The beauty of Atlanta’s food scene is that you don’t have to spend money to eat well. There are countless cheap restaurants in Atlanta that offer all kinds of cuisines at pocket-friendly prices. From food trucks to mom-and-pop shops to hole-in-the-wall surprises, there’s so much to delight your palate on a shoestring budget in Atlanta.
The Best Cheap Eats in Atlanta
The one drawback to cheap eats in Atlanta is that they can be hard for non-locals to find. Luckily, this guide to Atlanta’s top cheap restaurants will give you a leg up.
Aviva by Kameel
Many travelers miss out on this uber popular Lebanese/Mediterranean restaurant because of its nonchalant location at an underground mall food court. You quickly forget about the lack of ambience when you’re being personally greeted by Chef Kameel and getting delicious free soup and appetizer samples.
If you aren’t sure what to order, go for the amazing falafel or the sumptuous baked salmon, and finish with the baklava. Or simply let Chef Kameel decide for you. He never disappoints.
Victory Sandwich Bar
If you’re a sandwich person, do whatever you need to do to get here. The sandwiches are on the smaller side, but at $4 to $5 a pop, you can order doubles and enjoy even more flavor. Bite into a Cuban-inspired Castro and sip a boozed-up slushy from a mason jar as an old movie silently projects on the wall behind you.
Don’t leave without trying the popcorn, which often comes with unusual sauces over it. Before this, you’d never think sriracha sauce on popcorn could taste so heavenly.
Grindhouse Killer Burgers
Juicy made-to-order burgers that won’t set you back more than $7 keep bringing in the customers again and again. Get some sweet potato fries and a glass of local beer, and you’ll be completely set.
You can make your own burger, and there’s a virtually infinite number of flavor and topping options for the burger aficionados. If you’re not feeling like having a beer, get the spiked milkshake—it’s even better than it sounds. Vegetarians are welcome to share in the goodness.
This hole-in-the-wall Cajun joint has earned the love of Atlanta locals with its generous portions and low prices. For $9, you can get meat and three sides, so you’ll never leave this establishment hungry. The staple meal is the jerk chicken, which remains an all-time favorite for regulars, but you can also enjoy pastas, veggies, and other types of meats.
Kwan’s Deli and Korean Kitchen
For some unfathomable reason, Korean food can be very expensive in the States. Luckily, there are joints like this, which offer Korean staples like bibimbap and bulgogi at a reasonable price. If you love your food to burn, try the spicy tofu soup, which will leave you reaching for water but oh-so-satisfied.
If your travel companions aren’t into trying different foods, no problem! There are also regular deli options for naysayers. The price, variety of options, flavor, and convenient location make Kwan’s Deli and Korean Kitchen one of the best cheap eats in Atlanta.
If you’ve never had a Venezuelan arepa, don’t wait a second longer to head to Arepa Mia. Stuffed to the brim with meat, veggies, cheese, and sauces, this traditional Latin American food will have you on the verge of happy tears.
Dogs on Wheels
Simultaneously one of the best food trucks and cheap eats in Atlanta, this is hot dogs like you’ve always dreamed of them. The all-beef dogs are complemented with a variety of toppings, which include sweet onions, green peppers, cheddar cheese, and coleslaw. Go for the dog that fits your style or enjoy their vegan-friendly Le Haute Dog.
Giant pizza slices with fresh toppings at less than $3 make Fellini’s an eternal favorite. It doesn’t boast the edgy concept-cuisine that’s overtaking Atlanta by a storm, but no other place will satisfy your craving for amazing pizza at this price.
Viet-Nomies Gourmet Food Truck & Cafe
Atlanta’s first Vietnamese food truck is exactly as amazing as you’d expect it to be. The owner, Nomie has become a patron for anyone looking for Vietnamese food with a Southern twist. The food truck rolls around town, bringing with it delicious shaken beef, which seems to be everyone’s favorite, as well as other classics like pho and spring rolls. Accompany your meal with a coffee boba to really get a feel of Vietnam.
Foodies love this truly international gastronomical heaven. Though the strip malls in Buford Highway can offer little interest for an unknowing outsider, locals know that inside the humble facade are some of the best cheap eats in Atlanta.
From Colombian to Korean to Russian, you’ll find food from all over the world. Go to La Pastorcita for Mexican so authentic the menu is only in Spanish, Panang for delicious Malaysian food, Chef Liu for the soup dumplings, and Hae Woon Dae for Korean BBQ.
– Original reporting by Mariana Zapata