50 places to eat for $5 or less
Dining out for $5 or less may seem like a fantasy, but Southern California has much to offer for those on a tight budget. For affordable Vietnamese fare, for example, venture to Garden Grove or Westminster. Or look to food trucks for unique, inexpensive eats. Even some pricier restaurants offer a selection of cheap eats during happy hours.

Our list covers a wide range of tastes. We've highlighted some items for you to try, but many of these eateries offer a variety of choices priced $5 or less.


Chicken gumbo soup with corn bread from Cha Cha Chicken

Neighborhood: Santa Monica

Type: Caribbean

1906 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica

(310) 581-1684, chachachicken.com

Open 11 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9:20 p.m. Sunday.


Cha Cha Chicken is a small, colorful beach shack in Santa Monica with countless loyal fans of its Jamaican jerk-rubbed Cha Cha Chicken and coconut fried chicken, but the love doesn't stop there. This Caribbean, Latin fusion restaurant offers a Spanish style chicken gumbo soup with a fresh corn bread muffin for a light, flavorful meal under $5.


La Arca

Neighborhood: Highland Park

Type: Salvadoran

5570 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles

(323) 340-8528

Open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Sunday.