Eating out doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, in the city known for keeping things weird and living it up to live music, eating out can be incredibly affordable. From food trucks to quaint sit-down spots, there’s an ambiance — and a budget option — for everyone.
Best of all, cheap food in Austin, Texas isn’t low quality. We’d argue that it’s some of the best food you’ll ever have. Here, you’ll find locally sourced ingredients and a commitment to blending unique flavors and cooking styles. If you’re looking for the best cheap eats in Austin, but don’t want to sacrifice taste, you’ve come to the right place. Here are the best cheap eats in Austin.
The 15 Best Cheap Eats in Austin
When it comes to eating cheap, you don’t have to settle for a greasy slice of pizza or a soggy burrito. In Austin, cheap eats encompass everything from Tex-Mex favorites to Asian fusion meals that will keep you satiated all day long. From delicious ingredients to hefty serving sizes, here’s our list of the best cheap eats, Austin style.
1. Juan in a Million
Juan in a Million is committed to providing incredible food at great prices. Sebring the local community since 1980 on the east side of Austin, this restaurant really gives you the most bang for your buck. Their famous Don Juan taco is just and loaded with eggs, bacon, cheese, and potatoes for under $7. On the menu, you’ll also find a large selection of breakfast tacos for under $4 and breakfast plates ranging from $10 to $13.
2. Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken
Looking for the best fried chicken on a budget? Head to Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, a chain restaurant known for great food at affordable prices. Start off with some fried pickles and dive into two or three pieces fried chicken plates. Here, you’ll also find wings and affordable kids’ meals in addition to desserts like ice cream and sweet potato pie.
3. Torchy’s Tacos
Torchy’s consistently ranks as one of the best taco places in Austin. Not only are their tacos delicious, but they’re also affordable. They also have an extensive gluten-free list so everyone in your group can enjoy a tasty taco, regardless of dietary restrictions.
4. Little Deli and Pizzeria
Little Deli offers several calzones and sandwiches (both hot and cold) for under $11. You can also enjoy a large pizza for under $20.
5. Delray Cafe
Delray Cafe is where local Austinites and visitors alike head for late-night snacks. Open seven days a week, you can grab everything from Coney hot dogs, crispy onion rings, and chili cheese fries to double sliders and a pound of wings for under $10.
6. P. Terry’s Burger Stand
Terry’s Burger Stand is a chain restaurant with several locations in Austin including a drive-thru on Barton Springs Road and spots on Burnet Road, Research Boulevard, and Pflugerville. All burgers here are made with 100% Angus beef or ground chicken breast. For under $10, you can get a combo meal with a burger, fries, and drink included.
7. Tamale House East
Looking for out-of-this-world Mexican food without the high price tag? Head over to Tamale House East. Not only do they have one of the best patio spaces in Austin, but they also serve up $5 authentic tamales and $4 breakfast tacos. You can also enchiladas for $12 and a variety of $10 breakfast plates like chilaquiles, migas and queso, and huevos rancheros.
8. Dirty Martin’s Place
Located on Guadalupe Street, this Austin relic has been serving cheap eats to the community since 1926. For cheap eats, try one of the burgers at Dirty Martin’s Place. For $6 to $8, you can get a wide range of burgers including their famous Kumbak burger and the Black Bean burger. Best of all, add-on toppings don’t cost a fortune — only $0.50 to $2.00 depending on the time — so feel free to add things like jalapenos, smoked bacon, a fried egg, or queso to your burger.
Kebabalicious is the place to go when you want cheap eats, but don’t want to sacrifice flavor. This Turkish eatery serves up a variety of kebabs for $10 to $15. Their falafel balls are among our favorites and come wrapped in pita bread and drizzled with spicy sauce, tzatziki, and hummus.
10. Veracruz All Natural
Veracruz All Natural is owned by sister duo Reyna and Maritza Vasquez. What started out as a small food truck focused on serving traditional Mexican meals has now grown to five locations across Austin and Round Rock. You’ll find authentic Mexican dishes at all locations including our favorites in East Austin and South Austin. Their vegan queso runs less than $5 and a breakfast taco runs just $3. Most items on their menu are less than $6 so you can get a delicious meal without spending a ton of money. Best of all, their dishes are made with fresh ingredients from veggies like avocado to their tortillas and salsas.
11. Phoebe’s Diner
On Oltorf St, you’ll find Phoebe’s Diner — a classic diner serving breakfast and American specialties known for one of the best brunches in town. Here, you’ll find omelettes, fried chicken biscuits, migas, and flapjacks for under $15. The servings are pretty hefty so it’s a great place to go when you want some bang for your buck. They also have a spot in downtown Austin if you need a meal after a long night out.
12. Home Slice
Home Slice has two locations — one on South Congress Ave and one on East 53rd St — when you’re craving a good slice of pizza. At this Italian restaurant, you can snag a variety of sub sandwiches for under $11 and a large 18-inch pizza for under $20.
13. The Omelettry
At The Omelettry, most of the hearty breakfast omelettes are under $13. Best of all, they serve breakfast all day so you can enjoy a delicious breakfast meal any time of the day. For $5 to $10 you can get a stack of pancakes and sausages, huevos rancheros, and their famous Burnet Road Benedict.
14. Ng Cafe
This Vietnamese cafe offers a huge range of sandwiches for under $10. Here, you’ll find classic banh mi as well as sandwiches featuring pork belly, tofu, and pate. Located in North Austin, it’s worth the trek for a tasty afternoon sandwich that won’t break the bank.
15. Ramen Tatsu-ya
When it comes to eating cheap, soup is a great way to fill up without breaking the bank. Ramen Tatsu-ya offers a wide range of hearty Japanese soups featuring everything from ajitama to woodear mushrooms. Opt for a veggie-based broth if you’re avoiding meat or choose one of the meaty bone broth options to pack in the protein. Loaded with noodles, veggies, and chunks of meat, the ramen here is as delicious as it is affordable.
Enjoy Austin on a Budget
No visit to Austin is complete without exploring some of the culinary delights the city has to offer. Just because you’re a foodie doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune tasting your way across town. From pho to tacos al pastor and coffee shops, there are affordable options for just about everything in this town. With these best cheap eats in Austin, you’re sure to find a spot that satisfies your taste buds without breaking the bank.
Looking for more great food options in Austin? Don’t miss our lists of the best brisket in Austin and the best happy hour in Austin for more affordable and local options. Scope out our list of the best restaurants in town whether you want vegan food, Thai specialties, or savory BBQ hot spots. Make sure to also check out our guide to the best free and cheap things to do in Austin if you’re looking to have a good time without spending a ton of money.