Do away with the typical three-course dinner date in favor of a meal that's cheap and casual, but still romantic. These spots will run you just $5–$10 for brunch, lunch, or dinner (anytime, really). Reservations most definitely not recommended.
Big Mario's New York Style Pizza
Grab a few slices of cheese for $3 each or pepperoni for $3.50 at either location off East Pike Street or in Queen Anne. And if you're feeling like spending an extra quarter, treat your special someone to the special for $3.75.
Hot Mama's Pizza
Nothing's more swoon-worthy than melted, hot cheese, and with Hot Mama's famous pesto pies sliced up at $2.70 each, the "mamacita" for $2.50, or the cheapest (cheese) at $2.25, will no doubt keep your dated swooned.
Zippy's Giant Burgers
GIANT, third of a pound patties made with chuck ground on-site may not only be the best value but one of the best burgers around town. Chow down on the "Zip" topped with Zippy's secret sauce, tomatoes, pickles, red onions, and lettuce for $5.50. Vegetarians beware the retro burger joint has a black bean burger achievable of an accolade over the years, and for only $5.50. Zippy's even has brunch covered with the "Basic" breakfast sandwich (egg, cheese, and bacon) starting at $2.50.
Broadway's secluded taco counter serves soft corn tacos filled with your choice of meat or prickly pear cactus each around $1.75–$2, baby burritos for upwards $3.75, and the nopal asado for $5.50. Grab a Mexican Coke or Jarritos to cool it all down when things get hot.
Seattle-Style Hot Dogs
Hot dogs smeared with cream cheese have become the city's signature drunk food, but give those flavors some credit—they can hold their own on a (reasonably) sober date. Mad Dawg's Hot Dogs on Capitol Hill and Queen Anne have vast options to choose from including gluten free buns and veggie dogs, so load it up for $5, while Seattle Monster Dogs on First and Bell and East Pike Street also offers the toasted buns with cheese and caramelized onions for $6. Hey, big spender: All dogs are flat fees—no restrictions apply to the number of condiments used.
Three locations around the city including University and International District plus one off Broadway on Capitol Hill boasts appetizers all under $5 and the popular tonkotsu ramen for $9.50. Watch things get steamy through piping hot bowls of noodles and broth.
Nate's Wings and Waffles
Meals at this Central District shop are full of drizzly syrup and saucy wings, which come naked or breaded for $9 for a pound, or $5 for a half a pound all including wing sauce. Chicken strips are $10 a pound. The signature Belgian waffle totals only $6, while fancier options like the bacon crumbled or jalapeño cornbread for no more than $7.
Make sure to bring cash, but no more than $20. The hole-in-the-wall on the Ave dishes all the wok-fired, familiar pad see ew and pad thai plates at no more than $10 with date-worthy heat levels.
Marination Station, Marination Ma Kai
Everything on the Hawaiian fusion menu is under $10 with dishes of kimchi fried rice with a fried egg at $7 ($2 more add beef, pork, chicken, or "sexy" tofu), tacos at $2.75 each, and or spicy pork torta at $8. Dine at the counter at the Capitol Hill location or hit up West Seattle's Ma Kai, which comes with spectacular water and skyline views.
Malena's Taco Shop
The Queen Anne taqueria serves up combo platters (all served with rice and beans) like two enchiladas at $6.25, chile relleno for $6, or two fish tacos at $6.25. And these combo options just scrape the surface; even the most vacillating date will be pleased with all the taco, fajita, burrito, and tamale choices; huevos rancheros even please the egg-lovers bound for brunch.
West Seattle Fish House
Flaky, crispy, panko-breaded pieces of cod in two-, three-, or fives piece combinations starting at $7.99 for the two piece with fries...and tartar sauce of course. It is Valentine's Day. Start with a warming cup of shrimp and clam chowder at $2.99 to get cozy. Cash only.
Burgers, fries, and shakes all served through the car window circa the '50s is actually pretty charming (or dine in, if you prefer). Combo #1 includes the specialty "Burgermaster," fries, and a shake at $9.89, while a solo "Burgermaster" rings in at $5.59. The menu doesn't stop there with many other options like fish and chips, chicken strips, veggie burgers, and turkey sandwiches.
LoPriore Bros. Pasta Bar
The build-your-own pasta bar with "pastabilities" (oy) of a small spaghetti with meatballs for $7.95, penne starting at $6.99, or triple cheese tortellini at $7.95. Then, choose from meat, marinara or alfredo to sauce on top, while pesto is only $1.50 extra. Spaghetti, fettuccini, or penne combos includes salad, bread, and a soda for $9.50. Spend the day at Pike Place Market and pull a Lady and the Tramp when you simultaneously dive into one of these bowls.