There's no dearth of cheap food in LA, especially on the Eastside. So if you're looking for somewhere to host a celebratory meal—or drown your sorrows—after a Dodgers game, check out our list of the best budget places to eat and drink near Dodger Stadium, from dive bars and taco trucks to al fresco dining and fancy brews. No matter your budget or your palate, there's a spot on here that's sure to please—unless you're rooting for the opposite team, in which case, our advice is to get out of the 'hood as fast as you can.
RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to Echo Park
Cheap eats near Dodger Stadium
Past the pupusa and hot dog street stands sits a black box of a bar, with a blazing red "cocktails" sign as its only marker. Inside is a divey hub for hipsters in bandanas and baseball fans in Dodgers caps to enjoy unpretentious atmosphere while sipping libations. Enter beyond the big guy at the door into a scene from Dazed and Confused—clearly, management hasn't updated the grungy aesthetic in forever, but this retro hangout is most known for its popular, disco ball-bedecked dance room. Depending on the night, you’ll hear '70s-era disco to New Age pop. Either way, this is the neighborhood spot for cheap drinks; you're most likely to pound your standard brews (Bud, Coors), but there are also craft brews like Bear Republic Brewing's Racer 5 and made-in-LA Revolution from Eagle Rock Brewery. The place ain't fancy, but it happy hour goes until 10pm and late night DJs certainly take the edge off. Not to mention the jukebox, pool table, arcade games and photobooth. Just a fifteen minute walk from Dodgers stadium, there's no better place to delight in a post-game night out.
This Echo Park bistro is where locals go for dinner, lunch and weekend brunch, and is a great place to stop before or after a game—especially if you've got parents or out-of-town visitors in tow. The menu is solid, with eclectic offerings such as Szechuan fried calamari, seafood fideos, roast chicken and spaghetti and meatballs. Browse the beer and wine list for a good selection of reds and whites by the glass, as well as tasty craft beers. Wednesday is the popular (read: super crowded) half-price burger night. They've recently updated their patio, which makes al fresco dining here a delight. And if you want to escape the sweltering heat in the summer, the Park has some much-appreciated AC.
What better way to celebrate the home team's win (or mourn their loss) than to stroll ten minutes west of Dodgers stadium and tuck into some authentic Mexican eats? El Compadre serves up homemade tortilla chips and salsa that rival any you'll find south of the border, and their flaming margaritas are a must-try. The moody lighting, mouth-watering menu and live Mariachi make the El Compadre experience a spicy one. There's also no better spot to relive the glory (or hash out what went wrong) than the bar here—two big TVs play everything Dodgers-related, and vocal fans hang at the bar with micheladas and lots of opinions.
If you're in the mood for small bites and sake, there's no better place on the Eastside to satisfy your cravings than at Kush. The sake bar offers a wide range of the Japanese rice wine, from a cloudy Snow Maiden-Tozai to a smooth Rose Cherry Blossom variety. Order by the glass or bottle, then choose from a selection of small plates: edamame, seaweed salad, pork buns and seafood fries, working your way up to one of the three bowls of ramen Kush offers (tonkotsu, spicy tonkotsu and vegetable). The best part? Kush is from the same owners behind Silver Lake Ramen, and the ramen here is one and the same—meaning you don't have to wait in Silver Lake Ramen's massive lines for a bowl of the good stuff.
This beer store and bar offers a gigantic selection of brewskies, from West Coast microbrews to rare Belgian ales and small production specialty bottles. (There's also wine, and a pretty good little selection, but we rarely see anyone drinking it here.) There are refrigerated cases from which you can grab bottles to go, or get one opened at the bar (for a small corkage fee) and hang out with a plethora of Eastside beer nerds and Dodgers blue-bedecked baseball fans. There are always local brews on tap, and the space hosts special events such as a beer and cheese tasting with Stone Brewing's master brewer. Join the "mug club" and corkage fees are waived for a year, with each pour you buy going into your very own mug (well, more like a stein) that's kept behind the bar. The staff are super knowledgeable and friendly—no beer snobs here—and the atmosphere is cozy, with communal benches, comfy plush chairs and a smoking area outside. There's also a decent pizza place next door to help you soak up all that delicious booze.
