With first-rate chefs turning out lip-smacking BBQ, slurpworthy noodles and chest-thumpingly good bar grub (we've even scoured the city for free food deals at NYC bars), it's never been a better time for budget dining. Whether you’re a New York pizza fanatic, fried-chicken aficionado or just craving a cheap burger at one of the best diners and luncheonettes in the city, we’ve found the perfect wallet-friendly bites. Here are the year's best cheap eats NYC has to offer.
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Cheap eats by category
Best cheap pizza
Just because you're on a budget doesn't mean you should put up with a greasy slice. Try one of these affordable pizzerias. RECOMMENDED: The best cheap eats in NYC Best Pizza If you’re going to pay for artisanal pizza, it’s best served fresh: Here, slices of piping hot cheese ‘za will set you back $3.25, a whole dollar cheaper than Artichoke. Drop down another $3.75 to try a leopard-spotted white slice jazzed up with caramelized onions and sesame seeds, and wash it down with a Mexican Coke ($2.75). Di Fara Pizza For more than 40 years, Italian-born Domenico DeMarco has eaten a slice of his own pizza every day—a one-man quality-control outfit. You know he's doing something right. His painstakingly crafted regular pies ($28)—cracker-thin crust with a pleasing char and a subtle Parmesan zing—are widely considered to be among the city's best. Herbs grown in the window boxes flavor the sauce, and the dough is made fresh several times a day. Giuseppina In March of this year,the cultish joint Lucali opened a spin-off in Sunset Park, helmed by Chris Iacono. The 40-seat eatery offers an identical menu of classic calzones (small $10, large $20) and thin-crust pizzas ($20, each topping $3--$6). As at the original, guests can watch flour-dusted chefs punch and pull mounds of dough in front of a wood-fired oven. But drinkers, take heart: Unlike BYOB Lucali, Giuseppina's serves beer and wine. Joe’s Pizza Dough technician Joe Pozzuoli has perfected the thin-crust slice ($2.75). It's w
Best cheap burgers
Sink your teeth into our top five underrated patties.
Best cheap fried chicken
Proof that the golden-crusted classic doesn't have to break the bank.
Best cheap hot dogs
Skip the dollar hot-dog carts and sample our picks for the best cheap hot dogs in NYC.
Cheap eats by New York neighborhood
Cheap eats abound in East Village, but which stand out from the rest? Fuel up at our critic-approved budget food spots. Whether you want to take a break from shopping to refuel with an inexpensive bite, line your stomach before hitting the local bars (or soak up the damage afterwards), or embark on a full food crawl, there are plenty of cheap eats in the neighborhood. Feast on everything from cult slices and hot dogs to superlative slow-roasted pork for less than $15.RECOMMENDED: Full guide to East Village Artichoke Basille's Pizza & Brewery Early hype has led to long lines at this East Village pizzeria named after its specialty, a slice covered in a creamy artichoke-and-spinach spread. Bobwhite Lunch and Supper Counter Blue Smoke alum Amanda Beame dishes out at Southern classics updated with sustainable ingredients at this homestyle eatery. On the menu: fried free-range chicken, Hudson Valley collard greens and pimento cheese sandwiches. The simple 17-seat space features an L-shaped reclaimed-wood bar and exposed brick. Caracas Arepa Bar Surely, there’s no more cultured a substitute for a grilled cheese sandwich than a piping-hot arepa filled with juayanes, a handmade cheese. This endearing spot, with flower-patterned, vinyl-covered tables, zaps you straight to Caracas. The secret is in the arepas themselves: Each patty is made from scratch daily. The pitalike pockets are stuffed with a choice of 18 fillings, like chicken and avocado or mushrooms with tofu. Top off your snac
Cheap eats abound in Williamsburg, but which stand out from the rest? Fuel up at our critic-approved budget food spots. Whether you want to line your stomach before hitting the bars (or soak up the damage afterwards) or grab an inexpensive lunch or pre-gig meal, there are plenty of cheap eats in the neighborhood. You'll find gastropub fare at The Commodore, greaseless fried chicken at Pies and Thighs and superior sandwiches at Saltie.RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Williamsburg, Brooklyn Nhà Tôi This shop, the name of which means “my house,” brings traditional and innovative banh mi and Vietnamese summer rolls to Williamsburg. Creative twists on the popular sandwich include versions such as the “Pho Bahn Mi,” which stuffs a baguette with pho ingredients (Thai basil, cilantro, cucumber, bean sprouts and beef short rib). During the week, customers can also partake in the “family meal,” a rotating daily special prepared for the staff but available to all, and on weekends dim sum is served. Pies ’n’ Thighs Deprivation is the mother of New York restaurant hype. Pies ’n’ Thighs, the city’s most eagerly awaited Southern-fried grease trap, has kept Williamsburg in Pavlovian limbo since the start of 2008, when its first incarnation—a drunk-food closet at the back of a bar—was shut down to prep for a more spacious and permanent home. Last month, after endless delays, it finally debuted in a former bodega near the Williamsburg Bridge.The new version, run by the three chefs behind the
