Advanced guide to eating on a budget in New York City

New York has every type of cuisine imaginable. The options are nearly limitless. I’ve researched places that seem to be the best deals on the best food in the city. I thought I’d share with you the map and go into a bit of detail on how to structure your NYC food experience.

The Best Value Eats in New York City


For dinners, I sit down for food. I’ve chosen what seem to be the three best $15-25 meals in New York by my algorithm.

  1. The Alcove. A Queens restaurant holding on to 5 Yelp stars at 83 reviews.Seems to me the Cuban Sandwich, Spicy WIngs, and Truffle Fries are the way to go at this Gastropub. Wash that down with their “Alcove” microbrew. While you’re over there check out Sal & Kris’. They are in the Yelp 100 for 2016 for their subs. Bukharan breads at Rokhat Kosher in Queens are also worth a try.
  2. Upstate. An East Village Seafood Joint. The Fettuccine with clams, craft beer, and Happy Hour oyster specials are on point. They also do a Whiskey cake dessert which is popular. Also comes in at reasonable prices ($15 for entrees.)
  3. Chef Eddie G’s. This East Harlem tapas spot is a bit more risky. But looks worth a try. 5 stars in 46 review. No dish is standing out to me.


NYC lunch options are more diverse. All are cheap eats. First thing I recommend is to do a tour of Chinatown. The proximity of so quality cheap food is better than anywhere else in Manhattan. Follow this route and bring several friends to share.

Prince St Pizza (get the Spicy Spring)–>Golden Steamer (get the Salted Egg Bun)–>Go to Joe’s Shanghai for the Xioa long Bao (Soup Dumplings)–>Wah Fung #1 for Roast Chicken–>Vanessa’s Dumplings (more dumplings.)–>Find a bed a sleep off your East Asian food coma.

On weekends, smash nearly unlimited quantities of Dim Sum for about $20 in Chinatown. Joe’s Shanghai is a popular choice amongst budget NYC foodies. Get there before 11:30 to avoid the long lines.

If you’re there a second day, start to work into the top cheap eats havens throughout the city:

LES Kitchen burgers

Tony Dragonas Street Cart,

My Pie

 Halal Guys Food Cart

 Xi’an foods for hand noodles and $3 Cumin Lamb burger

 Breslin ($17 Lamb Burger that’s phenomenal, though not really cheap)

 GoGo Curry

Roti Roll (Upper West Side)

2 Bro’s Dollar Slices

Wafels and Dinges for Belgian Waffles

 Ippudo or Totto for Ramen

 Gravy meatball sliders followed by the lamb chop at The Little Owl. (moderately-priced)

 Almond Cookies at By The Way Bakery

Fries at Pommes Frites

 Noodletown on Bowery has “next level” ginger scallion Lomein for ~$5. Don’t get anything else.

Woorijipp For great Korean food. Sold by weight. Dinner usually costs around $5.

Thewala for Indian

Breads Bakery

The best pizza is in Brooklyn at Lucali, Don Antonio in Hell’s Kitchen, and Artichoke Basilles in Manhattan.I love theSpicy Spring from Prince St Pizza.

Fine Dining Deals

The best value fine dining experience in NYC is at Bouley. They have what is a 7-8 course , Michelin-starred meal going at lunch for only $55. Incredible deal. The reviews on this place indicate that is it close to perfection. 

Dovetail has a “Sundae Suppa” 3 course tasting that appears to also be considered a top deal at $55. It’s only available on Sundays.

Contra’s tasting menu gets you 5 courses for $67.

Delaware & Hudson has a popular inexpensive tasting menu. That’s over the bridge in Brooklyn.

Gramercy Tavern has a “City Harvest” lunch special on the casual side of their establishment is a great deal at $48. Some consider this restaurant in the top 3 restaurants in the city.

New York is a culinary mecca. If you’re there and don’t think strategically about food, you’re undoubtedly denying yourself some of the greatest cheap eats in the US.

Google MyMaps (Click to open)

NYC Cheap Eats Map
NYC Cheap Eats Map