Williamsburg, Virginia has a wide range of restaurant options, but some of the prices can be a hard pass. Luckily, there are a ton of cheap restaurants in Williamsburg, too. I encourage you to try these cheap favorites, whether you are a student here or just visiting.

1. The Cheese Shop

Devon Bortz

The Cheese Shop is a Colonial Williamsburg (CW) staple due to its classy atmosphere. The inside has shelved packed with gourmet cookies, crackers, and, of course, a huge case of cheeses. It isn't known for being cheap, but if you know what to order, you can get an #elevated meal for $5. The secret? Buy the bag of fresh-baked French bread-ends for $1 and a container of chicken salad for $4. If you are vegetarian (or just want a snack), switch out the chicken salad for their famous, creamy House Dressing to dip the bread in. 

2. Aromas

cheese, sauce
Devon Bortz

Aromas is your friendly, neighborhood coffeeshop found in CW. There is also a mini version of Aromas across the street at William & Mary's Swem library (RIP to all of my dining dollars). Being a coffeeshop, of course they serve high-quality coffee and tea, but believe it or not, they also have amazing food. Dinner entrees range from $9-15 and drinks are around $5, depending on what you order. Ordering at the Aromas counter and hanging out in a cozy booth is much cheaper than eating at one of the fancy bistros in CW.

3. Lokal

vegetable, soup
Devon Bortz

Lokal (pronounced like "local") is a trendy vegan restaurant in CW that also holds yoga classes in a room off of the downstairs dining area (how cute is that?). They bake their own bread and carry wholesome items like smoothie bowls and vegan soup and sandwiches. For me, it is a healthy reprieve from dining hall food. My favorite budget-friendly order is either a hearty sandwich or loaded-up salad, which both cost $8. They also give a 10% student discount. Cheap, welcoming, delicious; a total gem.

4. Culture Cafe

ceviche, chicken, corn, cilantro, salsa, lime, shrimp, fish, tacos
Alexis Dorsey

Culture Cafe is even more super-trendy-hipster than Lokal and also has table service. The idea at Culture is to order a bunch different dishes and have a little of everything, therefore everything is pretty inexpensive. I will warn you, if you're really low on cash, don't come here starving because the portions are modest. When I ate here, I ordered curry shrimp tacos that were fresh, flavorful and came with a good amount of shrimp for only $10. This is the perfect restaurant to come to when you're feeling fancy, yet frugal.

5. The Crust

caramel, sundae, chocolate, cream, ice, ice cream
Devon Bortz

Another student favorite is The Crust, a restaurant famed for their pizza, but also serving other bar foods like crab dip and wings. They offer great deals for during happy hour every day of the week. Notably, Thursday Ladies' Night half-price skillet cookies from 6-9 pm (that means a hot, chocolate chip skillet cookie with vanilla ice cream for only $3.50— and, yes I will eat the whole thing myself). On Tuesdays, tacos are $1 and I can't think of a better reason to throw up your Washingtons. 

6. Nawab

chicken, curry, soup
Alexis Dorsey

Nawab has won my heart with its perfectly spiced chicken tikki masala and warm naan. Its flavorful Indian cuisine is a far cry from the bland, copycat version found in the dining halls. It's a sit-down restaurant and feels like a place you would convince your parents to take you to while they're in town and paying for food, but it's surprisingly affordable. For people like me #BallinOnaBudget, there is a $9.95 lunch buffet Monday-Friday and a $10.95 buffet on Saturday and Sunday. If you order dinner, the portions are hearty, so you stretch your dollar by having leftovers for lunch the next day.

Just because you don't have a lot of money to spend on food doesn't mean you have to settle for sub-par flavor. Seeking out deals can be challenging, but the chase is worth the reward. Armed with this list, you will be able to fill your tummy without emptying your wallet.