12 Best Places to Eat in DC on a Budget

It’s difficult to be a tourist and find the best places to eat in DC on a budget overnight. Obviously, the United States of America is one of the most visited places by tourists all over the world. 

Not only does it come with a broad horizon of activities, sightseeing options, and culture but also a great variety of cuisines. 

Often as tourists, the search for budget options becomes a tedious task. Hence, here is a compilation of the Washingtonian cheap eats

It is important to understand here that not everyone appreciates the same array of delicacies.

Our curated list of the best places to eat in DC on a budget:

Chain restaurants available at multiple locations... 

First, let’s address the cheap eats in DC that can be found at multiple locations, commonly known as chain restaurants. 

Joints located at multiple locations are easily accessible and eliminate the need to research the prices and menu every time you feel a rush of hunger. 

These are suitable for students or bargain shoppers alike traveling on a budget. 

Amsterdam Falafelshop

This is a home-grown chain. Now, the specialty is that these cheap eats are suitable for the cheese-lovers looking for meatless options. 

An overdose of cheese along with the varying sauce options makes this the ideal place to satisfy the booming hunger after a day of sightseeing. 

Duke’s Grocery

Here is the treat for the pub-goers and the burger-lovers! 

This excellent joint provides a selection of delicious dishes along with a great serving of craft-beers. 

If you are looking to quench your thirst while keeping the tummy monster from waking up, this is the spot to hit up. 

Wiseguy Pizza

Are you really visiting the States if you don't relish in the New York style Pizzas? 

Well, one of the fun places to eat in DC is this fabulous pizza joint. 

The cheese melts in your mouth, the crust feels like marshmallows on your tongue, and the sauce leaves a lingering after-taste making you want more and more! 

Julia’s Empanadas


If you favor baked and overcooked, then this is the stop for you. 

Each of the items available is curated with fresh ingredients, mildly spiced, and the aroma makes the experience even better. 

Therefore, if you are looking to eat-on-the-go, this is the stop you have to make.  

The gems of Washington DC...

When in DC, there are certain spots that absolutely cannot be missed. 

These are the gems of DC that are pocket-friendly, and have out-of-this-world flavors. 

Ben’s Chili Bowl

This is the food experience you cannot miss if you are in Washington DC. 

Every day of every year locals, tourists, and celebrities flock here to get themselves a bowl of deliciousness. The joint is family-run and has shops set up in convenient locations. 

In fact, they even deliver to other states. This just shows the demand this iconic food spot has across the nation!

Le Pain Quotidien

This is for the lovers of bread. 

The freshness of the bread, the fillings, and the pastries are more than enough to have a relishing meal. 

In fact, this joint is one of those places in DC that is ideal to gorge over a fantastic sandwich with your friends. 

Good Stuff Eatery

There is nothing better than taking a bite of burger that comes from the kitchen of Spike Mendelson. 

He is the DC-based chef and a known name in Top Chef. 

The juiciness of the burgers along with the thickness of the shakes will make you want to come back, and back, and back! 

District Taco

Now, there’s just something about grabbing a taco while making your way through the city. 

For the DC sensation, make sure you drop by this joint. Pick up a taco with the spice-level of your choice. 

Burger joints serving the American classics 

While finding pizzas, tacos, and other dishes around the world make a trip worthwhile, when in America then a classic burger is a must! 

Well, without further ado, here is the list of best places to eat in DC on a budget that will give you the taste of the classic American burger. 

Shake Shack

This is the joint to head for if you’re looking for cheap eats in DC

In fact, this is one of the best American restaurants in DC. 

The burgers remind you why America is the King of fast food with each bite. 

In fact, you must visit the joint to have a taste of their authentic Shake Sauce. 

Burger, Tap & Shake 

BTS is probably one of the most recommended hotspots for burgers. 

Not only do they have customers flooding in every day, but they also have enough packed items leaving the store. 

Hence, what do you do when you’re looking for a local chain of bun-filled happiness? You take a step inside BTS. 

b DC Penn Quarter

The point to note for this joint is the environment. 

Most places offer great food and great service. 

However, this particular joint goes the extra mile and brings together a community. 

Therefore, whether you are a music lover or a beer fanatic, you will find your peeps within this joint. 

On top of that, the burgers that they serve are a local favorite. Make sure you do not miss this one. 

Lucky Buns

Now, this is truly one of the fun places to eat in DC. 


Well, this is one of those places that do everything from scratch by themselves. 

Their meats are locally sourced, and so is the bread. 

The sauces, pickles, and other condiments are made in-house. 

Finally, the burger is prepared to perfection up to the last bite. You surely cannot visit DC and not have a burger from them. 

For the fitness fanatics...

While we talk about the cheap eats in DC, we can't forget about the healthy bunch. 

We want to make sure everybody can find a budget-friendly restaurant in Washington DC that considers their dietary preference. 

So, here are some healthy joints in DC that serve cost-effective, yet delicious foods. 

Chaia Tacos

This is the ideal spot for Mexican cuisine lovers who keep an eye out for calories. 

The fillings used here are made from green vegetables, carrots, and mushrooms. 

On top of that, this cheap eatery in DC comes with a hankering for sustainability. 

True Food Kitchen

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. However, what’s better than finding a food joint that is founded by a medical doctor themselves? 

Here we have Andrew Weil’s joint which makes amazing bowls and burgers. Each of them comes with a calorie count that is suitable for all types of diet. 


If you’re looking to hit your macro goals and hit the right spot on the taste buds, this is the place to be. 

Each of the bowls, salads, burgers, and sides come with quality ingredients and a handy dose of vegetables. 

Flower Child

Here is one for our vegan friends. 

This is the perfect pick amongst cheap eats in DC that serve a variety of vegan and vegetarian dishes. 

The primary focus on providing dishes that cover the health aspect and taste fantastic. 

A tribute to the global pocket-friendly joints 

All the names mentioned above bring out the best of DC. However, we feel it will be unjustified to not include the global favorites in the list of cheap eats

So, if all else fails, then the all-time fast-food favorites: McDonalds, KFC, Wendy’s, Subway, Burger King, Five Guys, Pizza Hut, and Domino’s will always be available as a safety net. 

The point of knowing the best places to eat in DC on a budget is to make sure you can plan ahead. Not always will you have the time to search the internet for pocket-friendly food joints? 

However, you will always have the time to Google your way if you know the name. Additionally, even though the budget varies from person to person, each of the joints in the list caters to every budget group. 

We hope you have a wonderful time visiting Washington DC while eating your favorite foods!