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Cheap Eats

The 99 best splurges in the metro under $10

Cheap Eats
Photo by Todd Buchanan

(page 6 of 8)

True Thai

Kabocha squash curry, $8.95

For years, True Thai’s spectacularly fragrant green curry has riveted the Cities’ attention. But lately, the new kabocha-squash red curry, with its sweet and spicy elements, has made choosing only one curry for dinner nearly impossible. ☛ 2627 E. Franklin Ave., Mpls., 612-375-9942, truethairestaurant.com
 

Crescent Moon Bakery & Restaurant

Chicken kourma plate, $8.99

While Crescent Moon is justly famous for its football-shaped Afghani pizzas topped with a spicy, gyros-tasting ground-beef filling and served with a snappy sour cilantro sauce, budget-minded gourmets are advised to head to their Central Avenue location for groaningly large traditional Afghani dishes, like the chicken kourma. It's a grilled-then-sauced plate of lots of chicken, served with a heap of basmati rice, a salad, pita bread, a yogurt sauce, and cilantro sauce—in short, a feast on a plate. ☛ 2339 Central Ave. NE, Mpls., 612-782-0169, crescentmoonfoods.net
 

Quang

Sea bass and shrimp pho, $8.95

Quang is Minneapolis’s classic Vietnamese restaurant. It’s youth- and work- and date-oriented—as opposed to the more family-centered vibe of St. Paul’s Vietnamese restaurants. As befits its young and adventurous crowd, it’s also got a more far-reaching menu. The sea bass and shrimp pho offered Fridays through Sundays is particularly worth seeking out, with the clean, clear flavors of the sea beautifully showcased in the lime- and seafood-based broth. ☛ 2719 Nicollet Ave. S., Mpls., 612-870-4739, quangrestaurant.com
 

CurryUp

Chicken biryani, $8.99

This little knotty-pine-panelled full-service restaurant attached to a grocery store looks like something straight out of the 1970s, but the taste is very now. The best dish is the biryani, in which individual strands of long basmati rice are imbued with the flavor of a dozen subtle spices and served (or packed up for takeout) with a container of fresh yogurt raita and a wealth of lentil papad chips. ☛ 13601 Grove Dr., Maple Grove, 763-416-0473, curryupfoods.com
 

Harry Singh’s Original Caribbean Restaurant

Curry potato chickpea roti, $9.95

Harry Singh’s Caribbean roti dhalpouri, a sort of Caribbean burrito with your choice of filling (the jerk chicken is spicy, the browned-down chicken comforting and stew-like, the potato chickpea fierce and filling) is one of the best street-foods in town. Get it to “eat in” to enjoy some time with Harry, everyone’s Caribbean grandpa. Or get it to-go to pair with a Red Stripe and a movie on your couch. Instant island vacation! ☛ 2653 Nicollet Ave. S., Mpls., 612-729-6181, harrysinghs.com
 

Little Tel-Aviv Café & Restaurant

Falafel and fries, $7.75  

There’s only one authentically Israeli restaurant in the Twin Cities: Little Tel-Aviv in the Calhoun Village shopping center. Almost everyone there orders the falafel, a particularly bright-green herbal version which is stuffed into a handmade pita and slathered with an ivory-colored tahini sauce, all of it served alongside the very homemade, delicious dark-fried French fries. ☛ 3238 W. Lake St., Mpls. 612-929-1111, littletel-aviv.com

Black Sea Restaurant

Beef-shish-kebob plate, $8.95

Little Turkish Black Sea doesn’t look like much, but don’t let that fool you. The food is fresh, great, and astonishingly cheap. The beef-shish-kebob plate is enough to feed a linebacker, and the flavors are so vibrant you’ll forget you’re in St. Paul, not Istanbul. ☛ 737 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul, 651-917-8832, blacksearestaurant.com
 

Hoban

Bi bim bop, $9.95

Eagan’s Hoban is primarily known for its hot-pot casseroles (giant pots of food priced at $30 and designed to serve two people) and its private karaoke rooms (where you can retire after your feast). However, there are even more delicious bargains to be found at this bright and inviting and very authentically Korean spot. Try the bi bim bop, a big pot of rice topped with various vegetables, a fried egg, and some delicious beef stew. Just the fuel you need to belt out “My Sharona” to your friends. ☛ 1989 Silver Bell Rd., Eagan, 651-688-3447, hobanrestaurant.com
 

Kabob’s

Vegetable samosas, $1

Talk about craveable. These fried pastry-pyramids are stuffed with potatoes, peas, and enough spice to obliterate every Garrison Keillor joke about what’s spicy in Minnesota. They’re also so good you’ll start building your week around getting them. Add an order of the just-as-spicy, just-as-craveable “Chicken 65” for $7.99 (or add just about anything else they have on the menu) if you want to eat as well as anyone dining on take-out in London. That said, get it to-go. This place is a total dive—though a great one. ☛ 7814 Portland Ave. S., Bloomington, 952-888-2779; 8085 Wedgewood Ln., Maple Grove, 763-494-6925; thekabobs.com  
 

Bangkok Thai Deli

Larb kai (ground chicken salad), $8.00

Three words come to mind when describing the Bangkok Thai Deli, last year‘s food-blogger sensation. The first word is odd. Odd because the main dining room is in a sort of interior courtyard in an industrial building in Frogtown. To get to it you cut through the supermarket and look for long church-basement communal tables ringed by photo murals of food that look as if they were transported in a time machine from 1970s Bangkok. The next two words are spectacularly delicious, because everything off the exquisitely authentic menu is truly delicious. The larb chicken salad, is so electric with fresh herbs and zingy with lime juice, it practically jumps from its plate into your mouth; the “boat noodle soups,“ classic meaty, wheaty, filling and comforting street-foods, are phenomenal, too.  Whether you‘ll find this odd duck appealing or appalling is another story, but inarguably, this Frogtown spot is as quirkily delicious as they come. ☛ 315 University Ave. W., St. Paul, 651-224-4300

 


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