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Lunch deals abound at Stephan Pyles' San Salvaje.
Lunch deals abound at Stephan Pyles' San Salvaje.
Garrett Hall

How to Eat Cheap(er) at Dallas's Finest Restaurants

No need to blow half your paycheck.

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Lunch deals abound at Stephan Pyles' San Salvaje.
| Garrett Hall

Being on a budget doesn't mean you can't experience the upper echelon of Dallas restaurants. By keeping some simple restaurant hacks in mind — go at lunch, sit at the bar, and/or take advantage of awesome weekly specials — it's entirely possible to eat a great meal at a top-notch restaurant without spending your rent money on steak and caviar. Here are 10 spots where you can live it up without emptying your wallet.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Boulevardier

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408 N Bishop Ave Ste 108
Dallas, TX 75208
(214) 942-1828
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Nothing makes you feel rich like feasting on Champagne and oysters in the middle of the day, but you need not blow half your paycheck to accomplish this feat. Fridays between 4:30 and 7 p.m., this Bishop Arts favorite offers $1.95 oysters on the half — Gulf oysters are just 50 cents — and half-price bottles of sparkling wine regularly priced at $49 and up. Bring a friend or two and live it up. [Photo: Boulevardier/Facebook]

2. Gemma

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2323 N Henderson Ave
Dallas, TX 75206
(214) 370-9426
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A typical three-course meal at Gemma will cost you a pretty penny, but pop by after 10:30 pm for lower-priced fare on the late-night menu. Duck fried rice for $14.75 comes adorned with a perfectly cooked 63-degree egg; if you're in more of a snacky mood, try the confit chicken wings ($9.75) in a ginger chili glaze. [Photo: Garrett Hall]

3. Knife

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5300 E Mockingbird Ln
Dallas, TX 75206
(214) 443-9339
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You might think that you've got to be an international businessman to dine regularly at John Tesar's "modern steakhouse" in The Highland, but it can be a surprisingly affordable choice for lunch or even dinner at the bar. The $12 Ozersky burger smothered in melty American cheese is always a great choice, and comes flanked by a generous portion of the restaurant's excellent thick-cut fries tossed in herbal salsa verde, or crispy battered onion rings. [Photo: EDFW]

4. Local

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2936 Elm St
Dallas, TX 75226
(214) 752-7500
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Dinner for two at this hidden Deep Ellum fine-dining gem will easily cost you a couple hundred bucks, but if you want to soak up the unique atmosphere without going broke, you should grab a seat at the bar. Here you can munch on free housemade Chex and nut mix and then order the fantastic $22 burger basket, made with local Burgundy Pasture beef from Grandview and panko-crusted fries. [Photo: Local]
1628 Oak Lawn Ave Ste 110
Dallas, TX 75207
(214) 712-9700
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When you're on a budget, dinner at Oak is probably out of the question. For lunch, though, you can spend well under $20 and have a great meal: Try the John Tesar-approved grilled cheese and tomato soup ($13) made with NY sharp cheddar, Vermont white cheddar, and Pachi Pachi Valley goat cheese.

6. Perry's

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2000 McKinney Ave Ste 100
Dallas, TX 75201
(214) 855-5151
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This swanky Uptown steakhouse is a popular spot for fancy business lunches, but on Fridays they offer a seriously crazy lunch bargain: $13.95 gets you a gigantic bone-in pork chop that's carved tableside and served with housemade applesauce and whipped potatoes. It's so big, you'll almost certainly need a to-go box for the leftovers. [Photo: Perry's]

7. San Salvaje

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2100 Ross Ave
Dallas, TX 75201
(214) 922-9922
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The lunch menu at Stephan Pyles' pan-Latin beauty is delightfully affordable, and choices abound: a Cuban sandwich with fries or a small salad for $10, chimichurri steak tacos with rice and beans for $9, or a generously portioned combo plate (two tacos and a tamal) for just $12.

8. Stampede 66

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1717 McKinney Ave Ste 100
Dallas, TX 75202
(214) 550-6966
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Stephan Pyles' ode to Texan cuisine is certainly more affordable than his namesake restaurant, but if you're really trying to do it on the cheap, go for lunch. It's then that you can get a plate of two tacos or tamales (with fillings like fried oysters or pork mole) for $6 to $8, or a hearty plate of chicken-fried steak with chorizo gravy for $12. Just don't be tempted by the (admittedly impressive) $14 margaritas. [Photo: Stephen Masker]

9. Tei-An

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1722 Routh St Ste 110
Dallas, TX 75201
(214) 220-2828
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The bowl of ramen at Tei-An is a popular choice for chefs in the city, who love to belly up to the bar and order a bowl of expertly-pulled noodles in a rich tonkotsu broth for just $10. Sure, you can go to sister restaurant Ten Ramen, but there's something luxurious about dining in Tei-An's classy, zen-like dining room — and, you know, actually being able to sit down. Come with a friend and you can also split an order of the excellent chicken karaage or assorted vegetable tempura, priced around $6 to $9. [Photo: Bill Addison for Eater]

10. Uchi

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2817 Maple Ave
Dallas, TX 75201
(214) 855-5454
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Believe it or not, it is possible to enjoy a meal at Dallas's hottest restaurant of the moment without dropping an arm and a leg. Step one: Grab a friend and get a seat at the bar; you'll want to arrive as early as possible to avoid a long wait. Step two: order up an assortment of small plates, nigiri, and fried fare. You can split one of the generously portioned makimono (the clever "ham and eggs" version with katsu pork is just $10) then tack on some shrimp tempura ($5), kabocha squash tempura ($2.50), or the excellent chicken karaage ($10). Plenty of reasonably priced beers to choose from, too. [Photo: Kyla Davidson]

