25 Great New Restaurants You Can Actually Afford to Eat At

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In the holiday spirit of abandoned waistlines, we're bringing you some of the best new places to eat around the U.S. Even better? Most of these spots have entrees under $25 so you'll still have money for presents or a gym membership or a last minute flight to somewhere to escape holiday madness.

These 25 restaurants are all over the country, so odds are there's one near you. If not, road trips are fun, and now you have a yummy destination. At the very least, make yourself comfortable at home and enjoy the food porn below.

25 Great New Restaurants
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25 Great New Restaurants You Can Actually Afford to Eat At

The gonzo gourmands behind Travail have opened two new, always-packed restaurants: Pig Ate My Pizza and Umami, a pop-up dim sum joint on the North Side of Minneapolis. Each follows the Travail formula: punk-rock atmosphere meets haute-cuisine craftsmanship, featuring that-shouldn’t-work-but-wow-it-sure-does dishes like Cider Ham Rules, a pizza topped with ham, black truffle, potato chips and apple. Umami closes for good on December 22nd, so get your tickets (yes, tickets), stat. --Doug Mack


Minneapolis Holiday Travel Guide>>

Downtown’s swankiest new restaurant is CBD Provisions, an all-day spot with an open kitchen, a big bar up front, exposed brick walls and a lively mix of locals and visitors who all seem to be celebrating something. Impeccably sourced ingredients and heritage pork are the things here (especially the pig head carnitas), though CBD’s craft cocktails and house-made strozzapreti pasta with mushrooms and a coddled egg will make you swoon. --Michael Hiller


Dallas Holiday Travel Guide>>

LA likes to take credit for the food truck, but anyone who's had the Mighty Rib from Roxy's will tell you that Boston trucks are a staple. Icy weather isn't the death of deliciousness since Mei Mei finally opened a brick-and-mortar location near Boston University. This locally-sourced, seasonally changing, Chinese-American restaurant serves up all the scallion pancakes and spicy ketchup you can handle. --Maggie Burdge


Boston Holiday Travel Guide>>

Element is currently the dining go-to. The stunning space, outfitted with a tiled bar, exposed iron beams and reclaimed wood panels, takes up multiple floors of what used to be the power plant building at the old City Hospital. It offers a gorgeous view of the downtown skyline, and the menu is full of creative New American cuisine. Goat shoulder, anyone? --Matt Sorrell


St. Louis Holiday Travel Guide>>

Downtown's revitalization efforts extend to Grand Central Market, where recent months have seen Instagram-worthy meals like Horse Thief's hickory-smoked Texas-style brisket, ribs and pulled pork barbecue or brunch-themed Egg Slut's famous Thee Slut: a Mason jar parfait of coddled egg, potato purée, chives and sea salt. --Whitney Friedlander


Los Angeles Holiday Travel Guide>>

After idling for 15 months, the old Avalon spot roared to life in October as El Camino. Featuring authentic Mexican street food (like camarones tortas) and artisanal tiki drinks (try the Donga Punch), its heat lamps and fire tables mean Bardstown Road’s best patio is back in business, year-round. --Zach Everson


Louisville Holiday Travel Guide>>

Photo credit: El Camino Facebook page

Baku is one of the toughest reservations in town. Japanese dishes like pork belly skewers and tea-brined duck breasts are prepared on open charcoal grills using a traditional cooking technique called robata. Although the cooking style comes from Japan, the ingredients are grown in North Carolina thanks to a partnership between chefs and local farmers. --Jodi Helmer


Charlotte Holiday Travel Guide>>

Eric and Bruce Bromberg opened Bromberg Bros. Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken, a 65-seat eat-in/take-out restaurant in August. You'll pay upwards of $20 for the brothers' award-winning chicken at their original West Village restaurant (Blue Ribbon Bakery), but pieces can be had a la carte for mere dollars at this East Village outpost. Don't forget to try the chicken burgers, salads, sides and ice cream. --Rachel Friedman


