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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

19 essential affordable dining destinations in New Orleans, from muffulettas to shawarma and even ribeye

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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 that 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 takes care of business at most of these restaurants, prices have recently increased at some, for obvious reasons (waves hands). Still, some have even cheaper chow if you peruse the menu.

As always, send a note if we left out one of your favorites, and for a French Quarter-specific guide, see here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

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.

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.

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.

Kosher Cajun NY Deli & Grocery on the first day of Passover 2021.
Clair Lorell/Eater NOLA

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 cheap.

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.

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.

three gourmet hot dogs sit on paper on a wooden table surrounded by condiments like pickles, cheese, and peppers Dat Dog/Official Photo

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.

Guava and cream cheese king cake from Norma’s Sweets Bakery. 
Clair Lorell/Eater NOLA

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.”

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.

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.

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

Quartermaster Deli

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Don’t expect to sit down at this cramped French Quarter deli, but for a sandwich on the go, piled high with deli meats or if a po’ boy, fried shrimp and oysters, this is a hidden gem. There’s also breakfast, barbecue plates, and late-night bites like jalapeno poppers, wings, and a cheap as hell corn dog. Other favorites include the mac and cheese, burgers, and meatloaf. Bring cash. Did we mention it’s 24/7?

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” served with garlic bread and a stuffed potato. Or do like a regular, and order the big’n and split with a friend. 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.

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.

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.

A simple storefront with a Fiorella’s Cafe sign sitting on top of the roof. Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

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.

William A. Morgan/Shutterstock

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).

Rosalita’s outdoor seating 
Clair Lorell/Eater NOLA

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World Deli

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.

Banh Mi Boys

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.

Kosher Cajun NY Deli & Grocery

Kosher Cajun NY Deli & Grocery on the first day of Passover 2021.
Clair Lorell/Eater NOLA

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.

Kosher Cajun NY Deli & Grocery on the first day of Passover 2021.
Clair Lorell/Eater NOLA

Singleton's Mini Mart

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 cheap.

Shawarma on the Go at Jetgo Gas Station

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.

Dat Dog

three gourmet hot dogs sit on paper on a wooden table surrounded by condiments like pickles, cheese, and peppers Dat Dog/Official Photo

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.

three gourmet hot dogs sit on paper on a wooden table surrounded by condiments like pickles, cheese, and peppers Dat Dog/Official Photo

Norma’s Sweets Bakery

Guava and cream cheese king cake from Norma’s Sweets Bakery. 
Clair Lorell/Eater NOLA

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.

Guava and cream cheese king cake from Norma’s Sweets Bakery. 
Clair Lorell/Eater NOLA

Eat Well Food Mart

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.”

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.

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.

Backatown Coffee Parlour

Sweet potato pie
Backatown Coffee Parlour

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

Quartermaster Deli

Don’t expect to sit down at this cramped French Quarter deli, but for a sandwich on the go, piled high with deli meats or if a po’ boy, fried shrimp and oysters, this is a hidden gem. There’s also breakfast, barbecue plates, and late-night bites like jalapeno poppers, wings, and a cheap as hell corn dog. Other favorites include the mac and cheese, burgers, and meatloaf. Bring cash. Did we mention it’s 24/7?

Verti Marte

Brasted/Eater NOLA

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

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” served with garlic bread and a stuffed potato. Or do like a regular, and order the big’n and split with a friend. 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.

Related Maps

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.

Fiorella's Cafe, the Original

A simple storefront with a Fiorella’s Cafe sign sitting on top of the roof. Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

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.

A simple storefront with a Fiorella’s Cafe sign sitting on top of the roof. Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

Frady's One Stop Food Store

William A. Morgan/Shutterstock

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.

William A. Morgan/Shutterstock

Rosalita's

Rosalita’s outdoor seating 
Clair Lorell/Eater NOLA

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).

Rosalita’s outdoor seating 
Clair Lorell/Eater NOLA

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