Price doesn't always equate to quality, and plenty of LI restaurants prove that point with their creative approaches, authenticity and quality ingredients.
Our food staff is always on the hunt for a top-notch meal that comes with a low price tag. Here are the latest Cheap Eats restaurants we've reviewed.
La Vicharra Grill
La Vicharra Grill, Glen Cove: This spot brings the singular cuisine of Peru to Long Island.
The Local, Babylon: At first glance, The Local may look like a sports bar -- but this airy spot is turning out some of the best sandwiches on the South Shore, alongside an impressive tap list of mostly European beers.
DJ's Clam Shack
DJ's Clam Shack, Wantagh: North meets South at DJ's Clam Shack, the Wantagh offshoot of the Key West original.
Mamey Taquería, Babylon: Babylon's newest taqueria is a tiny, bright spot far from the village's main drag -- and its carnitas tacos are worth seeking out.
Ippon, Great Neck: This Japanese restaurant offers much more than sushi.
Kebab House, Hicksville: At this Afghan restaurant, the food hits that sweet spot between familiar and exotic.
Shiki Asian Bistro
Shiki Asian Bistro, Hauppauge: This Asian-fusion bistro now shacks up in a spot that has housed a few different concepts over the years.
Milan's Brick Oven
Milan's Brick Oven, Hewlett: Milan's Brick Oven brings extraordinary refinement and warmth to the neighborhood pizzeria.
Robke's Country Inn
Robke's Country Inn, Northport: Robke's Country Inn has been serving up Italian classics for decades, but a new audience is discovering its huge portions, heavy pours and rollicking vibe.
Ben's Crab, Oceanside: An Indonesian immigrant, who fell in love with Lousiana style seafood in a bag, is sharing it with Long Islanders.
Grain House, Uniondale: This student-friendly authentic Chinese restaurant has set up shop in the old BurgerFi in the heart of Hofstra.
Umberto's, Manhasset: The seventh link in this Long Island pizza chain tweaks the formula for success with a chic new look and menu updates.
Greek Captain, Glen Cove: Eschewing decades of recent trends, Greek Captain in Glen Cove returns fish cookery to a simpler-- and cheaper-- time.
Cafe Bethel, Freeport: Cafe Bethel features a "goliath" taco that immigrated from a small mountain town in the Honduras to this Central American restaurant in Freeport.
Basil Cafe & Restaurant
Basil Cafe & Restaurant, St. James: This resurrection of the beloved Zar Cafe retains the same charming ambience, with dishes that exude complex layers of spice.
Choopan Grill, Selden: Afghan family recipes passed down from generation to generation are the highlight at this eatery.
Kabayan Grill, East Meadow: Housed in an former Taco Bell, the bright, no-frills Kabayan Grill joins the handful of Filipino eateries on Long Island offering staples such as lechon, sisig, lumpia and siningang.
Swell Taco, Patchogue: It's all about the surf-centric vibe at the second location of Swell Taco, an offshoot of the Babylon eatery.
Olde Trading Post Tavern
Olde Trading Post Tavern, New Hyde Park: This new neighborhood tavern specializes in old-fashioned hospitality.
Henley's Village Tavern
Henley's Village Tavern, Brightwaters: This new gastropub in the heart of quaint Brightwaters offers craft cocktails, clever twists on bar food and "scratch kitchen" dishes that take advantage of seasonal ingredients and the chef's creative whims.
Tao's Peking Duck House
Tao's Peking Duck House, Glen Cove: Tao's Peking Duck House in Glen Cove is one of the few Long Island practitioners of Peking duck service, an imperial-era dish that these days is a national symbol of Chinese cooking.
Margarita's Cafe, Williston Park: The sixth link in a local Mexican mini-chain, Margarita's Cafe in Williston Park is a better place to drink than eat.
Copper Pot Chicken Co.
Copper Pot Chicken Co., Rockville Centre: A fried chicken dish that originated as special on a steakhouse menu, has been spun off into its own restaurant in Rockville Centre. Copper Pot Chicken Co. features birds that have been bathed in a 24-hour brine, crusted in a mix that include matzo meal and then fried twice so the chicken is extra crisp.
