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The Best Cheap Eats in Houston

Houston is the fourth-largest city in America, but its claims to fame extend far beyond that! The city is packed with culture, arts, hotels, shopping, nightlife and world-class dining. Whether you’re checking out the famous Space Center Houston, wandering through the Museum District or taking in the beauty of the historic Heights, you can easily keep your days full of fun here. Southern hospitality abounds and mingles with urban sophistication and a laid-back attitude that makes it like no other city in the world. The dining scene here is famous across the region and you can even find amazing eats for cheap in this Texan paradise. Check out our list of where to find the best cheap eats Houston has to offer next time you’re in town.

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The OpenTable Team
19 Restaurants
Updated October 01, 2021
Restaurants:Cafe Ginger, The Union Kitchen (Washington), Fratelli's Ristorante
Price Range:$$ - $$
Cuisines:Chinese, Contemporary American, Italian
Neighborhoods:River Oaks, Heights / Washington, Spring Branch
A photo of Cafe Ginger restaurant

Cafe Ginger

$$$$
Chinese
River Oaks
4.5
406 reviews
Cafe Ginger, located in the Galleria/Uptown neighborhood of Houston, is one of the city’s best affordable restaurants. The Japanese-Chinese fusion draws in both locals and visitors alike and the upscale atmosphere makes it a perfect spot for a date or a meetup with friends or colleagues. The cafe focuses on top quality, hand-prepared sushi dishes and a side of delicious Chinese-traditional foods. Try to wonton soup, Mongolian Beef, Spicy and Tangy Pork of the Salt and Pepper Soft Shell Crab.

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A photo of The Union Kitchen (Washington) restaurant

The Union Kitchen (Washington)

$$$$
Contemporary American
Heights / Washington
4.5
487 reviews
This Union Kitchen outpost offers a unique menu of Contemporary American and Continental cuisine. They focus on sandwiches, wraps, entree salads and some of the best burgers in Houston. They also have an extensive and well-curated wine list and a fantastic build your own bloody mary bar for brunch. The weekend menu provides a great deal and features four different styles of eggs Benedict, a lobster omelette, Fruit Crepes and Breakfast Tacos.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Fratelli's Ristorante restaurant

Fratelli's Ristorante

$$$$
Italian
Spring Branch
4.7
813 reviews
Fratelli’s, located on Wirt Road in Spring Branch, is a casual but refined Italian restaurant and a great place for affordable food on the Houston culinary scene. It focuses on Italian food from all over the country, including homemade pastas, seafood and fine meats with an Italian spin. Recently taken over by new owners, this mainstay has a very quaint and charming feel and is an important part of Houston's history. They offer seating in the cozy dining room as well as on the spacious patio. The expansive menu offers delicious and affordable options like the Heirloom Beet Salad, Roasted Crab Cakes, and stone oven pizzas.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Lucille's restaurant

Lucille's

$$$$
Comfort Food
W. University / Med Center
4.4
1836 reviews
Lucille’s is a casual dining comfort food spot located on Branch Street in the West University / Med Center neighborhood. The Williams’ Brothers, who opened the place, set out to continue their Great-Grandmother Lucille’s legacy and carry it forward with Lucille’s. They focus on the culinary art history of Southern cooking and delight diners with new flavor combinations and infusions of gourmet techniques. Specialties on the cheap side include the Chicken Fried Steak and the Oxtail Omelete.

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A photo of Down House restaurant

Down House

$$$$
Contemporary American
Heights / Washington
4.4
235 reviews
Down House is a funky neighborhood restaurant featuring creative locally sourced food, craft cocktails and an amazing selection of craft beers on tap. Located on Yale Street in the Historic Heights neighborhood, the restaurant sits in a beautifully refurbished bank and makes a great setting to enjoy a delicious and cheap lunch or dinner. You can even dine on their pretty patio if the weather permits! The menu features a wide range of dishes, including giant tacos and fried green tomatoes.

