Oakland Food & Drink

Delicious on a Budget: 16 Must-Try Eats in Oakland!

Oakland, California is a vibrant city filled with diverse cultures and cuisines. From trendy brunch spots to hole-in-the-wall taquerias, Oakland has something for everyone.

However, dining out can quickly become expensive, especially in a city known for its foodie scene. That's why we've compiled a list of the best affordable restaurants in Oakland.

These restaurants offer delicious food without breaking the bank. Whether you're a local or just visiting, these spots are worth checking out.

From authentic Mexican cuisine to classic American burgers, these restaurants offer a variety of options for all taste buds.

But affordable doesn't mean sacrificing quality. These restaurants have been chosen because they offer tasty food made with fresh ingredients, friendly service, and a welcoming atmosphere.

Whether you're looking for a quick bite or a sit-down meal, these restaurants have got you covered.

So, if you're looking for a delicious meal without breaking the bank, check out our list of the best affordable restaurants in Oakland.

You won't be disappointed!

1. Taqueria El Paisa

Taqueria El Paisa
4610 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94601 (Google Maps)

Taqueria El Paisa is an authentic Mexican restaurant that serves delicious and affordable food.

The restaurant has a subway-like service that allows customers to pay and be served quickly. The menu offers a variety of meat and vegetarian options, and the portions are generous.

The salsa and guacamole bar adds to the deliciousness of the food. The restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating, and the ambiance is nice.

The staff is friendly and the restaurant is clean. The restaurant has limited parking, but it is definitely worth a visit for anyone looking for quick, quality, and tasty Mexican food.

2. ABURAYA

Aburaya
362 17th St, Oakland, CA 94612 (Google Maps)

ABURAYA is a funky Japanese restaurant that specializes in fried chicken and seasonal plates. The menu is affordable, and the portions are huge.

The fried chicken is lightly breaded and comes in a plurality of flavors, including Japanese BBQ sauce and dry rubs.

The tater tots are also a must-try, with Japanese seafood flavors on top. The restaurant has a unique vibe, with a rock and roll theme and a speaker system that ensures you don't miss when your order is ready.

ABURAYA also offers a great selection of sake and wine to complement your meal.

3. Banh Mi Ba Le

Banh Mi Ba Le
1909 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606 (Google Maps)

Banh Mi Ba Le is a Vietnamese sandwich shop that offers delicious banh mi sandwiches at an affordable price.

The fillings are fresh and tasty, and the bread is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

They also have a variety of pre-made meals, spring rolls, and vermicelli bowls to choose from. Though parking can be a bit of a challenge, the banh mi sandwiches are definitely worth the trip.

If you're in the mood for a quick and satisfying Vietnamese sandwich, Banh Mi Ba Le is the place to go.

4. Pomella

Pomella
3770 Piedmont Ave Unit B, Oakland, CA 94611 (Google Maps)

Pomella is a laid-back Middle Eastern restaurant that offers seasonal Israeli dishes. The restaurant has an outdoor dining area and also offers take-out and delivery services.

The food is healthy, fresh, and satisfying, with unique flavor profiles that make it stand out from other restaurants.

The online ordering platform is easy to use, and pick-up is quick and hassle-free. The only downside is the limited space in the area where customers order and pick up their food, which can get crowded at times.

Despite this, Pomella is an affordable restaurant that offers delicious food and excellent service.

5. Shan Dong

Shan Dong
328 10th St #101, Oakland, CA 94607 (Google Maps)

Shan Dong is a popular Chinese restaurant known for their hand-made noodles and dumplings.

The restaurant offers a large selection of dishes with old favorites having a unique twist. The service is friendly and the food is delicious.

The restaurant has indoor seating and street parking. It can get busy, so it's recommended to make a reservation or arrive early.

The fresh dough being cut into noodles is a sight to see. The restaurant is definitely worth a visit for those looking for authentic Chinese cuisine.

6. Tacos Mi Rancho

Tacos Mi Rancho
1434 1st Ave, Oakland, CA 94606 (Google Maps)

Tacos Mi Rancho is a must-visit for anyone looking for authentic Mexican food in the east bay.

This affordable restaurant serves up delicious tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos, and steak fries that are sure to satisfy any craving.

The menu features a range of meats, including carnitas, barbacoa, and chicken, and the salsas are a standout.

The food truck can get busy, but the quick service and friendly staff make the wait worth it. Tacos Mi Rancho is perfect for anyone in search of tasty, no-frills Mexican eats.

7. Mago

Mago
3762 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611 (Google Maps)

Mago is a stylish and affordable restaurant that serves wood-fired Northern California cuisine. The restaurant offers a fixed menu with drink pairings as an option.

The open kitchen concept and the cocktails pairings with the meal add to the ambiance. The staff is knowledgeable, helpful, and personable.

The menu changes weekly, and the seasonal ingredients make every dish delicious. The restaurant is perfect for a small group to try out many dishes.

The service is excellent, and the wines are fairly priced. Mago is a must-visit restaurant for anyone who loves good food and drinks at an affordable price.

8. Lunch Box

Lunch Box
1720 Franklin St, Oakland, CA 94612 (Google Maps)

Lunch Box is a small, takeout-only restaurant that serves some of the best sandwiches in town. The menu is vast, and the portions are generous, with a variety of hot plates and daily soups.

