If you’re only looking to spend ten dollars on a great meal in Seattle, we have some good news for you: there are a ton of spots you can choose from. That’s why we compiled this list of excellent meals across 10 different neighborhoods that cost $10 or less, which includes everything from a couple slices of pizza with Calabrian chili buffalo sauce to Laotian beef jerky with sticky rice.
Note: the price of these dishes are subtotals pre-tax and tip, and depending on how you order (directly from the restaurant vs. third-party apps), there may be extra fees involved.
Your Order: Lao Beef Jerky & Jaew Bong ($9.00)
The owner of Taurus Ox, a Laotian restaurant on Capitol Hill, told us that his dad eats each piece of marinated sirloin jerky with a spoonful of sticky rice and a bit of the spicy jaew bong condiment made from fried pork skin as a full meal. Our conclusion after we tried this combo: everyone should listen to his dad. Aside from Taurus Ox’s phenomenal smashburger, their greatest contribution to the world is this flavorful, chewy, dehydrated beef. It already comes with a portion of sticky rice, but note that you’ll have to add on the jaew bong for a dollar.
Your Order: Two Slices & A Side Of Calabrian Chili Buffalo Sauce ($9.50)
A $4 slice is a bit steep, even for Seattle - so trust us when we say that the slices at Post Alley are worth it for their sturdy but crisp crust and ideal amounts of stretchy mozzarella and oregano flecks. You can still get two hearty pieces of tasty pizza for around $8.50, and you should go ahead and add their homemade Calabrian chili buffalo sauce for the extra buck.
Your Order: A Dozen Crab Puppies & Chips ($9.95)
What is a crab puppy? While we imagine it’s a type of adorable marine animal that David Attenborough might narrate about in the next installment of Planet Earth, it’s actually a glorious cross between a crab cake and hushpuppies. And the fact that you can get 12 of them with a basket of fries and spicy tartar at Emerald City Fish & Chips for $9.95 is some of the best news of 2020.
Your Order: Kimchi Fried Rice ($8.50)
Now that the evenings are getting cooler, it’s time to curl up on the sofa with a big takeout container of this West Seattle Hawaiian staple’s fried rice, complete with kimchi, furikake, and a runny egg. While adding one of Marination’s proteins like kalbi beef or miso ginger chicken will bring your subtotal to $11, you can add Spam to your order for the very low price of nothing.
Your Order: Falafel Sandwich ($7.95)
Man’oushe Express in Lake City serves some of the best pita sandwiches in town, especially for the price. The fresh mint and pickled turnip work together well with the deep-fried falafel, and the whole thing’s covered in rich tahini. The best part is, if you’re not in the mood for chickpea fritters, nearly the entire menu costs less than (or around) $10.
Your Order: Big Mac N Cheese ($10.00) or Beacon Burger ($10.50)
This brewery on Beacon Hill serves the best bar food in town, from fries with bone marrow aioli to a magnificent burger that also belongs in this guide (well, if you’re willing to pay $10.50 for it). But for exactly $10, you can order Perihelion’s creamy rigatoni mushroom mac and cheese tossed with gruyere, cheddar, mascarpone, caramelized onion, and topped with crispy breadcrumbs. Sure, you could probably buy ten boxes of Kraft for the same price, but didn’t that stuff taste way better in 1996 anyway?
Your Order: 3 Fish Tacos ($8.85)
When looking for Mexican food on the Eastside, Señor Taco in Bellevue should be your top choice. For less than $9, you can order three of their puffy battered fish tacos, covered in pico de gallo and creamy chipotle sauce on corn tortillas. If you’re not into fish, you’ll spend even less money grabbing four tacos al pastor (which are just as excellent).
Your Order: Vegan Dumplings & Green Onion Pancake ($9.90)
If you’re in the mood for plant-based potstickers, allow us to point you in the direction of this Chinese spot in Wallingford. They serve a variety of wontons and dumplings ranging from pork and chives to chicken and corn, but the best ones are stuffed with a mixture of napa cabbage, tofu, and carrots. The result is this incredibly savory, sweet, and salty filling that pairs perfectly with a side of vinegar for dipping. Add on a scallion pancake and you have yourself an excellent meal.
Your Order: Samosa Chaat or Vada Pav Sliders ($8.00)
This coffee shop in South Lake Union makes for a great pit stop to pick up some pistachio lassi, and if you’re hungry, their samosa chaat is a pretty fantastic way to spend $8. It starts with an already delicious bowl of chana masala, and then they go and top it with mint chutney, yogurt, sev, and fried samosas. There’s a lot of crunch balanced with the creamy curry, and it’ll warm you up on a cold day better than a Canada Goose parka ever could. Another fantastic way to spend $8? Lassi & Spice’s vada pav sliders. Take your pick.
Your Order: Fruity Pebble French Toast ($9.55)
Sometimes, we get a craving for French toast encrusted with Fruity Pebbles cereal. Maybe you do too. For that, we recommend ordering some for $9.55 from Watson’s Counter, a coffee shop in Ballard that serves a great Korean brunch. Topped with maple syrup and orange-rosemary whipped cream, it’s a far better use of ten dollars than buying four pairs of Old Navy flip flops.