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Pagoda Cafe, a small, white hut with double blue doors open.
Pagoda Cafe’s breakfast tacos and pastries are as affordable as they are delicious.
Pagoda Cafe

Where to Find New Orleans’s Best Budget-Friendly Meals

21 excellent, affordable dining destinations in New Orleans, from tacos to fried chicken to pho

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Pagoda Cafe’s breakfast tacos and pastries are as affordable as they are delicious.
| Pagoda Cafe

Thankfully, affordable dining isn’t hard to come by in New Orleans. Make that, affordable good dining, because life’s too short to eat bad food (or drink bad wine, but that’s another story). Sidle up to any of the trusted spots on this list and you’re guaranteed a rib-sticking meal at prices that won’t break the bank. While a 10-spot will usually take care of business at these restaurants, each one has cheaper chow if you peruse the menu (and in some cases, slightly pricier options). Best of all, the food is made to order fresh, which feels like a great deal. As always, send a note if we left out one of your favorites.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Dong Phuong Oriental Bakery

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The banh mi at Dong Phuong are so cheap that it’s worth the gas money to get yourself deep in the East to chow on one or even two. Order by number and be quick about it, and while waiting look at all the awesome baked goods made on-site. Boxes of banh mi (try the Chinese roasted pork and Vietnamese grilled pork), meat pies, bao, and more are all available to order online for pickup, or stop by to grab individually.

World Deli

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Metairie-ites in the know adore this family run po’ boy and platter shop on Clearview, and with good reason. World Deli dishes large portions of homestyle eats, from sandwiches and salads to daily dinner specials in the $10 range, filling plates of red beans and rice, pork chops and mashed potatoes and beef strew, served with veg of the day and garlic bread.

Mini muffaletta platter from World Deli
World Deli/Facebook

Kosher Cajun NY Deli & Grocery

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This New York-style deli on Severn is a gem worth discovering to satisfy a craving for hot pastrami on rye, ordered by the quarter pound, bagel and whitefish salad, or a Coney Island dog. Kosher Cajun NY Deli does a lot of catering, including offering chopped liver by the pound, gefilte fish and matzoh ball soup to go. Closed on Saturday for shabbat.

Pastrami on rye from Kosher Cajun NY Deli
Kosher Cajun NY Deli & Grocery/Facebook

Fiorella's Cafe, the Original

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So this fried chicken and Italian food family joint is a Gentilly gem. Two pieces of chicken with two sides, like fries or potato salad or a garden salad come to just $7.50, a total steal. Everything is made there and all platters are huge. Get a Fiorella’s half stromboli for a baked Italian sandwich treat.

Fiorella’s fried chicken
Yelp/Lacey D.

McHardy's Chicken & Fixin'

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McHardy’s on North Broad serves up some of New Orleans’ best fried chicken at some of the most affordable prices you’ll ever find, made by one of the nicest families you’ll ever meet. Coming in at under $5 for 5 pieces, the peppery and dark McHardy’s chicken won the 2018 “best fried chicken” at the ultra-competitive New Orleans Fried Chicken Festival. Always busy and ever-efficient with huge Mardi Gras orders, the sides are just as good as the chicken, especially the fried okra, rice and beans, and mac and cheese.

Banh Mi Boys

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The pocket-sized Banh Mi Boys knows no bounds and it’s impossible to go wrong with anything on its playful, affordable menu. Sure, it’s not the cheapest on the list, but quality is high, and owner Peter Nguyen works hard to keep costs relatively low for the customer, no easy feat with current supply challenges. A second location, franchised by a local couple, is now open in Orleans Parish on Magazine Street.

Smoked brisket banh mi from Banh Mi Boys
Banh Mi Boys/Facebook

Coco Hut Carribean Restaurant

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This Bayou Road restaurant is a 7th ward institution, serving heaping plates of Jamaican comfort food at reasonable prices for years now. The jerk chicken is glorious, unsurprisingly, as is the goat and snapper; all come in platters for less than $15. Daily specials and a handful of tables out front make this a popular lunch destination, so be patient.

Pagoda Café

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Pagoda Cafe breakfast tacos are legendary in this town. $3.50 gets you potatoes, egg, and cheese on a Mawi tortilla, with either house-refried beans, bacon, turkey bacon, or tofu, and a side of bright green hot sauce. Still, don’t miss the shop’s savory pastries and sweet treats — think mango chia pudding and guava cream cheese puffs — or the espresso drinks, all of which are under $5.

Parkway Bakery & Tavern

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Folks line up early for Parkway Bakery’s juicy roast beef po’ boy, a four napkin-required sandwich to always order “dressed” — with lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, and pickles. A landmark for rib-sticking eats since 1911, the story goes that Parkway is where the “poor boy” sandwich was invented to feed the round-the-clock workers at the nearby American Can Company when it was still in business. Another tale has the owners of Martin Brothers Coffee Stand sending hearty sandwiches to the city’s striking streetcar operators — aka “poor boys.” Doesn’t matter, the bottom line is that the sandwiches are delish.

