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Best Cheap Eats in San Diego

by Dhriti

Tacos, oysters, fine wine- have it all without giving much thought about your wallet

San Diego- a melting pot of diverse cultures and traditions that have given birth to some of America’s most delicate dishes and top chefs, also produces fresh ingredients and has access to seafood from the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez. With unmatched taco culture, craft beer, and ultra-fresh seafood directly from the pier to the plate, you can find many best cheap eats in San Diego.

San Diego has been a haven for connoisseurs of food. The city has got killer burgers, loaded pizzas, finely crafted beer, and the best tacos to let you taste the authentic Mexican cuisines.

There’s a lot to explore, experience, and a lot to taste in San Diego. From cash-only Vietnamese eateries to cheap Mexican food joints, you can have it all without blowing your budget.

I spent two years in this fantastic city and knew ‘how to roam like a local and eat like a local’. Here is a guide to San Diego’s best-rated, budget restaurants that will help you save a lot of bucks.

1. Lourdes Mexican Food

Address: 650 S Escondido Blvd, Escondido, CA 92025

Price: 3$-16$

I visited one of my friends living in one of the Escondido neighborhoods when he brought me to this place, and that’s how my love for their signature chicken soup started.

Just 30 minutes drive from San Diego, you can dine in a delicious dinner at Lourdes Mexican food on a small budget. Isn’t it luring? The exterior and the interior may not entice you, but believe me, they serve the best chicken soup in town. A pinch of secret spices, a chicken, and hard work is all they need to offer you the most delicious soup.

Despite having a vast menu that offers tortas, quesadillas, burritos, and tacos, chicken soup is what brings people in the door.

2. Hinotez

Address: 7947 Balboa Ave,

San Diego, CA 92111

Price: 4$-16$

If you are a fan of ramen, kimchi, Tako Wasa, sashimi, and any Japanese food, Hinotez is one of the cheap eats in San Diego that has a varied menu fully dedicated to Japanese cuisines. Whether you admire the decor, the warm hospitality of the staff, or relish the BBQ pork with a craft beer or house wine, Hinotez has nothing to discourage you from visiting them again and again.

The exterior and the interior may deceive you as you may think Hinotez to be an expensive Japanese restaurant. However, believe me when I say that for only 13$ you can enjoy a drink and some teriyaki chicken.

3. Steamy Piggy

Address: 4681 Convoy St. Suite A

San Diego, CA 92111

Price: 4$-13$

You will be welcomed with warm hospitality, cozy vibes, and delicious Korean, Japanese, and classic Chinese cuisines inside the restaurant. They use only fresh herbs and ingredients and use hand-pulled noodles and in-house dumplings, which make their dishes fresh, exotic, and delicious. From the preparation to bringing it to your plate, they make it from scratch.

The diverse menu of Steamy Piggy is designed to serve all taste buds. Whether you are craving some sweet, spicy, hot, cold, or savory, they have your palette covered.

4. Taco Love Mobile Catering

Address: 4637 Market St.

San Diego, CA 92102

Price: 5$-13$

When you are in San Diego, all you need is lots of love and loads of tacos. Not sure about true love, but I was blessed to have tacos stuffed with meticulously seasoned fillings and honest feelings of the chef. Well, let me clear this- I am not bragging here. Whenever I am in the area, I never miss the chance to grab some tacos or burritos, or enchiladas from Taco Love Mobile Catering. It is indeed one of the best cheap eats in San Diego.

5. Lolita’s Mexican Food

Address: 413 Telegraph Canyon Rd. Chula Vista

CA 91910

Price: 3$-15$

I am not sure about the other locations of Lolita’s Mexican Food, but the one near Telegraph Canyon Road serves amazing burritos with carna asada and french fries. However, what made me visit Lolita’s twice was their shrimp and fish tacos. The fish tacos are stuffed with grilled basa fillet, cabbage, salsa Mexicana, and salsa blanca. The shrimp tacos are filled with grilled shrimp, lettuce, salsa Mexicana, and salsa blanca.

It is not a Herculean task to find cheap eats in San Diego. The food scene of San Diego is an amalgamation of different immigrant communities who brought their flavors along with them and blended them with local cuisines. There are food trucks, small eateries, and street food vendors where you can enjoy a decent meal without paying a hefty amount.

Bon Appetit!

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