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16 Cheap Places to Eat in New York

Looking for places to eat in New York? Here are my favorite affordable spots in NYC!

When you think of New York City, do you tend to think “expensive” or “cheap”? Probably expensive, right? But it doesn’t have to be. For us New Yorkers, we have outrageously high expectations in taste but nearly empty wallets. As for time, we have 100 places to be except the grocery store and our kitchen.

Because of that, cheap but phenomenal tasting food is part of the everyday New York lifestyle— more so than those fancy schmancy restaurants you may see on TV.

Now don’t get me wrong. Those high end restaurants are delicious, but when you’re already spending an arm and a leg on an Airbnb, hotel, or a flight to New York City, do as the locals do.

Check out these 16 cheap places to eat in New York, specifically in Manhattan!

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Saigon Shack

Greenwich Village

Flavorful broth, noodles of the right size thickness, and tender meat mixed together with a hip yet understated setting? What else could you want when eating pho?

If it’s too warm outside for pho, the Grilled Pork Chop Vermicelli is both filling and refreshing.

15 cheap places to eat in new york city by www.fromlusttilldawn.com
© Yelp

This place was in my weekly mix of restaurants. I miss it!

Category: Vietnamese, Pho

What to Get: Classic Beef Pho, Grilled Pork Chop Vermicelli, Banh Mi Classic or Fresh Summer Rolls

Payment: Cash only

Pro Tip: There’s never more than a 15 minute wait because this place rolls out the pho like no other so nonchalantly pass off the crazy busy looking restaurant. You’ll be eating in no time.

Helpful Sites: Website, Yelp


Xi’an Famous Foods

6 Locations in Manhattan

Update 10/5/17- So I went to Xi’an Famous Foods in Sept. during my recent trip back to the US, and they raised the prices! It used to be $7.75 for the dish I liked, but now it’s about $10-10.50. It’s still worth trying, but because of the price increase, it’s not the awesome value it used to be.

Want chewy, slurpy noodles covered in blends of oils and spices that wow your tongue with each bite? Then Xi’an Famous Foods is the place for you.

Besides the good food, I love this place because it’s the classic American dream story. Dad came to America from China, opened up a small shop in Queens, and worked hard to send his son to a good school.

The son graduated from school with a business degree and broadcasted his dad’s recipes to the world (aka NYC). Now they’re exploding in success while our tongues explode with flavors.

Category: Chinese, Noodles

What to Get: Spicy Cumin Lamb Burger or the Pork “Zha Jiang” Hand-Ripped Noodles

Payment: Credit Card, Cash

Pro Tip: Eat the noodles asap in the restaurant so that your noodles are of utmost fresh chewiness. Getting take-out will make the noodles a bit mush. They even have a sign warning you of this. Aren’t they sweet?

Helpful Sites: Website, Yelp


Mighty Quinn’s

5 Locations in Manhattan

15 cheap places to eat in new york cit - mighty quinn's barbecue
© Mighty Quinn’s

With items like pulled pork sandwiches, burnt ends baked beans, sweet potato mash, and of course, boneless spare ribs, Mighty Quinn’s is the place to go for slow cooked barbecue food.

Category: American, Barbecue

What to Get: Burnt Ends Brisket sandwich, Pulled Pork sandwich, or the Spare Ribs. The Sweet Potato Casserole and Burnt End Baked Beans are a delight too.

Payment: Credit Card or Cash

Pro Tip: Go with a few friends to order as many sides as possible. They’re all delicious.

Helpful Sites: Website, Yelp


Joe’s Shanghai

Soup dumplings probably wouldn’t come to the top of your head when you think of New York City foods, but it very much is. In the past decade or so, it has been wholly ingrained in our city’s culture of food, especially for those who love dumplings!

Joe’s Shanghai has become one of New York’s culinary institutions for soup dumplings because their dumplings are just delicious! The outside skin is delicate to taste but strong enough to hold the soup and the meat inside, and the chew– yes, each bite magically springs back ever so slightly as you move your teeth up and down.

