One of the myths of great food is that you can't eat well for less. Some of my favorite restaurants have delicious food that is incredibly inexpensive. The Brookline/Brighton area is great for cheap eats. At JoJo TaiPei you can get dishes filled with tofu or soup. At Pho Viet's at the Super 88, you can buy a delicious banh mi or sandwich filled with meat and vegetables on a french bread roll.
At Dorado Taco and Cemitas in Brookline, there are wonderful fish tacos (pictured above)-each for under $3.00! On my first trip I tried a grilled swordfish taco, as well as a lightly battered "Dorado" or pollock. Each generous piece of fish was served with toppings that really made the taco. In the case of the swordfish it came with tomatillo and avocado salsa, while the Dorado was served with salsa fresca and smoky chipotle crema. I also asked for a side of pickled onions that added a delightful sweetness to these. Served in two small overlapping corn tortillas, two tacos alone made for a filling lunch.
For a completely different experience, if you are in Beacon Hill, don't overlook Villa Mexico, located in a Grampy's Gas Station of all places.
The owner is from Puebla, Mexico and for under $8.00 you can enjoy two moist, filling tamales or corn turnovers.
The Diesel Cafe in Somerville is my hand's-down favorite cafe when I need to get work done. The atmosphere is friendly, there are many tables and fantastic coffee. However, although they serve sandwiches and have baked goods, I often begin my day with a filling crepe from Mr. Crepe. While Mr. Crepe won't get my award for friendliest service, the crepes are thick, savory pancakes wrapped around fresh ingredients.
My favorite (which costs $9.25) is the "Super Spinach." It is filled with spinach, scallions, cilantro, black olives, tomatoes and jack cheese. I can both justify that it is healthy and be full for a few meals.
For more of my favorites-check out the "Dining with Kids" Section of my favorite food finds.
Dorado Tacos and Cemitas, 401 Harvard Street, Brookline, 617-566-2100
Villa Mexico, 296 Cambridge Street, Boston, 617-957-0725
Diesel Cafe, 257 Elm Street, 617-629-8717
Mr. Crepe, 51 Davis Square, Somerville, 617-623-0661