There’s no denying that South Florida has more than its fair share of fine dining restaurants. However, the local dining scene isn’t just for food lovers with fat wallets. There is a little bit of everything at nearly every price point, and the selection of cheap eats in Broward County is particularly diverse. While many roundups of cheap eats in an area may set the limit at $10, this guide is made for those who are really looking to save money as the holidays are nearing. Without further ado, here is the list of Broward’s best cheap eats under $5, organized in geographical order from north to south.Read More
Broward’s Top 12 Cheap Eats
And they are all under $5
Casa do Pastel
Brazilian pastels may look like empanadas, but don’t confuse what Casa do Pastel offers with what is available at a Cuban or Argentine bakery. They are called pastels and not empanadas for a reason. This Brazilian gem in Pompano offers an enormous variety of turnovers with delicate crusts that are fried to order. Simpler options, like cheese or beef, start at only a couple of dollars each. The special pastel is filled with a combination of meats, along with eggs and olives and reaches the top of the cheap eats limit at $5.
Jack's Old Fashion Hamburger House
Hamburgers used to be the affordable go-to food for countless Americans throughout much of the twentieth century. The trend to upgrade the humble burger has resulted in a food for the people becoming a food that needs to be paid off in installments. Fortunately, there are still some places in Broward County that keep things old school, including the idea that a good hamburger should be accessible to all. Jack’s has been around since 1972, and the quality and price of its Jack Jr. burger explains this institution’s longevity.
El Guanaco - Taqueria Y Antojitos
In places like Los Angeles and D.C., people are going crazy over El Salvador’s national dish. Pupusas have a lot of history in this Central American country, and while they look simple, they require deft hands to make them properly. It its core, a pupusa is like a stuffed tortilla, although ask any aficionado and they will say that it is so much more than that. El Guanaco has been winning awards in Broward County for its traditional fare for years. The pupusas here are so expertly filled that they almost seem to defy physics with how much cheese, beans or other fillings gush out of them.
Gou Lou Cheong BBQ Restaurant
Lovers of barbecue owe it to themselves to try the Chinese variety, whether it is duck, chicken, or pork. The pork is sold by the pound here, meaning that a connoisseur on a budget can get a small quantity of crispy or honey roasted pork for under $5. The least expensive items on the menu at this takeout eatery are from the concise selection of dim sum, including steam buns and dumplings. The sticky rice in lotus leaf is perhaps the most interesting consisting of glutinous rice steamed in a lotus leaf with ingredients that can include roast pork, mushrooms, and Chinese sausage.
Joy's Roti Delight
This Trinidadian restaurant in Lauderhill is famous for its curries stuffed into or served with enormous handmade flatbreads called roti. While everything on the menu is affordable, the doubles are a very satisfying steal. This traditional street food consists includes two small fried flatbreads called puris, hence the name “doubles.” The puris are smothered in a rich chickpea curry and finished with a few dashes of scotch bonnet sauce. They are traditionally eaten like tacos by folding the puris around the filling.
Jamaicans have mastered handheld bread on bread action with their patty and coco bread combination. Take a spicy Jamaican meat pie, or patty, stuff it into buttery coco bread, and the result is one of the most inexpensive and filling meals to be had in South Florida. There is an art to making a patty that is a perfect companion to coco bread, and Hammond’s Bakery in Lauderhill knows the secret to making double carbs a success. Ask at the counter or visit one of the nearby Caribbean groceries for a wedge of tangy Jamaican cheese to make it an extra decadent culinary moment.
When thinking of flatbreads, images of small plates restaurants may come to mind. The people at Noor Bakery have been doing flatbreads long before it was trendy, though. Called manakeesh (the k is silent) in Arabic, this Fort Lauderdale Lebanese eatery makes a variety of these small, round flatbreads fresh to order. The za’atar is a classic, but other toppings include Lebanese cheeses, beef sausage, and even curry chicken. Most of them are only a couple of dollars, making it possible to sample a few while staying within the $5 budget.
Hot Diggity Dogs & More
Many cities in the US have their own variety of hotdog. In Chicago, the frank is always a Vienna, and a hotdog is never truly from Chicago unless it has been “dragged through the garden.” Hot Diggity Dogs in Fort Lauderdale specializes in the Windy City’s emblematic fast food. For those who aren’t in the know, what makes the Chicago dog so distinct is its toppings: a pickle spear, tomato, sport peppers, neon green relish, yellow mustard, chopped onions, and a dash of celery salt, which is all stuffed into a poppy seed bun. It’s no wonder it is referred to as being dragged through the garden.
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545° Bánh Mì Café
This quick service restaurant serves up some of the best Vietnamese sandwiches in South Florida — at some very attractive prices. Most bánh mì here are under $5 and made with crisp baguettes with homemade Vietnamese charcuterie, like pâté and pork roll. This eatery also has a large cooler with vibrantly colored traditional desserts, as well as a selection of grab-and-go boxed lunches and refreshing drinks priced to be accessible for even the biggest food loving spendthrifts.
In many parts of South Asia, chaat is the term for a whole category of foods whose closest equivalent would be “snacks.” Chaat Corner in Pembroke Pines specializes in a variety of Pakistani-style chaat like samosas, bhel puri, and bun kebab. This uniquely Pakistani street food consists of a spicy shami kebab on a bun dressed with diced onions and chutney — just resist the urge to call it a Pakistani burger. And for those who enjoy heat, ask the server to make it “desi style.”
Siciliano's Frozen Custard
A scoop of ice cream can be had for a few bucks at many places in South Florida, but few have a menu where almost everything costs less than five dollars. Siciliano’s is a Hollywood institution specializing in frozen custard, that thick, creamy soft serve found almost everywhere in the Midwest. Besides custard, this freestanding joint also offers a selection of sherbets, enormous sundaes, milk shakes, and even custard-filled cannoli. And yes, most of it is under $5.
Tastes of Europe
The very well hidden Tastes of Europe in Hollywood is a textbook example of a hole-in-the-wall. This Hungarian bakery specializes in all sorts of treats throughout the week, but on Saturdays people flock to the tiny storefront for Hungary’s most popular street food — the crispy, cheesy, and smothered in sour cream, langós, which is Hungary’s gift to affordable fast foods. Visitors to the Central European country obsess about this fried flat bread that is assertively spiked with chopped fresh garlic before receiving an avalanche of dairy products, and now South Floridians do too.