Raju's Egg & Veg
Raju's Egg & Veg, Hicksville: This egg-centric (and eccentric) Indian restaurant in Hicksville is a must-visit for LI vegetarians, and anyone else who loves eggs.
The Brixton, Babylon: At this stand-out Babylon gastropub, the food, drinks and design are all raising the bar.
New Fu Run
New Fu Run, Great Neck: Serving the gutsy cuisine of Northeast China in an elegant, comfortable setting, Great Neck's New Fu Run rewards the adventurous diner.
NY Garden Kabobs
NY Garden Kabobs, Huntington: Tucked away in a downtown Huntington alley, NY Garden Kabobs is a tiny oasis of grilled meats and seafoods atop fresh bread.
Crabtree's New York & Main
Crabtree's New York & Main, Huntington: Perched above downtown Huntington's main crossroads, Crabtree's New York & Main is a late-night spot with a wide-ranging drinks menu and a caloric roster of gastropub fare.
Clay Oven, Hauppauge: At Clay Oven, Lubna Habibi is pushing the limits of authentic South Asian food that go beyond what we've come to define as such fare with dishes like tandoori chicken wings, pakoras that play on cheese sticks and a lamb meatball curry that falls in the scotch egg family. With most dishes on the menu $10 or less, it's easy to venture outside your comfort zone and leave with a little extra for tomorrow.
Ramen Kyoto, Bethpage: Ramen Kyoto breaks new ground as Nassau's first ramen specialist, but pulls its punches with timid noodle soups.
Turkuaz Mediterranean Gourmet
Turkuaz Mediterranean Gourmet, West Hempstead: Don't let the modest surroundings fool you: This Turkish grocery store is serving up some of the best Middle Eastern food on Long Island. Kebabs, particularly the spicy Adana kebab and the yogurt-and-tomato-sauced Iskender kebab are showstoppers, as are all the three salads based on eggplant.
Wahlburgers, Port Jefferson Station: This burger joint at the heart of a reality TV show is not the same in real life.
Wildfeast, Long Beach: This cool, contemporary newcomer rocks Long Beach's main drag.
Kabobshak Mediterranean Grill
Kabobshak Mediterranean Grill, Selden: This Selden eatery serves stellar Middle Eastern food.
JR El Rodeo
JR El Rodeo, East Moriches: This barebones Mexican storefront with eight tables offers authentic made-to-order classics like burritos and tacos.
St. James Public House
St. James Public House, St. James: This sleek roadhouse with a lively bar offers beer- and wine-friendly soups, salads, burgers and skillet dinners.
Yiasou Yeeros, Plainview: Cooking with care and quality ingredients, this modest Greek takeout spot far outpaces the average gyro joint.
Main Road Biscuit Co.
Main Road Biscuit Co., Jamesport: With ingredients from East End farms and coffee from nearby North Fork Coffee Roasters, this is the diner locavores have been waiting for.
5 de Mayo
5 de Mayo, Westbury: 5 De Mayo is a modest strip mall restaurant selling margaritas and generous portions of Tex-Mex dishes. It's especially hopping on mariachi nights.
China Station, Stony Brook: Huge portions of gutsy Northern Chinese chow define China Station, a Stony Brook newcomer that is already a haven for hungry university students.
Saravanaa Bhavan, Hicksville: The first Long Island outpost of this Indian chain serves a vast array of exotic vegetarian dishes.
Naples Street Food
Naples Street Food, Franklin Square: This modest storefront offers great pizzas warmed up by a wood-fired oven and Neapolitan hospitality.
The Cuban, Garden City: Island style meets Garden City in this huge space, where diners sip mojitos and pina coladas and choose among a huge selection of Latin American dishes.
Brunello Italian Kitchen
Brunello Italian Kitchen, Deer Park: Italian-American classics are the way to go at Brunello Italian Kitchen.
Blackbird Kitchen & Cocktails
Blackbird Kitchen & Cocktails, Wantagh: Pottery Barn meets the neighborhood pub at this eatery, with a short menu of simple skillfully prepared dishes.
