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Two turkey bacon clubs with cheese and lettuce sit on a green and white checked paper.
Turkey bacon clubs from Sammy’s Avenue Eatery.
Sammy’s Avenue Eatery

15 Budget-Friendly Restaurants in the Twin Cities

Local feasts around the $10 mark, or less

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Turkey bacon clubs from Sammy’s Avenue Eatery.
| Sammy’s Avenue Eatery

No need to break the bank to find a great meal around the Twin Cities. Northeast Minneapolis in particular is a hot spot for excellent cheap eats, but whether you’re on the hunt for a steaming bowl of pho, a turkey melt, or a falafel platter, these restaurants across the Cities won’t disappoint. Some of them do have pricier meals on the menu, if you’re in the mood to splurge a little, but all have at least a handful of good options around the $10 mark, or below. Here are 15 affordable restaurants in the Twin Cities.

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.

Que Viet Village House

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Known for massive egg rolls on a stick during the state fair (sniff sniff), Que Viet’s egg fu young dishes are equally craveable. Fresh veggies and protein ensconced in impossibly fluffy eggs create ethereal pillows that are at once light and substantial. Most days a serving is enough for at least two meals… most days.

Marino's Deli

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A classic Italian deli in Northeast Minneapolis, Marino’s has been around — first as a cafe, now as a full-service deli — since 1969. Grab a sandwich for lunch (the house sub, heaped with genoa salami, cappocollo, provolone, and meatballs is a great bet) and add on sides like spaghetti, Italian sausage, and garlic bread, all in the two to three dollar range. Save room for cannoli, of course.

Maya Cuisine

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We’re still waiting for a taco truck on every corner, but until then, stop by Maya Cuisine on Central Avenue for platters of tacos, huaraches and tamales for ten dollars or less. Even better, individual tacos are only $3.15. Maya Cuisine also has a great weekend brunch buffet.

Zakia Deli

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Stop by Zakia for some of the Cities’ best Greek and Lebanese food. This is a great spot for a quick gyro or kibbi to go, but if you have more time, don’t hesitate to dine in on the bright little patio. Specials rotate daily (think lamb shank, bazella and rice, and savory loubieh, a green bean stew), and a piece of baklava or honey cake is a must to finish off the meal.

A lamb shank sits in a bowl of rice on a table with vegetables in the foreground.
A lamb shank from Zakia Deli.
Zakia Deli

Uncle Franky's

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Nothing beats a good dog for a cheap and satisfying lunch. Even a double dog at Uncle Franky’s is under $10. While the tiny Minneapolis spot is famous for its hotdogs, and rightfully so, give their version of a Juicy Lucy a try for around $8, or the triple (yes, triple!) Windy City Burger for $7.50. Plan for a nap immediately afterwards. 

Emily's Lebanese Deli

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This mom and pop eatery has been around for almost half a century, serving platters of hummus, baba ghanoush and some of the best kibbi in town. Best bet for lunch? The appetizer platter and a Lebanese salad for under $20, or the fried kibbi sandwich for just over $10. 

Sammy’s Avenue Eatery

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Chef Sammy McDowell opened Sammy’s Avenue Eatery in 2012, and it’s since become a mainstay of Broadway Avenue. Stop by for a turkey bacon club, a chicken teriyaki sandwich, or a chicken salad sandwich, all around $6.75 — for a quick, hearty breakfast, the egg sandwiches all clock in around $5. If you can, come on a day when McDowell is collaborating with local chefs on a soul food menu (think smothered chicken and rice or cheeseburger meatloaf).

Two subs with bacon, turkey, provolone, lettuce and tomato in buns on a a green and white checkered paper.
Turkey clubs from Sammy’s.
Sammy’s Avenue Eatery

Lu's Sandwiches

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Lu’s serves some of the best banh mi around: The baguettes crackle beautifully around the tender meat, and the zippy vegetables balance it all out. You can’t go wrong with the classic grilled pork, but options like the Special Ham, made with Vietnamese meatloaf and pork belly, or the pork meatballs (marinated Shanghai-style) are also great bets. Grab some doughy sesame balls for a sweet bite of dessert.

Tacos El Kevin

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Don’t miss Tacos El Kevin. Tucked a little building on Portland Avenue that’s painted with bright stripes of green, yellow, and blue, it’s one of the Cities’ best bets for tacos. Keep it classic with barbacoa or carnitas, or go for the crispy tacos dorados. (If you’re on the hunt for something heartier, try the mojarra frita and dig into a whole fried fish.)