New York City Holiday Travel Guide>>

Photo credit: Blue Ribbon Restaurant Facebook page

The opening of Napa Valley chef Michael Chiarello's first San Francisco restaurant, Coqueta, on Pier 5 gives locals a good reason to head to the touristy Embarcadero (another is the brand new Exploratorium science museum on Pier 15). Single-bite pinxto skewers and house-cured jamón serrano complement new interpretations of traditional Spanish dishes like patatas bravas, wood-grilled octopus and seafood paella. It's all served with an affordable range of Spanish wines and imaginative cocktails starting at $6 per glass. --Katie Hammel


San Francisco Holiday Travel Guide>>

The women behind Pamela’s have pickled their way into a new venture in Squirrel Hill. Nu, an upscale Jewish delicatessen, pairs classics like homemade matzo balls with the whimsy of coleslaw served in Chinese takeout containers. Consider skipping the fruitcake and Christmas cookies for this hearty, contemporary fare. --Stephanie Butler


Pittsburgh Holiday Travel Guide>>

Photo credit: Nu Facebook page

The East End Market -- a chef-driven food hall that opened in early November in Audubon Park -- calls itself a “hub for food and culture,” and rightfully so. From a market selling wild-caught Florida seafood (finally!) to an Italian bakery and authentic French fromagerie, it’s a stomach growl-inducing collection of global purveyors. Book a table at the hot new restaurant here, Txokos Basque Kitchen, for authentic tapas from Spain’s Basque country. --Terry Ward


Orlando Holiday Travel Guide>>

If you love the taste of fried chicken but hate the bones, check out Honey Butter Fried Chicken in Avondale. There are no bones, save for the drumsticks, and they give you -- you guessed it -- honey butter to slather on the mouthwatering fried chicken and corn muffins. Founded by the chefs who started the popular underground Sunday Dinner Club, this place has been jammed since it opened in September. Try to arrive as close to the 5 p.m. opening time as possible to avoid long lines. --Dave Seminara


Chicago Holiday Travel Guide>>

The ’90s sponge-paint job is long gone at the old Bazbeaux pizzeria downtown, where Bakersfield Mass Ave hung its hat in the spring touting tacos, tequila and whiskey. The hipster honky-tonk has the longest lines in town now, and evidently enough cowboy-boot beer mugs to go around. Try the short-rib torta.  --Megan Fernandez


Indianapolis Holiday Travel Guide>>

Opened in July in Brookwood, Saltyard is the first restaurant from restaurant royalty heir Christian Favalli (his dad is Sergio Favalli, of La Grotta). The menu, designed by Chef Nick Leahy, features small plates of updated American comfort food. The offerings change seasonally, but if you’re lucky enough to be there when the house-cured salmon chips or the ‘shrooms on toast are on the menu, don’t miss them. --Jennifer Bradley Franklin


Atlanta Holiday Travel Guide>>

Talula's Daily is an all-day cafe on Washington Square that serves fresh scones, muffins and coffee in the morning, salads and sandwiches and hot entrees for lunch, and a set five-course "supper" for $50. The look of the place is shabby chic, courtesy of Philadelphia-based retailer Anthropologie, which provides the dishes, glassware and other accessories (and sells them there). --Robert DiGiacomo


Philadelphia Holiday Travel Guide>>

Photo credit: Talula's Daily Facebook page

Find good food for grown-ups in the Design District’s compact and elegant six-month-old Cypress Room. Dinner’s not easy on the wallet (yep, that burger really is 24 bucks). Instead, swing by at lunchtime, when, for a dollar more, you’ll savor succulent duck leg with polenta and mushrooms, and the burger clocks in at a “reasonable” $16. --Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon


Miami Holiday Travel Guide>>

Peche is the new seafood-centric offshoot of Chef Donald Link’s nationally acclaimed Cochon. The whole roasted gulf fish is the reason to go, but a slew of small plates and sides -- try the crab and artichoke fritters or the grilled lamb skewers with eggplant -- provide plenty of choices for pescatarians and carnivores alike. Save room for pastry chef Rhonda Ruckman’s Flourless Madagascar Chocolate Cake. --Jay Forman


