Cheap eats around the Twin Cities

A dozen different dishes for under $10

Catalina's casamiento ($7.95)

This comforting dish of piquant and garlicky rice, black beans, tender shredded chicken, and bell peppers is homestyle Latin American food at its best. It makes for a super-filling meal on its own, but spooning it into warm flour tortillas with a dollop or two of Catalina's kicky red or green salsa takes it one step closer to cheap-eats greatness. (2301 37th Ave. NE, Columbia Heights; 763.788.0299)

Devil's Advocate's meatball slider ($3)

Tanpopo’s hefty kitsune soba bowl is a steal for $9.50
Antonio Rodriguez
Tanpopo’s hefty kitsune soba bowl is a steal for $9.50

Location Info


Black Sea

737 Snelling Ave. N.
St. Paul, MN 55104

Category: Restaurant > Mediterranean

Region: Macalester/Groveland

Tanpopo Noodle Shop

308 Prince St.
St. Paul, MN 55101

Category: Restaurant > Japanese

Region: St. Paul (Downtown)

Ipotli Indian Grill

601 Marquette Ave. S
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Category: Restaurant > Indian

Region: Minneapolis (Downtown)

If there's a cheaper, more satisfying little bar snack in the Nicollet Mall area, I haven't had it. Stick with the basics here and order either the beef or pork meatball with the pomodoro sauce or the Sunday gravy. Sip a draught beer and mix 'n' match a couple of these tasty little sliders, and you can still ring up under 10 bucks at the register. Happy hour indeed. (89 S. 10th St., Minneapolis; 612.843.2260)

Mosaic Cafe's farmers market salad ($6.75)

I know it's not easy to get all worked up about a salad, but this one is a lunchtime gem. It's also a mystery how Mosaic manages to keep the cost so low on a salad that includes decadent and delicious components like dried apricots, goat cheese, and maple-glazed pecans, and at least a half clamshell of mixed spring greens — no filler lettuces here. If you need a little protein, add some Ferndale Farms turkey for just $3 more. (3019 Minnehaha Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.746.1504)

Lucia's to Go's pesto tomato grilled cheese sandwich ($6.95)

How ingenious is Lucia's to Go? A few years ago, at the behest of ravenous customers, Lucia Watson created a menu of easy, family-style meals and make-ahead sandwiches for busy weeknights and quick lunch breaks. The combination of fragrant pesto, gooey strings of cheese, and a few slices of summer tomato makes for a high degree of harmony in such a simple sandwich. As an added bonus, it comes on Lucia's crusty cottage bread, which toasts to a buttery golden brown and doesn't disintegrate, even under the weight of an extra-juicy tomato. (1432 W. 31st St., Minneapolis; 612.825.1572)

Sonora Grill's caramelos ($2.50-$2.75)

The only bad part about hitting up Sonora Grill at the Midtown Global Market is trying to decide which caramelos to order. Will it be the spicy, tempura-fried shrimp ones with cilantro aioli? Maybe the tender skirt steak caramelos with handmade tortillas, melty Chihuahua cheese, and salsa verde? Luckily, each and every one is a winner — even the version stuffed with eggplant — and you can easily order three or four of them without breaking the bank. (920 E. Lake St., Minneapolis; 612.871.1900 )

Krungthep Thai's vegetable green curry ($8)

One of this year's popular and critical darlings, Eat Street's Krungthep Thai brings together favorites from beloved Bangkok Thai Deli in St. Paul and fish dishes from Seafood Palace, its building's former resident. While some items like stir-fried soft-shell crab in yellow curry or whole walleye fillet tip into the double digits in price, dozens of other knockout dishes are available for nine bucks or less. My favorite is the sweet and hot green curry, rich with coconut milk and swimming with hunks of bell pepper, jalapeño, eggplant, and a ton of fresh basil. (2523 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis; 612.874.7721)

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