Food & Drink

Austin's 15 Best Meals Under $5

Published On 06/11/2015 Published On 06/11/2015
Flickr/Jeff Tran
Flickr/richevers
Flickr/Dave 77459
Swad
Flickr/Marc Berry Reid
Flickr/Yi
Flickr/The Pug Father
Quality Seafood Market
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1. Top Notch 7525 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78757 (Allandale)

Home to a classic Dazed and Confused scene, Top Notch delivers in real life as well. Whether you're in it for burgers or fried chicken, you can pull on up outside, roll down the window, and relax while you wait for your order to arrive. The old-school drive-in is known for its distinctly smoky burgers, achieved via charcoal broiling.

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2. Sandy’s Hamburgers 603 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704 (South Austin)

The kitschy yellow-and-brown building at the intersection of Barton Springs and Riverside has served its mustard- and pickle-heavy burgers and frozen custards to multiple generations... and miraculously, kept its old-school prices. Menu highlights include the double cheeseburger and fries, which can be made infinitely better by pairing it with frozen custard or a root beer float.

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3. Phoenicia Bakery & Deli 4701A Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78756 (Rosedale)

If life's got you down, eat a gyro from Phoenicia Bakery & Deli on Burnet. It’s some of the best comfort food out there.

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4. Swad 9515 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78753

Good luck finding authentic Indian food for less than $5 south of 183. Honestly, good luck finding authentic Indian food for less than $10 south of 183. If you’re up for the drive — just think of the dosas — the majority of Swad’s ever changing menu clocks in at five buck-a-roonies.

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5. Lily's Sandwich 10901 N Lamar Blvd, #105, Austin, TX 78753 (North)

If you're feeling adventurous, visit Lily's for authentic Vietnamese dishes like pig knuckles, or just keep it simple and go with one of their great sandwiches.

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6. Juan In A Million 2300 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702 (East Austin)

Juan serves up not only a hilarious name but tasty Tex-Mex classics, too, including their signature Don Juan taco -- a massive 1lb monster of bacon, potato, egg, and cheese.

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7. Baguette House & Cafe‎ 10901 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78753 (North)

After some shopping at the Chinatown center, hit up the Baguette House for an affordable Banh mi and an... avocado smoothie. Trust us.

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8. Tamale House East 1707 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702 (Central East)

If you have less than 10 dollars in your pocket but still want to pig out on tacos, Tamale House East is the place to go. The original location shuttered when owner Moses Vasquez died in 2014, but his granddaughters brought it back to life at this counter-serve location on East Sixth Street. The massive dog-friendly patio provides ample room to enjoy a few breakfast tacos and an agua fresca.

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9. Home Slice Pizza 1415 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704 (South Austin)

The Home Slice employee pilgrimages to New York's most iconic pizza shrines are the stuff of legend. The slices are large, homemade, and hand-tossed. All the classics are delicious, like the Margherita or pepperoni pizza with the perfect amount of grease, and the white pies are heaped with balloons of ricotta.

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10. Quality Seafood 5621 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78751 (North Central)

Austin's top seafood supplier since 1938 (when it was just a stall on S. Congress) scored a place on our Favorite 5 sports-watching spots for their totally under-appreciated bar, which is buoyed by a pair of flatscreens and eight taps under five bucks. The game snacks don't hurt either, from applewood-bacon-wrapped scallops, to fried-anything-you-can-imagine, to the freshest fish tacos in town that don't involve making an untoward joke about SRD.