You don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy going out to eat, especially in Atlanta. There are several restaurants located throughout the city where you can enjoy a tasty meal for $15 or less.
Eating out in Atlanta is often a treat, an occasional necessity, but almost always more expensive than dining at home. However, with a few simple tricks and a little research, the indulgence of restaurants doesn’t have to be a drain on your pocketbook. You can save money without sacrificing the experience by knowing where to go (see below) and practice a few of these money-saving tips:
- Bigger can be better: With portions being the huge sizes they are nowadays, it’s easy to get filled up without clearing your plate all on your own. If on a date, keep it reasonable by splitting an appetizer and a meal to cut back on the overall tab if you know the servings are substantial. One main entree can also be stretched into two meals by simply saving your leftovers for lunch the next day; make sure you tailor your order to something that will keep and reheat well.
- Be smart with your spirits: Make your buck stretch further by finding the BYOB (bring your own booze) restaurants in your city. This will allow for dinner and drinks on a much smaller budget. Always ask about drink specials too. Whether it’s two-for-ones or just discounted house wines and wells, you can shave off a decent portion of the tab if you’re willing to step away from the premiums.
- Keep an eye on the clock: Happy hours are not just for drinks, as many places will offer food specials as well. If you are willing to dine earlier or later, you may be able to save on both your meal and your drinks.
- Have a nose for specials: Many places will have weekly specials, some every day of the week. Whether it’s the college cliché of Taco Tuesdays or half-price Mondays, get to know the schedule of the restaurants nearby and frequent them on those days.
- Sides can steal the show: Free bread or chips and salsa? Unlimited fries? Side salad included? Keep an eye on the extras and a smaller, lower-priced meal could be plenty to fill you up.
Whether you are in the mood for a flatbread and wine or something more exotic, there are lots of inexpensive choices around town. Check out our favorites and see if you have any special spots you’d like to add to the list.
Spice Brick Oven Kitchen
10800 Haynes Bridge Road
Alpharetta, GA 30022
Tapas restaurants are a great place to enjoy a night away from your kitchen without blowing your budget. Whether you are on a date or out with a group of friends, sharing a few small plates can give you a taste of different treats without stuffing yourself or whipping through your cash. Spice offers several specials throughout the week, such as Tuesday’s half-price glasses of wine and hand-crafted flatbreads, which are easy on the wallet and will leave you satisfied.
2809 Peachtree Road N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30305
Everyone who grows up in Atlanta will attest to the glories of Fellini’s Pizza. It’s inexpensive and always a great people-watching spot. The Buckhead location will regularly feature private school kids trying to look cool and local hipster wannabes. It’s guaranteed to be entertaining as well as tasty. And, of course, it delivers a satisfying slice at a reasonable price.
Six Feet Under
437 Memorial Drive S.E.
Atlanta, GA 30312
Located near Atlanta’s famous Oakwood Cemetery, this seafood spot has plenty of dining options under $15. You can purchase a half-pound of peel ‘n eat shrimp for $12.50, a steamed mussels platter for $10 or a full bowl of seafood gumbo for $7.75. Add a drink and you’re still around $15. There are also several inexpensive salads to choose from on the menu.
5705 Buford Highway
Norcross, GA 30071
Visitors to Atlanta with adventurous palates will want to head out to Buford Highway for some of the more exotic ethnic cuisines the city has to offer. As a bonus, this area is also much less expensive than Buckhead. Mi Pilon is well known for its Puerto Rican treats, most of which will keep you under your $15 budget for the night. Try one of the seven varieties of mofongo, made of deep-fried plantains with a garlic sauce, pork rinds and other blended spicy treats.
1220 Caroline St. N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30307
If you are craving an inexpensive Italian meal, head out to one of the locations of Figo Pasta. There are several easy-on-the-wallet dinner options, but lunch is a real steal, with a short pasta, soup or salad and drink costing under $7. For dinner, the restaurant has regular specials like a summer corn risotto for under $10. Check the website for seasonal selections and to find a location near you.
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Keely Herrick is a freelance writer. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.