New Orleans Holiday Travel Guide>>

The Flats neighborhood on the banks of the famously flammable Cuyahoga River has seen its ups and downs. Once bustling, then dead and now revitalizing again, The Flats is home to The Willeyville, which boasts an informal menu modestly billed as modern American. The “chicken ate my chicken” stuffs chicken sausage into a half chicken with chimichurri. Chicken cannibalism never tasted so good. --Joe Baur


Cleveland Holiday Travel Guide>>

A sensory feast of music ranging from ambient to alt-country, colorful pop-art murals and eclectic munchies that draw inspiration from the culinary traditions of Louisiana, Cuba and France, to name a few, Session Kitchen has breathed new life onto Old South Pearl Street. The focus is on sharable small plates like pastrami duck ham and fried Brussels sprouts and handpicked craft beer and cocktails. Brought to you by the same folks behind the landmark Wynkoop Brewing Co., Session occupies the building formerly known as the Izakaya Den. --Eric Peterson


Denver Holiday Travel Guide>>

La Feria, which opened in November, has brought tapas to Midtown Detroit. The small shareable plates feature everything from soups and salads to tortillas, grilled sardines and boards of charcuterie and cheese. Native Spaniard Pilar Baron-Hidalgo and her two friends started the restaurant after winning the top prize ($50,000) in Hatch Detroit's retail contest. Try the tortilla española, a sliced potato omelet garnished with roasted red pepper for $4. --Jennifer Conlin


Detroit Holiday Travel Guide>>

Some Arcadians might say that there's nothing new about T Cook’s at the Royal Palms, but clearly they haven't been there in a year. The iconic Phoenix restaurant went through a total renovation both physically and conceptually. Chef Paul McCabe has reinvented the menu, creating a foodie's delight while also adding a touch of whimsy -- edible flowers decorate just about every dish. The menu changes routinely, but don’t miss the Aged Ribeye Cap -- it’s a melt-in-your-mouth staple that’s never the same twice thanks to McCabe’s creativity with sauces and seasonal vegetables. For a quick sampling of gourmet noshes, try the adjoining Mix Up bar. --Elise Riley


Phoenix Holiday Travel Guide>>

Celebrated local restaurateur Micah Camden opened Boxer Ramen in early November. It's the latest addition to his growing empire of reasonably priced dining spots for the trendy-foodie crowd that includes nearby Blue Star Donuts and the mini-chain Little Big Burger. This 30-seat noodle shop with playful murals serves affordable, hearty Asian fare, including "Really Spicy Miso" soup, tonkotsu-shoyu (a pork-soy-based broth), Japanese pickle salad and addictivemochi in several unusual flavors, from blueberry to tiramisu. --Andrew Collins


Portland Holiday Travel Guide>>

Photo credit: Boxer Ramen Facebook page

Diners win at the city’s latest hot spot, Chef Renee Erickson’s The Whale Wins, in Fremont, recently listed among the “20 most important restaurants in the nation” by Bon Appetit Magazine. Dishes brim with fresh-caught Quillayute River salmon, natural beef fillets and organic Skagit Valley vegetables, and a wood-stoked oven intensifies flavors and adds a cheery warmth to the airy setting. Among the standouts: the vast array of house-made vegetable pickles and copper-skinned roast chicken. --Leslie Forsberg


Seattle Holiday Travel Guide>>

Photo credit: The Whale Wins Facebook page

Houston’s great melting pot continues to bubble, but roads seem to lead back to Mexican-inspired cuisine. James Beard award winning chef Hugo Ortega wows presidents and foodies at his namesake restaurant on Westheimer, and now his new restaurant Caracol promises to do the same with Mexican coastal cuisine. Ceviches, wood-roasted whole fish and a smattering of non-seafood dishes are on the menu. --Heather Staibile


Houston Holiday Travel Guide>>

Mike Isabella's brash Italian fare made him famous as a "Top Chef All-Star," but he's even better taking a lighter hand with Greek cuisine at Kapnos, in the U Street corridor. Its name means "smoke," and you can't go wrong following that spirit to the succulent, grill-charred goat and a tender, heat-kissed arctic char. --Elana Schor


Washington, D.C. Holiday Travel Guide>>


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