Burned through your cash buying rounds at the bar? Just forked over most of your paycheck to the landlord? We’ve all been there but just because you’re low on funds doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice “fun” altogether! You might need to get a little thrifty though, especially when it comes to eating out. That means sniffing out happy hours with food options as well as digging deeper on the menu at your favorite restaurants. We’ve put together this list of 50 foods to eat under $5 in Philly to keep the foodie dream alive on a budget. Your bank account might be empty but your belly certainly won’t be!
1. Miller’s Twist
Plain Salted Pretzel- $2
In the mood for something a little more decadent? Check out Miller’s Twist in Reading Terminal Market for their divine plain salted pretzel. Think Auntie Anne’s but homemade.
2. Philly Pretzel Factory
Single Pretzel- $.75
Yes this is a chain all around the Greater Philadelphia region but that just makes them even more convenient to get. At 75 cents a pop, you can bet your bottom dollar that your carb craving will be satisfied.
3. John’s Water Ice
Medium Lemon Water Ice- $2.25
Yes, we call it “water ice” here in Philly and John’s has been serving it up since 1945, using the same all-natural recipe: fruit, water, and sugar.
The black & white- $4 to $5
You haven’t had an ice cream sandwich until you’ve sampled one from Weckerly’s. Their most popular is the black & white and prices vary depending upon location.
5. Famous 4th Street Deli
Open since 1923, this Jewish delicatessen serves up sandwiches the size of your head but also has a few bargain menu items including their Rugalach.
6. Rosa’s Fresh Pizza
Cheese Pizza Slice- $1.75
What if I told you your last few dollars could feed you and a person in need? At Rosa’s Fresh Pizza it can. Their delicious cheesy slices are $1.75 each but if you donate $1, it buys a slice of pizza for the hungry.
7. Blackbird Pizzeria
Balboa Pizza Slice- $3.50
You can eat vegan and cheaply in Philly too! Blackbird Pizzeria on 6th street offers steaming hot slices of vegan pizza for under $5. My personal favorite is Balboa which is topped with roasted cherry tomato, seitan sausage, baby arugula, pumpkin seed pesto, tofu ricotta, chilli flakes, olive oil.
8. Pizza Brain
Kira Turston Pizza Slice- $4.25
Aside from being home to the largest collection of Pizza memorabilia in the United States, Pizza Brain makes delicious pizza. Try a slice of Kira Turston which is on a red pie with mozzarella, smoked bacon, hint of brown sugar, red onion, oven-roasted brussels sprout.
9. Lorenzo’s and Sons Pizza
Slice of Cheese Pizza- $3.50
You can’t come to Philly without a slice of Lorenzo’s famous pizza. The portion is huge so you might need to be rolled out the door after you’re finished.
Slice of Sausage & Peppers pizza- $4
A summer favorite that comes with mozzarella and provolone cheese capped off with Maglio’s sausage, fried long hots and fried red bell pepper.
Banh Mi Tofu Hoagie- $4.30
In business since 1982, there is one word for fu-wah’s banh mi tofu hoagie and that is f-r-e-s-h.
12. Taproom on 19th
Roasted Beet Burger- $5
On Mondays, all burgers are ½ off all day. The Roasted Beet burger comes in at $5 even topped with fried goat cheese, mixed greens and preserved lemon vinaigrette.
13. BRU Craft and Wurst
Käse Spätzel- $5
During happy hour, the Käse Spätzel is a steal at $5. Think of it as German mac and cheese but this one comes with caramelized mushroom, onion and muenster.
14. Nick’s Bar & Grille in Olde City
Pulled Pork Sliders- $5
Your happy hour just got happier with these $5 pulled pork sliders.
15. Pizzeria Vetri
Food critic Craig Laban called this dish his “morsel of the year” in 2013. It’s mortadella and ricotta wrapped in pizza dough that is baked and topped with pistachio pesto.
16. Sweet Freedom Bakery
Salted Caramel Cupcake, $4.50
This is the city’s first gluten-free, vegan and allergy-free bakery. Don’t worry, it’s all delicious. A customer favorite is the salted caramel cupcake.
17. Cake and the Beanstalk
Flourless Chocolate Cake, $2.75
Looking to satisfy your sweet tooth? This whimsical Center City spot has something for everyone, including vegan options. I WOULD INLCUDE ONE SPECIFIC ITEM
18. Metropolitan Bakery
Finding a good croissant outside of France can be challenging but you won’t be disappointed here.
19. Termini Brothers Bakery
Ricotta Cheese Cannolo, $4
In case you didn’t know, the singular for cannoli is cannolo, especially for the purpose of this article. We can only afford to eat one to keep it under $5.
20. Federal Donuts
Chocolate Eclair Donut, $2.50
Oh the sweet life! This chocolate eclair donut is worth every glorious calorie.
21. Khyber Pass
Fresh Popped Benton’s Bacon Grease Popcorn- $5
Topped with cajun seasoning. Don’t worry, there’s a vegan buttered popcorn too!