Bull's Horn Food and Drink

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For under ten bucks, this south Minneapolis dive churns out some excellent classic burgers. Another star of the menu is the fried chicken — it’s pickle brined, which makes the meat extra tender and gives it salty and sweet undertones. Get a whole nine-piece bucket to share, or go for the chicken gizzards as an appetizer.

Conny's Creamy Cone

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This iconic St. Paul soft serve shop is a great spot for a quick sweet bite and a cheeseburger. Conny’s has an impressive array of soft serve flavors, from amaretto and black cherry to pumpkin. (Sauce things up with a butterscotch or crunch dip, if you like.) Grab some onion rings and a chili dog to tee up the perfect summer meal.

Mim's Cafe

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Mim’s is a great St. Paul spot for Middle Eastern cuisine. Start with a creamy plate of hummus drizzled with olive oil, or baba ghanoush with pita. For a main dish, the chicken shawarma and falafel platters are equally delectable.

Two platters of Middle Eastern food on a dark table.
Platters from Mim’s.
Mim’s Cafe

iPho by Saigon

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iPho by Saigon is famous for its 10-pound jumbo pho. Seriously — huge soup bowl or tiny bathtub? Only one way to find out. If you’re not up for the challenge, a regular or XL still hits the spot. iPho offers every kind of meat combo imaginable, from a seafood medley to brisket and flank steak. This broth runs a little on the sweet side, and is laced with anise and cloves.

Trung Nam French Bakery

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Trung Nam may be best known for its banh mi, made with with fresh-baked baguettes. But the dark horse of this Frogtown bakery is its croissants, which come in an array of fruit flavors, from strawberry and apple to blueberry and apricot. Go for the coconut, if it’s available — the flakes are folded into the delicate, airy layers of dough.

A half-eaten croissant sits on a paper napkin on a red table.
A coconut croissant from Trung Nam. 
Justine Jones

El Burrito Mercado

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There are a few ways to eat at El Burrito Mercado, a mainstay of Cesar Chavez Street in St. Paul: Hop in line at the cafeteria-style El Cafe Express, have a seat in the El Cafe Y Bar dining area, or choose from an array of hot and cold items in the deli. Fill up on a savory chorizo burrito, the fluffy tamales, or for breakfast, huevos con machaca.

Two tacos sit on a white plate with a small bowl of birria.
Tacos from El Burrito Mercado.
El Burrito Mercado

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Que Viet Village House

Known for massive egg rolls on a stick during the state fair (sniff sniff), Que Viet’s egg fu young dishes are equally craveable. Fresh veggies and protein ensconced in impossibly fluffy eggs create ethereal pillows that are at once light and substantial. Most days a serving is enough for at least two meals… most days.

Marino's Deli

A classic Italian deli in Northeast Minneapolis, Marino’s has been around — first as a cafe, now as a full-service deli — since 1969. Grab a sandwich for lunch (the house sub, heaped with genoa salami, cappocollo, provolone, and meatballs is a great bet) and add on sides like spaghetti, Italian sausage, and garlic bread, all in the two to three dollar range. Save room for cannoli, of course.

Maya Cuisine

We’re still waiting for a taco truck on every corner, but until then, stop by Maya Cuisine on Central Avenue for platters of tacos, huaraches and tamales for ten dollars or less. Even better, individual tacos are only $3.15. Maya Cuisine also has a great weekend brunch buffet.

Zakia Deli

A lamb shank sits in a bowl of rice on a table with vegetables in the foreground.
A lamb shank from Zakia Deli.
Zakia Deli

Stop by Zakia for some of the Cities’ best Greek and Lebanese food. This is a great spot for a quick gyro or kibbi to go, but if you have more time, don’t hesitate to dine in on the bright little patio. Specials rotate daily (think lamb shank, bazella and rice, and savory loubieh, a green bean stew), and a piece of baklava or honey cake is a must to finish off the meal.

A lamb shank sits in a bowl of rice on a table with vegetables in the foreground.
A lamb shank from Zakia Deli.
Zakia Deli

Uncle Franky's

Nothing beats a good dog for a cheap and satisfying lunch. Even a double dog at Uncle Franky’s is under $10. While the tiny Minneapolis spot is famous for its hotdogs, and rightfully so, give their version of a Juicy Lucy a try for around $8, or the triple (yes, triple!) Windy City Burger for $7.50. Plan for a nap immediately afterwards. 

