photo by Jessica Bryce Young
Black Bean Deli in Mills 50
One of our sister papers
recently proudly posted a feature on 10 places to get lunch for under $10 and I have to admit, I scoffed. Really, 10? Just
10? Orlando ABOUNDS in fantastic cheap eats. However, rather than break the internet with a list of, like, 100 great cheap meals, we're going to offer you a roundup of 10 places to get lunch for under $10 EVERY MONTH. (Until we run out. But please, email your nom-nominations for best non-fast-food cheap lunches to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Black Bean Deli
1835 E. Colonial Drive, 407-203-0922
Their swanky new location in Mills 50 is a nice spot for a leisurely lunch (or a quick breakfast
). Linger in the side room with their lunch special: a half Cuban sandwich and a cup of black beans for $6. Add a side of avocado sauce (50 cents) and a pineapple Jarritos ($1.50) and you're still under $10.
932 N. Mills Ave., 321-236-7457
Also in Mills 50, Tako Cheena's Latin-Asian tacos and burritos quell hunger pangs and desktop lunchtime boredom. Pick up the three-taco special – choose from Thai peanut chicken, panko-crusted cod, Asian braised beef, tom yum mojo shrimp and Indian curry-dusted crispy tofu – for $7.98; add a bottled Mexican Coke for $2 and you'll juuuuust squeak in at $10. (OK, sales tax will take you over $10, so skip the Coke if you're gonna be strict about it.)
Toasted Crafted Grilled Cheese
photo by Rob Bartlett
The blackberry melt at Toasted, another good choice
1945 Aloma Ave., Winter Park, 407-960-3922
Try the Big Cheese: four cheeses (cheddar, Jack, Muenster, Swiss) plus arugula on locally sourced levain bread, $5.75 – add truffle-rosemary fries for $2.50. This place is seriously vegan-friendly, too — your dairy-free friend can get basically the same sandwich as you. The Truffle Melt is house-made vegan cheese plus truffle oil, arugula and cracked black pepper for $6.25.
multiple locations including Winter Park, downtown, Thornton Park and Longwood
Eden's Fresh offers one of the best deals around for health-conscious lunchers – their large salad (greens plus five toppings) are just $5.78; add Boar's Head protein for another $2.10. (You could make it a wrap for the same price, but if you're watching calories – don't.)
Hot Krust Panini Kitchen
8015 Turkey Lake Road, 407-355-7768
The sandwiches at this Sand Lake mainstay have legions of loyal fans; we're partial to the Gobble Gobble Turkey ($5.99): roasted turkey, bacon, red onions, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, spinach and cranberry sauce on crusty bread.
11768 E. Colonial Drive, 407-203-0801
Daily specials are where it's at at 'Kesh, but you can't go wrong with the curry chicken quesadilla (grilled curry chicken, cheese and papaya hot sauce) – at just $7.50, you can add one of their signature milkshakes, like black pepper and guava or spicy almond-chocolate, for another $2 or $2.50 (depending on ingredients) and still beat the $10 cutoff.
Sus Hi Eat Station
4498 N. Alafaya Trail, 407-826-1682
Make your own roll, bowl or wrap at this UCF hotspot; prices range from $6 to $10, based on format and special ingredients. Try a rice bowl with spicy tuna, avocado, cucumber, sweet potato, scallion, mango, coconut, tempura flakes and ponzu, which adds up to just $7.50.
Mamak Asian Street Food
photo by Rob Bartlett
Malaysian-style curry at Mamak
1231 E. Colonial Drive, 407-270-4688
The menu of small plates makes for a great mix-and-match meal with friends, but for a quick cheap lunch, we choose the Malaysian asam kari: tamarind-infused coconut curry cooked with tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots, onions and the protein of your choice – shrimp, fish, squid, chicken beef or tofu – over jasmine rice, for just $8.50. There will be leftovers.
1124 E. Colonial Drive, 407-999-2656
Even within the tough competition of Mills 50, the Anh Hong special banh mí is a cut above: ham, pâté, sausage, pork, headcheese and pickled vegetables on buttered French bread for just $2.95 (if you're squeamish about variety meats, choose the sunnyside-up egg sandwich for $3.50). Add a Vietnamese iced coffee for $2.75 and this is still the cheapest lunch of the bunch.
424 N. Bumby Ave., 407-894-2241
An Orlando classic. Get a sandwich platter – any Beefy King sandwich plus Beefy Spuds (tater tots), coleslaw and a kosher dill pickle for $7.30 – and have enough of your ten left over for a small milkshake ($2.25).