Cheap Eats in Rockville

The September 2011 issue of Washingtonian features “cheap eats,” those places where “some of the area’s most exciting eating can still be had for $25 or less, tax and tip included.”  Of the one hundred restaurants listed, Rockville features eight of them:

  • A&J Restaurant, 1319-C Rockville Pike (in the funky colorful industrial strip mall just south of Woodmont Country Club). Specializes in dim sum from northern China, and while this restaurant is incredibly popular (the parking lot always seems packed), I’ve always preferred the dim sum from the south (give me a Hong Kong dim sum palace any time!).
  • Carbon, 100-F Gibbs Street (Rockville Town Square).  Haven’t eaten here yet, but it serves Peruvian-style charcoal-grilled chicken and is owned by the same family as La Canela just down the street.
  • China Bistro, 755 Hungerford Drive (just north of the Giant).  Haven’t eaten here because I’m still working my way through all the Chinese restaurants on my end of town, but I hear this is supposed to be the best place in MoCo for dumplings (and who doesn’t like Chinese dumplings!).
  • La Limena, 765-B Rockville Pike (just north of Wooton Parkway, near the IHOP).  I can’t believe there’s a Cuban place in town I haven’t tried, but here it is.
  • Pho 75, 771 Hungerford Drive (just north of the Giant).  One of the five Pho 75 restaurants in the DMV specializing in the satisfying Vietnamese soup.
  • Sichuan Pavilion, 410 Hungerford Drive (just north of the fire station).  And again, another Chinese restaurant to visit once I finish south of Beall Avenue.
  • Spice Crossing, 100-B Gibbs Street (Rockville Town Center).  One of my favorites.
  • Viet Goel Tofu (aka Lighthouse Tofu), 12710 Twinbrook Parkway (between the Rockville Pike and Viers Mill Road).  I recently overcame the odd name and ventured inside this Korean restaurant to enjoy an endless assortment of appetizers followed by a delicious silken tofu soup served in a sizzling stone bowl.  Nothing like a meal with a show!

Nearby in Gaithersburg  or NOSG (North of Shady Grove Road, which is not in Rockville)

  • Batik, 200 Main Street
  • Burma Road, 617 S. Frederick Avenue
  • China Jade, 16805 Crabbs Branch Way
  • Jaymar Columbian Breeze, 348 Main Street
  • Michael’s Noodles, 10038 Darnestown Road
  • Tortacos, 9629 Lost Knife Road

To add to their list of cheap eats, let me suggest a few of the great places I’ve discovered in Rockville:

  • Bombay Bistro, 98 West Montgomery Avenue (across from the Beall Dawson House)
  • California Tortilla, 199 East Montgomery Avenue (next to Regal Theater).  Okay, it’s now a huge franchise but it started in Maryland and it’s world headquarters are in Rockville (and they make a really great burrito).
  • Al Carbon, 200 Park Road (in East Rockville, across from Metro).  A short but good menu of Central American and Venezuelan food served in a building that’s admittedly a bit rough on the edges.  Only place in town with horchata.
  • Cuban Corner, 825 Hungerford Drive.  This place will make you want to be Cuban.
  • Lola Cafe, 12 N. Washington St.  A sophisticated coffee shop in the Argentine style.
  • Silver Diner, 12276 Rockville Pike (with Trader Joe’s).  It’s been in the area for years but now this updated American diner has moved to our hometown.
  • Urban Bar-B-Que, 2007 Chapman Avenue (at Twinbrook Parkway).  I know this will start fights since there are a half dozen bbq restaurants in Rockville, but this one is the closest to my house.

I know I haven’t found all of them, so if you have a suggestion for a restaurant that serves outstanding food for its type at less than $25 per person out of the door, please share it in the comments.

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7 responses

  1. La Limena serves Peruvian cuisine, and it is excellent. When they first opened all you got was plastic utensils and disposable plates. They wanted to wait and see if they would be successful, and they have been. Great chicken and a varied menu of typical dishes.

    1. and the only place in town with ceviche as a main course, as opposed to an appetizer sized portion that you get at La Canela. Now if you go out to Muncaster Mill, the old Wurzburg Haus is now the Ceviche Haus, which serves main course portions as well.

    2. Peruvian! Thanks for the clarification. I hadn’t visited and was relying on the Washingtonian’s description of the menu. And I think that makes for a half dozen Peruvian restaurants in Rockville–wow!

  2. I’ll add one to the list: Temari Cafe (Potomac Grill shopping center): My favorite Japanese restaurant; simply the best and most authentic ramen in the DC area.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion–that’s an entirely new restaurant for me to try.

    2. great,authentic Japanese food. Only problem is trying to figure out things not on regular menu…some written on chalkboard in tiny lettering, some on walls..need really good vision! Somewhat reminds me of Chinese restaurants in NY Chinatown, where best dishes were written on colorful pieces of paper, in Chinese, and hung from ceiling or on walls. Would you like pig intestines with those beaks?

  3. Sam’s Cafe & Market AND Yekta Kabobi both serve up some absolutely delicious Persian fare. If you enjoy a juicy grilled kabob, you need to try these guys. I know this sounds weird, but eat in is slightly better at Yekta, while the take out is not so much. Sam’s is the other way around – Eat in a little disappointing, but their take out is awesome. Not sure why, maybe atmosphere has something to do with it. Prices very reasonable. Also both have markets and they are fun to shop in for the adventurous! You can get a HUGE tin of dolmeh (aka dolmadas) for 8-9 bucks. Generous rice is served at both places, so often my husband and I split one entree and ask for extra meat on it. It’s perfect for the both of us. Talk about cheap! Both are on 355 in Rockville.

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