restored "much of the glory of old" to this "hectic" cheesesteak mecca in Roxborough, where fans savor "gristle-free, perfectly seasoned and dressed" sandwiches and quaff beers at an "old-time diner" counter where it's "standing room only but for good reason" ; "friendly" servers keep the lines moving, and outdoor seating is "icing on the cake.
John's Roast Pork
South Philadelphia · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 2.9 · Service 4.0

Fans “forget upscale” and head to this cash-only South Philly "lunch counter" for its “amazing” "triumvirate of hot sandwiches: cheesesteak, roast pork and roast beef" made the “way it should be" ; the "extra-napkin experience" is enjoyed at "picnic tables" throughout the seasons.
Honest Tom's Taco Shop
Spruce Hill · $
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.5 · Service 4.1

“Awesome” tacos and “amazing” burritos made with “fresh" ingredients are served at this humble storefront in Spruce Hill for breakfast, lunch and dinner; many prefer takeout, as it has only a “few tables" and it’s “always busy.”
Capogiro Gelato Artisans
Washington Square West · $
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.5 · Service 4.0

You will never look at ice cream the same again " say fans of these " humble " gelaterias offering " mind-boggling choices " of " luxurious ", " heaven-on-earth " treats; some find it " pricey " for a " tide-me-over " or dessert, but when the " super-kind ", " hipster " staff “ lets you sample a bunch of flavors ”, for many it's an experience best described " in a word: yum.
Dinic's
Chinatown
Food 4.8 · Decor 3.2 · Service 4.3

The "messy" , "juicy" roast pork sandwiches at this "homestyle" Italian stand at Reading Terminal Market are the "perfect Philly phix" ; some caution “be prepared to wait” , though "fast" , "friendly" folks keep things moving – in sum, "you can't go wrong" here.
Capogiro
Italian · East Passyunk Crossing · $
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.5 · Service 4.0

"You will never look at ice cream the same again" say fans of these "humble" gelaterias offering "mind-boggling choices" of "luxurious" , "heaven-on-earth" treats; some find it "pricey" for a "tide-me-over" or dessert, but when the "super-kind" , "hipster" staff “lets you sample a bunch of flavors” , for many it's an experience best described "in a word: yum." P.S. the East Passyunk Crossing location closes for the winter season.
Paesano's
Northern Liberties · $
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.2 · Service 4.3

For "down-and-dirty sandwich-making at its finger-licking best" , you'd be hard-pressed to top these "throwback" Italian hoagie shops from chef Peter McAndrews (Modo Mio, Monsu); no, "you don't come here" for the "hole-in-the-wall" decor – just for the "creative takes on the classics" (yes, that is "lasagna in your sub" ) that "shouldn't be missed.
Paesano's
Bella Vista · $
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.2 · Service 4.3

For "down-and-dirty sandwich-making at its finger-licking best" , you'd be hard-pressed to top these "throwback" Italian hoagie shops; no, "you don't come here" for the "hole-in-the-wall" decor – just for the "creative takes on the classics" (yes, that is "lasagna in your sub" ) that "shouldn't be missed."
Vietnam Restaurant
Vietnamese · Chinatown · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.1

Philly residents "can't get enough" of this Chinatown “jewel” , one of the city's longest-running Southeast Asian eateries, which offers a “vast” menu of “exotic” , "delicious" flavors for a "good value" ; the "tasteful" interior can feel “a little cramped” because it's "always busy" , but “nifty specialty drinks” and "speedy service" help ensure a "pleasant experience.
Tony Luke's
South Philadelphia · $
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.2 · Service 3.7

In the "'who's better' cheesesteak conversation" , "people will argue no matter who you ask" , but this “quintessential” sandwich chain lets its "outrageously long" lines do the talking – fans brave the "slow" "waiting" for “a little bit of heaven on a roll” in the form of "quality rib-eye" hoagies and "awesome" Italian roast-pork sammies; as far as ambiance, the "lack of charm is part of the charm" , and anyway, it's a "good value for the money.
Tacconelli's Pizza
Pizza · Port Richmond · $
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.0 · Service 3.9

Greatness " in the form of " traditional " " crispy, crusty " pizza emerges from the " wood-fired " brick oven of this " delightfully tacky " parlor run by a " friendly " crew " out of the way " in Port Richmond; it's BYO, cash only, serves on plastic forks and paper plates and " you have to call ahead to order your dough " – and " it is worth all of the above.
Dim Sum Garden
Chinese · Chinatown · $
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.5 · Service 3.9

The "divine" soup dumplings steal the show at this cash-only Chinese BYO in Chinatown; “reasonable” prices and “courteous” service are further reasons it’s often “crowded.”
Nick's Old Original Roast Beef
West Passyunk · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.4 · Service 4.0

Some of the "best, dripping-wet roast beef this side of the Mississippi" is carved up at these "no-frills" , family-run institutions, where the "to-die-for sammies" go down best with gravy fries and "pitchers of beer" ; the "corner bar" setups are beyond "plain" and service is "with a sense of humor" "it's nice to see traditions being kept."
Campo's
Italian · Old City · $
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.5 · Service 4.1

Time-crunched tourists " who can't make it to Ninth and Passyunk head to this Old City deli for a " reliably " " fun family meal " of " more than just the traditional cheesesteaks and accompaniments "; critics complain about " uncomfortable " storefront digs and a cash-only policy, but others deem it an “ old reliable.”