Vulcano 081, Rockville Centre: The Neapolitan-style pizzas and pastas are delicious and ambitious at Vulcano 081 in Rockville Centre, an unassuming neighborhood spot.
Splendid Noodle, Stony Brook: Noodles build bridges, and Splendid Noodle in Stony Brook offers a fine introduction to one of China's under-sung culinary treasures.
Kabul Kabab House
Kabul Kabab House, Westbury: This Afghan restaurant offers food that is exotic but approachable, a slam-dunk for anyone who likes grilled meat and rice.
Tao's Fusion, Selden: This clean, bright Chinese restaurant with lucky cats, orchids and red lantern décor offers a full bar, private dining and a vast menu of regional Chinese dishes.
That Meetball Place
That Meetball Place, Farmingdale: This spacious, two- story restaurant features rustic decor and a jovial vibe. Meatballs in a myriad of combinations star on the menu.
Gingerbites, Huntington Station: This Haitian fast casual spot offers interesting dishes and Caribbean hospitality.
Coalhouse Grill, Baldwin: A Jamaican chef plates up rustic food, fresh drinks and creative desserts at this new Baldwin restaurant.
American Beauty Bistro
American Beauty Bistro, Massapequa: This new Spanish tapas spot features small plates and craft beers in a comfortable dining room.
Crazy Fish Bar & Gill
Crazy Fish Bar & Gill, Port Jefferson: Nautical décor and outdoor patios define this new fish-centric restaurant in the heart of Port Jefferson.
Con Sabor a Colombia
Con Sabor a Colombia, Westbury: At Con Sabor a Colombia, classic Colombian dishes are served in a bright dining room.
The Crispy Pig
The Crispy Pig, Sea Cliff: This new gastropub serves Southern comfort food with modern flair.
Vespa Italian Kitchen & Bar
Vespa Italian Kitchen & Bar, Farmingdale: This stylish new trattoria in Farmingdale's burgeoning downtown serves both Italian-American favorites and some Southern Italian specialties.
Karamba, Hampton Bays: Karamba in Hampton Bays offers a pan-Latin menu with influences from South American, the Caribbean and Spain. Food arrives to the white tablecloth tables artfully plated in light filled, breezy dining room.
Campagne House, Bethpage: Campagne House in Bethpage is an American bistro with Asian, Latin and Italian sprinkled in. Food is served in a rustic, farmhouse-style setting with indoor and outdoor seating.
Smoke Shack Blues
Smoke Shack Blues, Port Jefferson: Smoke Shack Blues offers traditional pit-smoked barbecue in a modern, industrial setting.
Nelly's Taqueria, Hicksville: A hidden gem in Hicksville, Nelly's Taqueria serves authentic Mexican street food, starting with tortillas made in-house.
The North Fork Shack
The North Fork Shack, Southold: The North Fork Shack in Southold serves fresh fish, lively salads and satisfying sandwiches for eat-in or take-out.
Industry Standard Bar
Industry Standard Bar, Greenport: Chef Greg Ling runs Industry Standard Bar, a playful Greenport restaurant that sometimes has a "secret menu" accessed through Instagram.
Wild Side Organic Bistro & Bar
Wild Side Organic Bistro & Bar, Oakdale: This spot offers warm hospitality as well as wood-fired pizzas, sandwiches and veg-forward fare in a quirky space.
Flour Shoppe Cafe
Flour Shoppe Cafe, Rockville Centre: This bakery cafe serves breakfast for dinner and a great cup of coffee.
LOL Kitchen & Grill
LOL Kitchen & Grill, Centereach: Serving boldly seasoned Northern Chinese fare, LOL Kitchen & Grill offers destination dining in a modest space.
Beginnings, Atlantic Beach: The literary-themed Beginnings in Atlantic Beach features an impressive list of cocktails and creative takes on casual fare.
Slurp Ramen, Port Jefferson: A husband-wife team offers authentic fare at this eatery, including five types of ramen, pork buns and rice bowls.
