clock menu more-arrow no yes

10 Seattle Chefs Pick Their Go-To Cheap Meals

View as Map

Some people imagine that chefs get done cooking up gorgeous food for their patrons and then immediately head back to the kitchen to make themselves a five course self-selected omakase meal. Not so, for the most part, since chefs are just like us!

For Eater Cheap Eats Week, we quizzed the local talent on their favorite spots to grab an inexpensive bite to eat. Some of our favorite places popped up, and some ended up on our own "to eat" list. Check em out and then hit the comments to weigh in on your favorite cheap spots for solid food.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Aaron Willis, Delicatus

Copy Link
217 James St
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 538-0999
Visit Website
Since the Little Uncle crew left me with a broken heart, it's been hard to find a go-to replacement in my hood. JP and the boys always have something good at Il Corvo, but I can never decide on one pasta, so my cheap eats becomes a $20 adventure real quick! Though I do leave fat, full, and happy.

I've been known to hit up Grand Central Bakery for some soup and an afternoon sweet, too ($7). My craving for sweets never goes away...

Lastly, being a Tacoma guy, by the time I get home at night, fast food is generally my only option. Luckily, my neighborhood in Tacoma has the best slow, fast food there is: Frisko Freeze drive-in. I'll call my order in as I walk off the bus and by the time I get there, my bacon burger, large fries, and chocolate peanut butter shake are ready. Heaven for 10 bucks. [Photo Credit]

2. Brian Clevenger, Vendemmia

Copy Link
14820 Ambaum Blvd SW
Burien, WA 98166
(206) 439-3944
Taqueria La Estacion in Burien is awesome and super cheap. It’s a pretty far commute to Burien, but well worth it. I would recommend getting a couple different tacos and tamales and the beer is also cheap. Grab your tacos and sit on the patio!

Tsukushinbo in the ID is great. I know many people are going to look at this and say “that place isn’t cheap!’ Well, actually it is. The rolls start at $6 and go to $12! Those are happy hour prices. It is fairly difficult to get into, but totally worth the wait. The seafood here is really good and extremely approachable in price. I go mainly for the sushi rolls and for the specials. On Fridays they have old school Tokyo ramen with sliced pork, vegetables, rice, and 3 dumplings for $8.95!

Lastly, everyone knows you should go to the truck in Ballard: El Camion. Get the burrito with any meat and you will be full for a week! [Photo Credit: Lou Daprille]

3. Brian O'Connor, Roux

Copy Link
11205 16th Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98146
(206) 661-4181
I like Tung Kee Mi Gia in Burien. It’s a photo on the wall of the food kinda place, but they have great pho and noodle dishes, sports on TV all the time, and it’s super affordable. [Photo Credit: Courtesy of Brian O'Connor]

4. Derek May, Percy’s & Co

Copy Link
209 Broadway East
Seattle, WA 98102
I’m a big fan of grabbing the pork belly tacos from Neon Taco on Capitol Hill. That's my absolute go-to. [Photo Credit]

5. Edouardo Jordan, Salare

Copy Link
1510 E Olive Way
Seattle, WA 98122
For a late night snack after work, you can’t beat Kedai Makan. I always get the Ramly burger (duh) or the Nasi Goreng (Malaysian fried rice with a runny egg).

I definitely hit up Jade Garden, usually with a bunch of people late at night, so it's typically a free-for-all for ordering. We get the walnut shrimp, beef and broccoli, fried rice, pork dumplings, shrimp dumplings....

I love grabbing a burger from Red Mill, and Il Corvo is solid: Not really cheap-cheap, but not very expensive. Any pasta hits the spot. [Photo Credit: Kyle Johnson]

6. Ethan Stowell, ESR

Copy Link
2414 1st Ave S
Seattle, WA 98134
(206) 382-9256
For myself for lunch during the week, I go to Pho Cyclo and order a small #15 (Pho with the works: rare steak, flank, fatty flank, tendon, tripe, and meatball). It's super quick, healthy, and not totally fast food; a great way for me to have a quick good meal when I'm busy at work. I probably go once or twice a week.