Cheap eats abound in Chelsea, but which stand out from the rest? Fuel up at our critic-approved budget food spots. Whether you want to line your stomach before hitting the bars (or soak up the damage afterwards) or grab an inexpensive bite while shopping, there are plenty of cheap eats in the neighborhood. Among our favorite cheap eats are the cult slice at Artichoke Basille’s Pizzeria and the eponymous Asian snacks at Rickshaw Dumpling Bar.RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Chelsea, New York Artichoke Basille's Pizza and Bar The owners of the perpetually packed East Village slice shop have expanded to Chelsea. City Bakery Pastry genius Maury Rubin’s loft-size City Bakery is jammed with Chelsea shoppers loading up on unusual salad-bar choices (grilled pineapple with ancho chili, bean sprouts with smoked tofu, excellent salmon salad). There’s also a small selection of soups, pizzas and hot dishes. But to heck with all that: The thick, incredibly rich hot chocolate with fat house-made marshmallows is heaven in a cup (replaced by fruit-infused lemonade in the summer), and the moist “melted” chocolate-chip cookies are better than a marked-down pair of Prada pumps. Joe the Art of Coffee West Siders have experienced a restaurant revolution, and now they can boast grade-A espresso too, thanks to the most recent location of the boutique-coffee chain. In addition to espresso-based drinks, a single-cup, drip-coffee bar dispenses a rotating selection of brews, while baked goods from companies l
Cheap eats abound in Chinatown, but which stand out from the rest? Fuel up at our critic-approved budget food spots. Chinatown excels at cheap eats. Whether you want to line your stomach before hitting the Lower East Side bars or grab an inexpensive bite while perusing local shops or nearby galleries, you can fill up on dumplings, noodles or more exotic fare for just a few bucks.RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Chinatown, New York Mei Li Wah Bakery This tried-and-true mainstay continues to offer some of the freshest steamed buns in the city, each less than $1.64. If you only have a buck to your name, you can’t do much better than the classic pork bun (80¢), still one of the best deals in town. New Green Bo Since the windows to this tiny, cramped dining room have been plastered over with accolades from English-language press, it’s impossible to gauge the wait-time for this popular Shanghai restaurant unless the line snakes onto the sidewalk. Once inside, beware: the clunky oversized soup dumplings are strictly overrated, as are regional specialties such as suspiciously meatless “lion’s head” pork meatballs and greasy stir-fried rice cakes. Go esoteric instead with lip-smacking bamboo shoots, chunks of meat-like vegetarian kao fu and the juicy ginger crab. New Malaysia Restaurant The menu at New Malaysia Restaurant resembles those found in many Indian, Thai, Chinese and other Asian eateries—and with good reason: Malaysian cuisine comes from an amalgam of those cultures. So you’ll hav
Cheap eats abound in Astoria, but which stand out from the rest? Fuel up at our critic-approved budget food spots. Whether you want to take a break from shopping to refuel with an inexpensive bite, or line your stomach before hitting the local bars (or soak up the damage afterwards), there are plenty of superior cheap eats in the neighborhood. Nosh on everything from addictive SoCal-style burgers to bratwurst for less than $15.RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Astoria, Queens Astor Bake Shop Pastry chef George McKirdy (Tribeca Grill) is serving breakfast pastries and sweets such as eclairs and carrot cakes, along with a Pat LaFrieda burger, at this Astoria café and bakery. Fatty’s Café Fernando Peña knows the way to a woman’s heart; his family’s Dominican cuisine won over girlfriend Suzanne Furboter, who then persuaded him to start a Latin-inspired restaurant with her. The result is hip Fatty’s Café, serving jalapeño turkey burgers, grilled cheese, creative takes on pressed Cuban sandwiches and one of the best mojitos around. Furboter and Peña serve as waitress and bartender, respectively, and treat each customer like family. On weekends, they offer a stellar brunch. Stick around after the kitchen closes; Fatty’s becomes a relaxed neighborhood bar. Hinomaru Ramen Slurp noodles at this Astoria ramen house, from the Chace Restaurant Group (Ember Room, Spot Dessert Bar). Japanese native Koji Miyamoto dishes out steaming bowls from an open kitchen. The 60-seat space also features high c
