Check out this meaty six-inch sub with a side of potato salad and a drink for only $9 at Antonini's.
Check out this meaty six-inch sub with a side of potato salad and a drink for only $9 at Antonini's.
Photo courtesy of Michael Antonini

10 Best Cheap Eats in Houston’s Bay Area

This time of year, with new routines and new schedules in place for most families, things can get pretty hectic. Sometimes cooking just isn’t an option. Good news. It’s possible to save a little time, dine out, and not break your budget. The Houston Press has done a little research and found some great deals around town. Here’s a list of a few cheap eats in and around the Clear Lake area.

Antonini’s Subs and Steak, 17314 Highway 3, 3509 Palmer

Antonini’s Subs has been family owned and operated since opening in Webster in 1984. Known for their meaty, overstuffed cheese steak sub, this local establishment uses only fresh ingredients, with meats prepared every morning. With everything on the menu under $10, this sandwich shop should be on everyone’s restaurant rotation. The famous cheese steak sub is a foot-long and loaded with 100 percent USDA Certified top round sirloin, with your choice of grilled onions, cheese, sauce and peppers for only $9.85. Six inches of this monster runs you only $5.95. If you’re into the new keto-craze, Antonini’s will turn any sub into a salad for you. Wraps are also available. Other scrumptious subs are the hot sausage and peppers sub or the cold Italian sub piled with genoa salami, Capriola ham, cooked ham, peppered ham, and choice of lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, peppers, provolone cheese and Italian seasoning, only $5.15 for a six-incher. A burger and a burger wrap are also available for only $6.60. Antonini’s also has a bangin’ lunch special. For only $9, grab a sub, a side, and a drink. Open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Chicken fajita enchiladas at Los Ramirez.EXPAND
Chicken fajita enchiladas at Los Ramirez.
Photo courtesy of Toby Philips

Los Ramirez Mexican Restaurant, 16330 El Camino Real, 660 FM 571

If you’re looking to fill your belly and your billfold, Los Ramirez is the spot. Every item on the dinner menu is under $10, with the exception of some seafood and fajita dishes. The Juarez dinner comes with a taco, tamale, cheese enchilada, guacamole, rice and beans for only $6.59. The Burrito dinner comes with two burritos topped with a rich chili gravy and melted cheese, served with rice and beans, for only $6.99. Those are dinner prices, but lunch prices are even lower. All lunch entrees range from $4.59 to $6.49 with over 20 options, from fajita enchiladas to fajita quesadillas to a big plate of pollo con mole comprised of a chicken breast topped with mole sauce and white cheese, served with rice, beans and flour tortillas. Los Ramirez has two locations, one in Clear Lake and one in Dickinson. Open Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Get this Cuban sandwich for only $6.95 at The Cuban Cafe in Baytown.EXPAND
Get this Cuban sandwich for only $6.95 at The Cuban Cafe in Baytown.
Photo by Jennifer Fuller

The Cuban Café, 4234 Decker, Baytown

People in the mood for good Cuban food might want to make a little drive over to Baytown to try this local gem. The Cuban Café has been open for about three years. Florida native, Melissa Scott, missed the Cuban food from her home state of Florida, so she decided to open up a restaurant. Scott even has the bread used for the sandwiches shipped here from Florida, making the sandwiches even more authentic. These stuffed, meaty Cuban sandwiches are only $6.95 anytime. The size and the flavor of this sandwich make that a steal. Available sides are plantains, yuca, rice or black beans. Other entrees include a plate of picadillo for $8.95, a chicken plate with a large leg quarter seasoned with a Cuban sofrito and cooked until tender for $9.95, or ropa vieja - tender shredded beef served with rice, black beans, plantains and yuca for $9.99. Rich Cuban coffee and café con leche are also available. Open Monday to Friday, 4 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Grab a burger for $5 at Cabo on Wednesday nights.
Grab a burger for $5 at Cabo on Wednesday nights.
Photo courtesy of Cabo Clear Lake

Cabo Clear Lake, 2513 NASA Parkway, Seabrook

One of the best patio spots in the Clear Lake area also serves up a juicy burger for only $5 on Wednesday. The Cabo burger comes with lettuce, tomatoes, onion, pickles and your choice of french fries or tater tots. Additional toppings are an extra charge. Wednesdays also happen to be the night Cabo holds its Geeks Who Drink trivia from 8 to 10 p.m. So with $3 "U Call It" drinks and $5 burgers, you’re in for a fun evening on the lake. Open Monday to Thursday, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday, 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Check out this big plate of food for only $8.99 at dinner.EXPAND
Check out this big plate of food for only $8.99 at dinner.
Photo by Jennifer Fuller

Joe Lee’s Seafood Kitchen,1108 Marina Bay Drive, Clear Lake Shores

Joe Lee’s has a great selection of seafood plates and has been mentioned before in the Press. Besides their great fish tacos, Joe Lee’s offers a Blue Plate special for $7.99 at lunch and $8.99 for dinner. For the Blue Plate special, pick one entrée of either popcorn shrimp, chicken fried steak, catfish strips or chicken fried chicken. Then choose two of their hearty sides which include mashed potatoes, hush puppies, french fries, Cajun rice and more. You also get a crispy deep-fried dinner roll. Joe Lee’s offers counter service, so you’ll save a bit on a tip too. Open Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