On Saturday mornings, my Dads Group (quick shout out to Vince, John, Ariel, Dan, and Burton) often goes to the zoo with our 2-3 year old sons and dim sum at Bamboo Village always follows. Dim sum is an awesome thing to do with kids because it's interactive, good, and super fast. And the kids love it! At around $15, it’s totally affordable for the amount of food and fun you get. [Photo Credit: Geoffrey Smith]

7. Lisa Nakamura, Gnocchi Bar

Copy Link
1533 Pike Place Market
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 682-6780
Visit Website
The curry beef humbow from Mee Sum Pastry at the [Pike Place] Market. It has just the right amount of spice, is super yummy, and fills the hole in my stomach.

Also Osaka Teriyaki on the corner of 2nd Ave and Pike. Don't let appearances fool you. It’s the best $7 teriyaki lunch and the sauce isn't too sweet. [Photo Credit: Denise Sakaki]

8. Maria Hines, Tilth, Agrodolce, Golden Beetle

Copy Link
6705 Greenwood Ave N
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 706-7807
Visit Website
I was a big fan of Burger Hero for a solid burger before it closed. I love Mai Thaiku in Greenwood. They do really good, authentic Thai food and the spicy is actually spicy and the sour is really sour. It's not dumbed down with too much sweetness, like a lot of Thai places in Seattle. I could eat the Mieng Kahm (fresh ginger, lime, chili, red onion, peanuts and toasted coconut to wrap in bai cha plu leaves), and the Pla Neung Manao (Steamed white fish in a spicy garlic-lime broth with sliced garlic, lime and cilantro) every day. [Photo Credit]

9. Rajah Gargour, Cafe Munir

Copy Link
5506 22nd Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 783-2262
Visit Website
I like getting pieces of unagi at Sam’s Sushi in Ballard. I’m always into hunks of Chinese BBQ too. I change it up, but King’s BBQ House is good — especially the duck — and you can eat way too much for under $20. [Photo Credit]

10. Shane Robinson, Kraken Congee

Copy Link
90 Yesler Way
Seattle, WA 98104
Being that I do not get to leave my block of the restaurant very much after opening, it’s great to have a neighbor like The Faerie Queene. Whenever I need to slip out for a bite and a beer between lunch and dinner services, this is my go-to. They have great deals on oysters (a half dozen for $14), the clams and linguini is super duper ($13), and the French dip is the my jam at $10. The sandwich includes a side salad and is a great value for the portion and quality of the meal. Hours are kinda limited but it works out well for my needs.[Photo Credit]

1. Aaron Willis, Delicatus

217 James St, Seattle, WA 98104
Since the Little Uncle crew left me with a broken heart, it's been hard to find a go-to replacement in my hood. JP and the boys always have something good at Il Corvo, but I can never decide on one pasta, so my cheap eats becomes a $20 adventure real quick! Though I do leave fat, full, and happy.

I've been known to hit up Grand Central Bakery for some soup and an afternoon sweet, too ($7). My craving for sweets never goes away...

Lastly, being a Tacoma guy, by the time I get home at night, fast food is generally my only option. Luckily, my neighborhood in Tacoma has the best slow, fast food there is: Frisko Freeze drive-in. I'll call my order in as I walk off the bus and by the time I get there, my bacon burger, large fries, and chocolate peanut butter shake are ready. Heaven for 10 bucks. [Photo Credit]

217 James St
Seattle, WA 98104

2. Brian Clevenger, Vendemmia

14820 Ambaum Blvd SW, Burien, WA 98166
Taqueria La Estacion in Burien is awesome and super cheap. It’s a pretty far commute to Burien, but well worth it. I would recommend getting a couple different tacos and tamales and the beer is also cheap. Grab your tacos and sit on the patio!

Tsukushinbo in the ID is great. I know many people are going to look at this and say “that place isn’t cheap!’ Well, actually it is. The rolls start at $6 and go to $12! Those are happy hour prices. It is fairly difficult to get into, but totally worth the wait. The seafood here is really good and extremely approachable in price. I go mainly for the sushi rolls and for the specials. On Fridays they have old school Tokyo ramen with sliced pork, vegetables, rice, and 3 dumplings for $8.95!

