Food & Drink

Boston’s Best Sit-Down Meals Under $10

Published On 12/14/2015 Published On 12/14/2015

At a time when a glass of fresh-pressed juice can pretty much run you nine bucks, it’s almost impossible to get a real meal for under $10, let alone a sit-down one with table service. That's why we scoured the Hub (and tasted a lot of food) to find the 11 best dine-in plates for under an Alexander Hamilton.

Flickr/ume-y

Pho ga

Pho Basil

Address and Info

South End

Price: $7.95
Nothing beats a bowl of chicken noodle soup on a cold winter’s day, says your mom. But what if your mom is Vietnamese? Well, then she might suggest this slurp-worthy supply of rice noodles, shredded chicken, and basil paired with a fragrant, slow-simmered broth. It’s not a heavy meal, but one that will leave you feeling warm and cozy inside.

Spicy lamb hand-pulled flat noodles

Live Noodles

Address and Info

Allston/Brighton

Price: $9
This hand-pulled Lanzhou “lamian” flat noodle dish is the perfect combo of cumin-spiced lamb slices and thick, chewy noodles. It’s the pulling of the noodles that gives them their signature bite, and if you’ve got the right seat, you can actually watch the chefs pull while you wait. So, really, it’s food AND a show for your money.

Flickr/jeffreyw

Enchiladas rojas

Taqueria Jalisco

Address and Info

East Boston

Price: $7.99
Not only are the enchiladas rojas the real deal at this popular East Boston spot, but they’re also BIG. If somehow, though, they’re not big enough -- you can also score $1.50 tacos and still come in under budget.

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Lunch malai kofta

Punjab Palace

Address and Info

Allston/Brighton

Price: $8.50
If there’s any place that can do vegetarian on a budget, it’s an Indian restaurant. The malai kofta at Punjab Palace is the economical move for anybody craving a satisfying meal without unsatisfying animal parts. The “kofta” vegetable cheese balls -- made with potatoes, vegetables, and homemade cheese -- are cooked with herbs, cashews, and a creamy tomato sauce. After you’re done with the kofta, stretch the buck some more and pair the leftover sauce with basmati rice -- it comes with every lunch.

Flickr/alanagkelly

Chicken and rice plate

Teriyaki House

Address and Info

Somerville

Price: $8
Teriyaki House, a mom-and-pop spot near Tufts, may look like a takeout spot when the head chef assumes the role of delivery man, but the joint also serves dine-in customers some of the city’s most amazing pork baos and chicken & rice. No, it’s not a place you take a date (unless, maybe, you actually go to Tufts), but the portions are large and the customer service is some of the most attentive around.

Beef stew with rice & beans

Latino Restaurant

Address and Info

Jamaica Plain

Price: $8.25
You get a lot of bang for your buck at this fittingly named Latin joint. And here’s how you do it:fFor $3.50, you order a pretty large “medium” portion of fluffy rice and savory beans with a hint of pork in the backdrop. Then, a hearty bowl of the carne de res guisada (beef stew) for $4.75. Mix them together and  you have yourself the perfect Latin meal for just north of $8.

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Margherita pizza

Locale

Address and Info

North End

Price: $10
The thin and airy crusts at Locale pack big flavor and serve as the perfect bed for the bubbly, fresh mozzarella and Italian canned tomatoes they pile on their margherita pizza. The space is small (about 18 seats), but modern -- think white subway tiles and industrial light fixtures.

Christina Ng/Thrillist

Yasai katsu curry

Wagamama

Address and Info

Cambridge

Price: $9.95
You have to admit, the katsu curry here is pretty good -- especially for a chain restaurant. The vegetable “yasai” katsu is light and crispy and drenched with a generous amount of curry sauce. But another reason to visit Wagamama is, honestly, for the décor. Swanky yet economical, the mod interior rocks an open stainless-steel kitchen and symmetrical table layout, which means you get both food and ambiance for your limited cash.