The staff is friendly and welcoming, making customers feel like regulars. The prices are affordable, and the food is always fresh and delicious.

The sandwiches are made with high-quality ingredients and come with a variety of tasty sauces and spreads. The brisket, pastrami, and roast turkey are all made in-house, adding to the freshness and quality of the food.

The candy selection is also impressive, making it a great spot to grab a quick snack. Whether you're in the mood for a classic deli sandwich or a healthy wrap, Lunch Box has something for everyone.

9. Fresh & Best II

Fresh & Best Ii
1428 Alice St, Oakland, CA 94612 (Google Maps)

Fresh & Best II is a Vietnamese cafe that offers delicious salads, smoothies, and sandwiches. Their breakfast and lunch options are affordable and of good quality.

Their pork vermicelli and banh mi are highly recommended. The cafe also offers vegan options, such as tofu spring rolls.

The service is friendly and attentive, and it's a great spot for a quick and cheap lunch. The interior is small and no-frills, but it's clean and comfortable with lots of natural light.

If you're looking for a laid-back place to enjoy Vietnamese snacks, Fresh & Best II is worth checking out.

10. Koffee Pot

Koffee Pot
2532 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612 (Google Maps)

Koffee Pot is a small and cozy restaurant that serves excellent breakfast and traditional American fare with Korean highlights.

The food is delicious, reasonably priced, and the staff is incredibly friendly and helpful. The restaurant is a one-man operation, so it may not be the best option if you are in a hurry.

However, the quick service and endless coffee refills make up for the wait. The interior is nicely crafted and recently renovated to have a more updated decor.

The restaurant can get crowded on weekends, so plan to come early. Koffee Pot is a must-visit for anyone looking for an amazing breakfast experience.

11. Bombera

Bombera
3459 Champion St, Oakland, CA 94602 (Google Maps)

Bombera is an affordable Mexican restaurant with great food and drinks.

The menu changes frequently, keeping things interesting for repeat customers. The smoked trout tostada and kumquat alamar daiquiri are standouts.

The restaurant has a beautiful ambiance and friendly staff. Reservations are recommended as it can get busy.

Prices are reasonable for the quality of food and drinks. Highly recommended for those looking for a fun night out with friends or family.

12. Ben's

Ben's
398 3rd St, Oakland, CA 94607 (Google Maps)

Ben's is a small family-owned Chinese restaurant serving homestyle rice and noodle dishes. The food is delicious and reasonably priced.

The chili sauce is homemade and adds an extra kick to the meals. The owner is very friendly and welcoming, making the dining experience even better.

The restaurant can get busy during peak times, so be prepared to wait. However, the wait is well worth it for the tasty food and great service.

If you're looking for affordable and authentic Chinese food, Ben's is definitely worth a visit.

13. Imperial Soup

Imperial Soup
723 Webster St, Oakland, CA 94607 (Google Maps)

Imperial Soup is a hidden gem for those looking for affordable and healthy Chinese food.

The menu offers a variety of soups and steamed dishes made with herbs and spices for healing and well-being. The staff is friendly and helpful, and the restaurant is clean and cozy.

The soups are light and flavorful, perfect for a quick and healthy meal. Cash is preferred, but the prices are reasonable, making it a great spot for a budget-friendly meal.

Don't miss out on their Chinese herbal soup and braised beef tendons with egg noodles.

14. Lula Restaurant

Lula Restaurant
2805 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609 (Google Maps)

Lula Restaurant is a hidden gem serving delicious Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine. The cozy and colorful atmosphere creates a warm and inviting dining experience.

The menu offers excellent vegetarian options and every dish is bursting with flavor.

The friendly staff provides personal attention to each customer.

If you're looking for affordable, authentic African cuisine, Lula Restaurant is the perfect destination.

15. Cafe Umami Uptown

Cafe Umami Uptown
25 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94612 (Google Maps)

Cafe Umami Uptown is a hidden gem for those looking for healthy yet affordable food. With an Asian-inspired menu, the restaurant offers flavorful and nutritious bowls that won't break the bank.

The pulled pork jook and vegan tofu and chickpea jook bowl are popular choices, but the salmon and seaweed bowl is a must-try.

The owner is lovely and the service is great. The restaurant is small, but cozy and perfect for a quick bite. All dishes are gluten-free, making it a great option for those with gluten allergies.

Cafe Umami Uptown is definitely worth a visit for anyone looking for delicious and nutritious food on a budget.

16. Falafel Boy

Falafel Boy
1924 Franklin St, Oakland, CA 94612 (Google Maps)

Falafel Boy is a Mediterranean restaurant that offers quality food at an affordable price. The chicken kebab plate is a favorite among customers, with perfectly grilled kebabs, tangy coleslaw, and delicious hummus.

The haloumi cheese wrap is also highly recommended, with smoky flavors and a mix of eggplant and hummus.

The falafel is some of the best around, and the shawarma and lamb skewers are flavorful and of high quality.

The restaurant also offers vegan and gluten-free options. The staff is friendly and helpful, and the restaurant is a great option for both dine-in and takeout.