By Laura Stillo

If there is anything Dallas does right, it’s dining out. I once had a Texas-via-California friend say to me, “I’ve never eaten so much in my life living in Dallas.” There is a large amount of truth to this; we meet up with our friends on weekday evenings for drinks and enjoy classy Saturday night dinners that lead straight into Sunday brunches, leaving a significant portion of our earnings allocated to ‘social eating’. This type of eating seems all sunshine-and-rainbows at the time, but come the first of the month when your rent is due and credit card bills fill up your mailbox, that chef special and vintage bottle of wine no longer sound so appetizing. Fortunately there are ways around tapping into your savings account in order to consume the tastiest of DFW foods. We present to you the Best Meals Under $20.

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Nick and Sam’s Grill

2816 Fairmount St
Dallas, TX 75201-1450
(214) 303-1880
Hours: Mon to Wed 11am-10pm; Thurs 11am-11pm; Fri 11am-12am; Sat 10am-12am; Sun 10am-9:30pm
Website & Reviews

Nick and Sam’s Grill blends upscale atmosphere and Uptown ambiance with strangely affordable fabulous food. Here, you can bust out your designer (though purchased at DSW) pumps and get a great meal for less than one Andrew Jackson. Try the Mussels, soaked in coconut milk, for $10 and round out your meal with the Grilled Vegetable Sandwich with red pepper hummus, avocado and feta on whole wheat bread, served with soup, house salad or Saratoga chips for $9.

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3210 Armstrong Avenue

Dallas, Texas 75205
(214) 520-9933
Hours: Mon to Thurs 11am-10pm; Fri 11am-12am; Sat 10am-12am; Sun 10am-10pm
Website & Reviews

Taverna’s sexy atmosphere can create the illusion of high menu prices and scenarios in your head of your server handing you a receipt emblazoned with the words credit card declined. Not so. Try the Pizza Margherita for $11. As this is an Italian restaurant, there’s no way I’m letting you have a meal without a proper glass of wine. Ask your server for a glass of Vini Rossi Nuar Pino Nero for $8.50. Also, Jake Pavelka from The Bachelor has been spotted dining here, so that’s practically dinner and a show for under $20.

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Matt’s Rancho Martinez

6332 La Vista Road

Dallas, Texas 75214
(214) 823-5517
Hours: Mon to Thurs, Sun 11am-10pm; Fri to Sat 11am-11pm
Website & Reviews

There’s a line in the Denton-based band Bowling For Soup song “Ohio (Come Back To Texas)” that says, “Besides the Mexican food sucks north of here anyway.” This is correct, and you should get your fill of delicious (and affordable) Mexican food offered in the Metroplex, reveling in the fact that northerners are seriously missing out. At Matt’s Rancho Martinez, try the Bob Armstrong Dip – queso with guacamole, sour cream and taco meat – at $5.95 for a regular size. Follow with the Enchilada Dinner for $8.95 and your wallet might even have some room left over for a margarita.

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Eddie V’s

4023 Oak Lawn Ave
Dallas, Texas 75219
(214) 890-1500
Hours: Lounge opens nightly at 4pm; dining room opens nightly at 5pm; Closes Mon to Thu 11pm; Fri to Sat 12am; Sun 10pm
Website & Reviews

Consider ordering a meal at Eddie V’s to be shopping for small designer gems. You can purchase the Louis Vuitton keychain even though you can’t afford the handbag, right? At Eddie V’s, you can afford the Louisiana Oysters appetizer for $12 and the Second Course BLT Wedge Salad for $8 even though you may not be able to afford the Pacific Ahi Tuna.

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Village Burger Bar

3699 McKinney Avenue #325
Dallas, TX 75204-4554
(214) 443-9998
Hours: Mon to Wed, Sun 11am-10pm; Thurs to Sat 11am-2am
Website & Reviews

It’s not possible to create any form of a ‘Top List’ involving food without including a mean, tasty burger. Village Burger Bar in West Village boasts one of the best burgers and hang-out-with-your-friends-and-watch-the-Rangers-game vibes in town. You have to try the Blue Burger: bacon, avocado and blue cheese crumbles for $6.20 paired with Stella Artois on tap for $5. Don’t forget their sweet potato fries – a side for $1.50 or a basket for $3, depending on your level of hunger. You may even scrape by with some leftover change.

So, who’s taking me to dinner? Share your favorite spots for a quality cheap meal below.

Hailing from Southern California and living in and loving Dallas, Laura Stillo is the Creative Social Media Producer at You + Dallas.