Melba's Poboys

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This 24/7 diner-style restaurant is popular for po’ boys, but the platters are cheap and good. Red beans and rice, baked chicken, mac and cheese, baked chicken, wings, fried pork chops, all most delish. Plus, Melba’s daily lunch specials in the $6.99 range are a steal. Oh, get a daiquiri with the money saved on eats. For the ambitious, there’s a 24-hour laundromat as well.

Norma’s Sweets Bakery

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Empanadas and all the savory and sweet pastries at Norma's are all on the crazy cheap, like less than a buck. Find pretty much anything, actually, from this clean and friendly neighborhood spot for a bargain. The food is high-quality and won't set you back more than $10. Try the Cuban, and during Carnival season, the guava cream cheese king cake.

Rosalita's

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When Rosalita’s Backyard Tacos operated out of the easily-missed Rosalie Alley in Bywater, it gained in popularity not just for its great food, but for its affordability. One might expect prices to increase now that’s it’s opened a new, permanent home on St. Claude, but one would be wrong. Tacos are $3-4, and nachos, burritos, tostadas, and quesadillas run between $5 and $10 (margaritas are reasonable, too).

Eat Well Food Mart

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Located on Canal and Broad near a very busy bus stop and the courthouse, this mini mart with a killer food counter is the cheap eats bomb. Spend less than $10 at Eat Well and indulge in an enormous banh mi made before your very eyes AND a cold drink. Plus, there are numerous daily plate specials under $8, pho, steamed buns, ya-ka-mein, and the glorious “phoritto.”

Frady's One Stop Food Store

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Off-beat decor, outlandish stories, and longtime characters — what’s not to like about the longtime cheap eats haven on the corner of Piety and Dauphine? Frady’s is as basic as it gets, but the po’ boys are made to order and the sides are pure comfort (mac and cheese, deviled eggs, fries with gravy). Plate lunch options change daily and the service is real deal New Orleans friendly; orders are to go and it’s cash only.

Bratz Y'all! Bistro

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Bywater beer garden Bratz Y’all serves up a few hearty sandwiches for around $10 as well as giant chewy pretzels best ordered studded with bacon and cheese. Cheesy pretzel dips are also available for just three bucks. Order the “king brat” for a feast of cheese-stuffed pork sausage wrapped in bacon and topped with fried onions and apricot chili sauce, rib-sticking indeed, especially when washed down by one of the wide variety of German beers in cans and on tap. 

Verti Marte

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It’s not unusual to see folks having a sidewalk picnic outside of Verti Mart, the 24/7 convenience mart and deli on the quiet side of Royal Street in the Quarter. Bring cash — it’s all they take — and fill up on grilled to order burgers, smoked sausage on a bun, or tuna salad. Just about everything on the menu hovers in the $5-$10 range and portions are satisfyingly large. Amazingly, free delivery is offered to the Quarter and bordering neighborhoods.

Brasted/Eater NOLA

Turtle Bay

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Discount rib eye can be fraught with peril — unless it’s steak night at Turtle Bay in the French Quarter. Get a 10 ounce “petite rib eye” for $14, served with garlic bread and a stuffed potato. Or do like a regular, and order the big’n for $20 and split with a bud. Lots of other eats, but carnivores love this joint. Surprisingly, Turtle Bay also delivers for a $5 service fee — a much preferable option than third-party apps.

The courtyard at Turtle Bay
Turtle Bay/Facebook

Backatown Coffee Parlour

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Backatown, the conveniently-located coffee shop serving up beans from one of the country’s only Black-owned coffee roaster (Bean Fruit in Pearl, Mississippi), is also known for seriously great breakfast, soup, paninis, and house-made sweet potato pie (a family recipe of the owner), all reasonably-priced — everything is under $10, including decadent dishes like BBQ crawfish and grits and a smoked salmon bagel sandwich. Quiches, pastries, and other small items go for far less.

Sweet potato pie
Backatown Coffee Parlour

Singleton's Mini Mart

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Korean barbecue pork po’ boys, shrimp po’ boys, and Vietnamese specialties for under $10 are a good reason to keep this tidy corner store on your radar. On Saturdays, Singleton’s serves big, restorative bowls of beef pho for $8.99.

Pho and vermicelli at Singleton’s
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Dat Dog

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In addition to a lively atmosphere, good cocktails, and fun outdoor seating, Dat Dog offers hot dogs in a slew of tail-wagging iterations at three New Orleans locations. Choose vegan, all beef, or spicy pork dogs dressed in the likes of sauerkraut, bacon and cheese and crawfish etouffee. Reserve a spot on the balcony or patio and dig in.

Shawarma on the Go at Jetgo Gas Station

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Like boudin and cracklin in Cajun country, falafel and shwarma have found glory in the humble New Orleans gas station. Shawarma on the Go is in residence in the Jetgo gas station on Magazine Street between Louisiana and Napoleon, where cones of shwarma meat glisten provocatively and the falafel is some of the best in the city. All sandwiches, salads, and sides are less than $10, so don’t drive by this place.

