Everyone loves a good deal… especially those that involve food! America is a foodie culture par excellence. We love our food, we love trying new dishes and cuisines, we love discovering new restaurants.
Unfortunately, that can often come at a high price. That puts a serious damper on our beloved foodie experience. However, there are a fair number of places you can sate your foodie appetite – pardon the pun – and not break the bank. Whether you are just a frugal eater or simply having a tough weak financially so need to know where to go for the best deals in New Bedford, here is a guide to the ten best spots.
The following places are prices as of 2019 – we’ll update these articles annually.
1. Destination Soups’ Soups and Sandwiches
When it comes to lunch few things are less American than soup and sandwiches. All climates, all seasons, blue-collar and white-collar alike, everyone loves a hearty sandwich accompanied with a hot cup or bowl of soup. One of the joys of that love affair is the massive variety in the combinations. Often menus will offer standard pairings like Grilled cheese and tomato soup, Roast Beef and French Onion, Reuben and Matzo Ball Soup, et al but one of the great things about Destination Soups menu is the ability to mix and match in whatever way you wish.
While you can opt for a full sandwich with Cape Cod chips, going for the half/mini sandwich (between $2.50-$5.55) and a cup or bowl of soup ($3.80/$6) is the way to go. Starting at $2.50 for the mini grilled cheese (with tomato, avocado or meat options for extra $) and ending with $5.55 for the “The Beast” roast beef sandwich (sliced roast beef, bacon, pickled cucumber, roasted peppers, provolone, romaine) there is something for everyone.
99% of the menu is under $10 and there is only one single item that breaks the $10 barrier and that’s the “Wunderkind – the healthiest salad in town.” Even if you have a huge appetite and ordered a bowl of soup and a full sandwich – a feast -you’re in the $11 range.
I can’t recommend enough to either go for the “Turners Falls” (sliced ham, salami, cheddar, romaine, and tomato, pickled cucumber, choice of spread) or one of the seven types of “Specialty Grilled Cheese Fiesta” sandwich, especially the “Portucheese” (stuffed w/ground chourico, sauteed peppers, and onion) or the “Rick Cheese” (stuffed w/sliced apple, bacon, balsamic vinegar). Pair the “Turner Falls” with some clam chowder and the grilled cheese with a classic creamy tomato basil soup.
149 Union St
New Bedford, Massachusetts
Phone: (508) 991-7687
2. No Problemo’s Anything and Everything
The popular New Bedford landmark, No Problemo is popular by all segments of society. Stroll in at any given time and you will see politicians, lawyers, cops, hipsters, hippies, skateboarders, et al all mingling together and enjoying some of the best food in the city.
Besides the fact that the guys at No Problemo are just good people, there is the obvious fact that they make mouth-watering fare – something they have consistently done since they opened. The burrito that you fell in love with when they opened is the same one you’ll get when you walk in today.
However, their popularity also has much to do with their pricing: like Destination Soups there’s nothing on the menu over $10. You’d have to add all kinds of options like extra meat, extra guacamole, more sour cream to crack that benchmark. My personal favorite is the Tostada (Salad) and every once in a while, I’ll stray and get the El Diablo.
Is there anything bad that can be said about the New Bedford fixture? If there is, don’t tell me because I don’t need that kind of negativity and lies in my life.
No Problemo Taqueria
813 Purchase St
New Bedford, Massachusetts
Phone: (508) 984-1081
3. Libad’s Pizza and a Beer
Libad Seaside’s pizza and a beer (or soda) is one of the best-kept secrets in the city. It seems that there is a hyper-focus on downtown when it comes to business, restaurants, cafes, etc. and much of the rest of the city gets neglected. Libad’s is one of those places that gets ignored but based on the quality of food coming out of the kitchen, the very affordable prices, the service, and the atmosphere Libad’s should be on the tip of everyone’s tongue – figuratively and literally. If you think it’s “Just a bar.” you are sadly mistaken.
They not only make some of the best pizza in the area but their personal pizza and a draft beer deal that starts at $6.50 (cheese pizza) puts them very high on the list when it comes to one of the best deals on the SouthCoast, perhaps the country. Pizza and a beer for $6.50 – most places will charge you $6.50 just for a beer. Heck, can you even get a combo meal at a fast-food chain for $6.50?
