In honor of this month’s Smart Shopping issue, I thought I’d round up some of my favorite places for cheap eats. (My definition of cheap? Around $20 for dinner for two, without drinks.)
Pho Duy 6 [6600 W. 120th Ave., Broomfield] I love this place for a warm, filling bowl of pho or—my personal favorite—a combination bun, which is vermicelli noodles and veggies topped with slices of beef, chicken, pork, shrimp, and an egg roll.
Efrain’s Mexican [locations in Lafayette and Boulder] There’s no place better when you need your green chile fix, but Efrain’s also ranks right up there for cheap eats. Quality and quantity. (Plus great Margaritas, but that could blow your budget!)
Basil Flats [1067 S. Hover Rd., Longmont] When you’re in search of some decent Mediterranean food, this fast-casual joint doesn’t disappoint. I get the gyro sandwich or the surprisingly sophisticated artichoke and spinach pizza.
Arabesque [1634 Walnut St., Boulder] This little hideaway is a gem, with authentic Middle Eastern food in an elegantly unpretentious setting. Plus, they have killer baklava—always a plus in my book.
Two Dog Diner [645 Tenacity Dr., Longmont] Everything I’ve ever had at this modern diner has been good, from breakfast to burgers and back again. But don’t overlook their daily specials, which tend to always be something truly special.
Pica’s Mexican Taqueria [5360 Arapahoe Ave., Suite F, Boulder] With an assortment of truly delicious street-taco-style tacos (as well as burritos and other stuff), this whole menu is bang for your buck. I dream of the carne asada and carnitas tacos.
Sun Rose Café [379 Main St., Longmont] I knew I’d found someplace special when I sipped the lavender lemonade at Sun Rose. Pair that with distinctive sandwiches, excellent salads and a truly local vibe and you’ll see why this place is one of my favorites.
Zoe Ma Ma [2010 10th St., Boulder] This tiny restaurant is a chef favorite in Boulder (I’ve heard several mention it among their favorite places to dine) and one of the few places to get really great cheap eats on (or just off) the mall. Try the roast duck wonton soup on Fridays and be amazed.
Fresh Thymes Eatery [2500 30th St., Suite 101, Boulder] Opening in mid-August in the Steelyards, I got a sneak peek of this market café concept, and I’ve got to say: eating healthfully never tasted so good. All of the dishes served are gluten-free, many are allergy-free, and most are vegan—except the meats that carnivores can add on.