After living in places like Los Angeles, Chicago, Sydney and Liverpool, I assumed the food scene in Minneapolis would be, well, bland. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
But, here’s the thing, you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy good food in Minneapolis. I’ve put together my list for the best cheap eats in Minneapolis, including flavors from around the world, hole-in-the-wall spots, and local favorites.
This list will be updated on the regular, so be sure to check back in. Do you have a favorite place for cheap eats in Minneapolis that isn’t featured here? Send me a message and I’ll check it out!
*Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. That means that if you purchase through a link, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps keep This Big Wild World up and running!
About This List of Cheap Eats in Minneapolis
“Cheap” is a very subjective term, so let me start by sharing the criteria used to select the restaurants on this list.
- Located within 5 miles of downtown Minneapolis
- Less than $15 per person for a meal without drinks
- Menu must offer more than breakfast items
These restaurants are rated $ or $$ on Yelp. For the $$ restaurants, I’ve included specific tips on what to order that keeps your bill under the $15 limit. Note that menu prices are subject to change from the time of posting.
For your convenience, this list is organized by neighborhood. Within each neighborhood, the restaurants are organized by restaurant type. Click on any of the links below to jump to a specific neighborhood.
Best Cheap Eats in Northeast, Minneapolis
Located just across the river from Downtown Minneapolis, this unassuming neighborhood has a vibe all its own. It’s diverse, creative, artsy and packed with restaurants serving authentic dishes from around the world. Northeast’s old-meets-new feel has such a cult following that there’s a Facebook group dedicated to people who love this neighborhood.
Best Pub Food in Northeast, Minneapolis: The Anchor Fish & Chips on 13th Avenue NE ($$)
I lived in England for three years, so I have a high bar for “good” fish-n-chips. Anchor Fish & Chips is the *only* place in Minneapolis I’ve found so far that meets that high bar. They have other items on the menu, and I’ve heard they’re great, but I don’t think I’ve ever tried them.
Nestled on a neighborhood street in Northeast Minneapolis, Anchor offers a legit intimate English pub experience with quick service.
Pro Tip: While Anchor does offer a selection of beers, just blocks away are several Minneapolis breweries worth checking out.
Best Ecuadorean Food in Northeast, Minneapolis: Chimborazo on Central Ave ($$)
After your first meal at Chimborazo, you’ll understand why it’s nearly always busy. Plantains, chorizo sausage, empanadas showcase the flavors of a family meal in Ecuador.
Drooling yet? No? Just me?
Literally everything I’ve tried at Chimborazo is delicious so it feels wrong to try and pick favorites. But, here we go!
At just $3, the empanada de carne (beef) is a no-brainer. You could pretend to share it with a friend, but you’re going to want it to yourself. The llapingachos appetizer ($7.50) is a good add-on to the empanada. These potato pancakes are filled with cheese and served with an egg and delicious peanut sauce.
If you skip the empanada (how dare you!) try the llapingachos con chorizo (an entree version with chorizo and rice) or the seco de pollo, which features chicken, vegetables and a hint of passionfruit.
Pro Tip: For special deals and the latest featured menu items, follow Chimborazo on Facebook!
Best Lebanese Food in Northeast, Minneapolis: Emily’s Lebanese Deli on University Avenue ($)
During my recent trip to Lebanon, I fell in love with Lebanese food. In fact, I loved it so much that my pants barely fit towards the end. When I returned to Minneapolis, I went to Emily’s to satisfy my newfound desire for Lebanese food. I wasn’t disappointed!
Emily’s Lebanese Deli has been a Minneapolis staple for nearly 40 years. Their signature dishes include tabouli (some say it’s the best in town!), fried kibbi, lamb shish kebab, and Lebanese chicken and rice. I love that they have half order sizes so you can try more dishes!
Pro Tip: The dining area is relatively small, so expect a wait or take your order to go. Boom Island Park is just a few blocks away and has awesome views of the Minneapolis skyline, making it the perfect picnic spot.
Best Middle Eastern Food in Northeast, Minneapolis: Holy Land on Central Ave ($$)
Note: I can no longer recommend Holy Land due to recent events which involved the owner’s daughter, also an employee, making racist and harmful comments. If you’d like to learn more about the situation, I recommend listening to this episode of the Code Switch podcast which discusses it in detail.
Best Eastern European Food in Northeast, Minneapolis: Kramarczuk’s Sausage Company on Hennepin Avenue ($$)
If you’re looking for an authentic taste of Eastern Europe, head straight to long-time Minneapolis favorite, Kramarczuk’s Sausage Company. Founded decades ago by a couple from Ukraine, this deli and restaurant is the real deal.
