We ask a lot of people what they love about this town on a regular basis. Unsurprisingly, the most common answer we get is: the food. It’s with that spirit that we bring you this year’s Cheap Eats list, our compilation of great local Bakersfield restaurants (and the occasional food cart) that offer up big bites without charging big bucks, so you can explore more of the tastes your city has to offer.
716 21st St.
This relatively new place has been a hit with locals, ranking high on Yelp and Tripadvisor.com! Most items on the regular menu are over the $10 mark, but the lunch specials quality for this list. There’s the stellar Lunch Special Chile Verde Burrito that’s been getting raves. It’s tender fried pork cooked in a savory verde sauce, and then wrapped in a big tortilla for $7.50. Or try the Fried Fish Lunch Special, a crispy fried fish fillet served with a spicy chipotle sauce for $8.50.
Shangri-La Asian Bistro & Bar
2217 Ashe Rd.
We’re pretty sure that they might actually serve the Sizzling Rice Seafood Soup from Shangri-La in Heaven. Fitting, right? But once you try this traditional soup once, you’ll agree that it’s got something special. This piping hot bowl comes large and overflowing with a seasoned broth, tender pieces of fish filet, calamari, and shrimp combined with cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, and rice. And it’s just $10.
6401 Ming Ave., 1531 23rd St.
There’s chicken and then there’s chicken. At Lorene’s you know they do things right. Special. So when you order the Farmer’s Honey Mustard Chicken Sandwich, rest assured you are getting something beyond your basic chicken sandwich. It’s grilled chicken breast, melty Swiss cheese, sauteed mushrooms and onions, and then and topped with Lorene’s special honey mustard sauce, served on a whole wheat bun and served with fries or a choice of salad for just $8.75.
Athena’s Greek Cafe & Bakery
9612 Flushing Quail Rd.
Have to go with the classics when you come here: the Gyro. For $8.99, you can have it Chicago Style, which is layered beef and lamb which have been seasoned with Greek spices and cooked on their vertical broiler, or the Traditional Greek, charbroiled pork that’s been marinated in Greek wine and spices. Either way, both are served in a pita and topped with lettuce, tomatoes, and tzatziki. For $2 more you can make it a meal, which comes with a green salad and your choice of rice pilaf or Greek lemon potatoes.
La Foret Fine Dining & Lounge
6218 Sundale Ave.
Known for serving up a very fancy dinner experience, La Forêt isn’t an obvious choice for this list, but they do offer some delectable items in their Lounge that you just have to try if you get the chance. For $9, you can enjoy the Pan Seared Diver Scallops! If you like seafood at all, order this appetizer. These perfectly seasoned and tender scallops are served with wasabi microgreens and finished with a spicy aioli sauce.
RJ’s Bar & Grill
9440 Hageman Rd.
Locals love this place for the casual, friendly atmosphere and the menu loaded with flavorful California classics. If you find yourself at RJ’s and can’t decide between all the tasty options, we suggest the $10 Tri-Tip Tacos. You can also order them with chicken or spicy chile verde, but everyone says the tri-tip is the way to go. It’s seasoned, tender tri-tip, grilled to perfection, and loaded into warm corn tortillas and topped with lettuce, pico de gallo, cheese, a spicy ranch sauce, and served with salsa and a lime wedge.