America's best cheap gourmet eats

Enjoying a fine dining experience is great for special occasions, but where can you go for good food that won't break your budget?

Gayot has traversed the country to find the best cheap food from coast to coast-- these are the places where you can dig into tasty dishes that will satisfy both your belly and your bank account.

1. Bollywood Theater – Portland, OR

(Bollywood Theater PDX)

Bollywood Theater chef and owner Troy MacLarty's take on Indian food is more impressionistic than strictly authentic. But it works, as daily crowds attest at this Portland spot. Try the lamb samosas or the Kati roll, a paratha stuffed with chicken or paneer, egg, pickled onion and green chutney. Each of these dishes rings in under $10.

2. Ivan Ramen – New York, NY

(Ivan Ramen)

When Ivan Orkin moved to Tokyo, he mastered the art of ramen-making (and even became something of a celeb chef there in the process). Today, New Yorkers can taste the fruits of his labor at two locations: the “slurp shop” in Gotham West Market and at his Lower East Side restaurant. The triple pork triple garlic mazemen is, as the name suggests, a porcine explosion. Get your fill of noodles for less than $20.

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3. John’s Roast Pork – Philadelphia, PA

(John's Roast Pork)

The road-stand décor is spare and unremarkable, but it hardly matters to the customers lining up at 7 a.m. at this South Philly institution. There’s the namesake slow-roasted pork butt tucked into a delightfully seeded Carangi roll with peppery broccoli rabe and melty provolone, but another top choice is the cheesesteak. Almost all of the sandwiches are priced below $10.

4. Nick’s Crispy Tacos – San Francisco, CA

(Nick's Crispy Tacos)

Local, top-quality ingredients give an edge to Nick's Crispy Tacos in San Francisco. Try the pescado taco, featuring Baja-style fried fish wrapped in a warm corn tortilla and topped with salsa and lime mayonnaise: the outside is light and crisp while the white flesh inside remains moist and flaky. Save a few bucks by taking advantage of daily specials like Taco Tuesdays, “Wine Not” Wednesdays and Tequila Thursdays.

5. Parkway Bakery & Tavern – New Orleans, LA

(Parkway Bakery & Tavern)

Parkway Bakery & Tavern in New Orleans leads the pack in fried shrimp po’ boy sandwiches, fully dressed with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and mayo. Other temptations include hot roast beef, catfish, shrimp, oysters, sausage and ham. Most of the sandwiches cost in the neighborhood of $10 for the large size. 

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