One of our sister papers
recently proudly posted a feature on 10 places to get lunch for under $10 and I have to admit, I scoffed. Really, 10? Just
10? Orlando ABOUNDS in fantastic cheap eats. However, rather than break the internet with a list of, like, 100 great cheap meals, we're going to offer you a roundup of 10 places to get lunch for under $10 EVERY MONTH. (Until we run out. But please, email your nom-nominations for best non-fast-food cheap lunches to email@example.com.)
Black Bean Deli
1835 E. Colonial Drive, 407-203-0922
Their swanky new location in Mills 50 is a nice spot for a leisurely lunch (or a quick breakfast
). Linger in the side room with their lunch special: a half Cuban sandwich and a cup of black beans for $6. Add a side of avocado sauce (50 cents) and a pineapple Jarritos ($1.50) and you're still under $10.
932 N. Mills Ave., 321-236-7457
Also in Mills 50, Tako Cheena's Latin-Asian tacos and burritos quell hunger pangs and desktop lunchtime boredom. Pick up the three-taco special – choose from Thai peanut chicken, panko-crusted cod, Asian braised beef, tom yum mojo shrimp and Indian curry-dusted crispy tofu – for $7.98; add a bottled Mexican Coke for $2 and you'll juuuuust squeak in at $10. (OK, sales tax will take you over $10, so skip the Coke if you're gonna be strict about it.)
Toasted Crafted Grilled Cheese
1945 Aloma Ave., Winter Park, 407-960-3922
Try the Big Cheese: four cheeses (cheddar, Jack, Muenster, Swiss) plus arugula on locally sourced levain bread, $5.75 – add truffle-rosemary fries for $2.50. This place is seriously vegan-friendly, too — your dairy-free friend can get basically the same sandwich as you. The Truffle Melt is house-made vegan cheese plus truffle oil, arugula and cracked black pepper for $6.25.
multiple locations including Winter Park, downtown, Thornton Park and Longwood
Eden's Fresh offers one of the best deals around for health-conscious lunchers – their large salad (greens plus five toppings) are just $5.78; add Boar's Head protein for another $2.10. (You could make it a wrap for the same price, but if you're watching calories – don't.)
Hot Krust Panini Kitchen
8015 Turkey Lake Road, 407-355-7768
The sandwiches at this Sand Lake mainstay have legions of loyal fans; we're partial to the Gobble Gobble Turkey ($5.99): roasted turkey, bacon, red onions, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, spinach and cranberry sauce on crusty bread.
11768 E. Colonial Drive, 407-203-0801
Daily specials are where it's at at 'Kesh, but you can't go wrong with the curry chicken quesadilla (grilled curry chicken, cheese and papaya hot sauce) – at just $7.50, you can add one of their signature milkshakes, like black pepper and guava or spicy almond-chocolate, for another $2 or $2.50 (depending on ingredients) and still beat the $10 cutoff.
Sus Hi Eat Station
4498 N. Alafaya Trail, 407-826-1682
Make your own roll, bowl or wrap at this UCF hotspot; prices range from $6 to $10, based on format and special ingredients. Try a rice bowl with spicy tuna, avocado, cucumber, sweet potato, scallion, mango, coconut, tempura flakes and ponzu, which adds up to just $7.50.
Mamak Asian Street Food
1231 E. Colonial Drive, 407-270-4688
The menu of small plates makes for a great mix-and-match meal with friends, but for a quick cheap lunch, we choose the Malaysian asam kari: tamarind-infused coconut curry cooked with tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots, onions and the protein of your choice – shrimp, fish, squid, chicken beef or tofu – over jasmine rice, for just $8.50. There will be leftovers.
1124 E. Colonial Drive, 407-999-2656
Even within the tough competition of Mills 50, the Anh Hong special banh mí is a cut above: ham, pâté, sausage, pork, headcheese and pickled vegetables on buttered French bread for just $2.95 (if you're squeamish about variety meats, choose the sunnyside-up egg sandwich for $3.50). Add a Vietnamese iced coffee for $2.75 and this is still the cheapest lunch of the bunch.
424 N. Bumby Ave., 407-894-2241
An Orlando classic. Get a sandwich platter – any Beefy King sandwich plus Beefy Spuds (tater tots), coleslaw and a kosher dill pickle for $7.30 – and have enough of your ten left over for a small milkshake ($2.25).