Cheap Eats Orlando: The 10 Best Meals Under $15
For many visitors, their primary impression of the Orlando food scene comes from wolfing down overpriced food court meals at a theme park. That's a shame, because there are plenty of cheap restaurants in Orlando where you can get delicious meals—think Mexican street food, Venezuelan specialties, and bowls of meaty ramen. Read on for our list of "Cheap Eats Orlando" highlights, and give your wallet a rest after a long day at Disney.
1. Falafel Pocket at Hubbly Bubbly
Take fresh-ground chickpeas and fry them to a golden crisp, then stuff them in pocket bread with veggies and house tahini and what do you get? A tasty lunch for well under 10 bucks. $6.99.
Click to see deals at Hubbly Bubbly's College Park and Central Business District locations.
2. Double D Taco at Gringos Locos
If you're torn between ordering a hard shell or soft shell taco, the Double D (short for "double decker") is for you—it's both. The hard shell taco goes on the inside, then the soft tortilla wraps around it, with a layer of delicious queso as a buffer. $3.39.
3. The Cubano at Meson Sandwiches
Ok, so Meson Sandwiches actually originated in Puerto Rico, where it stands as one of the island's largest and most popular restaurant chains. But they still do a mean Cuban—tender seasoned pork, Virginia ham, pickles, mustard, and Swiss on criollo bread.
Click to see deals at Meson Sandwiches starting at $9.
4. Santa Barbara Arepa at Q'Kenan Restaurant
8117 Vineland Ave. | International Drive
A staple of Venezuelan cuisine, an arepa is a bit of a hybrid food: it's essentially a corn pancake, but instead of being served up plain, it's split in half and stuffed like a pita with cheese, pico, tartar sauce, and your choice of meats. $6.50.
5. Margherita Pizza at Francesco's Pizzeria
5667 Vineland Rd. | Florida Center
This counter-serve pizza shack serves up affordable pies with an outstanding chewy, thick-ish crust. The most appetizing may well be the margherita, topped with melted lumps of mozzarella and fresh basil. Starting at $10.99.
Click to see deals at Francesco's Pizzeria starting at $13.
6. Johnnie Mac 'n' Cheese Sandwich at Gnarly Barley
7431 S. Orange Ave. | Pine Castle
This wild take on the French dip is like a roast beef sandwich with a side of mac 'n' cheese, hold the "side" part. Instead the mac is a topping, along with red onion and mayo. Dip it in au jus, and congratulations—your hangover is cured. $8.99.
7. Gyro Plate at Little Greek Fresh Grill
Greek restaurants don't get as popular as Little Greek without killer gyros. The mid-size chain's gyro platter comes with rice, Greek salad, and a hearty pile of well-spiced shaved meat. $10.99.
Click to see deals at Little Greek Fresh Grill in Kissimmee starting at $14.
8. Tonkotsu Ramen at Sapporo Ramen
5080 W. Colonial Dr. | Pine Hills
The complex flavor profile of this ramen starts with the rich, creamy broth, which borrows its savory taste from pork bone. Then comes tender pork belly, chewy kikurage mushrooms, and accents like fried garlic and ginger. $9.
9. Classic Smash at Smashburger
The legend of the Smashburger has spread far and wide by now, but the devotion of its followers only grows deeper. There's just something about the cooking process—taking a ball of ground beef and pressing it into the grill as it cooks to help it caramelize—that makes the burger irresistible. $6.49.
Click to see deals at Smashburger in Waterford Lakes starting at $9.
10. Banh Mi Dac Biet at Banh Mi Nha Trang
1216 E. Colonial Dr. | Colonialtown South
The house special sandwich at this tucked away Vietnamese spot has a little bit of everything: sliced pork roll, roast pork, pickled carrots, daikon veggies, and a garlic fish sauce that ties it all together. The soft, house-baked bread puts it over the top.
Sean is a senior editor and a gradually improving cook. He once asked a man at an airport if he was Kevin Sorbo, and the man said no, but it was totally Kevin Sorbo.