Pikaichi

Pika Miso Ramen

Pikaichi

Address and Info

Allston/Brighton

Price: $8.49
Pikaichi is known for its big-portion ramen, serving 6oz of noodles with each bowl, as opposed to the traditional five (who knew?). And the noodles -- which are made exclusively for Pikaichi -- always come out al dente. The Pika Miso Ramen is your move here, as it boasts a thicker broth and is topped with tender sliced pork, nori, ground pork, corn, and scallions. For an additional $2.49, you can (barely) bust your $10 rule and score a small curry rice bowl as well.

Tokyo Hamburg Set

Café Mami

Address and Info

Cambridge

Price: $9.99
Let’s be honest, there’s nothing more comforting than a bed of rice and hamburger meatloaf smothered in a sweet and savory gravy. Right? Right?!?! The utterly juicy Tokyo Hamburg (made from marinated ground beef steak) at Cafe Mami can only be described as comfort food at its best. And the $9.99 set also comes with a side of miso soup and unlimited rice refills!

Christina Ng/Thrillist

Quarter Peruvian charcoal chicken with rice

Machu Chicken   

Address and Info

Somerville

Price: $10
At Machu Chicken, one of Union Square’s best restaurants, expect an amazing Peruvian charcoal- and spice-infused quarter chicken atop a bed of white rice. Plus, a side salad with two types of huancaina -- a creamy, spicy sauce that pairs perfectly with the ever-so-charred bird.

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Christina Ng is a Boston-based food and recipes editor. She's one of those annoying girls who has to take a picture of everything she eats, and when she's not wreaking havoc in the kitchen or taking pictures of food, she's out visiting her favorite open-air markets. Follow her crazy adventures at EastMeetsKitchen.com.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. Pho Basil 177 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 02115 (Back Bay)

This brightly lit, airy Back Bay standby known for their fresh flavors is a great place to catch a meal on the go. Known for their deliciously delicate vermicelli noodles, notes of ginger co-mingle with hints of spice in signature dishes like Bun Thit Nuong and Bun Goi Cuon.

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2. Live Noodles 1026 Commonwealth Avenue, Brookline, MA 02215

Hand pulled noodles from the Chinese region Lanzhou rule this busy take-out spot near Packer's Corner. Also on the menu-- dried hot pots, spicy vegetable salads, and traditional dim sum.

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3. Taquería Jalisco 293 Bennington St, Boston, MA 02128 (East Boston)

At Taqueria Jalisco, mi casa es su casa. This charming hole in the wall serves up Mexican comfort food classics with welcoming service.

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4. Punjab Palace 109 Brighton Ave, Boston, MA 02134 (Allston Brighton)

This Brighton spot specializes in gloriously spicy North Indian cuisine in a classy, sit down setting. Stay for dessert (kheer and kulfi!) and catch a Bollywood flick in the site's spare space.

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5. Teriyaki House 868 Broadway, Somerville, MA 02144 (Fenway Kenmore)

This Tufts adjacent takeout joint offers generous portions of teriyaki, bao and satay on the cheap and serves up unique bubble tea flavors (avocado, taro).

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6. Latino Restaurant 302 Centre St, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130 (Jamaica Plain)

This Centre Street family style spot changes up their menu daily. Dishes include BBQ ribs, roast pork, baked chicken, and everyone's fave, beans and rice.

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7. Locale 352 Hanover St, Boston, MA 02113 (North End)

A new spot located in Boston's North End, Locale is serving up piping hot pizzas in a warm atmosphere.

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8. Wagamama 57 JFK St, Cambridge, MA 02138 (North Cambridge)

This mini-chain's Harvard Square outpost caters to students, families, and large groups seeking inventive yet approachable Japanese fare. Bring your squad and go all in on omakase.

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9. Pikaichi 1 Brighton Ave, Allston, MA 02134 (Allston Brighton)

Allston ramen spot Pikaichi offers a variety of broth styles and arguably the most generous portions of noodles in the city. Most importantly, it's the only place in the city where you'll be able to find ramen available for take out. The thoughtful folks over at Pikaichi package the noodles and broth separately and even include instructions for preparing at home.

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11. Machu Picchu Charcoal Chicken & Grill 25 Union Sq, Somerville, MA 02143 (Somerville)

The smell of charcoal grilled chicken should guide you to Machu Chicken, where you can get chicken that is simultaneously juicy, smoky, and crispy. The price ($10 for half a chicken) only makes it better.

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