The 12 Best Affordable Restaurants In Boston


If a college kid only remembers two things from their years of hard study, it should be these: food is life, and it’s hard to survive in Boston as a broke-ass college student. Fear not! Boston actually does have some really great and affordable places to eat, so you can indulge in more than Annie’s mac and cheese (how good is that stuff though, seriously?). Honestly, for the cost of a meal swipe you can have more adventurous and delicious plates. So forego the dining hall and venture out into the city. Or throw on some sweats and order in, because lots of places in Boston deliver, too (praise Foodler, Grubhub, and UberEats!). Now presenting the 12 best affordable restaurants in Boston that any college kid can afford, AKA the foodie’s survival guide to Beantown (it’s not nicknamed after food for nothing).

1) Max Brenner

Ahhh, my favorite restaurant in Boston—maybe even in the world! Don’t let its Back Bay location fool you. This place is very reasonably priced, especially for the portion sizes! Some friendly advice: split the mac and cheese with a friend, and save some dough (and room) for the real reason you came: the chocolate pizza dessert!

How much: $11-16

Where: 745 Boylston St

When: M-Th 10am-11pm, F 10am-1am, S 9am-1am, Su 9am-11pm

Motivation: menu

2) The Friendly Toast

Pancakes count as part of a balanced breakfast, right? Thought so! This edition to the best affordable restaurants in Boston serves more than breakfast dishes, although it is a great place to brunch it up with friends after a night of heavy… studying! If you’re looking for greasy, filling, scrumptious food, this one takes the cake (although they don’t serve cake. sorry.). The Friendly Toast has several locations, but the Back Bay one is probably the most centrally located.

How much: $6-14

Where: 35 Stanhope St

When: M-Th 7am-9pm, F 7am-10pm, S 8am-10pm, Su 8am-8pm

Motivation: menu

First We Eat. #boston #cambridge #happybreakfast #thefriendlytoast #weekendbrunch

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3) Amelia’s Taquería

This one’s not exactly a restaurant. It’s a more laidback option—an order counter with…yup! cheap food! And it must be good, because there always seems to be a line to order. Try to hit this one outside of peak hours. Maybe between classes!

How much: $7-$9

Where: 309 Huntington Ave

When: M-Th 7am-11pm, F-S 7am-2am, Su 7am-10pm

Motivation: menu

Tacos.

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4) Bon Me

Okay, again, not a restaurant. But it still belongs on the list of best affordable restaurants in Boston—you’ve got to try this one! Food trucks are all the rage lately, and if it’ll save you a pretty penny to get some mouthwatering Asian cuisine, then why not? And the good news is food trucks come to you! Find the nearest Bon Me stop and enjoy lunch outside.

How much: $7-$10

Where: multiple locations

When: times vary based on location

Motivation: menu

5) Symphony Sushi

Sushi rolls for $5? Um, yes please! Not only does Symphony Sushi deliver on the price, but also on the taste! So treat yourself to 2 rolls, or 3, or 4, or…

(PS—I’m sure a lot of you Northeastern kids have realized by now that a lot of the best affordable restaurants in Boston are near campus. It could be favoritism, but this area just tends to have a lot of the great and cheap food in the city.)

How much: $4-$12

Where: 45 Gainsborough St

When: M-S11:30am-10:30pm, Su 12 pm-10pm

Motivation: menu

6) Pour House Bar & Grill

This place is great for some good old-fashion American style carbohydrates. Serving up everything from burgers to subs to Tex Mex, most of the food at the Pour House hits under the $8 mark, so you can go home with a full stomach and wallet. Also great for brunch (can you tell I love brunch yet?).

How much: $6-$9

Where: 907 Boylston St

When: M-Su 8am-2am

Motivation: menu

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7) The Cheesecake Factory

Okay, so this one might not be a one-of-a-kind Boston restaurant, but it’s still one of the best affordable restaurants in Boston for a cheap and delicious meal. With a twenty-page menu, they have just about anything you can think of, and you’re bound to find something under $10. Plus, have you seen the size of those entrees?! You could easily share with a friend—even a slice of cheesecake!

How much: $7-$18

Where: 115 Huntington Ave

When: M-Th 11am-11:30pm, F 11am-12:30am, S 10am-12:30am, Su 10am-11pm

Motivation: menu

냠~냠~~~

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8) Saus

Another good casual option. The menu is pretty limited—sandwiches, salads, fries, and sausages—but this place prides itself on its made-from-scratch menu, and it’s very impressive for the price! Saus also lives up to its name; there are heaps of sauces and sides you can add to jazz up your meal. Some good beer options as well. Bonus: the waffle desserts are only $4!

How much: $5-$9

Where: 33 Union St

When: M-W 11:30am-9pm, Th 11:30am-12am, F-S 11:30am-2am, Su 11:30am-8pm

Motivation: menu

9) El Pelón Taquería

Mexican food is always sure to satisfy! That’s why I’m sharing a couple options with you in this list of best affordable restaurants in Boston, including El Pelón. They have the usual line up of food: quesadillas, enchiladas, burritos, tacos, etc. But they also have cheap daily specials if you’re feeling spontaneous. Recommendation: the carnitas quesadilla—you won’t regret it!

How much: $6-$9

Where: 92 Petersborough St

When: M-Su 11am-11pm

Motivation: menu

Lunch w/ fambam while college touring🍴 #mexicanfood #tacos #boston #elpelontaqueria

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10) Boston Sail Loft

You think New England, you think great seafood. And good news: there are actually some great seafood restaurants in Boston that college students can afford! Cue Boston Sail Loft. A bowl of infamous New England clam chowder will only set you back $7. If you have friends who don’t like seafood, bring them along anyways. There are plenty of other options!

How much: $6-$20

Where: 80 Atlantic Ave

When: M-S 11:30am-2am, Su 11am-2am

Motivation: menu

11) Sapporo Ramen

Is there anything more satisfying than ramen? I’m not talking about the one in the orange packaging. I’m talking about the real thing. Hearty bowls of this staple food are served up in Sapporo, a cozy restaurant in Cambridge (perhaps a good option for you Harvard and MIT folks). For just $11, you can feast on some noodley goodness!

How much: $8-11

Where: 1815 Massachusetts Ave

When: M-Su 11:30am-3pm, 5:15pm-9pm

Motivation: menu

12) Quincy Market

In case you haven’t discovered the endless hallway of gastronomic heaven that is Quincy Market, I’d recommend taking a stroll down the dozens of stands in this iconic Boston spot. There are food stalls which specialize in seafood, mac and cheese, bread bowl soups, bagels, smoothies, chocolate, candy apples, you name it! And you can actually find some reasonably-priced options. Hit Quincy Market on a weekend, grab something to go, find a nice bench or park, or even head to the harbor and bam! Dinner with a view! Definitely beats eating microwaved food in your dorm room (don’t worry, we’ve all been there… like a million times).

How much: prices vary based on stand

Where: 4 S Market St

When: M-S 10am-9pm, Su 11am-7pm (*restaurant hours may vary)

Motivation: menu

So whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a sit-down meal, there are so many options. We narrowed it down into the best affordable restaurants in Boston for you, so picking will be a breeze! (You’re welcome.)
Feature image source: weheartit.com


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Lexi Smith

Lexi Smith is a travel-addicted, fashion-obsessed, food-infatuated college student currently settled in the heart of Boston. When not exploring the world, she spends her free time editing photos, playing with her adorable westie George Bailey, and looking for her next adventure. Check out some of her work at and get in touch at http://lexplorer.wixsite.com/wanderlost or on instagram @allwhowanderlost.

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