By Julie Arnan and Denise Sakaki
With our busy, modern lives, sometimes dinner at home is not an option. Hitting up a fast food drive-thru might be cheap and quick but there are heartier — and sometimes healthier — local options. Here are 12 dinners we found on the Eastside that are all $10 or less (excluding tax and gratuity). And they are satisfying and delicious, too.
Ezell’s Famous Chicken
$6-$7 2-Piece Chicken Dinner
$7-$8 3-Piece Chicken Dinner
A local chain operating for the last 20 years that has gained nationwide attention from Oprah, Ezell’s remains a favorite for its crispy fried chicken. Ezell’s dinner special offers a two- or three-piece chicken meal, with a selection of two sides, including coleslaw, baked beans, or potatoes, plus a fresh-baked dinner roll. The chicken comes in the classic original or the popular spicy if you want a little kick. The restaurants aren’t designed for sit-down dining, but the fast service means you can get your chicken home and enjoy it while it’s still hot. Locations in Renton, Kent, Seattle, Tacoma, Woodinville.
$9.99 Hot Turkey Meatloaf Platter
Thanksgiving is every day at Gobble, with its turkey-themed menu. The glazed turkey meatloaf is a hearty choice, and you get the option of two home-style sides, including stuffing, mac and cheese, cornbread or a variety of greens to go with mashed potatoes and gravy. 13300 N.E. 175th St., No. 3, Woodinville.
Three Lions Pub
$9.99 Lancashire Pasty Dinner
The pasty is a favorite and traditional British meat-and-vegetable-filled hand pie. Ground beef, carrots, onions and potatoes are mixed with a savory brown gravy and sealed up in a thick, flaky dough-style pie crust. It’s served with either a salad or chips (fries). Two locations in Redmond — Redmond Ridge and Downtown; Bothell location coming soon.
$8.75 Steak Burrito
One of the few restaurants to survive for nearly 20 years in Kirkland, Nick’s Grill is a Totem Lake institution. The interior may be small, bright yellow and busy with posters of He-Man, but the steak burrito is a big tube of happiness grilled to crisp perfection. Loaded with fluffy rice, black beans, a bit of cheese, steak strips and salsa (mild, medium or hot), this rolled-up meal will satiate any appetite on a budget. 11613 124th Ave. N.E., Kirkland.
Famous for its Neapolitan-style pizzas, Tutta Bella is a great casual family joint. Though the pizzas tip our scale just north of $10, the calzone and lasagna are all $9. The salsiccia calzone is surprisingly light and filled with Italian sausage, roasted red peppers, mushrooms and ricotta cheese. In a stroke of calzone genius, the sauce is served on the side, which saves diners from the usual sopping mess encountered with the first cut. Located in Seattle, Issaquah and opening soon in Bellevue.
Redhook Brewery Forecasters Pub
$9.50 Classic Burger
It’s hard to resist a classic hamburger, especially when it’s a flavorful 1/3-pound patty of local beef, seared to a juicy medium. Redhook’s burger is stacked with fresh tomato slices, lettuce, secret sauce (it’s like fry sauce), nestled between a fresh-baked bun. The renovated Forecasters Pub has a full-size kitchen looking out into the dining area, which can now make the fries that go with the burger (they only served chips before). 14300 NE 145th Street, Woodinville.
Cedar River Smokehouse
$9.39 Smoked Quarter Chicken
Usually, it is the protein that runs up the bill, but at Cedar River Smokehouse diners can enjoy a dry-rubbed, smoked quarter chicken plus a fill-in-the-cracks side such as macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes or homemade baked beans for under 10 bucks. And in true Texas style, the dipping sauce comes in hot or blazing — don’t be fooled by the terms medium or mild! 304 Wells Ave. S, Renton.
$8.25 Dandan Noodles
A popular street vendor food from Chinese Szechuan cuisine, dandan is a noodle dish in a spicy sauce with pickled greens and ground meat. Spicy Talk’s version is milder, more like a thick sesame-peanut soup, with slices of chicken, cabbage and their own hand-shaved noodles. Reminiscent of a creamy peanut curry, it’s good for those who aren’t seeking the burn of the Szechuan peppercorn spice. It’s perfect for a to-go meal for one person, or part of a larger family-style meal if dining with others. 16650 Redmond Way, Redmond.
The Commons Café
$10 Mediterranean Sandwich
Fresh and packed with intense flavors, the Mediterranean sandwich is a satisfying vegetarian-friendly meal. A hefty layer of creamy hummus is spread over a grilled multigrain, seed-sprinkled roll, and stacked with fresh cucumbers, spinach and Mama Lil’s pickled peppers. It’s served with a choice of chips or chickpea salad. 14481 Woodinville-Redmond Road NE, Woodinville.
Silver Spoon Thai Restaurant
$4.59-$9.59 Wonton Soup
A soup that eats like a meal, this one is full of fresh dumplings stuffed with ground shrimp and chicken, simmered in a flavorful, light broth, along with large chunks of baby bok choy. Choose your spiciness wisely — they’re not shy with the heat — 3 stars lets you feel the burn but still enjoy the delicate flavors. The dumplings are tender and the greens are cooked to a still-crunchy doneness, so it’s best to enjoy the soup freshly prepared at the restaurant. A full order is a meal, the half-order cup saves your appetite to try something else. Locations in Redmond and Lynnwood.
Blazing Onion Burger Company
$9.99 Grilled Chicken Avocado Burger
With locations at the Alderwood Mall and in Mill Creek, Blazing Onion offers more meals under $10 (30+) than any other place surveyed. The grilled chicken avocado burger features a charbroiled chicken breast topped with melted provolone cheese, fresh condiment veggies, sundried tomato aioli and creamy avocado slices. All this goes into a ciabatta roll and is served with house-made French fries. Locations in Lynnwood and Mill Creek.