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Dong Phuong Oriental Bakery

The banh mi at Dong Phuong are so cheap that it’s worth the gas money to get yourself deep in the East to chow on one or even two. Order by number and be quick about it, and while waiting look at all the awesome baked goods made on-site. Boxes of banh mi (try the Chinese roasted pork and Vietnamese grilled pork), meat pies, bao, and more are all available to order online for pickup, or stop by to grab individually.

World Deli

Mini muffaletta platter from World Deli
World Deli/Facebook

Metairie-ites in the know adore this family run po’ boy and platter shop on Clearview, and with good reason. World Deli dishes large portions of homestyle eats, from sandwiches and salads to daily dinner specials in the $10 range, filling plates of red beans and rice, pork chops and mashed potatoes and beef strew, served with veg of the day and garlic bread.

Mini muffaletta platter from World Deli
World Deli/Facebook

Kosher Cajun NY Deli & Grocery

Pastrami on rye from Kosher Cajun NY Deli
Kosher Cajun NY Deli & Grocery/Facebook

This New York-style deli on Severn is a gem worth discovering to satisfy a craving for hot pastrami on rye, ordered by the quarter pound, bagel and whitefish salad, or a Coney Island dog. Kosher Cajun NY Deli does a lot of catering, including offering chopped liver by the pound, gefilte fish and matzoh ball soup to go. Closed on Saturday for shabbat.

Pastrami on rye from Kosher Cajun NY Deli
Kosher Cajun NY Deli & Grocery/Facebook

Fiorella's Cafe, the Original

Fiorella’s fried chicken
Yelp/Lacey D.

So this fried chicken and Italian food family joint is a Gentilly gem. Two pieces of chicken with two sides, like fries or potato salad or a garden salad come to just $7.50, a total steal. Everything is made there and all platters are huge. Get a Fiorella’s half stromboli for a baked Italian sandwich treat.

Fiorella’s fried chicken
Yelp/Lacey D.

McHardy's Chicken & Fixin'

McHardy’s on North Broad serves up some of New Orleans’ best fried chicken at some of the most affordable prices you’ll ever find, made by one of the nicest families you’ll ever meet. Coming in at under $5 for 5 pieces, the peppery and dark McHardy’s chicken won the 2018 “best fried chicken” at the ultra-competitive New Orleans Fried Chicken Festival. Always busy and ever-efficient with huge Mardi Gras orders, the sides are just as good as the chicken, especially the fried okra, rice and beans, and mac and cheese.

Banh Mi Boys

Smoked brisket banh mi from Banh Mi Boys
Banh Mi Boys/Facebook

The pocket-sized Banh Mi Boys knows no bounds and it’s impossible to go wrong with anything on its playful, affordable menu. Sure, it’s not the cheapest on the list, but quality is high, and owner Peter Nguyen works hard to keep costs relatively low for the customer, no easy feat with current supply challenges. A second location, franchised by a local couple, is now open in Orleans Parish on Magazine Street.

Smoked brisket banh mi from Banh Mi Boys
Banh Mi Boys/Facebook

Coco Hut Carribean Restaurant

This Bayou Road restaurant is a 7th ward institution, serving heaping plates of Jamaican comfort food at reasonable prices for years now. The jerk chicken is glorious, unsurprisingly, as is the goat and snapper; all come in platters for less than $15. Daily specials and a handful of tables out front make this a popular lunch destination, so be patient.

Pagoda Café

Pagoda Cafe breakfast tacos are legendary in this town. $3.50 gets you potatoes, egg, and cheese on a Mawi tortilla, with either house-refried beans, bacon, turkey bacon, or tofu, and a side of bright green hot sauce. Still, don’t miss the shop’s savory pastries and sweet treats — think mango chia pudding and guava cream cheese puffs — or the espresso drinks, all of which are under $5.

Parkway Bakery & Tavern

Folks line up early for Parkway Bakery’s juicy roast beef po’ boy, a four napkin-required sandwich to always order “dressed” — with lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, and pickles. A landmark for rib-sticking eats since 1911, the story goes that Parkway is where the “poor boy” sandwich was invented to feed the round-the-clock workers at the nearby American Can Company when it was still in business. Another tale has the owners of Martin Brothers Coffee Stand sending hearty sandwiches to the city’s striking streetcar operators — aka “poor boys.” Doesn’t matter, the bottom line is that the sandwiches are delish.

Melba's Poboys

This 24/7 diner-style restaurant is popular for po’ boys, but the platters are cheap and good. Red beans and rice, baked chicken, mac and cheese, baked chicken, wings, fried pork chops, all most delish. Plus, Melba’s daily lunch specials in the $6.99 range are a steal. Oh, get a daiquiri with the money saved on eats. For the ambitious, there’s a 24-hour laundromat as well.

Norma’s Sweets Bakery

Empanadas and all the savory and sweet pastries at Norma's are all on the crazy cheap, like less than a buck. Find pretty much anything, actually, from this clean and friendly neighborhood spot for a bargain. The food is high-quality and won't set you back more than $10. Try the Cuban, and during Carnival season, the guava cream cheese king cake.