As for the broth and the meat inside– so flavorful. This is a place I wouldn’t miss.

Category: Chinese, Shanghainese

What to Get: Pork Meat Soup Dumplings for $7.95

Payment: Credit Card or Cash

Pro Tip: Place your dumpling on your spoon with your chopsticks. Then poke a hole on top so that it vents out but doesn’t let any soup escape. Let it cool then take it in one bite.

Or you could be patient and let your soup dumplings cool down so you don’t have to poke a hole in it and won’t burn yourself as you bite it– but let’s be serious, waiting for these dumplings to cool down is basically impossible.

Helpful Sites: Website, Yelp


Num Pang

5 Locations in Manhattan

15 cheap places to eat in new york city by www.fromlusttilldawn.com num pang
© Yelp

The right amount of marinated meat and veggies on a mini baguette that’s crispy, crunchy, and chewy? 100% yes.

Category: Vietnamese, Cambodian, Bahn-mi

What to Get: Five Spiced Glazed Pork Belly sandwich

Payment: Credit Card, Apple Pay, or Cash

Helpful Sites: Website, Yelp

Also on my Where to Eat Asian Food for Lunch Near Grand Central post


Pepe Rosso To Go

Greenwich Village

15 cheap places to eat in new york city by www.fromlusttilldawn.com pepe rosso to go pasta
© Yelp

If you have a thing for hole in the walls that serve amazing pasta and parallels a full-service Italian restaurant without the price, then this place is a must-try.

In addition to Saigon Shack, this was also in my weekly mix of restaurants.

Category: Italian, Pasta

What to Get: Penne Arrabbiata, Penne with Spinach, Ricotta in Tomato Basil, or really ANY pasta

Payment: Cash only under $15

Pro Tip: This place only has 8 seats, but don’t worry. The cashier watches out for who should have the next seat. Be ready to rub elbows with your neighbors!

Helpful Sites: Website, Yelp

You might also like this Greenwich Village food tour.


Shake Shack

8 Locations in Manhattan

15 cheap places to eat in new york city by www.fromlusttilldawn.com shake shack burger shackburger
© Evan Sung / Shake Shack

Take your fast-food burger, kick it up a notch in flavor and quality, and you’ve got Shake Shack. Sprouted from a tiny hot dog cart in Madison Square Park, it’s basically running the fast food world now.

Category: American, Burger

What to Get: Single Shackburger or any of their shakes made with frozen custard, not ice cream

Payment: Credit Card, Cash

Helpful Sites: Website, Yelp

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Minca Ramen

East Village

15 cheap places to eat in new york city minca ramen
© Yelp

Want the taste of Ippudo ramen without the expensive prices and long lines? Then Minca’s the spot for you especially in the wintertime when the only thing that’ll cure the cold is a hot bowl of ramen.

Category: Japanese, Ramen

What to Get: the Pork Broth ramen or Minca ramen

Payment: Cash only

Helpful Sites: Website, Yelp


Otto’s Tacos

3 Locations in Manhattan

15 cheap places to eat in new york city otto's tacos
© Otto’s Tacos / Yelp

Juicy, fresh, flavorful, and above all, authentic— that’s what Otto’s Tacos are all about. They’re the closest thing I could find to Stamford’s taco truck tacos (the best tacos in the world).

Category: Mexican, Tacos

What to Get: Carne Asada AND the Carnitas taco because you have to try both!

Payment: Credit card, Cash

Helpful Sites: Website, Yelp


Pies n’ Thighs

Chinatown

15 cheap places to eat in new york city by www.fromlusttilldawn.com pies n thighs fried chicken
© Yelp

Juicy chicken covered in a light, crispy, and airy batter— ERMAGOD yes. Besides a fried chicken place I frequented in Harlem, this is the only other place in Manhattan I truly love, and I would know fried chicken because…

if I was a superhero, it would be my weakness.