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A photo of Whiskey Cake - Baybrook restaurant

Whiskey Cake - Baybrook

$$$$
American
Friendswood
4.7
1327 reviews
Whiskey Cake, located on Gulf Freeway in Friendswood, has some of the best cheap eats in Houston. They serve up delicious farm-to-kitchen dishes and cocktails made in-house at both the kitchen and bar. They focus on slow-cooking methods on the live wood grill, smoker and spit in order to bring out the full flavor of the food. Kick your feet up in one of the rocking chairs, enjoy a formal table setting in the dining room or relax out on the porch! Menu specialties include the Grilled Texas Redfish and the Chicken and Waffle plate.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Phil and Dereks restaurant

Phil and Dereks

$$$$
Cajun
Downtown
4.2
383 reviews
Phil and Derek’s Restaurant is Houston’s most popular southern Creole and Cajun eatery. They offer tasty mouth-watering dishes and fun, live upbeat Jazz and R&B music. Located in the heart of Downtown, it is the perfect blend of cozy country and downtown cool. The relaxed atmosphere makes the place feel extra warm and inviting with a kick of New Orleans flair to spice things up. The menu changes regularly depending on what the chef feels inspired by that day, but there are plenty of low-cost options including, fried chicken wings, Jambalaya, Fried catfish and cheese grits.

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A photo of Taste Bar + Kitchen restaurant

Taste Bar + Kitchen

$$$$
Comfort Food
Midtown / Montrose
4.4
681 reviews
Taste Bar and Kitchen, located in Midtown, it a great choice if you’re looking for the best cheap eats Houston has to offer. The menu features a wide range of globally-inspired comfort foods at totally affordable prices. Menu highlights include options like the selection of Elevated Chicken and Waffles and Specialty Waffle Options. Or, if you dare, even the Cheeseburger Waffle, served with ground beef, gouda and cheddar cheese cooked inside a delicious buttermilk waffle.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Batanga restaurant

Batanga

$$$$
Tapas / Small Plates
Downtown
3.6
1403 reviews
For delicious small plates that won’t make a big dent in your wallet, check out the menu at Batanga. It’s a casual dining Latin American restaurant on Congress in the First Ward, across from Market Square Park. The central location and low prices make this place a local favorite for the best cheap eats Houston has to offer. Standout menu items include oxtail mole and duck confit tostadas as well as the chilaquiles and vanilla pancakes for brunch.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Crisp - Heights restaurant

Crisp - Heights

$$$$
Contemporary Italian
Heights / Washington
4.4
727 reviews
Crisp Heights, located on Bevis Street, is a great place to go for an after-work drink with friends, colleagues or on a date. They have a solid, and reasonably priced, wine and craft beer menu. Grab a seat on the patio outside if the weather permits and the friendly staff will assist you with their natural Southern hospitality. The Italian fare here is simple and delicious and many of the menu items are super cheap on the Daily Lunch special, including the 10” Personal Pizzas and the Beer Can Chicken Pot Pie. Their specials also discount prices on wine and beer to make for a cheap night out.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Gratify restaurant

Gratify

$$$$
Bistro
Rice Village
4.7
77 reviews
For some of the best cheap southern food to be found in Houston, head to Punk’s Simple Southern. This home-style eatery is all about Southern hospitality married to a healthy dose of swagger and old-fashioned good manners. The menu relies on time-tested recipes passed down through the generations and the prices are just as easy on the eyes as the food is on the stomach! Try specialties like Grandpa Do’s buttermilk biscuits or Pickled Gulf Shrimp tossed in a medley of fresh veggies.

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A photo of Hearsay on the Green restaurant

Hearsay on the Green

$$$$
Contemporary American
Downtown
4.5
1045 reviews
Hearsay on the Green is an upscale but relaxed restaurant located in Downtown, Houston. It sits next to the George R. Brown Convention Center and adjacent to Embassy Suites, making it a perfect stop for those finishing work in the Central Business District or heading into the city for a fun evening out. The menu covers it all, from specialty craft cocktails to NY Strip Steak to Grilled Salmon and more. Check out the Power Lunch Special, which offers a deal on hearty lunch entrees with a complimentary soup or salad.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?