Emily's Lebanese Deli

This mom and pop eatery has been around for almost half a century, serving platters of hummus, baba ghanoush and some of the best kibbi in town. Best bet for lunch? The appetizer platter and a Lebanese salad for under $20, or the fried kibbi sandwich for just over $10. 

Sammy’s Avenue Eatery

Two subs with bacon, turkey, provolone, lettuce and tomato in buns on a a green and white checkered paper.
Turkey clubs from Sammy’s.
Sammy’s Avenue Eatery

Chef Sammy McDowell opened Sammy’s Avenue Eatery in 2012, and it’s since become a mainstay of Broadway Avenue. Stop by for a turkey bacon club, a chicken teriyaki sandwich, or a chicken salad sandwich, all around $6.75 — for a quick, hearty breakfast, the egg sandwiches all clock in around $5. If you can, come on a day when McDowell is collaborating with local chefs on a soul food menu (think smothered chicken and rice or cheeseburger meatloaf).

Two subs with bacon, turkey, provolone, lettuce and tomato in buns on a a green and white checkered paper.
Turkey clubs from Sammy’s.
Sammy’s Avenue Eatery

Lu's Sandwiches

Lu’s serves some of the best banh mi around: The baguettes crackle beautifully around the tender meat, and the zippy vegetables balance it all out. You can’t go wrong with the classic grilled pork, but options like the Special Ham, made with Vietnamese meatloaf and pork belly, or the pork meatballs (marinated Shanghai-style) are also great bets. Grab some doughy sesame balls for a sweet bite of dessert.

Tacos El Kevin

Don’t miss Tacos El Kevin. Tucked a little building on Portland Avenue that’s painted with bright stripes of green, yellow, and blue, it’s one of the Cities’ best bets for tacos. Keep it classic with barbacoa or carnitas, or go for the crispy tacos dorados. (If you’re on the hunt for something heartier, try the mojarra frita and dig into a whole fried fish.)

Bull's Horn Food and Drink

For under ten bucks, this south Minneapolis dive churns out some excellent classic burgers. Another star of the menu is the fried chicken — it’s pickle brined, which makes the meat extra tender and gives it salty and sweet undertones. Get a whole nine-piece bucket to share, or go for the chicken gizzards as an appetizer.

Conny's Creamy Cone

This iconic St. Paul soft serve shop is a great spot for a quick sweet bite and a cheeseburger. Conny’s has an impressive array of soft serve flavors, from amaretto and black cherry to pumpkin. (Sauce things up with a butterscotch or crunch dip, if you like.) Grab some onion rings and a chili dog to tee up the perfect summer meal.

Mim's Cafe

Two platters of Middle Eastern food on a dark table.
Platters from Mim’s.
Mim’s Cafe

Mim’s is a great St. Paul spot for Middle Eastern cuisine. Start with a creamy plate of hummus drizzled with olive oil, or baba ghanoush with pita. For a main dish, the chicken shawarma and falafel platters are equally delectable.

Two platters of Middle Eastern food on a dark table.
Platters from Mim’s.
Mim’s Cafe

iPho by Saigon

iPho by Saigon is famous for its 10-pound jumbo pho. Seriously — huge soup bowl or tiny bathtub? Only one way to find out. If you’re not up for the challenge, a regular or XL still hits the spot. iPho offers every kind of meat combo imaginable, from a seafood medley to brisket and flank steak. This broth runs a little on the sweet side, and is laced with anise and cloves.

Trung Nam French Bakery

A half-eaten croissant sits on a paper napkin on a red table.
A coconut croissant from Trung Nam. 
Justine Jones

Trung Nam may be best known for its banh mi, made with with fresh-baked baguettes. But the dark horse of this Frogtown bakery is its croissants, which come in an array of fruit flavors, from strawberry and apple to blueberry and apricot. Go for the coconut, if it’s available — the flakes are folded into the delicate, airy layers of dough.

A half-eaten croissant sits on a paper napkin on a red table.
A coconut croissant from Trung Nam. 
Justine Jones

El Burrito Mercado

Two tacos sit on a white plate with a small bowl of birria.
Tacos from El Burrito Mercado.
El Burrito Mercado

There are a few ways to eat at El Burrito Mercado, a mainstay of Cesar Chavez Street in St. Paul: Hop in line at the cafeteria-style El Cafe Express, have a seat in the El Cafe Y Bar dining area, or choose from an array of hot and cold items in the deli. Fill up on a savory chorizo burrito, the fluffy tamales, or for breakfast, huevos con machaca.

Two tacos sit on a white plate with a small bowl of birria.
Tacos from El Burrito Mercado.
El Burrito Mercado

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