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The Best Cheap Eats in Sacramento

Sacramento is famous as a pioneer of farm-to-table cuisine, a characteristic that's not incompatible with budget-friendly fare. Locals and visiting foodies who are looking for the best cheap eats in Sacramento are delighted to discover that there are affordable options across the city with no need to compromise on quality or creativity. From Midtown to Old Town and as far as neighboring cities like Folsom and Roseville, there are some excellent, often award-winning restaurants offering fantastic food for a steal. But where do the smartest, most experienced diners eat out in Sac when they want to save a few bucks? Welcome to our Tastemakers List. We compiled data covering thousands of restaurants to find the very best according to OpenTable's savviest eaters. The following Sacramento gems come highly recommended and earn bonus points for their reasonable prices. For those seeking a great deal on a casual meal or fine dining experience alike, we suggest booking a table at one of these restaurants.

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The OpenTable Team
20 Restaurants
Updated October 01, 2021
Restaurants:Foundation Restaurant and Bar, Back Bistro, The Izakaya
Price Range:$$ - $$
Cuisines:American, Bistro, Japanese
Neighborhoods:Sacramento, Folsom
A photo of Foundation Restaurant and Bar restaurant

Foundation Restaurant and Bar

$$$$
American
Sacramento
4.2
361 reviews
Foundation Restaurant and Bar offers solid proof that the best cheap eats in Sacramento can often coincide with a real sense of refinement. The neighborhood eatery has upscale-casual vibe, and its all-day menu features elevated comfort food for a relative steal. Flat-breads are a specialty, among them a fancy caramelized mushroom version with gorgonzola, arugula and apple shallot jam. Diners might also share an array of small plates, choosing from more than a dozen options that include Korean beef skewers, flash-fried shishito peppers with andouille sausage, spicy fried green beans and some top-notch tacos.

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A photo of Back Bistro restaurant

Back Bistro

$$$$
Bistro
Folsom
4.5
260 reviews
With its wraparound wine bar, a wall of wine as a centerpiece and master sommelier (and co-owner) Jeff Back at the helm, Back Bistro in Folsom is certainly an enticing venue for wine enthusiasts. What’s less obvious at first glance is that it’s also a great place for reasonably priced farm-to-table cuisine for lunch and dinner. From artisanal cheese and charcuterie plates to share over remarkable wines, to heartier entrees like the lamb burger or steak frites, Back Bistro has items to suit all appetites, at a range of price points. Stop in during happy hour (3 to 6 p.m. daily) for discounted wines by the glass and snacks such as ahi poke wontons and goat cheese fritters.

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A photo of The Izakaya restaurant

The Izakaya

$$$$
Japanese
Sacramento
4.2
34 reviews
Locals know the Izakaya as one of the best places in the city for ramen, sushi and Japanese small plates. With very reasonable prices, it definitely offers some of the best cheap eats in Sacramento. Several small plates, such as the sunomono cucumber salad, fried dashi tofu and miso soup, cost less than a fancy cup of coffee. For a few bucks more, feast on chicken tempura, one of eight ramen bowls or some of the dozens of sushi items featured on the all-day menu. Daily happy hour is always bustling at the Izakaya, thanks to deals including $5 ramen and sushi rolls. A full range of beers, wines and sakes is available too.

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A photo of Public House Downtown restaurant

Public House Downtown

$$$$
American
Sacramento
4.3
119 reviews
A downtown gastropub is usually a safe bet for diners seeking cheap eats and a friendly atmosphere, and Public House delivers both. Along with some 60 beers on tap, Public House presents excellent versions of casual American classics for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It also offers happy hour and late-night menus. Highlights include a giant Bavarian pretzel with pimento cheese and honey mustard, nacho tots with smoked pork and guacamole, fish tacos and a signature half-pound burger with custom toppings. The comprehensive menu also includes big salads, 10 different pizzas and a wide range of full-size entrees.

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A photo of Cafeteria 15L restaurant

Cafeteria 15L

$$$$
Comfort Food
Sacramento
4.4
2799 reviews
Modernized American comfort food is the signature of Cafeteria 15L, a rustic chic eatery in Sacramento with two patios. It’s open for lunch, dinner, late-night dining and a popular weekend brunch, all showcasing home-style cooking that won’t break the bank. For smaller appetites (and a smaller check), consider sharing small plates such as mac and cheese, buttermilk-fried chicken strips and shrimp haystacks. The lunch menu features small and big salads along with four burgers and various sandwiches that come with a side of fries or mixed greens. Stop by from 4 to 7 p.m. on a weekday to catch happy hour in the bar and lounge.

