City guides

Cheap restaurants in Raleigh

This article highlights some of the best spots in Raleigh for an affordable and delicious dining experience.

December 15, 2023
 min read
Last updated:
Feb 14
A view of the Raleigh skyline.
Raleigh, a vibrant hub in the heart of North Carolina, is a melting pot of cultures, which is reflected in its culinary diversity. Whether you're in the mood for some comfort food, keen on trying international flavors, or just looking to fill your belly without emptying your wallet, Raleigh's got you covered. Let’s dive into the local spots where the food is as rich as the experience, yet the prices are refreshingly modest.


Gravy brings the soul of Italian-American cuisine to downtown Raleigh, serving hearty, rustic dishes in a warm, inviting setting. The restaurant prides itself on its homemade pasta and sauces, with the eponymous gravy—a rich, tomato-based sauce—taking center stage. The menu, though steeped in tradition, offers a contemporary twist on classics, ensuring there's something for every palate. Gravy's commitment to affordability and quality makes it a destination for those seeking the comfort of Italian food without the extravagance typically associated with it.

Beasley's Chicken + Honey

Beasley's Chicken + Honey is where Southern hospitality meets your budget in a delicious dance. It’s not just about the perfectly fried chicken or the heavenly sweetness of the honey - it's about the heart and soul that go into each dish. The atmosphere buzzes with energy as patrons savor chicken biscuits, creamy mac 'n' cheese, and waffles that are light as air. The affordability of this comfort food haven makes it a staple for anyone craving a touch of Southern charm without the financial fuss.

Taqueria El Toro

At Taqueria El Toro, the vibrant flavors of Mexico are served up with a side of budget-friendly prices. This local favorite goes beyond the standard fare with a variety of street-style tacos, heaping nachos, and zesty margaritas that keep the spirit high without soaring bills. Regulars rave about the carne asada and the authenticity of the mole sauce, while the colorful decor and spirited music make every meal a fiesta. It’s a lively spot where families gather and friends meet, all agreeing that Taqueria El Toro is a bullseye for value and taste.

Vic's Italian Restaurant

Vic's Italian Restaurant is where family traditions meet modern dining, without the modern-day prices. This charming eatery offers an escape to the rustic Italian countryside with dishes like rich lasagna, tender veal parmigiana, and pizzas with the perfect crunch. The generous portions ensure you'll leave with a full belly and possibly some leftovers, while the prices are so modest, you'll double-check the bill. At Vic's, every dish tells a story of heritage and home-cooked passion, inviting you to be a part of their extended family every time you visit.

The Fiction Kitchen

The Fiction Kitchen turns plant-based dining into an affordable culinary adventure. Every plate is a celebration of color and texture, bursting with flavors that challenge the most skeptical carnivores. The crispy fried “chicken” and waffles, the hearty “pulled pork” barbecue plate, and the seasonal risotto showcase the kitchen’s commitment to creativity. This welcoming spot is where dietary preferences are not just accommodated but celebrated, all within a price range that invites regular indulgence. It's proof that vegan eating can be both indulgent and accessible, making The Fiction Kitchen a pioneer on the Raleigh dining scene.

Neomonde Mediterranean

The flavors of the Mediterranean are served with a generous helping of hospitality at Neomonde. This family-run establishment is a Raleigh institution, offering a delectable spread of hummus, tabbouleh, and kebabs that are both health-conscious and hearty. The lively deli-style service allows you to feast your eyes before you order, leading to an interactive experience that’s both personal and efficient. It's an oasis of freshness where the vibrant dishes reflect the Mediterranean sun, and the prices are as friendly as the staff who treat every guest like family.

MoJoe's Burger Joint

MoJoe's Burger Joint is where the essence of a classic American burger is captured with a fun, no-frills attitude. Here, the burgers are juicy, the toppings are plentiful, and the vibe is as casual as a backyard cookout. The burgers, made with fresh, never-frozen beef, are the stars of the show, but the hand-cut fries and thick milkshakes share the spotlight. With specials that include a burger and a side at a cost that seems from a bygone era, MoJoe's is where both your stomach and wallet leave happily full.

Clyde Cooper's BBQ

At Clyde Cooper's BBQ, the legacy of North Carolina barbecue lives on. Serving up slow-cooked, pit-smoked goodness since 1938, this place is steeped in tradition. The fall-off-the-bone ribs, tangy pulled pork, and vinegar-based sauces are hallmarks of Cooper's, all enjoyed within a classic, down-home atmosphere. It's a slice of Raleigh history where the experience is rich and the prices, surprisingly modest. It’s more than a meal; it’s a step back in time to when barbecue was about simplicity, community, and flavor that didn’t cost a month's rent.

Bida Manda

Bida Manda envelops you in an ambiance that’s both sophisticated and warm, with a menu that explores the nuanced flavors of Laos. The family behind this gem shares their heritage through dishes like succulent lettuce wraps, aromatic curries, and savory noodles. The ingredients are fresh, the presentations are artful, and the spices are perfectly balanced. With a philosophy that great food should be shared, Bida Manda's pricing ensures that groups can gather and explore an array of dishes together, making for a memorable and affordable dining experience.

The Raleigh Times

The Raleigh Times Bar is a treasure trove of history, housed in a former newspaper building, with a menu that champions affordable, satisfying eats. The beer selection is as commendable as the diverse menu, featuring everything from classic burgers to internationally inspired tapas. The old press clippings on the walls add to a dining experience that's rich in character and low in cost. It's a beloved spot for locals and a must-visit for travelers, proving that a great atmosphere and hearty food needn't come with a hefty price tag. In Raleigh, eating out on a budget doesn’t mean compromising on quality or experience. These restaurants prove that you can have your cake and eat it too - sometimes literally. They are the beloved spots where locals and visitors alike can come together over a great meal that’s kindly priced. Next time you’re wandering the oak-lined streets of this city, let your appetite guide you to any of these eateries for a taste of Raleigh’s rich but reasonably-priced fare.
*Prices fluctuate based on season and day of the week.

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