Cheap eats in Soho: The best nosh on a budget

Cheap eats abound in Soho, but which stand out from the rest? Fill up at our critic-approved budget food spots.

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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: The best cheap eats in NYC

Caffe Falai

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

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.

  1. 265 Lafayette St, (between Prince and Spring Sts)
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The Ear Inn

  • Price band: 2/4

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.

  1. 326 Spring St, (between Greenwich and Washington Sts), 10013
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Fanelli’s Cafe

  • Price band: 1/4

Fanelli’s has stood at this cobblestoned Soho intersection since 1847. The long bar (which dates to that time), framed prints of boxing legends and checkered tablecloths add to its effortless charm. You can polish the bar with your elbow as countless poets and artists have done before, and as lots of tourists now do. The kitchen is known for perfectly charred beef patties on toasted onion rolls. Chalkboard specials, such as pumpkin ravioli and grilled mahimahi with lime and

  1. 94 Prince St, (at Mercer St), 10012
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Hampton Chutney Co.

  • Price band: 1/4

Delicate dosas are stuffed with traditional or Western combinations—such as spiced potatoes and curried chicken or grilled asparagus with roasted pepper and goat cheese—and paired with freshly made chutney. The vegetarian thali plate features a daily curry, dal, chutney and yogurt (skip the bland, leathery nan). Some folks may think the burbling chants piped into the simple room are soothing; if you find them annoying, just get your eats to go. And the name? Oddly enough,

  1. 68 Prince St, (between Crosby and Lafayette Sts), 10012-33
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Mooncake Foods

  • Critics choice

Fusion fare that’s light on the wallet—what a concept! Waitresses squeeze past each other in the tightly packed diner, dropping off starters of crisp grilled squid with curry-lime sauce and light Vietnamese summer rolls with lightning speed. The open kitchen, which occupies most of the room, sends delicious smells into the dining area, making it tough to choose among the many appetizing options. Try the fragrant lemongrass shrimp, grilled, flattened pork chops or rich

  1. 28 Watts St, (between Sixth Ave and Thompson St), 10013-16
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Pinche Taqueria

  • Critics choice

This taqueria mini-chain, which originated in Tijuana, serves fresh tacos with fillings that include chicken, braised and spit-grilled pork, fish and shrimp.

  1. 227 Mott St, (between Prince and Spring Sts)
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