This meaty Banh Mi is just one of the many cheaps eats at Nobi Public House.
This meaty Banh Mi is just one of the many cheaps eats at Nobi Public House.
Photo courtesy of Nobi Public House

Nobi Public House, 241 E NASA Parkway, Webster

If you’re in the mood for a little Vietnamese fusion, but you’re pinching pennies, stop by Nobi Public House. There are a few cheap eats to choose from, but the steal is the $5 banh mi. This popular sandwich is served on a baguette with garlic butter and filled with crisp cucumber, fresh cilantro and jalapeno slices, pickled carrots and daikon, and your choice of protein. Choose from pork, chicken, or tofu – or shrimp for $6.50. Another option is the $6.75 Nobi dog. Just like it sounds, this is an all-beef frank stuffed in toasted French bread and topped with Vietnamese chargrilled pork, pickled carrots and daikon, onions, jalapenos, homemade sriracha mayo and salsa. Not in the mood for either of those, grab a couple of tacos for $5.25 to $6.50. These tacos come two to an order and are served on corn tortillas with cilantro, onions, lettuce and homemade salsa – and again, your choice of pork, chicken, tofu or shrimp. Open Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Tuesday's special is beef tips in gravy over rice for only $7.99 for lunch and $8.99 for dinner.EXPAND
Tuesday's special is beef tips in gravy over rice for only $7.99 for lunch and $8.99 for dinner.
Photo by Jennifer Fuller

Abe’s Cajun Market and Café,  1080 Clear Lake City Boulevard, Suite D

Since 2001, Abe’s has been serving authentic Cajun cuisine to the Clear Lake area. Grab a big plate of crawfish etouffee or some Cajun meats, including Savoie’s andouille sausage, from the meat counter and take it home to create your own Cajun meal. This casual dining spot offers boudin balls, crab cakes, Natchitoches meat pies, po' boys, muffalettas, fried seafood, red beans and rice, smothered pork chops and so much more. To taste these divine vittles and stay on budget, check out Abe’s daily specials. Monday through Friday, Abe’s offers a special dish for only $8.99 ($7.99 at lunch). Monday’s special is meatloaf, chicken fried steak or chicken fried chicken. Wednesday's special is beef stroganoff or chicken and sausage piquant. Friday it is shrimp Creole or shrimp etouffee. You get the idea. These special entrees are only available on their designated days too. So, if you want shrimp etouffee and it’s not Friday, better have a plan B. If you have kiddos, feed your little ones for free on Mondays. Definitely, keep this one in your budget-friendly restaurant rotation. Open Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.  Sunday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

This so-called slice of pizza is only $5 with unlimited toppings.EXPAND
This so-called slice of pizza is only $5 with unlimited toppings.
Photo by Jennifer Fuller

Midnite Slice, 1605 2nd, Seabrook

It sure is hot outside, but when cooler weather rolls around, you’ll be visiting Midnite Slice regularly, guaranteed. With a groovy outdoor area shaded by monstrous oak trees, this cozy spot starts to feel like your home away from home. At Midnite Slice, a variety of pizza toppings combine to create ingenious pizzas, like The Great Corn-Holi-O with a rich beef chili base, fresh ground beef, Frito’s, red onions, jalapenos, cheddar and mozzarella and drizzled with ranch dressing. If you’re running out of cash or you don’t feel like ordering an entire pizza, order a slice for $5. This isn’t your ordinary slice. This is your grade school rectangular slice on steroids. Yes, it’s huge and you can add as many toppings as you want at no extra charge. Again, this is only $5. Open Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 a.m.

Get any taco for $3.00-$3.50 on Taco Wednesdays at Skally's.
Get any taco for $3.00-$3.50 on Taco Wednesdays at Skally's.
Photo by Jennifer Fuller

Skallywag Suds N Grub, 600 6th, Kemah

Did you happen to miss Taco Tuesday specials and now you’re craving tacos and you’ve only got $10 to your name? You’re in luck. Skallywag Suds N Grub has a Taco Wednesday special. Grab any one of their tacos for $3 to $3.50. Two tacos, maybe three if you haven’t eaten all day, are enough to satisfy that taco thirst. The fried chicken taco is fried chicken topped with cheese, bacon, chives, and sour cream. The smoked pulled pork taco is barbeque pulled pork topped with ginger cilantro slaw, onions and jalapenos. The yellowfin tuna taco is also served with ginger cilantro slaw and topped with chili ranch, hot sauce, and a drizzle of lime juice. All of these tacos are served on soft corn tortillas. Grab a cold craft beer while you’re there. Open daily, noon to 2 a.m.

Mario’s Flying Pizza, 1304 Bayport Boulevard, Seabrook

The days of a good old Steak and Ale salad bar seem long gone, but they’re not. Mario’s is known for decadent Italian food and tasty pizzas, but the bargain here is the loaded salad bar. It's a little secret that locals rave about. Loaded with fresh veggies, pasta salad, cottage cheese, macaroni salad and more, at $7.95 for all-you-can-eat, it’s a steal. Kids eat free on Mondays and wine is 99-cents a glass on Wednesdays. Mario’s serves beer and wine and is a full-service restaurant. Delivery is also available if you’re interested in trying some of their other delicious pizzas and classic Italian favorites. Open Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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