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A photo of The Union Kitchen (Ella Blvd) restaurant

The Union Kitchen (Ella Blvd)

$$$$
Contemporary American
Heights / Washington
4.5
503 reviews
Looking for the best cheap eats Houston offers in the Heights area? Head to The Union Kitchen, the outpost of the original globally-inspired casual dining eatery. They offer a unique menu featuring sandwiches, wraps, entree salads, and some of the best burgers in Houston. For dinner, they serve sizzling hot steaks, chops, chicken dishes and seafood, all for reasonable prices. The owners strive to make Union Kitchen a warm and welcoming place where friends and friendly can come together and enjoy delicious food.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of D'Amico's Italian Market Cafe - Rice Village restaurant

D'Amico's Italian Market Cafe - Rice Village

$$$$
Italian
Rice Village
4.4
345 reviews
For the double win of finding cheap eats at a neighborhood joint that feels like home, head to D’Amico’s Italian Market Cafe! It’s a full service and to-go restaurant specializing in authentic Northern and Southern Sicilian cuisine. Located on Morningdale Suite in the heart of Rice Village, it’s an always-bustling spot where you can find cheap eats as well as a fully-stocked Italian deli and market. Standout items include handmade sandwiches, fire-roasted pizzas, house-made pasta and plenty of delicious seafood.

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A photo of The Union Kitchen (Towne Lake) restaurant

The Union Kitchen (Towne Lake)

$$$$
American
Cypress
4.4
532 reviews
This popular Union Kitchen outpost moved into the former Jaxton’s Grill House & Bar space at The Boardwalk at Towne Lake. It’s the 6th to open in the greater Houston area and this one features a sprawling interior and a big, beautiful outdoor patio. It serves the same great menu of super affordable staples, like burgers, pizzas, wraps and entree salads. The dinner menu highlights heartier fare like steaks, chops, chicken entrees and seafood. They also have great deals at Brunch, like a variety of omelets and carafes of mimosas.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Blanco Cocina + Cantina – Houston restaurant

Blanco Cocina + Cantina – Houston

$$$$
Mexican
Galleria / Uptown
4.7
416 reviews
A great way to get a tasty and filling meal without spending a fortune is by heading to Blanco Tacos and Tequila. This casual Mexican place is located at the Galleria Mall on Level 1 close to Saks Fifth Avenue. It’s the perfect place to stop and refuel while you’re out shopping until you drop. They feature a menu of bold flavors and zesty tequila drinks. Come in for the daily Happy Hour Menu, which features Tacos, Queso, Guacamole and other snacks along with beer and cocktails at great discounts!

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of True Food Kitchen - Woodlands restaurant

True Food Kitchen - Woodlands

$$$$
American
The Woodlands
4.7
671 reviews
True Food Kitchen is a health-driven restaurant that combines nutrient-rich ingredients with a seasonal menu so you can always count on a fresh and healthy meal. The idea here is that food should enhance the way you feel, not weigh you down, and they make sure that delicious dining and conscious nutrition go hand-in-hand. Signature dishes that are on the cheap side include the Spaghetti Squash Casserole, Inside Out Quinoa Burger and Scottish Steelhead. They also have tons of healthful bowls, pizzas, and antioxidant-packed desserts.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Monarch @ Hotel Zaza restaurant

Monarch @ Hotel Zaza

$$$$
Contemporary American
W. University / Med Center
4.4
761 reviews
Sometimes you don’t want to spend a fortune on dinner but you still want to go out in style! If you want a great meal in stylish digs, head to Hotel ZaZa, located on Main Street in the West University / Med Center neighborhood. The dining room and nightlife space here are designed to entice your senses while you eat. During the dinner hour, the room fills with intoxicating aromas, layered flavors and the allure and panache of the local scene. Check out some of the specials on the Lounge Menu, like the West Coast Burger and the Wedge Salad.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of State Fare Kitchen & Bar - Memorial restaurant

State Fare Kitchen & Bar - Memorial

$$$$
American
West Side
4.4
1721 reviews
State Fare Kitchen and Bar is a casual dining spot with cheap eats located in the heart of Memorial City. They serve delicious lunch, dinner and Happy Hour specials throughout the week with brunch on the weekend. The menu features fantastic seasonal Texas comfort food in a refined yet casual atmosphere. You can also grab a seat out on the patio to dine in the open air. The menu has plenty of cheap snacks, including the Southern Sampler, Jalapeno Hushpuppies, “Texas Red” Beef Chili Frito Pie, and more.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

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