Korean Tofu House

This place, tucked down some stairs off of the Ave, was my go-to for years and also where I still bring friends if we happen to be gallivanting around the University District. At Korean Tofu House, it's all about the hot pot. I've been here more than a dozen times, easy, and can only recommend the one thing I always get: Number 19, the hot pot bibimbap, with either beef or tofu ($8.99). You'll want to try their braised potatoes (which come free with a delicious assortment of banchans, or small dishes) when you order your main course. Obviously, scrape the bottom of the pot when you're done for maximum crunchy goodness. AMBER CORTES

Thanh Vi

The phó is hearty, the vermicelli bowls are serviceable, and the portions at this U-District establishment are humongous considering the small price tag. But what you really want to do here is buy a $4.50 banh mi. Prices for this Vietnamese sandwich—which was itself a culinary revelation to my Midwestern eyes—have inched up all over town, but here they're keeping it under $5. The pork option is too dry for me, but the vegetarian option (mushrooms) is surprisingly amazing, and on a good day the chicken is succulent, the bread is fresh, and the mix of pickled vegetables is crisp and refreshing. Service is warm and prompt, so it's good for a quick lunch between classes or a dinner you have to rush because life is ridiculous. RICH SMITH

Guanaco's Tacos Pupuseria

If your only concept of Latin American food is quesadillas or Dorito-dusted franken- tacos, you must find yourself a pupusa. UW students, blessedly, have easy access to Guanaco's, which serves up these stuffed corn tortilla cakes with your choice of cactus, chicharrones, or a number of other veggie- and carnivore-friendly fillings. The small restaurant, which is just a block off the Ave, serves pupusas à la carte or in coma-inducing combination plates, all of which are just $8 and include a side of crunchy curtido cabbage slaw. Don't be afraid to eat with your hands. ANA SOFIA KNAUF

Ezell's Famous Chicken

"That's Oprah's favorite fried chicken" is a sentence you'll hear over and over when people refer to Ezell's. It is, indeed, famous chicken. But while we at The Stranger tend to think famous things are a load of hoopla, Ezell's reputation isn't hyperbole. The blessed people at this Seattle chain take the carnage of a basic bird and transmute it into a holy American meal. Stressed over a test? High as balls? You won't find a better companion than a three-piece chicken dinner combo from Ezell's—now open in Wallingford, a quick walk for UW students willing to venture past I-5. CHASE BURNS


Cafe Argento

This is not a coffee shop recommendation. Yes, this place has decent coffee, pastries, and wi-fi, but none of that is hard to find in Seattle. You are coming here for the breakfast sandwich: eggs, veggies, cream cheese, and hot sauce if you want it on your choice of bagel. Six bucks. The cafe is cozy and unpretentious, the service is great, and this sandwich will soak up your hangover at a better price than anything else on Capitol Hill. HEIDI GROOVER

Tacos Chukis

I'm almost hesitant to tell you about this remarkable hole-in-wall because lines during lunch and dinner are already out the door (literally), but Tacos Chukis may be the best reason to attend Seattle Central, located just a few blocks away. Get the house taco—a messy double tortilla filled with pork adobada, melted cheese, fresh cilantro, onions, salsa, and grilled pineapple for a mere $2.50—along with a baby burrito or two, and you'll leave with a full stomach and a wallet that's not much lighter than when you walked in. One thing: As with every counter service situation, it is in poor taste to claim a table before you order. The people who work at Chukis are too polite to tell you this, but I am not, so: DO NOT SIT BEFORE YOU ORDER. YOU WILL LOOK LIKE AN ASSHOLE BECAUSE YOU ARE ONE. If you can master that, dine here—early, late, and often. KATIE HERZOG

In the Bowl

The epitome of a no-nonsense vegetarian eatery, In the Bowl is tiny, has zero atmosphere, and the staff is eager to accelerate customer turnover. However, these drawbacks dissipate after you contemplate their expansive menu. My go-to dish is the Sweet 'N' Sour Belong Together stir-fry. Served on a plate the size of an LP, this mélange of bell pepper, cucumber, tomato, pineapple, sesame seeds, and carrot (with brown rice, naturally) radiates flavor and spice. Even at 3 on the heat scale, nose sweat is guaranteed. Get it with the tofu, which could cushion a pole-vaulter's descent. DAVE SEGAL

Saigon Deli

In a city where regular old lunch sandwiches are creeping toward $10 or more, Saigon Deli offers an array of tasty, filling banh mi that all go for less than $4 (some of them closer to $3). That is a fucking steal and you should get yourself to Saigon Deli immediately whether you're vegetarian or pork-obsessed, medium spicy or five-star spicy, because they've got it all—plus hot Vietnamese dishes, cold Vietnamese delicacies, and sweets you've most likely never seen before. The First Hill streetcar stops nearby, or it's easily reached by bike from Capitol Hill. Oh, and while the online menu doesn't say whether or not this is still true, last time we checked they also had egg rolls for $1. One dollar! At that point, you're basically losing money if you stay home and make your own lunch. ELI SANDERS


Curbside Food Truck

In the parking lot of a Shell station just two blocks from Seattle Pacific University, look for the bright-orange truck called Curbside, and you'll find the best deal in the area for tasty Vietnamese food. Banh mi, with good bread and fresh ingredients, costs less than $5. For heftier portions, fork over $7 for a vermicelli noodle takeout box paired with grilled chicken or pork. You'll have leftovers. STEVEN HSIEH


The 5 Point

The 5 Point is without a doubt the coolest joint in the area. It's a 10-minute walk from Cornish, it's open 24 hours, and it has a section just for drunks. You must order one of the breakfasts. They are rich, generous, and served on farm-large plates. If you have a big hunger you do not want to waste, and it's two in the morning, and you have to study for an exam, order a breakfast (I recommend one of the Benedicts). As you eat, you will experience a feeling that's found only in a big metropolis: "You belong to the city. You belong to the night." CHARLES MUDEDE

Whole Foods

An actuary once told me that she and her actuary buddies consider Whole Foods to be technically the cheapest happy hour in the city. Though Amazon deciding to lower prices when it bought the company this year helps, the real reason for the low, low price is the happy hour patio. Basically, they let you buy stuff from the store and drink it outside. Simply walk into the corporate health food store, grab a bag of chips, pick up a six-pack or a bottle of wine, have the bartender on the patio open your drinks, find a seat on the patio, and raise your glass or bottle to your own thriftiness and good sense. Obviously, you need to be 21 to do this. RICH SMITH