Category: American, Fried Chicken

What to Get: the Chicken Biscuit or if you’re feeling a little spendy, the classic Fried Chicken Box, which comes with a whopping three pieces of fried chicken

Payment: Credit card, Cash

Pro Tip: If you’re up for an adventure, check out the original location in Williamsburg. It’s the OG Pies n’ Thighs and supposedly has the better fried chicken.

Helpful Sites: Website, Yelp


Crocodile Lounge

Gramercy/East Village

15 cheap places to eat in new york city by www.fromlusttilldawn.com crocodile lounge
© Crocodile Lounge / Yelp

Where else in Manhattan besides Crocodile Lounge can you get a beer with a free personal pizza? You can’t.

Category: Pizza, Beer

What to Get: any drink ’cause it comes with a free personal sized pizza

Payment: Credit Card, Cash

Helpful Sites: Website, Yelp


Streecha Ukranian Kitchen

East Village

15 cheap places to eat in new york city streecha ukranian kitchen
© Yelp

Not only will you get authentic Ukranian food that’ll stuff you with delight, you’ll get to experience what it’d be like if your Ukrainian grandma (if you had one) decided to open up a cafeteria. You’ll know what I mean when you step into this homegrown place.

Category: Ukranian

What to Get: Six dumplings or a giant stuffed cabbage roll

Payment: Cash only

Pro Tip: This place is only open on Friday to Sundays from 10-4PM.

Helpful Sites: Yelp


Le Basket

Greenwich Village

New York City is known for their bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches from a deli. If you want the quintessential one with a soft roll, which is so oddly hard to come across, make sure to get it on Le Basket.

It’s so good that one of my co-workers even made a jingle about their breakfast sandwich.

Category: American, Breakfast

What to Get: Bacon or Sausage, Egg, and Cheese on a roll

Payment: $5 minimum on credit cards so bring cash

Helpful Sites: Yelp


S’Mac

2 Locations in Manhattan

Do what the locals do and check out these 15 cheap places to eat in new york city by www.fromlusttilldawn.com s'mac
© Michael Seto / S’Mac

This place has mac and cheese with whatever toppings you want all baked in a cast iron stove— can I get a yum yum?

They even make gluten-free and vegan mac and cheese if that’s your thing.

Category: American

What to Get: 4-Cheese Nosh (a mix of cheddar, meunster, gruyere, and pecorino)

Payment: Credit Card, Cash

Helpful Sites: Website, Yelp

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Pio Pio

4 Locations in Manhattan

15 cheap places to eat in new york city by www.fromlusttilldawn.com pio pio
© Pio Pio / Yelp

Tender, moist Peruvian chicken and green sauce— that’s all there is to life on somedays.

Category: Latin American, Peruvian

What to Get: The quarter chicken with salad and a side deal for weekday lunches, Avocado Salad or the Tostones

Payment: Credit Card, Cash

Pro Tip: Pio Pio started out of Queens, and the restaurants there are slightly better in taste so if you have the time, venture out to Queens to get the OG Pio Pio dining experience.

Helpful Sites: Website, Yelp


Milon

East Village

15 cheap places to eat in new york city by www.fromlusttilldawn.com
© Yelp

Want to eat delicious Indian food and practically be bombarded with a festive ambiance? Why not, right? Head to Milon for a fun time and good food.

Category: Indian, Bangladeshi

What to Get: For the lunch deal from (12-4PM), you get a main dish, rice, cabbage, an appetizer, and soup or dessert. Don’t blame me for your food coma.

Payment: Cash only

Pro Tip: First of all, BYOB! Second, it’s best to go on your birthday to hear their home-mixed Indian disco birthday song.

Helpful Sites: Website, Yelp


If you’re looking to be extra cheap like under $5 cheap, then head to this post to get the full details on places such as Prosperity Dumpling, Ess-a-Bagel, Mamoun’s, and Joe’s Pizza, or if you need help with general local tips before even eating, check out these must know New York City tips.

Thanks for stopping by! xo.


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Places to Eat in New York

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