Right now, we’d usually be scouring the five boroughs to bring you the best of affordable dining in the city. While we can’t go on our usual undercover review missions, we can still share some of the cheap meals we think you might love—especially during a time when we're all spending more time at home. And remember: While delivery platform fees can take a significant chunk of each transaction from a small business, you can always call them ahead to see if direct delivery is an option, which puts back more money in everyone's pockets.
Cafe at Your Mother-in-Law
While a day spent splashing around in the water at Brighton Beach seems like a distant dream, you can still order some of the neighborhood's best food to-go. Mother-in-Law specializes in Korean-Uzbek noodle soups and other dishes you won't want to miss. Call: (718) 942-4088.
Oasis is our no-fail, no-frills trusty best friend for falafel platters and pita sandwiches. Beyond just damn good falafel, we appreciate the bounty of pickled veggies that don't feel like an afterthought or filler. You can order for delivery or takeout. Call: (718) 218-7607.
Adda Indian Canteen
The kitchen at Adda stays true to its roots without imparting gimmicky modern touches on our favorite Indian dishes and lesser known ones. Whether you order butter chicken or a kale pakora, there’s no holding back on flavors—the heat of peppers and warmth of cumin are just examples—that make you crave even more. Call: (718) 433-3888.
With dishes focusing on the Isan region of northeastern Thailand, Hug Esan offers a new era for what we tend to think of as a New York “Thai restaurant.” Dishes currently available for pick-up or delivery include crispy taro cakes, fried whole tilapia and even Thai-style deep-fried frog legs. Call: (929) 328-0392.
Healthy comforting bowls thrive at this West African-inspired restaurant from the famed chef Pierre Thiam. We highly recommend the jollof bowl with a black eyed pea stew, efo riro (kale, okra, fermented locust bean, red palm oil stew) and a casamance salad (kale, fonio, mango, red onion, tomato topped with a moringa-based vinaigrette). Place an order here.
In a rare food truck review for the New York Times, food critic Pete Wells lauded this spot as having the “most talked-about tacos of the year.” The truck offers tacos filled with, yes, Tijuana-style birria de res, which is beef cooked with adobo spices. The truck is now open. Call: (347) 283-2162.
Spy C Cuisine
It's Flushing and not Forest Hills that's more commonly known as a neighborhood offering some of the city’s best Chinese food. But Spy C expands that notion with its Szechuan hot and spicy sour soups, dandan noodles and mapo tofu, among other stellar dishes. Call: (718) 263-0357.
Peppa’s Jerk Chicken
The price of a simple roast chicken dinner has skyrocketed at trendier establishments in the city. But Peppa’s Jerk Chicken is perfectly grilled with hints of smokiness permeating through the juicy meat—at a fraction of the cost. Call: (718) 450-3976.
Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao
The famed soup dumpling restaurant is back in Flushing’s Fulton Square. Colorful juicy dumplings can be eaten via pick-up or contactless delivery. Six dumplings come with each order and feature ingredients such as squash, crab meat, pork, black truffle, among others. Call: (718) 321-3838.
A&A Bake Doubles and Roti
This Bed-Stuy stalwart specializes in doubles, Trinidadian snacks built on a base of deep fried dough, or bara, wrapped around a savory potato-chana curry. Don’t forget a side of extra napkins when you place an order for takeout. Call: (347) 425-0016.
Maria Piedad Cano and her family’s arepa restaurant has reopened for service in Jackson Heights. They offer some of the best Colombian arepas to be found in New York and beyond. Call: (917) 745-1111.
Zaragoza Mexican Deli & Grocery
This East Village bodega has some of our favorite burritos in the city. This Avenue A spot is currently opened for delivery access to its home-style Pueblan cooking. Call: (212) 780-9204.
Bánh Mì Saigon
The bánh mì at this Little Italy spot has us coming back again and again for takeaway. It’s truly the perfect work-from-home lunch food that won’t break the bank. Call: (212) 941-1541.
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