Milkboy Corndogs- $5
Another happy hour special with jalapeno cheddar bratwurst dipped in buttermilk cornmeal batter and served with cactus mustard.
23. The Little Lion
Southern Poutine- $5
During happy hour, The Little Lion’s southern poutine, which includes farmers cheese, pork belly and fried egg, is a steal at $5.
24. Saad Halal
Falafel Sandwich- $4.50
You get 3 falafel balls with lettuce, parsley, lebanese pickles, tomato and tahini sauce wrapped in pita bread.
25. Marathon Grill
Vegetarian Chilli- $5
Here’s a low budget lunch option! And healthy, too.
26. Loco Pez
Chorizo & Potato Taco- $2.75
This Fishtown taqueria has loads of taco options to choose from in case you’re not feeling the chorizo, even meatless varieties.
27. Uptown Beer Garden
Another happy hour bargain, the MexiCorn, which is corn with a special blend of mayo, sour cream and fresh cilantro, pairs perfectly with your favorite draft.
Kim Chee Fried Rice- $5
During their daily happy hour, you can score a bowl of satiating kim chee fried rice at a bargain, which comes mixed with shrimp, scallot, and a sunny side egg.
29. Heffee Tacos
Tijuana Poutine- $5
While Heffe Taco makes “tacos that don’t suck” their Tijuana poutine is a must try too, with Mexican chili fries, waffle fries, chilli – fried egg, salsa rosa, sour cream, radish onion and jalapeno.
30. Dos Tacos
Yucca Fries- $3.50
Yucca fries are out of this world good and what makes this deal even better is that you can get an order of guacamole with your yucca fries for only $1.50! The whole shebang is $5 baby.
Classic Grilled Cheese- $4.25
Nothing beats the comfort of a gooey grilled cheese. You might be broke but at least you can eat your feelings.
32. So Crepe
So Caramel Crepe- $5
What’s light, sweet and melts in your mouth? The So Caramel Crepe, that’s what! The salted caramel is homemade, too.
33. Couch Tomato
Homemade Cup of Soup- $3.69
It also comes with your choice of a homemade roll, crackers, or croutons.
34. Kermit’s Bake Shoppe
Chai Cinnamon Bun- $3
What’s better than a cinnamon bun? A chai cinnamon bun!
Small “Best” Fries- $4
These fries are free of trans fat and cholesterol at this South Street mainstay. You can also score a side of Onion Rings here for $4.50.
36. Yakitori Boy
Agedashi Tofu- $5
This fried tofu appetizer is a tasty meat-free option with tempura sauce, scallions, and spicy radish.
37. Bleu Sushi
Scranton Roll- $4.95
Get the best part of the salmon (the skin!) in a roll with cucumber and unagi sauce for under $5.
38. Cheu Noodle Bar
Get this fried pastry filled with goat cheese, cream cheese and grilled scallion topped with almond romesco sauce for five bucks during happy hour.
39. Dim Sum Garden
Fresh Pork Moon Cake- $3.25
This Chinatown staple has loads of cheap bites on the menu, but this one “takes the cake!”
40. Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House
Egg and Vegetable Noodle Soup- $4.50
What’s warm, filling and yummy? This soup.
41. Fountain Porter
Sometimes you just want an awesome burger – no fries needed. In these situations, go here.
42. Hip City Veg
Sweet Potato Fries- $4.75
But sometimes, you want to get your serving of veggies without the meat. Sweet potato fries count, right?
43. Tattooed Mom
Turkey Corn Dog on a Stick- $3.50
If you’re looking for affordable bites matched with artsy ambiance, Tattooed Mom has your name, well, “tattooed” all over it.
44. Honey’s Sit ‘N Eat
Fava Bean Soup- $3.50
May the odds be forever in your fava. Okay, that was bad but this soup is sure to warm you up on a cool summer night.
45. Revolution Taco
They have a new variety of empanada at Revolution Taco with root beer infused bacon, dates, cream cheese, thyme, almonds and honey but the spinach one is also delish!
46. Knead Bagels
Bagel with Spread- $3.50
Bored with your usual bagel? Try this black sesame one from Knead with sweet potato curry cream cheese. Mind is blown.
47. Little Baby’s Ice Cream
Scoop of ice cream in a cone, $4
Little Baby’s has the most imaginative collection of flavors we’ve ever seen and even offers non-dairy options, too. Balsamic Banana, anyone?
Melanzane Meat Balls, $5
Melanzane means “eggplant” in Italian and on Capofitto’s menu, it means eggplant meatballs. At happy hour, they’re only $5.
49. Local 44
Chicken Fried Corn on the Cob, $5
This West Philly beer bar has some yummy noshes to pair with your drafts, including the chicken fried corn on the cob.
50. Beiler’s Bakery
Handrolled donut- $.95
The donuts at Beiler’s are legendary and super affordable. Try the mocha creme or salted caramel. It won’t break the bank to buy two but you may need to spend some more time at the gym.
So what are your favorite bites that are $5 or less in Philly? Tell us in the comments below!
Follow Jennifer Logue on Twitter @jenniferlogue