Best cheap eats in Boston

Hi all! So, this was meant to be yesterday’s post but life got in the way! All I can tell you about this topic is that Boston has an insane crazy variety of places to eat but most of them are not that cheap. I used to think a €15 meal in Lisbon was already a bit out of my budget, let alone starting to spend $25-30 in a dinner here in Boston! Plus tip for the waiters! However, ironically, I go out for dinner much more often here than in Lisbon.

Anyway, in order to make sure you save if you really don’t have time to cook, my first advice is:


MIT has plenty of events with free food, so take advantage of them! Also there are plenty of conferences that have leftovers that are announced in the free food mailing list. Anyway, outside MIT, there are plenty of events with free food and sometimes free drinks, make sure to check them out at Meetup or Eventbrite to find some professional event of your liking. Anyway this super relevant money saving tip is a bit out of the scope. Let’s start with my favorite cheap eats per category!

American food – The Yard House

The Yard House is a quite dark bar and restaurant but with a very interesting menu. Their chicken dishes are excellent, Mac and Cheese seems to be very good as well, and they have a vegetarian chicken-like option called Gardein and cooked in very delicious ways. However, if you want to save a lot, go to the Happy Hours. Once we went for dinner on a Tuesday after 10pm and we ordered some chicken wings, pizza, calamari and some other appetizers and ate a lot for as little as $10 each.

Burgers – Tasty Burger

When it comes to burgers, I have to say Tasty Burger is the most cost effective option.  I particularly like their bacon burger and the menu with fries costs about $8-9. Also, the Harvard location is open until 4am on weekends, so it is the perfect choice to eat after going out.

Pizza – Ernesto’s pizza

How’s a trip to the North End complete without any Italian food? And what about Boston style pizza from Ernesto’s? The slices are huge and they cost around $5-6. I love the pepperoni and meat balls one. Yummy!

Sushi – Thelonious Monkfish

Disclaimer: I generally hate sushi. Period. However, I can stand vegetarian rolls. And the ones at Thelonious Monkfish in Central Square, Cambridge, were awesome! Am I starting to change? When it’s combined with live jazz, even better! Tip: go there for the night menu (after 10 pm). You don’t have as much variety, but a set of 6 mushroom maki rolls is $6. Pretty nice, no?

Ramen – Santouka

This spot in Harvard Square really has some yummy ramen with the tenderest meat and softest noodles. This is super filling and it costs about $12. Everyone I took there became an instant fan! Also, the waiters always yell “Thank you” in Japanese to everyone who leaves, which is quite funny too.

Chinese – Dumpling House

While the Dumpling House has a good variety of dumplings, both boiled or fried, what I liked the best were the main courses! I ate fried noodles for the first time ever and while I thought the appearance was weird at first, they were so yummy! The full course meal was $15.

Mexican – Border Café

This must be my current favorite place to eat out! The two times I went there I was super satisfied and took food home for other meals. And each dish costs like $10-12 with huge servings. This restaurant and bar is a mix of mexican and cajun food style and it has the best fries in town hands down. The bar decoration is not that bad either, totally my style!

Mediterranean – Saloniki Greek

Another favorite! As soon as I discovered their $8 plates and pitas I was fascinated. The ingredients are so fresh and the pita bread super yummy! At brunch time in the weekends they also have a very good greek yogurt, homemade granola and berries bowl that costs $6.

Portuguese – Casa do Benfica

This hidden place in Elm St, Cambridge made me get a taste from home, with excellent snacks, like codfish cakes, pork steaks and baked chorizo. Each of these servings was between $4-9.


Well, I know other types of food, like Indian, Thai, or South American, are not represented since I didn’t go out for these foods. I already went to Korean some times but I am still not entirely convinced by any bibimbap around, so I’ll hold my judgement until I am. This post will probably be updated in the future once I try new cheap meals and styles of food!

What are your favorite spots to eat cheap in Boston area? Let me know! I want to try new things as well. In the meantime, don’t forget to follow my journey around my PhD in the US in FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest to keep up to date!


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