Restaurants on a Budget

Boston is a foodie city, home to some of the best restaurants in the country. It offers options to suit any budget from prominent steakhouses to tiny taquerias, united by a common goal to win over the city’s capricious residents. We can be picky because we have so many options.

As 2009 rolls around and the economy shows no signs of improving, our wallets remain thin and our mood somber. But don’t despair – this city won’t leave you hungry.

Here is a peek at some of Boston’s best restaurants on a budget: (I will stick with mostly downtown locations)


69 Bromfield St

Boston, MA 02108

(617) 338-7887

Cuisine: Comfort food

This unassuming place in Downtown Crossing would remind you of an old friend who is always there for you when you need it. Silvertone serves good old American comfort food at unbeatable prices.

Think tuna melts, BLT, mac n cheese that melts in your mouth Most items on the menu are under $10-$15, which means you can enjoy a glass of wine with your entre or sandwich without breaking the bank.

It’s a lunch magnet for jaded corporate soldiers, who flock to Silvertone like bees to honey between the hours of noon1pm. But the restaurant really lights up as an after-work gathering place where you can meet up for a drink or two and enjoy their most famous staplemacaroni and cheese the way momma made it.

Silvertone was rated as one of “Boston’s Best Bars” for eight years by The Boston Magazine, Improper Bostonian, and [email protected] Good drinks won’t come at a price. Most of the wines on the list are only $10 over costso you won’t have to choose between a second glass of wine or a side dish. Just sure to be on time and with all of your party they won’t seat you until all guests are present.

Eastern Standard

528 Commonwealth Ave

Boston, MA 02228

(617) 532-9100

Cuisine: New American

Kenmore Square has never been more fun after its major facelift over the past couple of yearsmostly due to this restaurant that opened in 2005 and hit the ground running. Eastern Standard is like New York, a restaurant that never sleeps. Christmas day, mid-snowstorm, New Year’s brunchthe doors are open for you to experience its eclectic cuisine.

The menu offers numerous appetizer-sized portions such as the “offal” (organ meat of the day) for $9, steak tartare with crispy fries for $12, butter-poached escargot for $8, or confit chicken salad for $10. There are similar vegetarian options. Order two appetizers and enjoy them with warm crusty rolls, which will be replenished by magic by courteous waitstaff.

Don’t miss out on the main feature, its 46-foot bar that has patrons fighting for a seat. Every cocktail has a story. Every drink seems an artisan creation. Jackson Cannon, Boston’s renowned bar manager, likes to keep it that way.

Combine great cuisine with great service and atmosphere, and you will keep coming back again and againif only because you’ll have the money left to do it.


431 Columbus Ave

(between Braddock Park & Holyoke St)

Boston, MA 02116

(617) 536-5723

Cuisine: Italian

Giacomos is the Little Italy of Boston in one place. Our North End provides plenty of fine Italian restaurants. This unpretentious, no-strings-attached, cash-only location (both in the South End and the North End) deserves your attention for the quality and portion sizes of its food.

There’s barely an entre over twenty dollars. Fluffly gnocci, crispy fried calamari, perfect al dente pastathe usual cornucopia of Italian cooking is priced exactly as it should be. There’s no reason to pay $30 for pasta with marinara sauce when you can pay under $20 for it in Giacomo’s.

This is a cozy (read: small) location that just likes to feed you. You may have to wait a while in line or make a reservation in advance, but it’s well worth it getting authentic Italian fare for what it should be priced.

PF Chang’s

8 Park Plaza

Boston, MA 02116

(617) 573-0821

Cuisine: Asian Fusion

It’s a chain. I know. It creates certain expectations. This restaurant delivers consistent quality food each and every time.

Its most famous appetizer in this fickle city of ours is chicken served on a plate of lettuce, Chang’s Lettuce Wraps, $8. Just add your custom-spiced sauce and dig in.

The restaurant is a perfect place for groups or corporate get-togethers. Serving everything from traditional Chinese dishes such as Ma Po Tofu (Sichuan’s crispy tofu in a vegetarian sauce, $8) to more Americanized versions like Singapore Street Noodles (shrimp, chicken and rice noodles stir-fried in curry sauce, $9.50), P.F. Chang’s strives to please every palate. The wine list matches moderate pricing.


22 Harvard Street

Brookline, MA 02445

(617) 232-9505

Cuisine: Latin kitchen

Every culture has some form of daily bread. India has naan, Russians have the rye and crepes, Latin America has tortillas, France has baguettes. Orinoco has arepas, which are grilled corn pocket sandwiches that are deceivingly small-looking but super-satiating once you have one.

Named after one of the longest rivers in South America, the restaurant offers one the tastiest Latin kitchen places in town. It has two locationsone in Brookline and one in the South End.

Venezuelan-inspired arepas pepper the appetizer menu with enticing options such as Reina Pepiada (shredded chicken & avocado) or Mechada (Venezuelan stewed beef) for under $6.

Arepas are grilled corn pocket sandwiches that are deceivingly small-looking but super-filling and satisfying. Wash one down with Brahma, an imported light Brazilian beer, and you’ll be full for the day for less than $12.

And here are two of the best budget buys in Boston: Anna’s Taqueria and Kelly’s Roast Beef. These are almost national landmarks. Happy eating.