1. Boulevardier

408 N Bishop Ave Ste 108, Dallas, TX 75208
Nothing makes you feel rich like feasting on Champagne and oysters in the middle of the day, but you need not blow half your paycheck to accomplish this feat. Fridays between 4:30 and 7 p.m., this Bishop Arts favorite offers $1.95 oysters on the half — Gulf oysters are just 50 cents — and half-price bottles of sparkling wine regularly priced at $49 and up. Bring a friend or two and live it up. [Photo: Boulevardier/Facebook]
408 N Bishop Ave Ste 108
Dallas, TX 75208

2. Gemma

2323 N Henderson Ave, Dallas, TX 75206
A typical three-course meal at Gemma will cost you a pretty penny, but pop by after 10:30 pm for lower-priced fare on the late-night menu. Duck fried rice for $14.75 comes adorned with a perfectly cooked 63-degree egg; if you're in more of a snacky mood, try the confit chicken wings ($9.75) in a ginger chili glaze. [Photo: Garrett Hall]
2323 N Henderson Ave
Dallas, TX 75206

3. Knife

5300 E Mockingbird Ln, Dallas, TX 75206
You might think that you've got to be an international businessman to dine regularly at John Tesar's "modern steakhouse" in The Highland, but it can be a surprisingly affordable choice for lunch or even dinner at the bar. The $12 Ozersky burger smothered in melty American cheese is always a great choice, and comes flanked by a generous portion of the restaurant's excellent thick-cut fries tossed in herbal salsa verde, or crispy battered onion rings. [Photo: EDFW]
5300 E Mockingbird Ln
Dallas, TX 75206

4. Local

2936 Elm St, Dallas, TX 75226
Dinner for two at this hidden Deep Ellum fine-dining gem will easily cost you a couple hundred bucks, but if you want to soak up the unique atmosphere without going broke, you should grab a seat at the bar. Here you can munch on free housemade Chex and nut mix and then order the fantastic $22 burger basket, made with local Burgundy Pasture beef from Grandview and panko-crusted fries. [Photo: Local]
2936 Elm St
Dallas, TX 75226

5. Oak

1628 Oak Lawn Ave Ste 110, Dallas, TX 75207
When you're on a budget, dinner at Oak is probably out of the question. For lunch, though, you can spend well under $20 and have a great meal: Try the John Tesar-approved grilled cheese and tomato soup ($13) made with NY sharp cheddar, Vermont white cheddar, and Pachi Pachi Valley goat cheese.
1628 Oak Lawn Ave Ste 110
Dallas, TX 75207

6. Perry's

2000 McKinney Ave Ste 100, Dallas, TX 75201
This swanky Uptown steakhouse is a popular spot for fancy business lunches, but on Fridays they offer a seriously crazy lunch bargain: $13.95 gets you a gigantic bone-in pork chop that's carved tableside and served with housemade applesauce and whipped potatoes. It's so big, you'll almost certainly need a to-go box for the leftovers. [Photo: Perry's]
2000 McKinney Ave Ste 100
Dallas, TX 75201

7. San Salvaje

2100 Ross Ave, Dallas, TX 75201
The lunch menu at Stephan Pyles' pan-Latin beauty is delightfully affordable, and choices abound: a Cuban sandwich with fries or a small salad for $10, chimichurri steak tacos with rice and beans for $9, or a generously portioned combo plate (two tacos and a tamal) for just $12.
2100 Ross Ave
Dallas, TX 75201

8. Stampede 66

1717 McKinney Ave Ste 100, Dallas, TX 75202
Stephan Pyles' ode to Texan cuisine is certainly more affordable than his namesake restaurant, but if you're really trying to do it on the cheap, go for lunch. It's then that you can get a plate of two tacos or tamales (with fillings like fried oysters or pork mole) for $6 to $8, or a hearty plate of chicken-fried steak with chorizo gravy for $12. Just don't be tempted by the (admittedly impressive) $14 margaritas. [Photo: Stephen Masker]
1717 McKinney Ave Ste 100
Dallas, TX 75202

9. Tei-An

1722 Routh St Ste 110, Dallas, TX 75201
The bowl of ramen at Tei-An is a popular choice for chefs in the city, who love to belly up to the bar and order a bowl of expertly-pulled noodles in a rich tonkotsu broth for just $10. Sure, you can go to sister restaurant Ten Ramen, but there's something luxurious about dining in Tei-An's classy, zen-like dining room — and, you know, actually being able to sit down. Come with a friend and you can also split an order of the excellent chicken karaage or assorted vegetable tempura, priced around $6 to $9. [Photo: Bill Addison for Eater]
1722 Routh St Ste 110
Dallas, TX 75201

10. Uchi

2817 Maple Ave, Dallas, TX 75201
Believe it or not, it is possible to enjoy a meal at Dallas's hottest restaurant of the moment without dropping an arm and a leg. Step one: Grab a friend and get a seat at the bar; you'll want to arrive as early as possible to avoid a long wait. Step two: order up an assortment of small plates, nigiri, and fried fare. You can split one of the generously portioned makimono (the clever "ham and eggs" version with katsu pork is just $10) then tack on some shrimp tempura ($5), kabocha squash tempura ($2.50), or the excellent chicken karaage ($10). Plenty of reasonably priced beers to choose from, too. [Photo: Kyla Davidson]
2817 Maple Ave
Dallas, TX 75201

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