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A photo of Capitol Garage restaurant

Capitol Garage

$$$$
Fusion / Eclectic
Sacramento
3.8
1071 reviews
For vegetarians and vegans, Capitol Garage offers some of the best cheap eats in Sacramento. Its menu includes meat dishes as well, with something for every appetite on the eclectic eatery’s breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch menus. They even offer a menu of treats for dogs enjoying the patio. Expect classic comfort food from quesadillas and burgers to creative salads. Among the bigger entrees are a jambalaya packed with blackened shrimp, chorizo and sausage, and a roasted polenta dish with beets, broccoli and peppers. Note the photos and memorabilia on display – they reveal the restaurant’s previous incarnation as a 1990s punk music venue.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of The Jungle Bird restaurant

The Jungle Bird

$$$$
Polynesian
Midtown
4.4
558 reviews
Tiki drinks galore, super-kitsch décor and Polynesian plus pan-Asian cuisine are the signatures of The Jungle Bird in the heart of Midtown Sacramento. Choose a seat within the rain forest-inspired interior, or opt for the patio designed to resemble a beach. Fruity rum-based cocktails are almost a must, as are a few pu pus or a full meal. Either approach is an affordable way to fill up on island-inspired fare for a relative steal. Among the pu pu options are coconut shrimp, crab Rangoon and kalua pork sliders, while full plates include a loco moco, moku beef noodles and a bulgogi tofu rice bowl. Save room for a serving of Dole whip for dessert.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Magpie Cafe restaurant

Magpie Cafe

$$$$
American
Sacramento
4.6
170 reviews
Magpie Café is a trendy farm-to-table spot in Midtown specializing in elevated, produce-forward comfort food at a reasonable price point. The kitchen uses sustainable local ingredients for its frequently changing lunch, dinner and weekend brunch offerings. On the dinner menu, look for the signature chicken for two, prepared in confit and roasted cuts and served with black rice, green vegetables, black sesame and a green sauce. Lighter fare might include a ceviche of California halibut, Baja scallops and Oregon bay shrimp, a seasonal vegetable and hummus bowl, and a watermelon and heirloom tomato salad. Sandwiches and creative salads feature strongly on the lunch menu.

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A photo of Punch Bowl Social - Sacramento restaurant

Punch Bowl Social - Sacramento

$$$$
American
Sacramento
3.9
379 reviews
Punch Bowl Social is a mid-sized national chain of entertainment venue/eateries with a popular location in Sacramento. The concept brings together top-notch bar food and craft beverages with karaoke, bowling, table games, a vintage arcade and more. With some of the best cheap eats in Sacramento, Punch Bowl Social’s menus manage to divert diners’ attention away from fun and games, at least for long enough to eat a fantastic meal or snack. A few highlights of the main menu are green chorizo fries, cauliflower nachos, the fully loaded double knockoff burger and a five-layer beef brisket chili. Happy hour and late-night menus are available as well.

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A photo of Iron Horse Tavern - Sacramento restaurant

Iron Horse Tavern - Sacramento

$$$$
American
Sacramento
4.5
122 reviews
In a Midtown brick building with an industrial-chic makeover inspired by the city’s railroad heritage, Iron Horse Tavern presents some of the best cheap eats in Sacramento. Reasonable prices belie the quality and creativity of the restaurant’s breakfast, lunch/dinner and weekend brunch menus designed by chef Christian Palmos. Note the pan-Asian influence in such dishes as Thai skirt steak and crispy noodle salad and the banh mi Impossible burger. Other items including tavern pizzas, beer-brined chicken wings and a mac ‘n cheese bar (with custom toppings like bacon and egg, lobster and basil pesto) stick closer to American comfort food traditions.

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A photo of Station 16 restaurant

Station 16

$$$$
Seafood
Sacramento
4.3
300 reviews
Station 16 is one of the most popular restaurants in Sacramento for seafood. The sleek and modern venue is filled with light and includes an oyster bar as well as an expansive patio. Such a venue and high-quality cuisine usually make for an expensive meal, but here the menu items stay at a reasonable price point for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch alike. For one of the best deals at lunchtime look to the rice plates, which come with a choice of chicken, steak or seafood (salmon, shrimp, Alaskan cod or seabass) and choice of sauce, plus garlic or brown rice and mixed greens. Dinnertime favorites include blackened salmon, Cajun pasta and crab cakes. Note that oysters and an array of small plates are a steal during happy hour.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Malabar American Cooking restaurant

Malabar American Cooking

$$$$
American
Sacramento
4.0
294 reviews
Malabar American Cooking specializes in new American cuisine, with room on its menus for certified Angus steaks and fresh seafood dishes plus plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. The restaurant takes pride in offering some of the best cheap eats in Sacramento, keeping its quality remarkable and prices reasonable. Exemplary entrees include bacon-wrapped American Kobe beef and pork meatloaf, shrimp linguine and lobster street tacos. Grilled Angus burgers, salads and gourmet sandwiches are popular features at lunchtime, when diners might opt for a soup, salad and/or sandwich combo deal.

