Food & Drink

New Orleans’ 15 Best Meals Under $5

Published On 08/06/2015 Published On 08/06/2015

The dining scene in the Crescent City is seriously off the chain these days. With so many outstanding eateries to choose from, it’s easy to dine out all the time, which often comes with the unfortunate complication of draining one’s bank account. Fortunately, there are also plenty of sweet culinary deals that you can take advantage of without them taking advantage of you. If you only have five bucks in your pocket, check out these great options.

Courtesy of Zak Pizzeck

Wakin’ Bakin’

Mid-City
What you’re getting: The "Big John”
There are many delights to be enjoyed at this Mid-City breakfast mecca, and for as little as five clams, you can get the "Big John”: sausage and cheddar cheese on a buttermilk biscuit with a cup of coffee. Done. Sold.
 

Bud’s Broiler

Various locations
What you’re getting: The No. 4
It might not be known for gourmet ingredients like some other burger places in town, but Bud’s is a NOLA institution. At well under $5, you can get the No. 4, a burger with shredded cheddar cheese, and either chili or Bud’s special hickory sauce. That’s a difficult decision; choose wisely!

Courtesy of Webb Bland

DISTRICT: Donuts. Sliders. Brew.

Lower Garden District
What you’re getting: Chicken slider
Some of the fancier options at DISTRICT might run up the register a bit, but you absolutely can’t go wrong with its pitch-perfect little sliders, particularly the tender, juicy fried chicken with sweet and spicy slaw, candied jalapeños, and crispy skin.
 

Hank’s Seafood & Super Market

Bywater/St. Claude
What you’re getting: Two piece dark fried chicken combo
Is Hank’s a shady-looking old-school convenience store on St. Claude? Oh yeah. But the fried chicken is excellent, excellently cheap, and hard to beat for the price.

Pizza Delicious

Pizza Delicious

Bywater
What you’re getting: A pair of rolls
Until recently, there weren’t many decent places to get pizza by the slice in NOLA (and that Bourbon St slice is to be avoided at all costs). But not only does “The D” do a spot-on NYC foldable slice for under three bucks, for $5, you can get not one but TWO doughy pinwheels packed with cheese and pepperoni, broccoli, cauliflower, or spinach. That’s a damn steal.
 

Samuel’s Blind Pelican

Uptown
What you’re getting: 25-cent raw oysters
The Blind Pelican has one of the best oyster happy hours in town, serving up cool bivalves on the half shell for only a quarter apiece. If you don’t want to do the math, we’ll do it for you: for five bucks, you can have *20* raw ones. You have to buy a beverage to indulge, but c’mon... you were going to do that anyway, right?

Flickr/Jason Lam

Morning Call

City Park/Mid-City
What you’re getting: Beignets (naturally)
While Cafe Du Monde may be more famous, Morning Call has been serving up hot, cheap ($2 for an order of three) beignets for almost a century and a half now. So you know for certain that it knows its fried dough piled with powdered sugar, and it knows it well. Props to the Metairie location, but we love the new outlet in City Park for the scenery.
 

Brother's Food Mart

CBD
What you’re getting: Meat pies
This grocery mart might not look like much, but it’s the place you want to hit if you’re Downtown, maybe a little fuzzy and hungry, and you want some delicious, cheap fried food. The chicken is great, but don’t miss out on the classic meat pies, based on a Natchitoches, LA, classic.

BMD LLC

Buttermilk Drop Bakery

Treme
What you’re getting: Buttermilk drops, of course
These sweet, glazed cakey drops of goodness are New Orleans’ other favorite donut, and their popularity (at least for visitors) is usually eclipsed by beignets (see above). Well, they shouldn’t be, especially at $4 for half a dozen.
 

Sammy’s Food Service & Deli

St. Roch
What you’re getting: Hot sausage po-boy with egg and cheese
Sammy’s has some fine po-boys (including the “Ray Ray,” a favorite at Po-Boy Fest), but you’d be crazy not to consider its breakfast options, which include hot sausage on French with eggs and cheese for $3.99, which won’t terribly slim-down your wallet... or your waistline, for that matter.