Off the Block Kitchen & Meats
Off the Block Kitchen & Meats, Sayville: Off the Block offers the convenience of a market and the community of a neighborhood restaurant, with great burgers, sandwiches and beer.
The Rolling Spring Roll
The Rolling Spring Roll, Syosset: The Rolling Spring Roll offers casual Vietnamese fare in Syosset.
AJ’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese Shop
AJ's Gourmet Grilled Cheese Shop, Bay Shore: A family-run business, AJ's Gourmet Grilled Cheese Shop in Bay Shore offers infinite variations on grilled cheese, and mac and cheese at an affordable price for eat-in or take-out.
Dosa World, Hicksville: Set in a modest strip mall, Dosa World turns out elegant renditions of Indian fare from around the country.
Toast Coffeehouse, Patchogue: A sibling to the Port Jefferson location, Toast Coffeehouse in Patchogue serves breakfast and lunch in a prime location with high turnover and plenty of seating.
River Mill Tavern and Tables
River Mill Tavern and Tables, Lynbrook: A neighborhood place for families in the dining room or friends at the bar, River Mill Tavern and Tables in Lynbrook offers generous portions of comfort food classics and a straightforward selection of drinks.
Vauxhall, Huntington: Follow the crowd to Vauxhall in Huntington for craft brews, artisan burgers and a fun late-night menu, served until 2 a.m.
Greek Cove, East Norwich: Fine house-made gyro and falafel are two of the main draws at this small Greek strip-mall spot. Although the place can be chilly on windy winter nights, service is invariably warm and friendly. A vibrant Greek salad is included on most entrée platters. Other recommendations include hummus, babaghanoush and pork souvlaki.
Off the Hook Fresh Fish Market & Grill
Off the Hook Fresh Fish Market & Grill, Massapequa Park: At this Massapequa fish market/restaurant (recently transplanted from East Northport), chef-owner Christopher Fusaro serves up fresh-from-the-showcase seafood. Quarters are small, but there's full (and friendly) table service. Recommendations include local clams in a garlic-white wine sauce, crab cakes, a shrimp po' boy (pictured) and grilled wild salmon with a miso-teriyaki glaze.
Villa Olivetti, St. James: Restaurateur Mauricio Oliveras is back at his former digs with this gracious new value-oriented Italian restaurant. Here, a 3-course prix-fixe menu prevails at lunch and dinner every day. Recommendations include straciatella, chicken or eggplant parm, cavatelli alla Martha and rigatoni melanzana. Finish with flan or raspberry cheesecake.
Nikita Japanese & Asian Restaurant
Nikita Japanese & Asian Restaurant, Massapequa: The passion and skill of chef-owner Yunchang Zheng, makes this modest looking Asian fusion spot a dining destination. Soups -- both Chinese and Thai -- are beautifully balanced, deeply nuanced. Fine sushi, too. Recommendations, in addition to Zheng's soups, include house special pork dumplings, chirashi, prawns in Thai green curry sauce, crispy orange beef and chicken pad Thai.
LI Pour House
LI Pour House, Port Jefferson Station: At LI Pour House, a lively sports bar, you get to pour your own craft beer and cider. The real draw, though, is the BBQ from chef co-owner Joseph Sestinger, who knows the art of slow-smoking. Top picks include burnt brisket ends, sliders with pulled pork, pulled chicken and brisket, smoked and fried chicken thighs and mac and cheese-topped hot dogs.
Le Pain Quotidien
Le Pain Quotidien, Garden City: Beautifully furnished in country French pale woods, this Roosevelt Field branch of an international chain based in Belgium is big on style but falls short when it comes to delivering value on your dining dollar. Best dishes: oatmeal with bananas and walnuts, vegetable quiche, soup (both carrot and chick pea rate highly), pain au chocolat and "banoffee" tart.
Sonoma Grill East
Sonoma Grill East, Riverhead: Sonoma Grill East brings a casual vibe and a catchall menu to Riverhead. Standouts include Grandma pizza, summer squash linguini and chicken and waffles. Pancakes at brunch work well too.
