The Top 11 Cheap Eats in NYC
New York City — also referred to as the greatest city in the world. Why, may you ask is this little island the most famous in our huge world that’s full of so much flavor and character? It’s mainly because NYC manages to encompass the greatest bits of every culture in one city, namely in the food. Mind you, most of the time, it doesn’t come cheap. There are plenty of lovely restaurants that will set you back way over $100 for a meal or two. Sometimes, even “cheap” food can be pricey — buying prepackaged food at Starbucks is not the most economical decision. However, don’t run away screaming, the big city is calling! It is possible to have fantastic food and at a low cost in the city. Check out the diverse food options you can try on the cheap below.
1. Beyond Sushi
Eating healthy while out with friends just became a lot easier. Check out this spot for great vegan sushi. The colorful rolls are packed with lots of fruits and veggies such as alfalfa, baked tofu, cucumber, kiwi, avocado, pickled jalapeño and so much more. The prices are spot on as well — an average roll goes for about $7, a price that’s hard to find for quality sushi in the middle of the city.
229 E 14th St, 646-861-2889
Comfort foods like grilled cheese are stepped up to the max at Earl’s Beer and Cheese. The NY State Cheddar features cheese of course, topped with braised pork belly, a fried egg, and house-made kimchi. Another house speciality is an Eggo waffle topped with coffee-cured bacon, reduced maple syrup, aged cheddar, and grilled foie gras. It’s a neighborhood favorite with the average main course running for just $8. Keep in mind that it’s cash only!
1259 Park Ave, 212-289-1581
3. Black Seed
Courtesy of Paul Wagtouicz
People aren’t kidding when they say New York has the best bagels. Owners Noah Bernamoff and Matt Kliegman serve some of the most delicious hand rolled, poached bagels you can find. Plus, they also home make all of their spreads.
170 Elizabeth St, 212-730-1950
Have tacos and quesadillas galore at this Chelsea Market stand. Don’t worry about not being able to find it — it has beautifully colorful hand painted signs decorating it. Just under $9 for an average meal guarantees this stand as a great cheap eat option in the city.
Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Ave, 212-256-0343
5. Otto’s Tacos
Courtesy of Otto’s Tacos
Another great Mexican flavored restaurant — Otto’s Tacos. An average taco is just $3 bucks. You can’t beat fantastic tastes at a cheap cost. Choose between six proteins to fill your house-made corn tortilla. Chipotle ain’t got nothing on the real deal.
141 Second Ave, 646-678-4018
6. Arepa Lady
Courtesy of Arepa Lady
If you’ve never had an arepa before — change that immediately! It’s made from white cornmeal, slathered with butter and cheese, and then folded over as if it was an omelette. It’s almost like a more filling crepe — perfect for when you’re hungry after a night out.
Northwest corner of Roosevelt Ave at 79th Street
Lumpia, a spring roll, is one of the most delicious Filipino specialities. You can devour them at Lumpia Shack Snackbar, which specializes in snack foods. Try their puffy garlic chips cheap for $4, paired with mix and match rice bowls for just $11.50. It’s great to be able to try a different culture’s food that you normally wouldn’t eat at a great price.
50 Greenwich Avenue, 917-475-1621
Courtesy of Motorino
Another NYC speciality that had to make the list, pizza. Of course, you can get dollar pizza on any random corner, but it will most definitely not be as satisfying as real, serious tasting pizza. Their classic Margherita pizza puts others to shame with its sweet red sauce and buffalo milk mozzarella.
349 E 12th St, 212-777-2644
Courtesy of Berg’n
This location is best to come to with a group. This way, you can try a little of everything they have to offer — which is a lot. Favorites include the ramen burger and the Asia Dog’s sweet and sour beef dog with mango relish ($5).
899 Bergen St, Brooklyn, 718-857-2337
10. Bunna Cafe
This originally nomadic vegan popup offers mouthwatering Ethiopian flavors in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Although primarily vegan, it does offer vegetarian specialties over injera bread such as misir wot (red lentils in berbere sauce), keysir selata (sautéed and chilled beets), and shiro (garlickly ground chickpeas). They also serve delectable Ethiopians juices and cocktails.
1084 Flushing Ave, 347-295-2227
Via Virginia Rollison
Craving Caribbean flavor? Glady’s serves fantastic hot jerk chicken ($9), pulled pork ($8.50), and even deli sandwiches. The best time to come for a deal is lunch time — get the lunch special which includes a quarter pound of jerk chicken or pork with rice and peas, spicy slaw, and fried plantains for just $9. Also if you’re thirsty around dinner time, ask for the rum punch on tap between 5:30-7pm daily for just $4.
788 Franklin Ave, Brooklyn, 718-622-0249