Flickr/Lynn Gardner

Hong Kong Market Place

Gretna/West Bank
What you’re getting: A bánh mì
While you’re out at the HKM buying fish sauce, durians, frozen gyoza, and kimchi, stop by its sandwich stand & butcher in the back for an amazing -- and amazingly cheap (under $4, depending on filling) “Vietnamese po-boy.” You might have to eat it sitting on the curb or in your car, but it’s so worth it.
 

Stein’s Market and Deli

Lower Garden District
What you’re getting: A bagel with flavored cream cheese
NOLA might not be known for its Jewish deli options, but mazel tov to Stein’s on Magazine for keeping that little-known tradition alive in the Big Easy. It sells Davidovich bagels in various flavors (or all of them -- get an “everything”!) combined with a number of gussied-up cream cheeses ranging from smoked salmon to chive, veggie, honey nut, and more, all for only $2.29. Oy, such a deal!

Courtesy of Felipe's Taqueria

Felipe’s Taqueria

Various locations
What you’re getting: A pair of tacos
With a number of locations around town, Felipe’s has long been a place where locals and visitors alike enjoy satisfying their Mexican cuisine jones. For only $4.95 you can get two soft corn tortillas loaded up with your choice of filling (everything from chicken to chorizo, al pastor, carnitas, and grilled veggies) as well as cilantro, onion & guacamolillo sauce.

Courtesy of St James Cheese Company

St. James Cheese Co.

Uptown
What you’re getting: The Mini Moo
Feeling a little bit peckish for some cheesy comestibles? You can’t do much better than St. James when it comes to cheese shops in NOLA. And if you have a finski in your pocket, you can get its Mini Moo, a cute little grilled number on wheat filled with melty Hook’s cheddar and served with fruit and chips. A most excellent snack.

Flickr/Robert

Mister Gregory's

French Quarter
What you’re getting: Baguette with jambon and beurre
This “fast French” spot in the Quarter has some killer “les sandwiches,” but if you’re looking for one of the best deals in the Vieux Carre, get the “jambon buerre,” a crusty Bellegarde Bakery baguette topped with smoky ham and several wedges of good French butter, all for only five bones. That’s what we call a “les deal.”

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1. Wakin' Bakin' 4408 Banks St, New Orleans, LA 70119 (Mid City)

Mid-City is basically *the* go-to place for breakfast in New Orleans, and Wakin’ Bakin’ was one of the first spots to contribute to this wonderful phenomenon. The cheddar sliders with eggs and bacon are awesome, as are the “Pancrepes & Pork.” That’s right: Pancrepes! But wait! There's more! It delivers beginning at 7am. But beware: if you miss the doorbell, you'll be put on the "Wall of Shame."

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2. Bud's Broiler 500 City Park Ave, New Orleans, LA 70119 (Mid City)

Though Bud's has a number of locations around the New Orleans area, the shabby Mid-City joint is the only one that doles out the classic burgers, fries, and shakes that fans have come to adore 24/7. The burgers are a cut above what you're used to -- the meat is broiled on an open-flame charcoal grill -- and their prices are a cut below. Along with the standard fixings like lettuce, tomato, and pickle, be sure to top yours with Bud's original hickory smoke sauce. There are a handful of hot dogs and specialty sandwiches, too. Finish off your meal with something sweet, particularly Bud's fried hand pies that come in apple, peach, and cherry.

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3. DISTRICT: Donuts. Sliders. Brew. 2209 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (Garden District)

As the name implies, DISTRICT excels at coffee, sliders, and donuts, all while making innovative changes to each. In lieu of your average breakfast sandwich, expect "croquenuts" (a hybrid of a croque madame and a donut) or bacon & egg on a miso-praline biscuit. Donuts, meanwhile, range from the simple glazed and cinnamon sugar to the more unconventional Sriracha-maple, candied thyme, and cereal & milk. While you could pair your sugary goodies with a basic brew, we suggest you opt for house staples like Vietnamese cold brew or the "Sproca-Cola," a winning combination of cola, espresso, and chocolate milk.

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4. Hank's Seafood and Supermarket 2634 Saint Claude Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117 (Bywater)

Yes, the sign says supermarket and it looks pretty shady. But the food is excellent -- especially the fried chicken. Plus, we dare you to find a better deal for this sort of quality.

