Close your eyes and picture New Orleans: colorful and dazzling yet with undertones of spooky swampland. There are the lively sounds of jazz bands and the glint of Mardi Gras beads, but also the stateliness of historic cemeteries. If one city can be all this, you can be sure its culinary scene is equally vibrant and diverse.

Though you might be used to paying a pretty penny for an unforgettable dining experience, cheap eats in New Orleans are as plentiful as Spanish moss. What food is New Orleans known for? Follow our guide to the best food in New Orleans on the cheap!

1. Gumbo Shop

630 St Peter New Orleans, LA, 70116

It wouldn’t be a visit to New Orleans without a bowl (or two, or three) of the city’s signature dish. Gumbo represents New Orleans in more ways than one, from its many-layered flavors and textures to the blend of cultural cooking styles that contributed to its creation. While there are certainly favorites like jambalaya and red beans and rice on the menu, it’s all about the gumbo. Take your pick of seafood okra gumbo, chicken andouille gumbo, or herbed gumbo and dig into the best food in New Orleans.

2. Coop’s Place

1109 Decatur St., New Orleans, LA, 70116

Gumbo’s cousin is jambalaya, a savory rice dish full of flavor. At Coop’s Place, you can get a cup of the good stuff for under $7 and a bowl for under $10. After all, Coop’s Place claims to be “the place to go for a true taste of New Orleans at down home prices,” so eat your fill of the food New Orleans is famous for.

3. Killer PoBoys

219 Dauphine St., New Orleans, LA, 70112

You don’t have to become a po’ boy on your quest for the best local grub—the po’ boy sandwich is one of the best eats in New Orleans. At Killer PoBoys, you can try a classic Gulf Shrimp sandwich, or sample something unique like the BBQ Chicken Confit. With nothing over $15 on the menu, Killer PoBoys is a great stop for cheap food in New Orleans.

4. Central Grocery & Deli

923 Decatur St., New Orleans, LA, 70116

There’s more than one sandwich putting New Orleans on the map. Central Grocery is well-known as the birthplace of the muffuletta sandwich, stuffed with rich and tangy ingredients including sliced cheese, olive salad, salami, and mortadella. You can get a muffuletta seven days a week at Central Grocery, and these sandwiches make for a perfect on-the-go lunch.

5. Meals From the Heart Café

1100 N Peters St #13, New Orleans, A, 70116

Though the cuisine of “Nawlins” can be heavy on seafood and flour-based roux, those with special diets can partake in delicious meals at Meals From the Heart. This café offers many vegan and/or gluten-free options, including alternative versions of the po’ boy sandwich, gumbo, and crab cakes.

6. Café du Monde

800 Decatur St., New Orleans, LA, 70116

Sometimes it’s nice to find a lesser-known eatery far away from the well-traveled tourist path. But you simply can’t top the foodie classics. If you need a midday pick-me-up, head to Café du Monde for chicory coffee and beignets (crispy, rectangular doughnuts coated in powdered sugar). Café du Monde is world-famous for good reason: Their menu is simple, they’re open 24 hours, and they’ve been in the French Quarter since the 1860s. Who knew that some of the best cheap eats in New Orleans were so legendary?

7. Mother’s Restaurant

401 Poydras St., New Orleans, LA, 70130

When you’re in the South, do as the Southerners do and dig into a plate of fried chicken. Mother’s Restaurant is one of the best cheap restaurants in New Orleans, with its potent spices and crispy chicken plates. Take your pick of half a friend chicken, or a smaller portion if you’re rather fill up on their yummy sides of red beans and rice or grits.

8. Stanley Restaurant

547 St Ann St., New Orleans, LA, 70116

Bananas Foster is a classic New Orleans dessert, so why not eat dessert for breakfast with the Bananas Foster French Toast at Stanley’s? That said, this menu isn’t shy when it comes to decadent flavors. Chow down on the eggs Acadiana, which comes with poached eggs and creole hollandaise on toasted French bread. You can also cut into a thick stack of pancakes served with vanilla ice cream.

9. Evans Creole Candy Company

848 Decatur St., New Orleans, LA, 70116

A salty-sweet pecan praline is the perfect after-dinner snack, and Evans Creole Candy Company is the perfect place to pick one up. The best cheap food in New Orleans may just be the sweetest.

10. Fry and Pie

2239 St. Claude Ave, LA, 70117

Pecan pie is an unbeatable dessert, and the “Lush Nut” pecan pie at Fry and Pie is an unbeatable choice—both for its flavor and its price.

11. Faubourg Bistro

700 Burgundy St., New Orleans, LA, 70116

You might not automatically picture burgers and sandwiches when you think of New Orleans, but that’s just because you’ve never been to Faubourg Bistro. The menu is full of well-priced favorites, like a hearty bistro burger and Southern chicken sandwich. They also have more unique offerings like a firecracker cauliflower burger and PB&J chicken wings. Best of all? You can get nearly everything for under $10.

12. Cajun Mike’s

116 Baronne St., New Orleans, LA, 70112

Can’t get enough po’ boys? We know just the place. Cajun Mike’s offers a half dozen types of these popular Southern sandwiches. This hot spot features po’ boys made with options like shrimp, oysters, BBQ pulled pork, chicken tenders, and hot roast beef. No wonder it’s one of the best cheap eats in New Orleans.

13. Majoria’s Commerce Restaurant

300 Camp St., New Orleans, LA, 70130

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for a reason. Don’t skimp when it comes to flavor (but do skimp on high prices). Head to this local joint for a tasty meal. For under $10, you can enjoy a plate of sautéed breakfast sausage, biscuits, and eggs. Or you can choose an omelet that comes with a side of toast and grits. If you’re a bacon fanatic, the BLTs are only $6 if you want to order a second helping.

14. South Market Pub & Bar

735 St Joseph St., New Orleans, LA, 70130

Planning on grabbing a pint while watching the Saints play? Time for snacks! This hot spot has the best bites around. The eggplant beignets, Southwest eggrolls, and fried fish sandwich all ring up under $10.

While you might be tempted to spend your whole visit at the dining table, don’t miss all the fun things to do in New Orleans. Grab your chicory coffee and check out these fun, affordable activities:

The food of New Orleans is as magical and unforgettable as the city itself. The best New Orleans eateries are world famous, and there are so many ways to discover the best foods of the Big Easy. By finding the top cheap eats in the city and traveling to New Orleans on a budget, there’s always more cash for second helpings.

Header image:  Via f11photo/Shutterstock.com