While there are many reasons to love living in Orange County, close proximity to some outstanding and innovative restaurants is definitely toward the top of the list. But eating at extravagant restaurants can put a strain on your wallet. Luckily, the area is also filled with high-quality restaurants that won’t break the bank. Check out these restaurants that offer some of OC’s best cheap eats.
Baja Fish Tacos
23020 Lake Forest Drive
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
While it’s easy to stop into a hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant for cheap street tacos, it’s a little more difficult to find affordable high-quality tacos. Baja Fish Tacos uses healthy, fresh ingredients to make delicious food that doesn’t cost too much. Buy single tacos for around three dollars (blackened fish, charbroiled fish, chicken or carne asada), or get a combo that comes with two tacos, beans and rice for less than $10. Other affordable items on their menu include burritos, which are also under $10, and their salads, quesadillas and nachos. Baja Fish Tacos has a dedication to using fresh ingredients, crafting their own salsas throughout the day and including quality produce in every meal. Additional locations can be found in Santa Ana, Laguna Niguel, Costa Mesa and Mission Viejo.
The Filling Station Cafe
201 North Glassell Street
Orange, CA 92866
Located in the historical part of the city of Orange, The Filling Station Café provides an old-time atmosphere accompanied by old-time prices. It is one of the most affordable cafes around, especially given its location near the revamped Orange Circle. For breakfast, you’ll find good deals on everything from the breakfast sandwiches and omelets to the pancakes and French toast. Many of the platters come with sides of eggs and bacon or sausage. At lunchtime, choose one of their delicious sandwiches, which start at six dollars and come with fries, fruit or salad. They also have affordable burgers and soups. A separate dinner menu has a selection of soups, salads and sandwiches plus some more traditional chicken, beef and pork dishes. Even with the inclusion of steaks and seafood dishes, nothing on the dinner menu is more than $18.
1091 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660
There’s nothing better than getting your own personal pizza, and at Blaze Pizza, you can do just that every time to visit. You won’t find anything on the menu for more than nine dollars, so it’s definitely one of the most affordable pizza places in the area and, with its assembly line-style of ordering, it’s becoming one of the most popular as well. Though it has been compared to Chipotle, Blaze Pizza actually has a lot more ingredients than the fast-casual burrito chain. Start with classic or gluten-free dough before choosing between red sauce, spicy red sauce, garlic pesto sauce or white cream sauce. They offer eight different types of cheese, seven different meats and a plethora of produce. Once the ingredients are layered on, your pizza is placed in a stone oven for three minutes to cook. One-topping pizzas are six dollars and a build your own pizza with all the toppings your heart desires is only eight dollars.
6362 East Santa Ana Canyon Road
Anaheim, CA 92807
Burgers are an ever-popular type of fare, especially for casual innovative restaurants. But, Slater’s 50/50 has a unique flair that is coupled with great prices. Known for their 50/50 burger, which is half beef and half bacon, they have a variety of choices that allow visitors to completely customize their own burgers. Other than the 50/50 burger, choose from the standard beef, bison, chicken breast, turkey, veggie burger or the Sriracha 50/50 burger. You can also choose the weight of the patty, ranging from a quarter pound to a full pound. Then choose your bread, your meat and vegetable toppings and your cheese before deciding on one of 14 different sauces. They also have great deals on appetizers during happy hour, which lasts from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the week. Try the pulled pork sliders, drunken wings or chili cheese fries for five dollars.
2800 North Main Street
Santa Ana, CA 92705
Located at MainPlace Mall, Genki Sushi is a fantastic revolving sushi restaurant. Grab a seat in a booth or at the counter—wherever you sit, you will have access to the conveyer belt that transports little plates of sushi around the restaurant. You don’t have to worry about old sushi sitting out—if it’s not eaten, it’s pulled and replaced with fresh rolls. Each plate is less than three dollars; you’ll spot things like California rolls, creamy scallop rolls, dynamite shrimp rolls, garlic tuna rolls and teriyaki chicken rolls. While these plates are the best deals at Genki Sushi, they also have a menu that offers additional items like bowls, miso soup, edamame, fried egg rolls, chicken dumplings, vegetable tempura and mochi for dessert.
215 West Birch Street
Brea, CA 92821
If you’re looking to try something new and innovative that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, plan a visit to Bruxie. Their gourmet waffle sandwiches are incredibly unique, delicious and affordable. Bruxie’s sandwiches can be great breakfast options but they’re also perfect for lunch, dinner or even a snack. Replacing bread with a light, airy waffle, there are a variety of savory and sweet options. Try one of the chicken sandwiches, like the Carolina BBQ Chicken or the California Pesto Chicken, or the Oregon Pole-Caught Albacore Tuna Melt. They also have bacon, egg and cheddar sandwiches as well as a Green Eggs & Ham sandwich complete with pesto and arugula. For a sweet treat, try the Nutella & Banana, the PB&J or the chocolate-filled Liege waffle. Waffles start at around five dollars, but nothing on the menu costs more than $10.
Beach Pit BBQ
1676 Tustin Avenue
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
Barbeque is expensive – especially when you’re purchasing enough to feed the whole family. While the items on the menu at Beach Pit BBQ may not necessarily be “cheap” eats, they have some tremendous deals that are cheap compared to other barbeque spots. If you have a lot of mouths to feed, you’ll want to consider the Half Rack Combo, which features a half rack of ribs, a quarter chicken and one six-ounce cut of meat for $25. The most affordable appetizers are the fried pickles and the smoked hot wings, which are each under $10. Possibly the best deal on the menu for individuals is the sandwich deal—your choice of pulled pork, turkey breast, beef brisket, pulled chicken or sausage. For nine dollars, you get the sandwich and a side. Whether you go with the blueberry cornbread, sweet potato fries or baked beans, you’re sure to be full when you leave.
19696 Beach Boulevard
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
It’s surprising how affordable Slapfish is, considering their focus is on seafood and sustainability. But if you’re looking for seafood restaurants with great prices, Slapfish is definitely the place for you. Enjoy an appetizer, which the restaurant calls snacks, for anywhere between three and seven dollars—the cheapest being chips, fries or pickles and the most expensive being the shrimp ceviche. Dishes with lobster are obviously the most expensive overall, but the Surf N Turf Lobster Burger and the Clobster Grilled Cheese are each only $15. On the other hand, fish tacos are only six dollars and come with cabbage, avocado puree and pickled onion. Street tacos are two for eight or you can get a fish sandwich for seven. On top of their great prices, they offer housemade sauces, including the Awesome Sauce and the Jersey Sauce in addition to their tartar and salsa.