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The Best Cheap Eats in Boston


Thousands of college students land in Boston every September, and trust us, that cafeteria menu is going to get stale pretty quickly. So, where can a student find decent fare without emptying the wallet? Here are 10 of the best places to find cheap eats.

Border Café

Expect a queue forming most any night outside this Harvard Square institution, with good reason. The Border Café serves up authentic Tex-Mex dishes at some of the fairest prices within city limits, and is a hotbed for the Harvard College crowd. Margaritas start at just $5.50, while the fajitas ($10.88), empanadas ($6.96), and seafood enchiladas ($9.84) remain among the most popular items on the menu, which also featuring daily specials. Worth the wait.
Address: 32 Church St., Cambridge
Phone: (617)-864-6100

Anna’s Taqueria/Boca Grande

Which is better? There’s no real answer, as this is one Boston cheap eats argument that doesn't have a clear-cut winner. Both serve some of the best burritos in town with the freshest ingredients. Neither will run you more than five or six bucks per order. Each has multiple locations throughout the city and a fervent following that will defend their favorite. In the end, we prefer Boca because of its Colorado chicken, the perfect ingredient for any burrito or taco. But if with someone who insisted on Anna's, we wouldn't exactly put up a fuss.

Multiple locations throughout Boston

Sunset Grill

The food can be a bit pricier here than at other college hangouts, but your jaw will drop at the selection of beer on hand. There are 112 beers on tap at any given time at the Sunset Grill, and that doesn’t even begin to mention the hundreds of other bottled selections on a beverage menu that can be daunting for some. Others salivate simply skimming through its pages. The Buffalo wings ($8.99) are some of the best in the city, but beware the atomic sauce. Other menu highlights include the loaded nachos ($10.99), fajitas (starting at $13.99), and the (yes) peanut butter and fluff sandwich ($4.99).
Address: 130 Brighton Ave., Allston
Phone: (617)-254-1331

Presto’s Pizza

In the seemingly never-ending Cleveland Circle pizza dilemma between Presto’s and Pino’s Pizza, the former often comes out on top amongst nearby Boston College students – but just slightly. It’s Presto’s huge slices, crisp crust, and addictive sauce that give its New York-style pie the edge over its rivals just down the block. It can get crowded on Friday and Saturday nights, a sign of its overwhelming popularity amongst the college crowd.
Address: 1936 Beacon St., Brighton
Phone: (617)-232-4545

Grendel’s Den and Restaurant

It’s tough to beat the half-price deal at Grendel’s in Harvard Square, where everything on the menu – everything – is half-price every Sunday through Thursday from 5-7:30 p.m. and again from 9-11:30 p.m. That means you can get the likes of the seafood combo (featuring scallops, shrimp, and two sides) for just $6.25. Get there early to grab a seat, because with a deal this good, in a place like Harvard, everyone is too smart to pass it up.
Address: 89 Winthrop St., Cambridge
Phone: (617)-491-1050


Erect a burger joint within a block of the Boston University bookstore, not to mention Fenway Park, and you’re bound for success. But this Kenmore Square establishment has also made a name for itself with some of the best burgers in town at unbeatable prices. The quarter-pound sirloin burgers are ground in-house daily, and start at just $3.99. In fact, the most expensive item you’ll find on the menu is the $5.69 double cheeseburger, featuring spicy jack cheddar cheese, sliced jalapenos, and banana pepper rings.
Address: 636 Beacon St.
Phone: (617)-536-0448

Eagle's Deli

The Travel Channel picked this Cleveland Circle landmark as its second-best place to pig out in America, thanks to the infamous challenge burger platter (finish the five pounds of beef, 20 slices of cheese, 20 strips of bacon and five pounds of fries, and get your picture posted on the Wall of Fame) but it's this Cleveland Circle landmark’s breakfast menu that takes the cake. Huge portions populate the all-day breakfast menu, enough to end even the hungriest college student’s appetite.
Address: 1918 Beacon St., Brighton
Phone: (617)-731-3232

Spike’s Junkyard Dogs

What originally started as a hot dog enterprise in Rhode Island has spread to the Boston area, with three city locations. The main attraction is the $3.99 Junkyard Dog, topped with mustard, tomato, pickle, hot pepper rings, and scallions. Chicken sandwiches, wings, salads, and burgers are also available.
Multiple locations throughout Boston

Mr. Bartley’s Burger Cottage

A classic destination since 1960, Bartley's is destination No.1 in Harvard Square for burger lovers. The simplicity of Bartley’s is the opposite of the main attraction, a burger with complex taste and toppings. Its politically-tinged menu gets an update every now and then (the $9.45 Barack Obama is a feta cheese burger) which makes this establishment's old-school style plays well in an ever-changing Harvard Square.
Address: 1246 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge
Phone: (617)-354-6559

Pour House

It’s a bargain bonanza no matter what night you saunter into this Beacon St. bar and grill. On Wednesdays, all grilled chicken sandwiches are half-price from 6-10 p.m. Thursday is Mexican Madness, and Saturday presents half-price burger night from 6-10 p.m. Those deals don’t even touch the specials of the week, a whole separate menu of well-priced fare that changes daily including Tuesday’s island BBQ chicken dippers ($6.95) and Friday’s fish and chips ($6.95).
Address: 907 Boylston St.
Phone: (617)-236-1767
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