No matter how you define value, whether it’s a $50 rib-eye or $10 lunch, it’s hard to argue with a great taste for only $2. No, this isn’t 1985, but yes, it’s still possible to find terrific food in Los Angeles for the price of eight plays of Donkey Kong. Tacos and flatbreads are readily available throughout L.A. for two bucks, so we’ll only feature one of each item. I’ve avoided sweets altogether, since it would be easy to stack $2 cookies, donuts and ice cream scoops to the ceiling. This high-value list features 17 selections and is entirely savory.
Numbered establishments on the map correspond to information below for easy reference. Establishments also appear in alphabetical order instead of in order of preference.
1. Arko Foods – Chicken BBQ or Pork BBQ ($1.50): This grocery store resides in Glendale, not far from the Filipino stronghold of Eagle Rock. The owners feed a high volume of people, so you know food from the sea of steam tables stays fresh. Skewers of Chicken BBQ ($1.50) comes marinated in sweet soy sauce, blistered on the grill and served with clear, tangy vinegar. Arko also serves a pork equivalent, and both options typically sell out before 3 pm.
2. Art’s Bakery – Cheese Boerek ($1.50): Mini Kabob proprietor Hovik suggested this bakery on a Glendale side-street, which touts a glass front, blue and yellow color scheme, and pastry cases primarily filled with European cakes and tarts. Still, they do have Armenian pastries, packaged baklava and a deluxe Cheese Boerek with savory blend of feta and mozzarella in flaky, buttery packet.
3. Bibi’s Bakery and Cafe – Pretzel ($1.20): This Beverlywood bakery features Kosher baked goods, just not on the Sabbath. Everything qualifies as Kehilla Kosher, many items involve sesame seeds, and some come dusted with salt. Their pretzels come with one or the other. They’re baked dark, chewy, pull apart, and a great snack. They also have a Jerusalem bagel for the same price if you’re craving a taste of the Old City.
4. Carousel – Fatayer ($1.50): Greg and Rose Tcholakian opened Carousel in east Hollywood’s Hye Plaza in December 1983, specializing in Lebanese kebabs and comfort food. They sell a trio of golden fried Fatayer, but it’s possible to get a single turnover, which is a great snack or kebab supplement. They’re feather light, filled with three cheeses – white Lebanese cheese, feta and Jack – and topped with finely chopped parsley.