Even in a moderately priced city like Phoenix, dining out can get expensive. Give your wallet a rest at one of these great restaurants serving some of the best cheap eats in Phoenix.
The 10 Best Cheap Eats in Phoenix
You can get an exceptional meal in Phoenix without spending a lot of money. If you’re looking for cheap eats in Phoenix, these are the top 10 places to try.
A food truck-turned-restaurant, Welcome Diner is known for its buttermilk biscuit sandwiches: fried chicken, braised pork, and other proteins between fluffy golden discs. But, the cheap eats don’t end there. Welcome Diner also serves burgers, jambalaya, mac and cheese, poutine, and fries.
Seating is limited, though. Very limited. There are only nine barstools inside and a smattering of tables outside. It’s not uncommon for a line to form at this late-night eatery that’s open until 2 a.m., but the food and prices are worth it.
The Fry Bread House
For unique cheap eats in Phoenix, try The Fry Bread House. The menu revolves around fry bread, a Native American quick bread fried in oil. You can order it plain or topped with meat, cheese, and/or beans. It’s also popular as a Navajo taco, where the fry bread replaces the shell of a traditional taco.
Fry bread can also be dessert here. It comes open-faced with chocolate and butter, cinnamon and sugar, honey, powdered sugar, or several other combos. Both sweet and savory portions are huge. You won’t leave hungry.
Little Miss BBQ
There’s always a line at Little Miss BBQ, but the wait, which can be upwards of three hours, is worth it, especially if you can score some of the award-winning, Texas-style brisket. Come at least an hour early to minimize your wait time and maximize your chances of trying the brisket.
Sandwiches with a side are the best deal, but the plates with two sides could easily feed two people, as long as you’re willing to share. Dining is at picnic tables outside.
Oregano’s Pizza Bistro
Opened in Old Town Scottsdale in 1993, Oregano’s Pizza Bistro has grown to 20-plus locations in Arizona, thanks in large part to its delicious food and huge portions. In fact, the portions are so big that you almost have to share or leave with a to-go. For that reason alone, it’s also earned the reputation of one of the best cheap restaurants in Phoenix.
But, portions aren’t the only reason for Oregano’s popularity. Pizza—thin crust, pan, and Chicago-style deep dish—is a signature dish, but the restaurant is equally known for its pasta dishes, sandwiches, and salads.
Two Hippies Beach House
Maybe, it’s the restaurant’s name, the VW van on prominently display, or the smiley face sign on the roof. No matter why people visit the first time, the reason they return to Two Hippies Beach House is the tasty tacos, great prices, and casual atmosphere.
Shrimp or fish are the way to go if you’re in the mood for tacos. Two Hippies also serves burritos, rice bowls, nachos, and quesadillas. You can sit at the few tables out front or get your beach-style Mexican food to go.
Los Reyes de la Torta
Although Los Reyes de la Torta serves tacos and burros, it’s primarily known for its tortas, Mexican sandwiches piled with meat and cheese. These sandwiches are so hearty you have the option to order a full or a mini.
The signature torta is layered with ham, melted cheese, pork sirloin, breaded beef, omelet, two types of sausage, refried beans, and avocado, and comes with potato chips. A mini is comparable, if not less expensive, than a fast-food value meal.
One of the most unique cheap restaurants in Phoenix, Chino Bandido is where Chinese food meets Mexican food. You start by choosing one of 14 options, ranging from carnitas to sweet and spicy Jade Red Chicken. (There’s also a veggie option.) Then, you decide whether you want to eat it in a rice bowl or a burrito.
If you’ve ever wanted to try a jerk chicken burrito or chile relleno rice bowl, Chino Bandido is your chance to live that dream.
El Guero Canelo
Tucson is the birthplace of the Sonoran dog, a hot dog wrapped in bacon and topped with pinto beans and cheese, and Tucson-based El Guero Canelo turns out arguably the best version of the local specialty. The restaurant’s Phoenix location allows you to sample one for just a few dollars.
In addition to Sonoran dogs, El Guero Canelo sells home-style tacos, tortas, and burros. You can also order Mexican sodas in the bottle and aguas frescas, a traditional Mexican drink made from real fruit.
The Chuck Box
Located across the street from Arizona State University’s main campus, The Chuck Box has grilled some of Phoenix’s best burgers for more than 35 years. What makes them so good? The burgers are made-to-order over a mesquite fire as soon as you place your order.
While the Western-themed burger joint has fries, the beer-battered onion rings steal the show. To drink, The Chuck Box serves real draft root beer, draft beer, and wine.
Trade your rice bowl for waffle fries. At Grubstak, you start with waffle fries, sweet potato waffle fries, or a combination of the two and add the toppings of your choice. If you can’t handle the pressure of constructing your own stak, opt for a tried-and-true favorite like Sweet Lou’s BBQ or Nacho instead.
For a healthier meal, you can replace the fries with roasted veggies or have a salad. Grubstak also serves grilled cheese sandwiches, brunch, and even sweet staks like the Sweet As Honey, a pile of sweet potato waffle fries dusted with cinnamon sugar and topped with sweet chili honey and whipped cream.
—Original reporting by Teresa Bitler