Cheap eats abound in Soho, but which stand out from the rest? Fill up at our critic-approved budget food spots. Whether you want to take a break from shopping to refuel with an inexpensive bite, or line your stomach before hitting the local bars (or soak up the damage afterwards), there are plenty of cheap eats in the neighborhood. Feast on everything from tasty tacos to nicely priced Asian fusion fare.RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Soho, New York Caffe Falai Iacopo Falai’s third downtown outpost melds the former pastry chef’s diverse skills: The place is at once a restaurant, a bakery and a café. Daytime diners linger over cappuccinos and crusty panini oozing with fillings like fontina and speck; at night, heartier offerings include charred baby octopus tossed onto slices of roasted potato. Rounding out the Renaissance man’s oeuvre are the artful desserts, including a citrus-and-strawberry bombe,plucked from the display case up front. The Ear Inn When it opened in 1830, the historic Ear Inn was popular with colorful characters ambling in from the docks of the Hudson. The basic decor (dark-wood bar, wobbly tables and chairs, lots of retro ephemera) hasn’t changed much since, but locals continue to pack the place thanks to its relaxed vibe and historical charm. Free snacks such as fried chicken and sausages can be had weeknights from 4 to 7pm, mitigating any wallet damage wreaked by a few $6 pints of Guinness. Fanelli’s Cafe Fanelli’s has stood at this cobblestoned Soho intersecti
Cheap eats abound in Harlem, but which stand out from the rest? Fuel up at our critic-approved budget food spots. Whether you want to line your stomach before hitting the bars (or soak up the damage afterwards) or grab an inexpensive bite while shopping, you don’t have to resort to fast food. Cheap eats in Harlem include one of the city’s best fried chicken joints.RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Harlem, New York Country Panfried Chicken Fried chicken has made quite the comeback, and now the guru of moist flesh and crackly skin, Charles Gabriel, is making his triumphant return to Harlem with this all-you-can-eat restaurant. In addition to the poultry, there will be barbecued ribs, mac and cheese, yams and other Southern favorites. Beurre & Sel Beloved cookbook author, blogger and baking maven Dorie Greenspan and son Josh are behind a pair of cookiecentric bakeshops. Snag Greenspan’s elegant treats: classic French vanilla sablés (shortbread), blueberry jammers topped with streusel, and her signature World Peace Cookies (Valrhona cocoa and extra-bitter chocolate with Guérande fleur de sel). East Dumpling House Columbia students can sate their dumpling cravings at this tiny eatery, whose cherrywood floors and brick walls dress up its cheap-eats mission. The purses come with mostly classic fillings like pork-and-chive, though a few original versions—such as “ugly” dumplings, buns stuffed with veggies and vermicelli—are also available. El Aguila This 22-seat outpost of a New Jersey tor
Cheap eats abound in Hell’s Kitchen, but which stand out from the rest? Fuel up at our critic-approved budget food spots. Whether you're looking for an inexpensive pre- or post-theater bite, or want to line your stomach before hitting the local bars (or soak up the damage afterwards), there are plenty of cheap eats in the neighborhood. Feast on everything from authentic tacos to superior ramen for less than $15.RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Hell's Kitchen Amy's Bread The hookup was bound to happen eventually: Beloved baker Amy Scherber has set up shop downtown right near Murray’s Cheese. It’s a dynamic duo if there ever was one. Scherber will offer her famous loaves—including that addictive raisin semolina—along with a full spread of breakfast pastries; grilled sandwiches, salads and soups for the lunch crowd, plus giant cookies and old-fashioned layer cakes. Blossom du Jour The 12-seat location of this café proves that vegan cuisine and comfort food aren't paradoxical terms. Look into the open kitchen, where chefs cook up meatless dishes, like the Midtown Melt (Cajun-spiced seitan, agave guacamole, vegan cheddar and chipotle aioli on rosemary focaccia) and a vegan burger with soy bacon and onion rings. Healthy organic fruit and vegetable juices are blended on site, including the Field of Green, which combines spinach, kale, ginger, lemon, apple, cucumber and parsley. City Sandwich Portuguese sandwiches are the specialty of this casual Hell's Kitchen restaurant. Donna Bell's Bak
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