Beijing House, Syosset: Beijing House brings the sometimes fiery, sometimes-comforting cuisine of Northern China to Syosset. Among standouts are seaweed and pork spare rib bone soup, sauteed bok choy, the palate-searing sautéed lamb with cumin seed and crunchy-airy fried baby shrimp with salt and pepper.
South Shore Dive Pub and Kitchen
South Shore Dive Pub and Kitchen, West Sayville: This hip little gastro bar can reverberate at busy times. The draws are craft brews and cocktails and such comfort fare as Buffalo leg confit -- chicken legs fried in duck fat and coated with a nuanced cumin sauce -- mac and cheese and the Dive King burger, two patties topped with spicy ketchup, bacon, cheddar and more.
Mazi, Riverhead: After a fire destroyed his previous restaurant, Athens Grill, John Mantzopoulos has returned with this more casual and moderately-priced Mediterranean-Greek spot, which has a sleek industrial look. A major strength is house-made gyro from a chef committed to making virtually everything from scratch. Other items you won't want to miss are braised giant butter beans, panko-crusted crab fritters, moussaka, spinach pie and a mixed grill platter with chargrilled skewered pork and chicken and a lamb chop.
Tum Thai Cuisine
Tum Thai Cuisine, Rockville Centre: Amid gold leaf ceiling sculptures, delicate crystal chandeliers and gilded birdcages, you'll find a compelling array of Thai dishes at Tum Thai Cuisine. Recommendations include a nuanced tom kha gai (chicken coconut soup), comforting curry puffs and a complex red curry with shrimp. Finish with an elegant creme brulee, presented in three flavors.
Amity Ales Brewpub & Eatery
Amity Ales Brewpub & Eatery, Amityville: In rustic-chic surroundings, Amity Ales Brew Pub & Eatery serves up craft brews -- at least one made on premises -- and a menu of satisfying Irish-American pub classics. Recommendations include a warm pretzel with cheddar ale dip, baked clams, a thick juicy burger with irresistible hand-cut fries and ultra-comforting shepherd's pie.
Schout Bay Tavern
Schout Bay Tavern, Manhasset: Schout Bay (pronounced Scout Bay) is the Dutch name originally given to Manhasset, home to this uber-hip new tavern. Decor is sleek and classy, with comfortable raised booths in the bar area and tables in the rear. On weekend evenings, the place can look (and sound) as if all Manhasset has squeezed inside. What keeps people coming back is chef Shawn Patrick's cooking. Recommendations include such dishes as butternut squash soup, mac and cheese with pork belly and panko crumbs, cedar plank salmon, roasted Cornish hen and, at brunch, avocado toast topped with smoked salmon.
PeraBell Food Bar
PeraBell Food Bar, Riverhead: PeraBell Food Bar, the offshoot of a popular Patchogue spot, has become an instant hit in Riverhead. Pizza from the restaurant's wood-burning oven is a must; request the pizza menu if you're not given one. Other standouts include creamy mac and four cheeses, a first-rate "chophouse" burger, crisp-skinned half chicken and, for dessert, creme brulee.
Escorza's Mexican Restaurant
Escorza's Mexican Restaurant, Levittown: When a restaurant is driven by passion, you know it: The food is that much more vibrant, the service that much warmer and more professional. Such is the case at Escorza's Mexican Restaurant in Levittown, whose Mexico City-born chef-owner Rene Escorza clearly loves what he does. Among the many standouts here are the rich, resonant tortilla soup, made-to-order guacamole, Mexican-style chorizo tacos, chicken mole poblano and tres leches cake.
3 Brothers Vegan Cafe
3 Brothers Vegan Cafe, Copiague: Long Island vegans now have a restaurant entirely their own, thanks to one ambitious 23-year-old. Chef Jay Astafa (whose pizza won first place in a 2011 national vegan competition) co-owns the place with his parents and brothers. What they offer is an exclusively plant-based menu -- no meat, no eggs, no milk, no cheese. Vegan cheese, though, is made in-house using cashew milk. Standouts include oyster-mushroom calamari, Buffalo cauliflower, arancini (Italian rice balls), a classic Caesar salad, eggplant Parmigiana and seitan piccata.
