It’s a well-known fact that Richmond is a foodie town. We have restaurants of every shape and size, from five-star fine dining to food carts that have lines around the block. Of course, in a market that has so many options, you have to do something to stand out. So, we also have access to many unique tastes and flavors here in the Richmond area. All that to say, we know there’s no shortage of good food here. But all too often, when I take my family out for dinner, I find myself nearly choking on my meal – not because of the food, but because of the final bill. It used to be that you could take a family of four out to somewhere other than a fast food restaurant for less than the price of my first car. But these days? Eating out is something to save up for.
However, perhaps because there are so many options here in Richmond, it’s still possible to find amazing food at unique restaurants without breaking the bank. And so today, our mission at Richmond Mom is to offer you five of our absolute favorite places to find cheap eats in Richmond. But, for these five spots to make our top five, they also had to be something more than just a run-of-the-mill counter service dive. In fact, you’ll find that all of the places that made our list of are anything but ordinary.
To meet our standards for today’s “best of” list, the following restaurants had to have:
- A menu that offered the majority (if not all) of the entrees for $10 or less
- Unique flavors
- Fresh ingredients
- A fun, family-friendly vibe
In other words, we weren’t looking for fast food – we were looking for food that was fresh, affordable and delicious. And we think you’ll agree – we found it.
Take a look at our favorite cheap, but unique, restaurants in Richmond and let us know if you have one that should make the list! If you do, tell us about it by dropping us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Bon appétit!
With their brightly colored signs and cartoon chicken logo, you might assume that Chicken Fiesta is just another fast-food joint. But you would be very, very wrong. This Peruvian-style chicken restaurant features whole chickens slowly turning on a charcoal-fired rotisserie that will make your mouth water the moment you walk through the door. And with a wide range of offerings, from burritos and nachos to combo platters and salads, you’ll have no trouble finding something for everyone. The majority of the menu is in the $7-$9 range, but a few items top $10. However, it’s only fair to mention what’s included with some of these “pricier” items. For example, a quarter-chicken with ribs, two sides and a soda is $10.25, while a whole chicken served with two sides is only $15.25. Throw in a few extra sides for $2 or $3 and you’ve got dinner for the whole family.
Why we love them: With a cheerful atmosphere, fast counter service and a menu that will make your mouth and your wallet happy, Chicken Fiesta has it all. Large portions and fresh flavors will satisfy even your pickiest eaters. And because it is a laid-back, casual kind of place, it’s perfect for a quick, easy and, most importantly, affordable family meal. The best news of all, however, is that while Chicken Fiesta started off as a small, hidden gem in the suburbs, they’ve now expanded to four locations in the Greater Richmond Area, with their latest shop opening in Colonial Heights this summer.
7748 Midlothian Turnpike, Richmond, VA 23235
7925 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23294
2311 W Broad St, Richmond, VA 23220
458 Charles H Dimmock Pkwy, Colonial Heights, VA 23834
Over the last 20 years, this family-owned and operated grocery store, bakery and deli has become the go-to spot for many Richmond families searching for quick, delicious Mediterranean food. From hard-to-find grocery items to ready-made deli items, the Mediterranean Bakery and Deli offers exotic items that you aren’t readily available anywhere else. But if it’s a meal you’re looking for, then you’re in luck. Their full-service deli and bakery serves hot or cold meals that will not only impress you with their rich, Mediterranean flavors, but with their incredible prices. With nothing over $10, and most a la carte items priced at around $3, you can feed the family for close to what it would cost to buy ingredients and cook at home – and that’s before you take advantage of their ongoing coupon specials. With seating for dine-in customers or quick take-out service available until 8pm Monday through Saturday, the Mediterranean Bakery and Deli is the perfect solution for a family on the go – and on a budget.
Why we love them: If Mediterranean food makes you as happy as it makes me, then you’re going to love the menu at Mediterranean Bakery and Deli. Here, you’ll find warm, flavorful shawermas; gyros filled with fresh, rotisserie-style meats; creamy hummus; freshly made pita bread; and so much more. The staff is friendly, the food is fresh and delicious, and the prices, well, the prices are beyond reasonable. Stop in for lunch, bring the family for dinner, or grab your meal to go and enjoy a taste of the Mediterranean at home.
