Want something good to eat but don’t want or spend too much money? Lucky for you, Iowa City is a place booming with businesses that want to cater to our needs as college students – offering a cheap, tasty, variety of different foods. Here are a few of my favorite places to go that show cultural diversity but won’t break the bank.

1. Formosa


Formosa is the most popular sushi restaurant in downtown Iowa City, with popular sushi rolls such as Las Vegas, Captain Crunch, California Roll, and Philadelphia Roll. The cheapest sushi rolls are only $5 each such as California Roll, Asparagus Roll, Egg Tempura Roll, and Avocado Roll.

Other popular sushi rolls such as California Dreaming, and King Crab are only $8 each. Formosa offers many specials, like $9 signature rolls Monday through Thursday.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Formosa has $3 sushi rolls and 9$ signature rolls, plus $3 martinis. On Wednesdays, wine is half price. See you there.

2. Airliner


If you are a pizza lover, you should definitely choose the Airliner. They offer special pizzas such as Airline Taco, Five-Cheese Herb, Supreme, and Margherita. Personally, I love the Barbecue Chicken with Chicago deep-dish crust, but the thin crust is a great option too. The Airliner has half off pizzas on Tuesdays, and $1 per slice on Sundays. If the pizza wasn’t enough, the Airliner Jumbo Wings make a great appetizer.

3. Ichiban


Ichiban is an authentic Chinese and Japanese restaurant located in the Old Capital Mall. The food on the menu is very cheap, you can spend only $1.50 for a skewer such as Kohitsuji Yaki (lamb skewer), Kalbi Yaki (beef skewer), Ebi Yaki (shrimp skewer), Ika Yaki (squid skewer), or Torimomo Yaki (chicken skewer).

The entrees are very good with reasonable prices too, I strongly recommend the Yakikamo Don (roasted duck on rice), the Gyubara Tanmen (beef brisket noodle soup), and the Chuka Tonkotsu Tanmen (spare rib noodle soup).


4. Tic Tac Toe Cafe


Although burgers, fries, and bagels sound common and monotonous, Tic-Tac Toe Cafe offers breakfast and lunch quickly and it has many specials. If you are hungry and don’t have time to make breakfast, Tic-Tac Toe is a perfect place for you to take a break. The combo, including a burger, fries, and a drink, is only $6. The croissant with hot chocolate is my favorite.

5. Mami’s Authentic


If you’re more in the mood for some enchiladas or ultimate nachos, Mami’s Authentic is the best place to go (or better yet order in – thanks, EatStreet!) in Iowa City. Their food is fantastic Mexican cuisine that’ll warm and fill you up, all well under budget. And if you don’t need a full meal, you can just get one of their beautiful enchiladas. Don’t forget the extra avocado!