Das Biergarten, Long Beach: Restaurateur Andrew Hetzler's Long Beach beer hall and restaurant radiates "Gemutlichkeit," a feeling of warmth and welcome. Weekends, the action really gets going, with live German music and all kinds of beer-drinking festivities at long communal wooden tables. Recommended dishes include crisp, comforting potato pancakes, the classic bratwurst sandwich on a pretzel bun, schweinshaxe -- a big crisp-skinned roasted pork shank served with the ever-versatile red cabbage -- and, for dessert, warm apple strudel with vanilla bean ice cream.
Masalah Grill, Huntington Station: At this little jewel of a Pakistani-Indian eatery, flavors take precedence over frills. Executive chef-owner Farzana Sohail, who hails from Pakistan and chef de cuisine Francis Calaco, who is from India, produce such standouts as flaky potato and pea samosas, elegant chicken biryani (a rice dish), creamy-rich chicken tikka masala and soulful goat curry.
New York Burger Bar
New York Burger Bar, Massapequa: A certifiably hip spot (brick walls, wood floors, tin ceiling, earsplitting noise level), New York Burger Bar focuses on its namesake specialty, with a few side trips. Standouts include the cheese-stuffed Juicy Lucy, a simple Cheddar burger and a surprisingly moist and flavorsome turkey burger. A quirky hit is the French Canadian phenomenon called poutine -- hand-cut fries topped with brown gravy and cheese curds. Finish with a chocolate milk shake or brownie sundae, both made with Häagen-Dazs ice cream.
Golden Dynasty, St. James: Chinese nostalgia classics, like BBQ spareribs, scallion pancakes and shrimp lo mein, are served with style at this classy Chinese newcomer whose roots in St. James go back more than two decades.
Oregano Joe's, Wantagh: Steeped in Long Island tradition, Oregano Joe's offers the classic Italian-American comfort trinity: Pizza, pasta and parms. Not to be missed is the Sunday macaroni special (pictured), featuring pasta with stewed short rib, meatball and sweet Italian sausage. Also recommended: calamari arrabiatta (sauce on the side), chicken parm, and the Nutella sundae for dessert.
Tony Cuban Cucina & Cocktails
Tony Cuban Cucina & Cocktails, Freeport: You'll want to catch the prix-fixe meal deals at non-prime-time hours at this Cuban-Italian hybrid with a lovely water view. Avoid bustling weekend evenings and, instead, settle in for a $15.15 lunch (or $20. 95 dinner) that includes a beverage as well as an appetizer and main course. Among top choices: eggplant "frittes," pulled pork quesadilla (pictured), mussels and the innovative Cuban-Italian sandwich, a classic Cubano punched up with prosciutto and Genoa salami.
Anaconda Latin Fusion Bistro
Anaconda Latin Fusion Bistro, Huntington Station: Peruvian rotisserie chicken, bronze and juicy is just one of the attractions at this pretty pan-Latin spot. You'll find weekend musical entertainment with broad appeal as well as such culinary draws as asprightly ceviche, savory shrimp with garlic sauce and hearty Colombian meat platter, or bandeja.
Rincon Criollo Restaurant
Rincon Criollo Restaurant, Huntington Station: Lively, hearty Cuban food is what Rincon Criollo has been feeding diners in Corona, Queens, since 1976. Now, the restaurant has opened a branch in Huntington Station. You'll want to go the handsome and hospitable spot for such dishes as the Cuban tamale, ropa vieja (softly stewed beef), Cuban sandwich and custardy flan de leche.
Azulejos Fine Mexican Cuisine
Azulejos Fine Mexican Cuisine, Smithtown: You know at the first bite of the moist, savory tamales that Azulejos is no ordinary Mexican restaurant. This you might not guess by looking at the menu, embedded with such Americanized items as chimichangas, burritos and fajitas. Recommended items in chef Lorenzo Gonzalez's repertoire include a vibrant shrimp ceviche, tacos Mexicanos (the piquant chorizo sausage version is tops), juicy chuletas de cerdo (or grilled pork chops in garlic sauce) and, for dessert, bananas flambe.