Options for cheap eats near the San Diego Convention Center (and Comic-Con) abound, if you know where to look. Most of the spots on 5th, right across from the SDCC aren’t worth your dining dollar, but there are a few gems right on the strip. If you go a little farther north, or east, that’s where you’ll really strike gold. Here are my top picks for cheap eats near the Convention Center (and in downtown SD, in general).

Banh Mi from The District

On National Cheeseburger Day (September 18th, if you didn’t know), Sacramento will be hit with a blizzard of burgers at the Sacramento Burger Battle. Local restaurants will put their best burger forward, and I’m going to be in the center of the storm as one of the official judges.

sacramento-burger-battle

Saturday’s brunch is the reason why I’ve been eating “air sandwiches” the last couple of mornings… but I have no regrets. The meal started with “Coffee and Doughnuts” (a plate of beignets with Belgian chocolate dipping sauce and raspberry compote), followed by a BLT salad (with crispy pork belly, poached eggs, and heirloom tomatoes), and ended with a plate of French toast with Chambord reduction, mixed berry compote, and quite possibly the best topping to ever grace French toast: raspberry mascarpone.

Beignets from Leroy's Kitchen and Lounge in Coronado

Finally, there’s another spot to score pizza by the slice in Little Italy. Napizza specializes in Roman-style pizza, made with dough that’s proofed for a full 72 hours before being baked for over 30 minutes. They’ve got the standard pepperoni and margherita, plus more inspired options like pizza topped with smoked salmon, cream cheese, and capers… but so far, my favorite slice is the Bapo.

Bapo slice from Napizza