9004 Quioccasin Road, Richmond, VA 23229
If you have trouble pronouncing the name, don’t worry. Once you taste the food, all you’ll need to say is, “More, please.” Gogi BibimBap serves fresh, authentic Korean food full of flavor in an open-kitchen environment. And with prices that stay under $10 (and portions that are hard to finish in one sitting), you’ll find that it’s easy to fill your family’s bellies without emptying your wallet. Best of all, at Gogi BibimBap every order is custom-made on the spot in front of you so that you know you’re getting the freshest ingredients possible. They offer bibimbap bowls, bulgogi boxes and traditional sides that everyone will love. Or you can choose “Bulgogi Fusions” with traditional bulgogi-style meats served on a hamburger roll, in a taco shell, as a wrap or on a sub. It’s not a large menu, but once you’re done mixing and matching all of your favorite flavors, you’ll feel like the options are limitless.
Why we love them: Gogi BibimBap provides fast-service, but not “fast food.” They’re signature dish, bibimbap, is a traditional Korean dish that includes rice, vegetable and a marinated and grilled protein (bulgogi) like beef, pork, chicken or tofu. But what we really love is the process. With all of the fresh ingredients in front of you, you get to choose exactly what goes in your dish, which is then prepared fresh just for you. Even if you’re not a Korean-food connoisseur, you and your entire family will have fun creating custom-flavors that come at incredible prices.
9101 Midlothian Turnpike, Suite #600, Richmond VA 23235
*Lunch service only, Mon – Sat, 11am – 3pm
8902 W Broad St, Henrico, VA 23294
*Lunch and dinner service, Mon – Sat, 11am – 9pm; Sun, 12pm – 9pm
Goatocado started as a food truck, but with their ever-growing popularity, they now have a brick and mortar restaurants that serves up the same fresh, vibrant meals they are known for. Goatocado describes themselves as a “choose your own adventure” dining experience, featuring uber-fresh bowls featuring your own custom mix of grains, veggies and sauces. Each bowl (choose from grain/salad bowls or broth bowls) is $8.75, with the option to add grilled chicken for just a bit more, making it easy and affordable to go vegan/vegetarian and satisfy the omnivores in your household at the same time. And yes, service is quick, but you won’t have to sacrifice flavor or healthy eating for the sake of speed. Try it and chances are, Gaotocado will be your new go-to for fast, fresh, healthy eating on a budget.
Why we love them: Sometimes it’s hard to find a place that everyone can agree on – never mind the expense. And that’s one of the many reasons we love Goatocado. Their menu is a melting pot (no pun intended) of flavors, including Thai, Vietnamese Japanese, Californian, Italian, and Mediterranean. Just pick your base (quinoa, green, naan, or mac and cheese) and top it with your preferred flavor – or go with a flavorful broth bowl filled with the same fresh ingredients. You really can’t go wrong. You can feel good about feeding your family fresh, healthy foods – and chances are they won’t even know just how good it is for them!
1823 West Main Street, Richmond, VA 23235
In a world where freshly made foods are often much more expensive than mass-produced, pre-packaged foods, Bombolini is a welcome relief. Bombolini is a gourmet pasta shop – meaning that they make, sell and serve a wide variety of gourmet pastas that have all been handmade, in-house. While they don’t operate as a standard sit-down restaurant (there’s only a few small tables, more for waiting than dining with the whole family), they offer a wide menu of incredibly fresh Italian dishes, all served, of course, with the pasta of your choice. And sure there are incredible Italian restaurants throughout Richmond. But fresh, handmade pasta, homemade sauces with meats that have been cured in-house, and no entrée over $10? That’s a rare find. Just keep in mind that they are only open until 7pm Tuesday through Friday, and 10am – 6pm on Saturdays. While this means that they may not be your go-to for long, leisurely family dinners, they will most certainly become your favorite place to grab a meal for the family to go – knowing that you’re getting more than just bang for your buck, you’re getting a gourmet meal for a bargain.
Why we love them: If you’ve ever been to Italy, or experienced the near-Nirvana of handmade pasta anywhere, then you probably still dream about re-creating the flavors and textures. But speaking for myself, gourmet dining isn’t always a column in my monthly spending chart – that is, until I discovered Bombolini. Bombolini gives you incredible food at incredible prices. And with large portions, you can easily grab a few of your favorites to serve up family-style at home. Choose from carbonara, meatballs, mahi mahi with fresh spinach and mushrooms, marinara, alfredo with chicken, Italian sausage and so much more. Or while you’re there, grab a bottle of wine from their large wine selection, and plan on a cheap dinner date at home. With nearly 20 pasta flavors to choose from (available in nearly every shape and size), more than a dozen entrée options, and freshly pressed sandwiches available with a variety of fresh meats, veggies and cheeses, you’ll never be short on options – or flavor.
1606 W Main Street, Richmond, VA 23220