It’s a new year — with some of us possibly feeling a little underfunded after the holidays — so here’s a fresh batch of the best Seattle-area cheap eats.
Aviv Hummus Bar on Capitol Hill: You will remember the moment you ate falafel from Aviv. You might even become a snob and shun other falafel after this experience. Fried to order, these chickpea fritters are moist and fluffy, coated in a crispy shell, a satisfying crumbly, herbaceous bite. Also, don’t miss the garlicky half-mashed hummus made to order. 107 15th Ave. E., Seattle (206-323-7483, avivhummusbar.com). — Tan Vinh
B-Side Foods on Capitol Hill: This tiny sibling to Capitol Hill’s beloved Analog Coffee has a short menu and keeps funny hours, but the food is mighty. Jake Vorono, formerly of the great Il Corvo, runs the show, and his fancy toast is completely worth it, piled high with delicious savory or sweet stuff. And B-Side’s egg sandwich has just the right amount of ham (or mushrooms, if you must), Beecher’s Flagship cheese, house-made daikon pickles (genius) and aioli (get it spicy!). The mimosas and micheladas: also strongly recommended. Thursday-Friday 7 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 8 a.m.-2 p.m. 421 E. Thomas St., Seattle (facebook.com/bsidefoodsseattle). — Bethany Jean Clement
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Barbecue Smith in Maple Leaf: Jason Jacobs was a plumber who finally ditched his day job this summer to follow his hickory-smoked dream. Some impressive Central Texas-style briskets, fatty cuts with a pronounced smokiness. The restaurant often sells out by 8 p.m. Ribs are your next best option. That his business partner is the owner of Chuck’s Hop Shop didn’t hurt. The smoke house boasts a stellar craft-beer list to wash down that finger-licking barbecue. 7919 Roosevelt Way N.E., Seattle (206-257-1333 or barbecuesmith.wordpress.com). — T.V.
Betsutenjin on Capitol Hill: Part of an international ramen chain, with a dozen branches in Hong Kong, Betsutenjin does a Hakata-style broth that appears milky and tastes so dreamily creamy that the cooks have to keep reminding customers no dairy was added. It’s just a rich, pork-bone broth that will have you slurping the entire bowl. 954 E. Union St., Suite 102, Seattle (facebook.com/BetsutenjinramenUSA) — T.V.
Carnitas Michoacan on Beacon Hill: Taco alert! The Santacruz family’s handmade corn tortillas are excellent. Get them with…