Great Los Angeles Foods for $2 or Less

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Thomas Jefferson could have purchased an extravagant meal for $2. Remarkably, $2 can still go a long way in L.A.

No matter how you define value, whether it’s a $50 rib-eye or $10 lunch, it’s hard to argue with great Los Angeles foods for $2 or less. 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. Establishments appear in alphabetical order, not in order of preference.

Arko Foods – Chicken BBQ or Pork BBQ ($1.50)

Filipino Food Los Angeles

Susie Fong’s grocery store has been a Glendale mainstay since 1980, not far from the Filipino stronghold of Eagle Rock. Their cooks 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.

Art’s Bakery – Cheese Boerek ($1.50)

Armenian Bakery Glendale

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.

Bibi’s Bakery and Cafe – Pretzel ($1.20)

Pretzel Los Angeles

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.

Carousel – Fatayer ($1.50)

Lebanese Food Los Angeles

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.



Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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