I had heard about Kramarczuk’s for years, but nothing prepared me for the delicious sensory experience when I walked through their doors for the first time. The sausage, bread and piroshky’s are still made by hand even today.
My favorite is the cabbage rolls with tomato cream sauce (there’s a non-dairy option too) with a slice of fresh pumpernickel bread. Other popular menu items include handmade pierogis, Reuben sandwich, and the grilled sausage links.
Pro Tip: Get a fresh kolachi or strudel from the bakery for a sweet treat after your meal!
Best Tacos in Northeast, Minneapolis: Rusty Taco on East Hennepin Avenue ($)
“Friendly. Fast. No frills. Delicious.” That pretty much sums up Rusty Taco. It’s a nod to the owner’s experience eating tacos from a neighborhood taco stand in Acapulco Mexico. The menu is simple, but the flavors are vibrant.
Tacos are ordered ala carte. I recommend getting 2-3 tacos per person for a meal. My favorites include the rusty taco, fried shrimp taco, and crispy chicken taco. For a great vegetarian option, try the Rajas taco.
Beer and margaritas are available, but will put you over the $15 “cheap eats” rating.
Pro Tip: Spring for the chips and queso for $3.50! Also, be sure to grab some of the salsas on the counter to add even more flavor to your tacos.
Other Notable Cheap Eats in Northeast, Minneapolis
These restaurants came highly recommended by locals, but I either have not eaten at them recently or at all.
Uncle Franky’s on Broadway Street NE
Hot dogs, including Chicago-style, as well as Italian beef sandwiches and burgers.
Sen Yai Sen Lek on Central Ave NE
Delicious Thai food at a reasonable price. They offer takeaway as well as a good selection of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.
El Taco Riendo on Central Ave NE
I’ll just say “foot long burrito” and let you decide for yourself if El Taco Riendo is for you.
Best Cheap Eats on Eat Street Minneapolis
You won’t find “Eat Street” on any maps of Minneapolis, but any local will know where it is. These restaurants are all located on Nicollet Avenue between downtown and uptown Minneapolis and offer authentic flavors from around the world.
Best Pizza on Eat Street Minneapolis: A Slice of NY ($)
One of my close friends is from New York City. So, when he told me he liked this place, I knew it had to be legit. A Slice of NY is a no frills restaurant, but the service is quick and the staff are always friendly. The crust is crisp but foldable (not thin crust) and the ratio of sauce to toppings and crust is just right.
This is one of the few places in Minneapolis that serves pizza by the slice. The slices are huge, but don’t let that stop you from trying more than one. Each slice is around $4, making it well under $15. My personal favorites are the New York Supreme and the Staten Island. But, there’s plenty of vegetarian options as well.
Pro Tip: This restaurant is “pork free”! That means all of their meat is made from turkey or beef. Also, along the wall is a cart with garlic powder, oregano, chili pepper flakes and more if you want to spice up your slice!
Best Malaysian Food on Eat Street Minneapolis: Peninsula Malaysian Cuisine ($$)
Peninsula Malaysian Cuisine is one of my go-to guilty pleasures in Minneapolis. The authentic Malaysian and Southeast Asian dishes on their menu are unlike anything else I’ve found in the Twin Cities.
This restaurant made me fall in love with tofu. They make theirs in-house and it’s silky smooth texture almost melts in your mouth. The Spicy Golden Tofu ($14) is one of my favorite dishes. The tofu is lightly fried and crispy on the outside but smooth on the inside, sautéed with onions and bell peppers. I’m drooling just thinking about it.
If tofu isn’t your thing, try the Mango Chicken ($14). It’s their take on sweet and sour chicken, served in a mango with sliced mango pieces.
My favorite appetizers are the Roti Canai ($4), an indian style pancake served with curry dipping sauce, and Popiah ($6), warm spring rolls stuffed with jicama, tofu and other fresh ingredients.
Best Jamaican Food on Eat Street Minneapolis: Pimento Jamaican Kitchen ($$)
Pimento brings the vibrant tastes of Kingston, Jamaica, to Eat Street Minneapolis. It’s not just me who thinks this place is great either. Pimento’s authentic Jamaican street food won on the Food Network’s reality show, Food Court Wars.
If you’ve never tried Jamaican food before, it comes with a kick. Choose your own sauce to control the level of “kick” your dish comes with. The “Kingston Hot” might literally make you sweat!
If you want to taste a bit of everything, the One Love Bowl ($13) is a great option. It includes jerk chicken, pork, rice, beans, slaw and plantains! At just $4, the Jamaican patty, similar to an empanada, is an incredibly affordable option. While I haven’t tried it, the coco bread ($2.50) comes highly recommended as a sweet, fluffy and delicious addition to any meal at Pimento.
