It’s time to answer our first reader question! Today, we’re tackling cheap restaurants in North Seattle. If you have a food dilemma or a cooking conundrum, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your first name and initial and your location, and the answer may appear in a future post.
Where’s the best place in North Seattle that I can get dinner for $10 or less? – Arthur W., Seattle
Great question, Arthur! I’ve got a few ideas for cheap restaurants in North Seattle, where you can enjoy a satisfying and filling meal for the cost of a Hamilton. And as a bonus, you’ll get to travel around the world as you zip around city neighborhoods between Lake City and Aurora.
Our first stop is a taco truck that’s located between Northgate and Lake City on 15th Ave NE, just south of NE 117th St. At Loxicha Authentic Oaxaca Cuisine, you can get a plateful of street tacos plus a drink for $5.99 (four tacos) or $7.99 (six tacos). I’m partial to the tacos al pastor, juicy morsels of pork mixed with chunks of pineapple and accented by chopped cilantro and onions. For another budget-friendly choice on the menu, try a bowl with rice and veggies that can be topped with chicken, fish, or carnitas. Loxicha is cash-only, but you might want to bring a little extra to try their creamy, cinnamon-flavored horchata ($3.00).
Next, we’ll head up to Lake City Way, north of NE 137th St., to another cash-only establishment, Man’oushe Express. Here, you’ll get a taste of the Middle East, with almost everything on the menu under $10, including flatbreads called manakish that are topped with ground lamb, zaatar and cheese, or sujuk (spicy beef sausage). I’ve tried a few versions, and they were all well-seasoned and filling. If you’re looking for Mediterranean fare that may be more familiar, try the gyro or falafel plates, shawarma sandwiches, or the stuffed grape leaves.
Further south on Lake City Way, just north of NE 110th St., is one of my favorite sandwich stops, Tubs Gourmet Subs. The Italian combo sub includes ham, turkey, salami, provolone cheese, and vegetables on a toasted baguette. Order the small version ($7.99), and it should be plenty for a single meal, but a healthier appetite might make you want to add a few dollars to your budget and go for the large. Tubs also has a wide-ranging menu of beef, chicken, and vegetarian options, as well as sandwiches that nod toward every corner of the country, like a Texas turkey sub, a Southern sandwich with ham, bacon, and coleslaw, a Philly dip, and even a Hawaiian special with ham, pineapple, and “BBQ dust.”
When I’m hungry for an inexpensive meal, I frequently turn to banh mi, and a good choice on the north side of town is Luu’s Cafe (8507 35th Ave. NE). The Vietnamese sandwiches ($5.95) are served on a French baguette with the typical accompaniments of carrots, cilantro, and mayo, but also come with a smear of pate and some additional veggies. I prefer the BBQ pork version, but you can also get beef, chicken, or vegan meatball as your protein. And if you have room in your budget (and your stomach), try a macaron, a waffle taco, or a milk tea in one of 30 flavors, including ginger, lychee, pomegranate, and sesame.
Still feeling peckish? For our final stop, let’s stay in Asia and head west to Pop Pop Thai Street Food (13242 Aurora Ave. N), where several tasty entrees will feed you for under $10. Less adventurous eaters may want to order pad thai ($9.95), which comes with either chicken, pork, tofu, or mixed vegetables, or a rice dish like the spicy holy basil (also $9.95) that’s stir-fried with your choice of protein, green beans, and onions in a rich and flavorful garlic sauce. Other intriguing, budget-friendly options on the menu include a salted crab papaya salad, a Thai omelette served over rice, and a spicy chicken noodle soup with fish balls.
Happy eating, Arthur! Enjoy your excursions to the cheap restaurants in North Seattle and let us know what you tried! For more ideas, read how pop-ups are changing Seattle’s dining scene.
What I Ate: Al pastor street tacos from Loxicha