Dinette is a petite cafe from Cafe Stella's Gareth Kanter, where you order from a counter after perusing cake stands filled with quiches and tarts and cookies, all separated by a sleek glass window. There is no indoor seating area, only scattered chairs and tables in a small alcove bound by plants and the sidewalk lining Sunset Boulevard. A potato, leek and bacon tart ($5) is crisp and savory (the crust is excellent), an ideal morning snack with a cup of coffee. There is a decent avocado toast ($7), because this is LA, and what is a cafe without avocado toast? Farro salad ($6), with its sweet clusters of raisins and almonds is tossed in a complex vinaigrette, and pastries upon pastries are drooled over by residents of a quickly changing and evolving neighborhood.
Since 1987, the Two Boots mini-chain has been serving innovative pizzas named after pop-culture figures (example: the Dude from The Big Lebowski)—offering diners a leg up at Trivial Pursuit in addition to a tasty slice. The original Two Boots is in New York, but we think their slices taste better here (if only because they lack the fierce competition of Big Apple pies). It's the perfect place to grab a quick, cheap dinner after a game. Bonus: Stop by in the afternoon for the after-school special: a cheese slice and small soda for $2.50.
The Boyle Heights taco institution, Guisados, launched into 2013 with a second taqueria in Echo Park. Handmade tortillas are made to-order and filled with the house signature (hence, its namesake) braised goodness. Snag a table on the outdoor patio or sit inside to watch the kitchen in action as you dig into the mouthwatering tacos ($2.75)—we like the moist tinga de pollo, rich and juicy mole poblano and flavorful cochinita pibil topped with spicy red onions—washed down with refreshingly tart jamaica aqua fresca or creamy, spiced horchata. Can’t decide what to order? The six-taco sampler offers two-bite tastes, while spice fanatics can’t miss the chiles toreados—it’s muy caliente.
While the neighborhood around it gentrifies, this mostly-locals dive keeps thing honest with top-shelf tequilas and Mexican League futbol. The crowd these days is mainly made up of thirtysomething males taking a break over cheap drinks in an atmosphere teeming with casino-waitress hospitality (order a beer and a shot and you'll get free tacos—but you have to know to ask for them). The jukebox has amazing Mexican hits mixed with hilarious stateside hammers (think Meatloaf's "I'd Do Anything for Love"), and the strip of ceiling above the booth seats has tiny lights stuck in it, making for a kitschy indoor night sky. The Gold Room is great, but not the place to flaunt a weird haircut or bust out a lofty attitude: locals and staff have zero tolerance for posers.
Whatever you want to call it—restaurant, bar, arcade—Button Mash has created a category all its own in LA. The food, which comes from once-underground-restaurant Starry Kitchen, is fantastic. Diners will recognize Starry Kitchen's famous crispy tofu balls, but there is far more on the menu to explore: incredible Vietnamese spring rolls, a decadent double cheeseburger, and a selection of rice dishes, noodles, sandwiches and larger plates, to be enjoyed at the bar or in the dining room. The drink menu includes a unique list of beer and wine, including Malbec Invaders, a 2014 Fabien Jouves varietal featuring Space Invaders aliens on the label. Button Mash has over 100 machines from the '70s to '90s, but they keep around 50 on the floor at one time, rotating the games in so there's always something new. Frogger, Tron, Donkey Kong, Food Fight, Michael Jackson's Moonwalker are just a sampling that populate the floor (some even have second, hidden games!), and a row of pinball machines have their own section by the bar. And don't worry—just because there's a bar doesn't mean the kids can't partake in the fun. Button Mash welcomes children of all ages to play games until 9pm; after 9pm, it's 21+.