DC cheap eats: How to binge on a budget

Michaela Bauman and Zara Hall

Though eating in DC can be expensive, it doesn’t have to be. We went looking for DC’s best food under $10, and many tacos and churros later, we have compiled our top five:


  1. Colada Shop (1405 T St NW, Washington, DC 20009)

Coffee, sandwiches, pastries, dessert—Colada shop has it all. The Cuban cafe, located off of 14th Street, is one of DC’s newest treasures. The empanadas and croquetas are under $3, and the breakfast, including sandwiches and avocado toast, is all under $5. We recommend the spinach empanadas and churros with dipping chocolate. Although many people love Cuban coffee, it was too sweet for our taste. Nevertheless, this cute cafe tops our list for a light bite to eat on the weekend. In warmer weather, Colada has plenty of seating outside and on their rooftop patio.


  1. Amsterdam Falafelshop (2425 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009)

Amsterdam Falafelshop is one of the best bargains in DC. For just $7.75, the falafel sandwich comes with pita bread, freshly fried falafel, and the best part: unlimited toppings. You can even go back and re-top your sandwich. The restaurant is open until 4:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights, so it is perfect if you’re looking for a late-night snack.


  1. The Pretzel Bakery (340 15th Street SE, Washington, DC 20003)

When you think pretzels, malls, and sports games normally come to mind, not the Philadelphia style hand-rolled pretzels from The Pretzel Bakery. The small window shop bakes pretzels multiple times every day and tops them three different ways: the original salted, everything, and sweet, which is glazed with cinnamon. The soft and pillowy pretzels are an amazing $2 breakfast; our personal favorite is the pretzel bomb, which is a pretzel roll filled with Nutella and topped with glaze. The bakery also has bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches for $3.50, and pretzel dogs for $5.50.


  1. Taco Bamba (777 I St NW, Washington, DC 20001)

You can never go wrong with tacos, and Chinatown’s Taco Bamba is here to satisfy everyone’s cravings. Their traditional tacos are $3 each and their signature tacos are $4, and both are stuffed with perfectly grilled meat. Two tacos here makes a great $6 meal. The restaurant’s loud music and strong flavors make the experience even more memorable. We recommend the grilled beef taco and the “Taco Bamba,” which is steak topped with grilled guacamole, onions, cilantro, and chicharron.


  1. Indigo (243 K St NE, Washington, DC 20002)

This hidden gem in NOMA is unlike any other restaurant in DC. Loud Bollywood music fills the air, handwritten sayings cover the walls, and the menu is written on a chalkboard. Indigo, a counter-serve Indian restaurant, serves up curry and chicken tikka, as well as chickpeas and roti daily. The best bargain is the $13 platter, which has a serving of the dish of your choice, as well as rice and chickpeas. •