Bite the Big Apple on a Small Budget: Here’s Your Guide to Cheap Eats in NYC

According to Lonely Planet, the average cost of dinner in a mid-range restaurant for two in New York City is $130.

Of course, that’s an average. On one end of the spectrum, the world’s greatest food city offers unparalleled opportunities to splurge on once-in-a-lifetime tasting experiences (more coming soon on that topic!). Yet, on the other end, delicious cheap eats can be found in every neighborhood and nearly every block, with many spots beloved with cult-like passion.

Dim sum at Deluxe Green Bo
> Favorites include falafel goodness at Mamouns in West Village on MacDougal, where on a recent visit we ordered three sandwiches, spinach pie and grape leaves. $15 for a meal which two hungry adults couldn’t finish (yes! to spinach pie for breakfast the next morning).

> Chinatown is loaded with culinary treasures and delicious dim sum parlors including our favorite Nice Green Bo. Tables are communal, staff are friendly, and veggie and seafood dumplings are addictive. Order up dumplings, spicy bean curd, and crispy green beans for a feast ringing in at less than $25 for two.


> The Halal Guys are one of the city’s most celebrated success stories. Beginning with one cart and quickly became the go-to spot for taxi drivers, the business has blossomed into multiple carts and restaurants. A gyro platter and hummus is less than a cab ride from east to west and a tasty reminder that with hard work and a golden idea, dreams can come true.

> To save big, eat where locals eat. On Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday in NYC that means Union Square Green Market. Grab a cup of cider made from Hudson Valley apples while rambling through dozens of vendors beautifully displaying goods from dairy-fresh cheese to lamb and sheepskins (the latter two in the same booth). This market will make you wish you for a kitchen to cook up a spectacular meal. Pick up cheese and fruit for a picnic, or eat on the go with a tasty burek (savory strudel).

> Murray Hill neighborhood around Lexington Avenue and 28th Street is often referred to as Curry Hill for the abundance of Indian and Pakistani restaurants offering giant portions at reasonable prices. Our go-to is the old-school favorite Pongal. With filling thali platters for less than $16, your stomach will give up before your wallet does.

Hungry for more?

Here’s my latest story for SmarterTravel magazine. Hope you will dig in and taste it ALL!


11 Deliciously Cheap Eats in New York City

NYC, image compliments of SmarterTravel

By Jess Simpson

Cheap places to eat in New York are as abundant as neon lights and kamikaze taxi drivers. Here’s a list of 11 local go-tos where you can take a bite of the Big Apple without busting your budget.

Continue reading…

Of course in a city with 30,000+ restaurants and food vendors, this list only scratches the surface.

Have a favorite NYC cheap eat? We’d love to check it out and are sure other readers would too. Please give us suggestions in the comments below.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s