Eat Cheap in Washington, DC

Best Casual and Affordable Restaurants in the Nation's Capital

Women friends laughing and dining at restaurant table
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Finding tasty cuisine at casual restaurants in Washington, DC, at affordable prices isn't always easy, but inexpensive restaurants do exist here. Use this TripSavvy guide to find some of the most delectable, inexpensive places to eat when in the nation's capital.

  • 01 of 09

    Located at 5532 Connecticut Ave. NW, in Friendship Heights, American City Diner offers casual American food 24 hours a day. With the motto, "Not just a restaurant but a way of life," this nostalgic diner serves up weekly blue plate specials, all-day breakfasts, shakes and malts, burgers and sandwiches, dinner entrees, garden fresh salads, and a children's menu.

  • 02 of 09

    Baja Grille

    Baja Grille, located at 1133 20th St. NW, offers fresh ethnic food at inexpensive prices. The portions are big here, and nothing is fried! Ingredients are fresh daily, with no fillers or preservatives. Burgers, soups, salads, kebabs, brochettes, grilled or baked vegetables, steaks, seafood: Baja Grille offers casual dining and takeout, and the restaurant is especially accommodating to vegetarians.

  • 03 of 09

    Ben's Chili Bowl at 1213 U St. NW is famous for its spicy half-smoke and is a Washington landmark that dates back to 1958. The specialty is chili dogs and french fries, but check out the healthier options like veggie burgers and vegetarian chili. For a good price, order the combo and get a half-smoke, dog, or burger, plus fries and a drink. Ben's also offers affordable rice bowls, turkey burgers, veggie dogs, and more. Vegetarians won't go hungry here. Order online if that suits you!

  • 04 of 09

    Noted as one of DC's best pubs and restaurants, Bullfeathers at 410 First St. SE offers casual dining on Capitol Hill, with generous portions of tasty burgers, salads, sandwiches, milkshakes, and pizza. It's happy hour nightly at Bullfeathers on Capitol Hill, serving over 30 types of beer and exceptional wine. The outdoor sidewalk cafe opens during the warmer months of the year.

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    This family-friendly restaurant at 3300 Wisconsin Ave. NW, located near the National Cathedral, offers excellent Mexican food at reasonably cheap prices. Oven and sauteed dishes such as saltado de pollo, excellent grilled food such as tacos al carbon or vegetable fajitas, tacos, flautas, enchiladas—the ultimate experience in Mexican food are on Cactus Cantina's menu. The outdoor patio is a local favorite place to eat during the warmer months of the year. 

  • 06 of 09

    Hank's Oyster Bar

    Located at 1624 Q St. NW, Hank's Oyster Bar delivers tasty, fresh seafood at reasonable prices. Specials change daily, but some favorite menu items include oysters on the half shell, seafood ceviche with lime and jalapeno, fresh New England clam chowder, griddled crab cakes, lobster rolls, poboys, beef short ribs, and grilled lamb chops. Hank's also offers happy hour and a late-night menu.

  • 07 of 09

    Lauriol Plaza at 1835 18th St. NW offers delicious Tex-Mex cooking with al fresco dining at its sidewalk tables, in its two-tiered dining room, or on its rooftop deck. Billing itself as relaxed yet formal, fancy, and affordable, Lauriol Plaza dishes up daily specials like grilled filet mignon, grilled marinated steak with garlic, fajitas, and some favorites including seafood enchiladas, chile relleno platters, and three enchiladas platters. The daily drink specials, such as sangria on Tuesdays, mojitos on Wednesday, and wine every Thursday, are not to be missed.

  • 08 of 09

    This casual grill, located at 2221 I St. NW, features freshly cut fire-roasted meats and all-natural chicken and highlights the robust flavors of the Mediterranean region with salads, sandwiches, and traditional side dishes of couscous, organic falafel, and hummus. Roti also offers a variety of gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options to accommodate those with specific dietary needs.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    At 1612 20th St. NW, Zorba's Cafe serves up Greek food and is best known for specialties like taramosalata, tzatziki, hummus, tabouli salad, excellent Greek pizza, souvlaki, falafel, veggie pita wraps, traditional Greek soups, and moussaka. The list of Zorba's outstanding menu items is endless, and the baklava is out of this world.