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A photo of Midgley's Public House restaurant

Midgley's Public House

$$$$
American
Stockton
4.3
1182 reviews
Midgley’s Public House in Stockton is the brainchild of chef Michael Midgley, who notably competed on television’s “Top Chef,” won “Cut Throat Kitchen” and appeared as a judge on “Top Chef Masters.” He lends his name, celebrity appeal and mastery of American-fusion comfort food to the sophisticated yet casual eatery. Look for three-course specials on Sundays and a weekly lunch special in addition to the regular lunch and dinner menus. Substantial steaks and chops on the dinner menu can be pricey, but budget-minded diners might go for appetizers, sides and salads including avocado fries, prime rib sliders and pork belly chicharrones. Burgers, fish and chips and a range of tempting sandwiches feature on the more-casual lunch menu.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Range Kitchen & Tap restaurant

Range Kitchen & Tap

$$$$
American
Roseville
4.5
365 reviews
Roseville’s Range Kitchen & Tap crafts rustic American cuisine from locally sourced ingredients in a warm and welcoming setting. Its lunch and dinner menus change frequently to incorporate the freshest seasonal produce. They often include some unexpected items like boar bacon artichoke dip, bison meatball sliders and a wild game of the week entrée along with such classics as southern fried chicken, Mom’s meatloaf and mac and cheese. Pizzas with artisanal toppings are another specialty. Local craft beers make a choice accompaniment.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Market Tavern Stockton restaurant

Market Tavern Stockton

$$$$
Contemporary American
Stockton
4.6
1862 reviews
Market Tavern comprises a farm-to-table restaurant, bakery and grab-and-go market all under one roof in Stockton. The kitchen’s wood-burning oven turns out Neapolitan-style pizzas with produce-forward toppings. Options include a bacon and kale pizza accented with garlic and honey, a house-made sausage, mushroom and broccoli rabe pizza and a vegan option with wild mushrooms and local corn. The wood-fired oven also gives a signature touch of smoke to items ranging from starters like roasted olives and wood-grilled artichoke to wood-fired steaks and kurobuta pork chop. Market Tavern’s sandwiches and burgers, among them a lamb burger and king salmon BLT, represent some of the best cheap eats in the Sacramento region.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Cliff House of Folsom Brewhouse Grille restaurant

Cliff House of Folsom Brewhouse Grille

$$$$
American
Folsom
3.6
414 reviews
Craft brews on tap, classic American fare on the menu and a casual atmosphere characterize Cliff House of Folsom Brewhouse Grill. The restaurant offers reasonably priced appetizers, salads, sandwiches, pizzas and more on its lunch and dinner menus. It also presents a champagne brunch on Sundays and a DJ dance night on Fridays. Charbroiled burgers are a major highlight for Folsom diners seeking cheap eats, with six hamburger options plus a veggie burger on both lunch and dinner menus. Other standout items include the crab cake sandwich, a pesto primavera pasta and the all-American chicken cobb salad.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Zocalo Midtown restaurant

Zocalo Midtown

$$$$
Regional Mexican
Sacramento
4.5
2189 reviews
The Zocalo restaurant in Midtown Sacramento is one of three in the region. All are famous among locals for presenting authentic Mexican cuisine and amazing margaritas, but the Midtown location stands out for its striking venue – a former car showroom dating to the 1920s. Original Mexican artwork and artifacts transform the space to fit perfectly with its traditional cuisine. Notable items on the menu include enchiladas in a 26-ingredient mole sauce, Baja fish tacos and a couple of ceviches. Custom Mexican-inspired rice bowls with a choice of protein, vegetables, sauce and pickles are a popular option departing somewhat from tradition.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?


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A photo of Red Lantern – Thunder Valley Casino Resort restaurant

Red Lantern – Thunder Valley Casino Resort

$$$$
Chinese
Lincoln
4.6
818 reviews
Red Lantern is a modern and affordable Chinese restaurant inside Thunder Valley Casino Resort, just northeast of Sacramento. The 21-plus venue offers dinner and happy hour (4 to 7 p.m.) daily and lunch on weekends. Those seeking a great deal should consider the “deluxe plate dinner” with an appetizer and entrée or the “super value set dinner” that includes an appetizer, soup, one of more than a dozen appetizers and a dessert. There’s also a lengthy a la carte menu with classic pan-Asian favorites like pot stickers, wonton soup, kung pao prawns, Mongolian beef and eight types of noodle dish.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Rio City Café - Sacramento restaurant

Rio City Café - Sacramento

$$$$
Californian
Sacramento
4.5
1411 reviews
Rio City Café claims one of the most glorious settings in Sacramento, in Old Town right on the riverfront with views of the historic Tower Bridge. The restaurant has earned many accolades during its 25-plus years of offering remarkable California cuisine, among them Sacramento Magazine’s best river dining/best view award. The dinner menu leans toward pricier fare including steaks and seafood, but at lunchtime there are more casual options for a lower price. Consider the Rio burger with an American Kobe blend, Havarti cheese and rosemary garlic aioli, the entrée-size barbecue chicken salad and the vegetarian curtido lettuce wraps.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Canon restaurant

Canon

$$$$
American
Sacramento
4.7
1480 reviews
Everything on the menu at Canon, from granita-topped oysters and farm-fresh salads to a whole grilled chicken, is designed for sharing. It’s an approach that allows diners to experience innovative cuisine from award-winning chef Brad Cecchi at a wide range of price points in an upscale fine-dining atmosphere. Many of the dinner menu’s highlights are vegetable-centric plates such as corn fritters with fried okra and tomatillo salsa, and bintje potatoes with chanterelles and salt-baked onions. Salads, house pickles and a roasted tomato focaccia are delightful additions to any shared array.

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

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