Lastly, everyone knows you should go to the truck in Ballard: El Camion. Get the burrito with any meat and you will be full for a week! [Photo Credit: Lou Daprille]

14820 Ambaum Blvd SW
Burien, WA 98166

3. Brian O'Connor, Roux

11205 16th Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98146
I like Tung Kee Mi Gia in Burien. It’s a photo on the wall of the food kinda place, but they have great pho and noodle dishes, sports on TV all the time, and it’s super affordable. [Photo Credit: Courtesy of Brian O'Connor]
11205 16th Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98146

4. Derek May, Percy’s & Co

209 Broadway East, Seattle, WA 98102
I’m a big fan of grabbing the pork belly tacos from Neon Taco on Capitol Hill. That's my absolute go-to. [Photo Credit]
209 Broadway East
Seattle, WA 98102

5. Edouardo Jordan, Salare

1510 E Olive Way, Seattle, WA 98122
For a late night snack after work, you can’t beat Kedai Makan. I always get the Ramly burger (duh) or the Nasi Goreng (Malaysian fried rice with a runny egg).

I definitely hit up Jade Garden, usually with a bunch of people late at night, so it's typically a free-for-all for ordering. We get the walnut shrimp, beef and broccoli, fried rice, pork dumplings, shrimp dumplings....

I love grabbing a burger from Red Mill, and Il Corvo is solid: Not really cheap-cheap, but not very expensive. Any pasta hits the spot. [Photo Credit: Kyle Johnson]

1510 E Olive Way
Seattle, WA 98122

6. Ethan Stowell, ESR

2414 1st Ave S, Seattle, WA 98134
For myself for lunch during the week, I go to Pho Cyclo and order a small #15 (Pho with the works: rare steak, flank, fatty flank, tendon, tripe, and meatball). It's super quick, healthy, and not totally fast food; a great way for me to have a quick good meal when I'm busy at work. I probably go once or twice a week.

On Saturday mornings, my Dads Group (quick shout out to Vince, John, Ariel, Dan, and Burton) often goes to the zoo with our 2-3 year old sons and dim sum at Bamboo Village always follows. Dim sum is an awesome thing to do with kids because it's interactive, good, and super fast. And the kids love it! At around $15, it’s totally affordable for the amount of food and fun you get. [Photo Credit: Geoffrey Smith]

2414 1st Ave S
Seattle, WA 98134

7. Lisa Nakamura, Gnocchi Bar

1533 Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA 98101
The curry beef humbow from Mee Sum Pastry at the [Pike Place] Market. It has just the right amount of spice, is super yummy, and fills the hole in my stomach.

Also Osaka Teriyaki on the corner of 2nd Ave and Pike. Don't let appearances fool you. It’s the best $7 teriyaki lunch and the sauce isn't too sweet. [Photo Credit: Denise Sakaki]

1533 Pike Place Market
Seattle, WA 98101

8. Maria Hines, Tilth, Agrodolce, Golden Beetle

6705 Greenwood Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103
I was a big fan of Burger Hero for a solid burger before it closed. I love Mai Thaiku in Greenwood. They do really good, authentic Thai food and the spicy is actually spicy and the sour is really sour. It's not dumbed down with too much sweetness, like a lot of Thai places in Seattle. I could eat the Mieng Kahm (fresh ginger, lime, chili, red onion, peanuts and toasted coconut to wrap in bai cha plu leaves), and the Pla Neung Manao (Steamed white fish in a spicy garlic-lime broth with sliced garlic, lime and cilantro) every day. [Photo Credit]
6705 Greenwood Ave N
Seattle, WA 98103

9. Rajah Gargour, Cafe Munir

5506 22nd Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107
I like getting pieces of unagi at Sam’s Sushi in Ballard. I’m always into hunks of Chinese BBQ too. I change it up, but King’s BBQ House is good — especially the duck — and you can eat way too much for under $20. [Photo Credit]
5506 22nd Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107

10. Shane Robinson, Kraken Congee

90 Yesler Way, Seattle, WA 98104
Being that I do not get to leave my block of the restaurant very much after opening, it’s great to have a neighbor like The Faerie Queene. Whenever I need to slip out for a bite and a beer between lunch and dinner services, this is my go-to. They have great deals on oysters (a half dozen for $14), the clams and linguini is super duper ($13), and the French dip is the my jam at $10. The sandwich includes a side salad and is a great value for the portion and quality of the meal. Hours are kinda limited but it works out well for my needs.[Photo Credit]
90 Yesler Way
Seattle, WA 98104

Related Maps