While there is much on their menu which you can see here and here that is under $10 you must have the Mozambique themed pizza (chicken, shrimp or scallops for $8) that comes with a small cup of Mozambique sauce. Being almost 50 and having lived about 40 of those years here on the SouthCoast I have a lot of Mozambique dishes and sauces and this is hands down one of the best I’ve ever had.
Because Libad’s is pushing the personal pizza and a beer/soda as a lunch service primarily you get this pizza so fast your head will spin. They cook the pizza on such high heat that a perfect pizza is ready in minutes. So, even if you only have 30 minutes for lunch you will be able to pull it off.
578 Brock Ave
New Bedford, Massachusetts
Phone: (508) 992-8474
4. Pa Raffa’s
Pa Raffa’s is an eatery that is stuck in a time machine in a good way. Not only have they been around a long time (since 1964) and never tampered with their menu, portions, or dishes they have kept prices from an earlier time. They have uncharacteristically resisted raising their prices as the vast majority of restaurants do.
The most expensive single item is the Parmigiana Dinner for $13.50 but that comes with the entree, a choice of spaghetti/macaroni anda choice of salad, soup or garlic bread. The rest of the menu consists of items between $5-$10.
On top of those mind-boggling prices are the mind-boggling portions. pa Raffa’s is famous for the huge portions of food they serve. My recommendation is to go for the gargantuan Antipasto at $8.00 (for 50 cents more you can have tuna or chicken added) or the Baked Ziti served with a side of tomato sauce ($7.50), side of meat sauce ($8.50) or with Chicken and Broccoli ($9.50). All the baked ziti dishes come with a choice of Minestrone Soup, Salad, Veggie of the Day, French Fries, Spaghetti or Macaroni. Mamma mia!
2857 Acushnet Ave,
New Bedford, MA 02745
Phone: (508) 995-7711
Photo by Dave T. from Novo Mundo Yelp.
5. Half Rotisserie Chicken Meal at Novo Mundo
It takes a lot for a Portuguese Restaurant to stand out in an ocean of Portuguese Restaurants on the SouthCoast – the majority of which are excellent. Novo Mundo does just that. Customer service, mouth-watering food, affordable prices, and an atmosphere that will make you feel like you are in Portugal hanging out with the guys and gals at a local spot.
Everything they do at Novo Mundo is hands-down amazing. I had the best steak of my life here – the Castela da Vaca. The open kitchen means you get to not only watch the masters at work but get to relish that amazing aroma wafting directly to your nostrils.
The best deal on their menu is the Half Rotisserie Chicken Meal for $8.49. It comes with a half of a juicy chicken grilled to perfection, a side of rice and a heaping of fresh, piping hot golden French fries. A feast! It comes with a cup of their famous “orange sauce” comprised of secret ingredients and goes good on everything. There’s no way you order anything off the menu, get your cup of secret sauce and not ask for a second cup or a cup to bring home.
Churrascaria Novo Mundo
98 County St
New Bedford, Massachusetts
Phone: (508) 991-8661
Photo by Jason Barriteau
6. Dee’s Hot Dogs
I don’t want to get beat up by half of New Bedford so I’m not going to declare any hot dog spot is the best in the city, but I will say that for as long as I can remember I have been going to one of the two Dee’s locations. There’s no point in stating the menu prices since everything is well under $10 and it simply comes down to how many things you order. Ut’s a safe bet that you can get two hot dogs, fries and a soda for $10 or less. Alternatively, you could just get 4 hot dogs and a soda and be in that ballpark.
With so many hot dogs joints in the city to choose from, the way to differentiate yourself from the rest is with other offerings on the menu, e.g. stuffed quahogs, the freshness of the sides, and whether the chili sauce is homemade or from a can and heated up. One thing Dee’s offers that many don’t is a homemade linguica sauce and a Coney Island sauce. It’s different than a traditional chili sauce but similar in some ways. It’s darker, slightly sour (in a good way), and rich. It’s very delicious.
Best of all is that the only thing stopping you from having your food and walking away in 3 minutes or less is the queue. If you’re wise you simply avoid traditional times for lunch or dinner. Do that and you might only have one or two people ahead of you or even no one at all. If you don’t have much time for lunch or don’t have much in the wallet, Dee’s Hot Dogs is one of the best places in the city.
Dee’s Hot Dogs
51 Tarkiln Hill Road,
New Bedford MA 02745
Phone: (508) 998-0584
Where are your favorite lunch spots in New Bedford? Post a comment and stay tuned for part 2!