Our Favorite Cheap Eats in Seattle
Eating out is a fun way to experience local foods, socialize with family and friends, and avoid cooking for the night (let’s be real, that’s a huge benefit!), but that doesn’t mean it has to break the bank! We recently posted a blog about how we save to travel and one of the big ways we save money every month is by eating out less and when we do eat out, choosing affordable restaurants. Although Seattle is a very expensive city, it’s thankfully home to many casual, quick, and cheap spots that are still delicious and have a great vibe! Here’s a roundup of our five favorite cheap eats in Seattle, all of which have many options under $10 and are counter service spots (which means you save some tip money!).
It’s no secret that we LOVE Tacos Chukis. Although they aren’t Texas style tacos, they have filled the taco void in our hearts since we moved to Seattle. Each taco is between $2.25-$2.75, which means you can get 3-4 tacos for $10! The tacos aren’t huge, so we recommend getting at least a few to curb your hunger.
Our go to order: We highly recommend getting their signature taco, the Taco Chukis, which is a pastor taco with cheese melted on a corn tortilla (SO GOOD!), salsa and guacamole, and a piece of grilled pineapple on top. We could eat these every single meal!
Locations: There are three locations in Seattle, the original spot in Capitol Hill and two newer locations in South Lake Union (SLU) and Beacon Hill, with a fourth spot opening in the Central District soon! We have only been to the Capitol Hill and SLU locations and love them both for different reasons. The SLU location is nice and modern, while the Capitol Hill location is right in the heart of Capitol Hill and has a more hidden, hole in the wall vibe.
There are a few burger joints in town that we love, but Uneeda Burger may be our favorite! This spot is very close to our $10 limit (and can go over if you get one of their fancier signature burgers), but the burgers are high quality and the environment is great!
Our go to order: We usually order the classic burger, which is a little smaller than the fancier options they have, but with fries (both their regular and sweet potato fries are AMAZING!) it’s under $10 and the perfect sized meal. Their signature burgers, which have unique toppings, look very delicious too!
Location: They have only one location, which is in Fremont on Fremont Ave N, in a slightly quieter area than the main section of Fremont (which means easier parking!). They have indoor seating and also a great outdoor patio, which is a fun place to sit and enjoy your food on a nice Seattle day.
Some other burger spots we love are Rain City Burgers, Li’l Woody’s (their queso fries are awesome!), and Red Mill Burgers. And of course, we couldn’t mention cheap burgers in Seattle without including the famous Dick’s!
Stoneway Cafe is our go-to quick brunch or brinner spot! They serve breakfast and lunch/dinner items all day (score!), have coffee, beer, and wine, and the food is super delicious and fresh.
Our go to order: Two words–Breakfast burrito! Adam is absolutely hooked on their breakfast burrito and gets it every single time regardless of the time of day. It’s filled with eggs, cheese, your choice of meat (we recommend the sausage or pork!), potatoes, and an incredible homemade chipotle lime sauce. Some other menu items we like are their pulled pork tacos and the spring salad. All items, minus the spring salad, are under $10. Pro tip: order a side of pulled pork. You will get a bunch of pulled pork for only a couple bucks!
Location: One reason we love this spot is because of the location and atmosphere. Stoneway Cafe is located in Wallingford and is a short walk to Lake Union, so it’s the perfect spot to grab food and then take a little walk by the water. The restaurant has indoor seating with a cool Washington mural on the back wall, as well as seats on a patio in the front for those non-rainy Seattle days. They also host bands and open-mic nights inside–how cool is that?!
Want to feel like you’re on a beach vacation? Head to Bongos! This Caribbean restaurant makes some awesome food and has one of the best outdoor patios in Seattle!
Our go to order: We love the West Indies plate, which is jerk chicken, cuban black beans and rice, mango slaw, and a plantain. Full disclosure: this plate is $10.99 so it technically doesn’t meet the requirements of this blog, BUT they have a lot of sandwich options under $10.
Location: Located right across from Green Lake, Bongos unique atmosphere is by far our favorite in Seattle. Bongos is a converted gas station and they have kept the gas pump canopy to cover some of the outdoor seating, which is perfect for those rainier days. While the gas station exterior is unique, the best part of the outdoor seating area is that it’s filled with sand! Talk about being transported to the Caribbean! Between the sand and the food, you’ll definitely forget you’re in Seattle for a hot second. They also have a fire pit outside, which makes the atmosphere even better and they have indoor seating if it’s cold and rainy. The gas station look, plus the graffiti artwork on the building definitely catches your attention as you drive by and may give off divey vibes, but we urge you to turn in, grab a seat on the sand, and enjoy a piece of Seattle paradise. Note: They are closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
MARINATION MA KAI
Last, but definitely not least, is Marination Ma Kai. This Hawaiian spot rivals Bongos for atmosphere with its amazing views of the Seattle skyline. We have come here a lot since moving to Seattle and have always enjoyed the food, especially since it reminds us of our favorite place in the world, Hawaii.
Our go to order: There are a few things we love to order here–the tacos, the sliders, and the kimchi fried rice. For the tacos, we usually get a variety, but we think our favorite flavors are the Kalbi beef and the spicy pork. For the sliders, we love the Kalua pork, especially with the Hawaiian sweet roll (our favorite kind of bread!). Both the sliders and tacos come with NUNYA sauce, which is a secret, but it’s very good! The kimchi fried rice is something we didn’t get the first few times we went to Marination, but as soon as we tried it we were hooked! You can get it with or without meat, but we really like it with Kalbi beef or spicy pork. If you’re feeling extra hungry, we also recommend their fries!
Location: The big draw of Marination Ma Kai is it’s perfect location on Alki overlooking the Seattle skyline and along the Alki beach path. You can sit indoors or outdoors or even take your food down to the beach! Marination has multiple locations in Seattle, but this is the only one on the water, so we recommend checking this one out!
Are you drooling yet? As you can see, eating cheap doesn’t mean you have to miss out on good food or a cool experience. And the best part? You’re left with extra money to fund more adventures! If you have other favorite cheap eats in Seattle that we should check out, let us know! We are always looking for an excuse to eat more food. 🙂
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