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5. Pizza Delicious 617 Piety St, New Orleans, LA 70117 (Bywater)

Located on Bywater's Piety Street, this New York-style slice shop was started by two Long Island guys who, surprisingly, had never made pizza before. The menu incorporates local produce and features daily pizza specials like an Italian sausage pie with caramelized onions and peppers.

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6. Samuel’s Blind Pelican 1628 Saint Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130 (Garden District)

With a full bar, an extensive menu of tasty fare from the sea, and a kickin' oyster happy hour, this Garden District spot is a go-to seven days a week.

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7. Morning Call 56 Dreyfous Dr, New Orleans, LA 70124

Self-dubbed as NOLA's "most famous coffee drinking place," Morning Call has been brewing its prized French drip coffee since 1870, which has the rich chicory taste that fans go wild for as they munch on the cafe's beloved beignets. Crunchy on the outside and puffy on the inside, the beignets here are arguably as scrumptious as those at the city's more tourist-packed institutions (with a cheaper price tag to boot), plus there isn't an outrageous wait to get your hands on these powdery pastries. Though the café au lait and beignets are the reasons you're checking out this lively, old-fashioned coffee shop, the short lineup of local cuisine (jambalaya, gumbo, crawfish bread) is worth a taste, too.

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8. Brother's Food Mart 148 Carondelet St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (French Quarter)

Something about Nola grocery marts gives them an uncanny ability to make really good, cheap, fried foods. Brother's advertises its fried chicken, but we recommend giving their meat pies a try instead. Or get both. Actually, definitely get both.

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9. The Buttermilk Drop 1781 N Dorgenois St, New Orleans, LA 70119 (Mid City)

The Buttermilk Drop offers Southern breakfast done right. For those craving something savory, the Treme spot makes a mean croissant sandwich and a wholly satisfying plate of grits, eggs, and bacon and the sugary options don't disappoint either: whether sprinkle-coated or glazed, it's impossible to go wrong with any of the freshly baked donuts (pro tip: try the glazed red velvet). We recommend you opt for the eponymous house specialty, an addictive dough ball made with buttermilk and doused with cinnamon sugar.

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10. Sammy's Food Service & Deli 3000 Elysian Fields Ave, New Orleans, LA 70122 (Mid City)

Sammy's is located in St. Roch, along Elysian Fields Avenue and Abundance Street. The deli lives up to those names -- the po-boys are considered some of the best in the city. Depending on which you order, it will only run you somewhere under $12.

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11. Hong Kong Food Market 925 Behrman Hwy, Gretna, LA 70056

A banh mi is really just a po-boy gone Vietnamese, and this spot is doing them right. Less than $5 will get you a sandwich at their stand and butcher in the back.

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12. Stein's Market & Deli 2207 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130

This deli & market in NOLA's Lower Garden District offers traditional and specialty sandwiches, including breakfast sandwiches (on Davidovich bagels straight from NYC) all day. Stein's also sells a huge selection of cured meats and salamis, over 50 cheeses from around the world, and a massive selection of domestic & international craft beers.

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13. Felipe's Taqueria 301 N Peters St (at Bienville), New Orleans, LA 70130 (French Quarter)

Serving authentic Mexican fare and Latin American craft cocktails, Felipe's Taqueria is a favorite spot amongst tourists and locals alike. This unassuming eatery serves amazing fresh burritos and tacos made from scratch, plus vegetarian options. The cocktail list is always expanding; from the Mezcal Flight to the El Presidente, all the drinks are hand-crafted with house-made liquors, bitters, and fresh fruit.

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14. St. James Cheese Company 5004 Prytania St, New Orleans, LA 70115 (Uptown)

This Uptown eatery is oh-so-more than just a cheese shop. It also sports fantastic sandos that qualify as some of the best in the city, such as its Hooks Cheddar sandwich that's made with Wisconsin Hooks cheddar, smoked turkey, basil, tomato, mayo, and avocado.

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15. Mister Gregory's French Casual Cafe 806 Rampart St, New Orleans, LA 70116 (French Quarter)

This French Quarter cafe is a prime spot for breakfast and coffee, but don't forget its wide variety of sandwiches, which garner plenty of attention themselves.

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