Once again, welcome to our monthly cheap-lunch roundup. Thanks for all the tips from readers, and keep ’em coming! Send to email@example.com ... but no fast-food chains, please. (I don't need to explain to anyone how to order off a value menu, do I?)
1915 E. Colonial Drive, 407-894-4494
Known for some of the most reasonably priced sushi in Orlando, Bikkuri offers a lunch special that’s equally budget-conscious. From a list of about a dozen rolls, choose two for $7.99, or one roll plus two nigiri for $5.75.
Healthy bowls at Freshii (photo by Rob Bartlett)
7600 Dr. Phillips Blvd., 407-203-8856
Eating lunch at Freshii is not just doing your wallet a favor; your arteries will thank you as well. Steep yourself in nutrients with one of their bowls, which run from $5.99 to $7.99 – we like the Mediterranean with quinoa, field greens, tons of veggies, feta, almonds and red pepper sauce.
1600 Edgewater Drive, 407-999-5255
Nothing on the lunch menu reaches the $10 mark, so go HAM. Among the mostly vegetarian meals, we’re partial to the seasonal cauliflower-chickpea tacos ($8), served with with crispy kale slaw, cilantro guacamole and sour cream.
Junior Colombian Burger
Junior Colombian Burger (photo by Aldrin Capulong)
5389 S. Kirkman Road, 407-355-3506
One generally feels the craving for a messy Colombian-style burger
late-night, post-bars, after inhibitions have loosened, but there’s no reason you can’t eat one in the middle of the day. Junior serves a double cheeseburger combo for $9.59 (because what the hell, might as well have fries too).
King Cajun Crawfish
914 N. Mills Ave., 407-704-8863
Not just a bargain-basement spot to get your crawfish on, this tiny Mills 50 joint also offers a substantial lunch special: a shrimp or oyster (or chicken, if you’re chicken) po’ boy plus fries and a drink for $8.95.
Pom Pom’s Teahouse & Sandwicheria
67 N. Bumby Ave., 407-894-0865
Before there was Tako Cheena, there was Pom Pom’s – Pom Moongauklang’s gift to Orlando’s 24-hour hungry. Pressed sandwiches range from $6 to $9, and Mama Ling Ling’s Thanksgiving is justifiably famous, smashing an entire Turkey Day dinner (cranberries, stuffing, mashed potatoes and all) between two slices for just eight bucks.
Ramen at Sapporo (photo by Rob Bartlett)
5080 W. Colonial Drive, 407-203-6777
Sapporo recently raised prices, bringing a bowl of their shio, miso, shoyu or pork tonkotsu ramen up to $9. That’s still amazingly low for a bowl of killer broth swimming with chewy noodles, pork slices, bamboo shoots and naruto-maki.
Se7en Bites Bake Shop
207 N. Primrose Drive, 407-203-0727
If you only think of Se7en Bites for sweet treats, you’re making a mistake – their savory menu is tight. The grilled pimento and bacon sandwich ($8.50) is manna from a Deep South heaven.
Banh cuon at Vietnam Cuisine (photo by Jessica Bryce Young)
2952 Curry Ford Road, 407-849-0810
Theo’s Greek restaurant has been an Orlando fixture for more than two decades, and they’re rightfully known for their gyros and shawerma. But it’s an open secret that they also fry up some succulent, crispy Southern-style chicken; a three-piece box (with roll and two sides) is just $6.99.
1224 E. Colonial Drive, 407-228-7053
The banh cuon made our Nosh Pit
column last year, and for good reason: The pork and mushroom-filled rolled rice crepes (found on the specials menu for $7.95) are a perfect midday umami blast.