Washington, D.C. is one of the most expensive cities in America, mainly due to the presence of the movers and shakers that run the U.S. government from this city on the Potomac River. However, to serve the workaday population of this city, there are also many affordable restaurants in Washington DC, where you can have a great meal on a more reasonable budget.
Teaism - This locally based chain of tea shops features a variety of nutritious, filling entrees for under $10. With downtown and Dupont Circle locations, you are likely to see Teaism packed at any time of day with non-profit workers, students, and other Washingtonians enjoying this establishment's quality Asian fusion cuisine.
Bistrot du Coin - This Dupont Circle institution gives you the authentic French bistro experience, right down to the surly servers. However, a little attitude is more than worth it for the inexpensive steak frites, cassoulet, and “moules” (mussels), served with true French décor, noise level, and that “je ne sais quoi” that makes Bistrot du Coin one of the classic DC restaurants at any price point.
Harmony Cafe - In a tiny basement on M Street in Georgetown lies one of the great cheap restaurants in Washington D.C., serving mostly vegetarian Chinese food to students and locals in the know. Their specials can include any of the classic Chinese dishes with meat substitutes that won't make you miss chicken or beef one bit!
Mayur Kabab House - In a city surprisingly light on high-quality, affordable Indian restaurants, Mayur Kabab stands out. Located in a small Tudor-style building smack in the middle of DC's downtown, Mayur Kebab serves up quality Pakistani and North Indian food at rock-bottom prices, without sparing the heat of the authentic cuisines.
Radius Pizza - While DC standby 2 Amys is considered by many critics to have DC's best pizza, that restaurant's long waits remain the bane of many Washington dinner outings. Instead, try this charming Mount Pleasant pizza joint, which makes authentic New York-style pizzas and serves them up with tasty East Coast microbrews.