Best Vietnamese Food on Eat Street Minneapolis: Quang Restaurant ($)
Quang is always busy, but the service is quick so there’s never a long wait for a table. This family-owned restaurant has served authentic Vietnamese food in Minneapolis since 1989.
The Quang specialty is pho (Vietnamese noodle soup), but I haven’t had a single dish there that I didn’t love. If you wanna try the pho come hungry because the serving size is large. I recommend the Pho Ribeye (#500, $14) or the Pho Tai with sliced beef (#505, $8.50). If you opt for the Pho Tai, add on an order of the spring rolls for a starter.
If soup isn’t your thing, not a problem. The Bun Noodle Salads, such as the Bo Nuong Grilled Beef (#301), are fresh and vibrant, especially on a warm day. Again, the portion size is large so you may find that you get two meals in one!
Pro Tip: Let the server know if you have any food allergies when you order. Many of the dishes come with crushed peanuts on them.
Other Notable Cheap Eats on Eat Street, Minneapolis
Again, these restaurants were recommended by locals, but I have not yet eaten at them personally. I’ll update this post when I do!
Tibet Kitchen ($$)
Home-cooked Nepalese food is central to their menu, but they offer a wide range of Asian foods including Asian fusion, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, and Pakistani. I’ve heard great things about the oyster wings ($5.50), kung pao chicken ($9) and the Nepalese dishes (~$9).
Best Cheap Eats in North Loop Minneapolis
In just 10 years, the North Loop has gone from being largely abandoned and somewhat unremarkable to what Forbes magazine now calls “One of America’s Most Hipster Nieghborhoods.” Today, the North Loop’s once-abandoned buildings have been given a fresh new look and feel without losing its gritty roots.
Best Sandwiches in North Loop Minneapolis: Cuzzy’s on Washington Ave ($)
I’m going to be honest. I am almost solely adding Cuzzy’s to this list because of the BLT sandwich. For just $8, it comes with 8 slices of bacon plus kettle chips on the side (upgrade to fries for $1).
The inside of Cuzzy’s is, well, memorable. The walls and ceilings are lined with dollar bills. I choose to view this as a kitschy and fun detail as opposed to a sanitation issue.
During the warmer months, walk straight through the dollar bill lined bar area to the back patio and enjoy some great people watching along with your food.
Other notable dishes that will keep you under the $15 limit include the tater tots (try the totcho’s with beef) and the Famous Cuzzy’s Beef sandwich (with some amazing horseradish sauce).
Pro Tip: Cuzzy’s is just a couple of blocks from Target Field, so it’s the perfect stop before or after a Twins baseball game.
Other Notable Cheap Eats in North Loop Minneapolis
Runyon’s Tavern on Washington Ave ($$)
If you love wings, definitely visit Runyon’s. This hole-in-the-wall bar has some of the best in town. To keep it under $15, order a regular size order of wings. If you want to splurge, add on a basket of fries!
Best Cheap Eats in Marcy-Holmes Minneapolis
Marcy-Holmes is the first neighborhood of Minneapolis, connected to downtown Minneapolis by two pedestrian bridges across the Mississippi River. From the restaurants lining the brick road on St Anthony Main along the river to the vibrant bars and restaurants of Dinkytown, this neighborhood is diverse.
Best Ramen in Marcy-Holmes Minneapolis: Ichiddo Ramen on University Ave ($$)
As I shared in my DNA tourism post, I’m part Japanese and so have a very soft spot for good ramen. Ichiddo Ramen is an authentic Japanese noodle restaurant located in Dinkytown, which is immediately adjacent to the University of Minnesota campus. Their menu features all types ramen, including stir fried noodles as well as the more well known soup.
For your first visit, try the beef ramen soup ($13) or the char siu ramen soup ($14), which is made with roasted pork belly. I love that the ramen soup comes with a fish cake along with other ingredients you would normally expect in the dish. Vegetarians need not worry as they have several menu items that are equally as delicious that suit your diet.
Just because Ichiddo is a “ramen” restaurant, don’t skip past the appetizers! Give the takoyaki ($5) a try. These fried octopus dumplings are a crispy and delicious treat.
Pro Tip: If you want to splurge, they offer a long list of “add-ons” for the ramen soup. Customize your dish with your favorite extra toppings such as kim chi!
What’s Your Favorite Cheap Eats in Minneapolis?
For anyone hailing from Minneapolis, you may be wondering about other neighborhoods like Uptown and Powderhorn. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten them. I’ve got lots more “research” to do!
Have suggestions to add to this list? Send them my way!
Oh yeah, and if you’re like me and try to balance delicious eating with staying healthy, check out this list of the best gyms in Minneapolis for hikers!