In a city like New Orleans (where people live to eat) the “dining out budget” is a very real thing. And though my goal is to try every restaurant in the city, oftentimes I find myself frequenting places where I know I can get a quality meal at an affordable price. Bonus points if it’s healthy! Here are ten New Orleans budget dining dishes that aren’t po-boys or beignets — and are all $10 or less.
New Orleans Budget Dining: Top Spots for $10-or-Less Meals
I don’t know what it is about meatballs but, to me, they are pure comfort food. The 10- to 12-hour tomato braised meatballs with polenta and arugula at Freret Beer Room are $9, and I have yet to find a version I like more. Or, go for a hearty bowl of chicken gumbo with potato salad for $7. If you’re seeking an affordable lunch, they also offer a tempting lunch special weekdays: choose any small plate plus either gumbo or squash salad for $10.
When dining on a budget, Vietnamese food is a solid go-to. Vegetarians will love the Spicy Tofu Bun Bowl + fried egg for $9.15 at Lilly’s Café on Magazine Street that comes with at least eight large pieces of spicy, pan-seared tofu.
This new breakfast and lunch spot on Jena Street near Freret features a menu of “Good Cat” and “Bad Cat” items. The “Good Cat” side includes things like a breakfast chia pudding bowl with coconut milk, house-made granola, sliced assorted fruits, honey, and mint for $7, and the “Bad Cat” side has a plate of two eggs, house potatoes, and bison sausage or bacon for $8.
One might think a gelateria would only have gelato, but think again: owners Ria and Ross Turnbull want Piccola to be a place of savory treats as well. Try their Piadina, which is a large Italian flatbread sandwich stuffed with smoked turkey, fresh burrata, heirloom tomato, and served warm for $10.
Until better pizza is served at a better price in this town, Domenica and PIZZA Domenica will continue to make lists for their insane happy hour specials. Half-priced pies from 2-5 p.m. at Domenica and 3-5 p.m. at PIZZA Domenica every weekday means a high quality personal pizza for as little as $6.50. Or, nosh on a kale salad with pancetta vinaigrette and sourdough breadcrumbs for $10.
Between the complimentary chili-spiced popcorn when you sit down and the $9-and-under tacos piled high with things like hanger steak and chicken tinga, paying a visit to this Broadmoor eatery is a must.
The French Quarter isn’t always the best place to find deals on food that will fill you up, unless you’re snagging a slice of pizza on Bourbon Street or a hot dog from a Lucky stand. But at Coop’s on Decatur, $10.25 will buy you two pieces of Cajun fried chicken with sides of rabbit and sausage jambalaya and coleslaw. Or, opt for red beans and rice with your two pieces of chicken for just $9.95. This is where the locals go, but don’t tell them I told you.
This eclectic and artsy coffee shop on Sophie Wright Place has an ever-evolving menu of healthy and hearty breakfast and lunch items, like the Souper Bowl with coconut rice, avocado, poached eggs, spinach, green onion, and crispy shallots in chicken broth for $10. Despite the lack of meat in this “soup,” the fat and protein from the avocado and eggs make this surprisingly filling.
New to Girod Street in the Warehouse District, this healthy little restaurant has assorted toasts, like one with homemade apple butter, whipped lemon ginger ricotta and toasted almonds for $6, and large salads like their Southwest with quinoa, avocado, black beans, toasted pepitas, cherry tomatoes, and roasted poblano dressing for $9.75
Thai food is so good, but it’s usually on the pricier side of Asian food options. Fortunately, Chill Out Café on Maple Street caters to the neighborhood regulars and students from the nearby universities, making their menu diverse (they even serve breakfast!) and their prices hard to beat. All noodle and curry dishes including pad thai and Massaman curry with veggies, chicken or beef are all $10 and under. Everything on their breakfast menu is $10 and under, too.