Cheap & Good Eats: Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in Midtown (Think Duck Soup and Pho)

This super-cheap pork banh mi is from one of our favorite midtown spots in the old Little Saigon, Cali Sandwich.
This super-cheap pork banh mi is from one of our favorite midtown spots in the old Little Saigon, Cali Sandwich.
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt

Last week, we rounded up the Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in Montrose and River Oaks. Today it's all about Midtown. With some remnants of the old Little Saigon and plenty of bars and restaurants, this area has no shortage of great food.

Here's our list of the best cheap (under $10) lunch spots that Midtown has to offer:

Note: For the purposes of this post, Midtown is defined as south of I-45 (the Pierce Elevated), west of Highway 288, north of Highway 59 and east of Bagby. See a map here.

Honorable Mentions: Harry's Restaurant & Café, which falls just outside the border but has massive breakfast plates and Greek and American cafeteria-style lunch specials, mostly all of which are under $10; and hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese joint Kim Tai, famous for its duck soup and popular comfort food, banh bot chien.

5. Cali Sandwich & Les Givral's

Both Les Givral's and Cali Sandwich (pictured above) are mostly famous for one thing: their cheap and delicious banh mi ($3 to $4). You can't go wrong with either spot, so we'd go with whichever has the shorter line during their booming lunch hours. Expect no frills but extremely quick (albeit a bit curt) service and tasty sandwiches with authentic Vietnamese flavors. We like the Xiu Mai, a classic sandwich with tender and plump pork meatballs and all the usual fixin's -- carrots, cucumber, cilantro and more.

Half a flatbread and a Caesar salad combine for the perfect lunch at Blackfinne..
Half a flatbread and a Caesar salad combine for the perfect lunch at Blackfinne..
Photo by Troy Fields

4. Blackfinn American Grille

On Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Blackfinne offers $7.99 to $9.99 lunch specials in addition to its regular menu. We like the crab cake sliders, topped with apple slaw and served with fries; or the Pick 2 special -- with choices of soup, appetizer salads and half-portioned flatbread pizzas. Service is fast, making it a perfect workday pick-me-up.


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