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Best Food on a Budget in Los Angeles

, 13 Options Found

Tucked away in an industrial area where Sherman Oaks meets Van Nuys, Bill's Burgers is a fantastic long-established gem of the valley. For over 50 years former WWII veteran, Bill Elwell has been flipping burgers in his 10 foot by 20-foot greasy burger joint and cooking on the same cast-iron grill originating from the 1920s. No fancy frills here, burgers are offered along with sandwiches, chili dogs, and sides. Cash only, everything on the menu is under USD5, partially because Elwell's old school cash register can't compute anything over USD5.99! Try the Double Cheese Burger with Bacon and a packet of chips and you won't be disappointed.

With locals and tourists alike singing the praises of this simplistic eatery, the tallies are in, and Guisados is one of the most beloved Mexican restaurants in all of Los Angeles. Following the belief that food should be like mom once made it, Guisados devised a simple and succinct menu focusing on the end-all-be-all of Mexican cuisine; the taco. Starting with the daily made from scratch masa tortillas, perfectly braised meats like chorizo, chicken, steak, pastor, shrimp, fish, and pork are seasoned and simmered and topped with fresh avocado, black beans, red bell peppers, red onions and more to create the best taco you'll ever taste. Their steak picado with bacon and green serrano chile is a local favorite with robust flavors that will have you coming back for more. Best of all aside from the tacos is the price, at USD2.50 a taco, a meal at Guisados is not only delicious, it's budget friendly.

Since 1975, Carney's has satisfied LA's chili fries and burger cravings, delivering a pitch-perfect experience in this genuine, vintage yellow Amtrak train car from the 1920s, done up as a classic diner on the inside. And that is not all! They have a worthy lineup of hot dogs and polish sausages, much touted as some of the best in town, all at the lowest imaginable prices, especially given the joint's docking grounds - the east tip of the Sunset Strip. A private lot behind the car takes away the headache of parking at the Strip while the amiable, smiley service assures you that you have come to the right place. And if you already think the place is cheap and swell, try it during happy hour!

Since 1918, this place has been serving some of the best French dip sandwiches in the world. That seems logical because it was Philippe, The Original who claims to have invented the juicy concoction over 100 years ago. Besides the tender and succulent meat, the prices haven't changed much since either; a roast beef, pork, turkey, ham or leg of lamb sandwich will satiate your palate and leave your pocket without a dent! Want a cup of coffee? Head here for a steaming cup that will leave you feeling energized for the day.

Gloria's Cafe is a charming and affordable eatery serving a mix of Mexican and Salvadorian fare. It welcomes one with a pleasantly lit, colorful interior, supremely friendly service and – according to many – some of the best pupusas in town. Other "must try" are the carne adobada and plantains. The menu features a lot of seafood options, including the impressive Seven Seas Soup with fish, crab, shrimp, calamari, octopus, and scallops.

Popular LA food truck Kogi, has gained much famed since it rolled out its very first truck. There are five Kogi trucks that drive around the city of LA. This fusion food truck expertly blends Korean and Mexican flavors. Famous for their tacos and the popular kimchi quesadilla, the chefs keep serving delicious food that makes you want to come back. Co-owned by Mark Manguera and Caroline Shin, this food truck is one of LA's favorites.

A trusty place of many years for lunch, dinner and late-night cheap eats; Torung has long won a local seal of approval. Despite its low prices, Torung is not a greasy-spoon fast food joint serving heaps of lackluster goop. The food here is tasty, zesty and authentic, and dished out in generous portions. Pad sew ewe, crab fried rice, chicken satay and papaya salad are some of the favorites. The atmosphere and the service are friendly and welcoming. Cash only.

Whereas in case of most restaurants the old adage “you get what you pay for” holds true, the humble Al Wazir Chicken is a lucky exception, able to pleasantly surprise its patrons. The joint is a classic hole-in-the-wall with a couple of canteen tables – not the kind of spot one comes to for the ambiance. But the tasty dishes and low prices have drawn many returning customers here for years. The fare is traditional Middle-eastern/Lebanese, replete with supple and flavorful chicken dishes and zesty sides and sauces. Falafels are likewise excellent, and the salads are crisp and fresh. For those reluctant to take their meal in the plain environment, takeout and delivery are easy and convenient options. Al Wazir is open late and is known for speedy deliveries.

With white subway tiles and a large brick oven, this pizzeria in Hollywood is touted as having some of the best Neapolitan pizza in the city. Honoring the old world tradition, 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria uses the best ingredients available with local mozzarella and flour imported from Italy. It's thin crust is simple and delicious made with just four ingredients, flour, salt, water, and wild yeast. Ready in under two minutes, your pizza will be ready by the time you leave the counter! Try the classic margarita, or opt for one of the specialized creations like the Napolenta with anchovies, shrimp, garlic, and capers.

In-N-Out Burger is a legendary and beloved fast food chain that started in Southern California. Their West Los Angeles location brings out the same freshness and quality for which this chain is so popular. This casual haunt serves French fries, shakes and soft drinks besides the regular varieties of burgers. They have a limited menu but all worth tasting, and it gets a little bit bigger if you know the secret menu items. Clean environment and friendly service completes the ambiance, all in all, making it a delightful experience.

This legendary LA taco stand established in 1959 boasts of long lines of locals seeking fresh shredded beef and atomic-orange cheddar concoctions of deliciousness at all hours of the day, but don't be intimidated. Waiting in line is part of the experience and seating is available both inside and out. The blended salsa carries a refreshing kick and chips and guacamole go perfectly with your main dish. Tacos are the star but the other traditional dishes such as the beef or chicken tamales in mole sauce or the vegetarian tostada are excellent.

Zankou Chicken provides cheap delicious food fast. This is the perfect restaurant for a drop-by meal, an outing with a few friends on a bar-hopping night, or a convenient takeout option. The portions are more than generous – ranging all the way to the epic whole chickens, robust and flavorful – accompanied by all the traditional Middle-eastern sides, including falafel, pickled radishes, hummus, and tahini. The place is very affordable, which is a trait locals enjoy and exploit. "Speed, quality and value" has always been Zankou’s motto.

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