The city’s best salads are hardly the only good-for-you grub to come in a bowl—there are plenty of options for cheap health bowls in NYC. Whether you’re craving a SoCal-style smoothie or umami-rich bowls from vegan and vegetarian restaurants, we found the best options that all clock in at $10 or less. After all, not every day can be a day for burgers in NYC. Read on for the best cheap health bowls in NYC, with calorie-conscious offerings that satisfy sweet tooths and savory seekers alike.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to cheap eats in NYC
Best cheap health bowls in NYC
Although it seems the poke wave is cresting, there’s nothing fishy or flash-in-the-pan about bowls of seafood, rice and light vegetables done right. This Murray Hill iteration combines the Hawaiian dish with some distinctly West Coast sensibilities, serving fresh, super-filling dishes of ahi tuna drizzled with shoyu and sesame oil over white rice ($11.50), as well as an avocado-heavy, chili-dusted salmon tostada boasting a warm, freshly made tortilla that tastes oh-so–Left Coast ($6).
This American bistro in Soho is more than a pretty face. Although buzz-flocking social- media addicts are quick to snap surfacey shots of its well-presented plates and sleek interior, what’s inside its breakfast and lunch staples are the actual attention grabbers. The grain-based Fire Dragon Bowl is loaded with a turmeric-poached egg , heirloom beans, avocado and tarragon tahini ($15); that egg also appears in the aji-mayo–spiked, chorizo- filled Nigella-seed potato crisp ($15); and a soul-warming, guava-jam–laden cheese biscuit ($5) should make your morning that much more chipper—and cheap.
Consider this techy midtowner concentrating on vegetarian quinoa bowls the modern-day Automat. IPad orders are executed in the kitchen by a speedy team, so you can seamlessly get your mitts on the good stuff suchasNoWorryCurry,stir-friedquinoaand spaghetti squash in a red Thai curry, or the Burrito Bowl, toasted quinoa topped with portobello (both $6.95). Not having to, you know, talk to anyone? Even sweeter.
Co-owners Dave Oz and Michael Kaplan (Stone Street Coffee) might be meat obsessives. (Their midtown spot’s name refers to the utensils used to shred the slow-roasted pulled beef and chicken in its sandwiches.) But lighter, more inventive options abound, too, like tzatziki-slathered spaghetti squash topped with apple-and-goat-cheese slaw ($8).
At this Instagram-friendly Lower East Side spot, it’s not unusual to spy hoards of fedora-sporting ladies and gents waiting eagerly in line to grab one of these fruity breakfast bowls. The most intriguing is the carob acai ($10), which sates any appetite with its hearty mix of bananas, dates, almond butter and granola, all topped with coconut milk.
At this tiny Greenwich Village storefront, they make one thing and they make it well. Nearly 30 different varieties of oatmeal are on offer, in three different sizes (called, adorably, baby, mama and papa bear). One of the most popular is the Physique 57 bowl (starting at $5.25), which blends fresh bananas, flaked coconut, whole cashews, dates, and a swirl of honey and cinnamon.
Completing the triumvirate of ABC restaurants near Union Square, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s latest concept eschews meat to focus on crisp fruit and vegetables. Unsurprisingly, the breakfast options include many healthy, produce-forward choices and there’s even a separate to-go menu for anyone looking to eat clean in a hurry. The tastiest bowl is certainly the wild blueberry from the to-go menu ($10), made with “jungle” peanut butter, and loaded with fresh and dried berries.
Leave it to an Australian-influenced café in Chinatown to make congee cool. Here, the rice porridge gets a hipster makeover, with traditional accompaniments like chicken getting replaced with stewed fruits or spices like turmeric. The best of the bunch is the Breakfast Congee ($9), which is filled with poached and fresh strawberries, maple-cassia syrup and homemade granola.
Winter Vegetable Bibimbap at Ando
While David Chang’s newest venture Ando doesn’t have a brick-and-mortar store, this is certainly delivery food like you’ve never tasted. The vegan bibimbap ($10) is a testament to the power of veggies: charred cabbage, roasted beets, apricot-glazed fried cauliflower and other savories are served over white rice and drizzled with ginger BBQ sauce. (855-444-4989, andofood.com)
Healthful options abound at the new Pure Green/Greecologies mash-up store in the East Village, but nothing tops a hearty bowl of creamy Greek yogurt made from grass-fed cows. One standout combination features figs, walnuts, honey and the current darling of the food world, chia. Opt for the larger 10-ounce size ($9.25), as you’ll certainly be scraping the bottom of your dish.
Photograph: CC/Flickr/Daniel Molato
At this new concept from acclaimed Cosme chef Enrique Olvera, fine dining takes a backseat to artfully prepared, Mexican-influenced casual fare. Here, porridge gets a south-of-the-border spin in the chia oatmeal ($9), made with black chia bloomed in coconut milk. Added to that base are Mexican cinnamon, pumpkin seeds, Marcona almonds and chewy chunks of dried fruit, like raisins and cherries.
Looking for more cheap eats?
Since it first opened in 1982, Ninos 46 has occupied the same Midtown location on West 46th Street. The restaurant is still serving up traditional Italian cuisine with a modern twist. To start, sample something from the varied appetizer menu: truffled mac and cheese bites ($11) sit alongside charred octopus with green mango, black chile and zucchini puree ($18). For your main course, order up an individual pizza, like the pie topped with clams, bacon, pecorino, mozzarella and chiles ($19) or the green pie with pesto, artichokes, kale and goat cheese ($18). There’s also a selection of fresh pastas, like fettuccine with “drunken” lobster alfredo ($30), and protein-centric mains, like veal marsala served with broccoli rabe and crispy polenta ($28). Wash it all down with something from the extensive wine list, in keeping with the Italian tradition. You surely have room for a little taste of dessert—why not try the warm bread pudding with nutella and mascarpone ($10)?
Venue says: “Modern Italian cuisine focusing on the best ingredient. We change our menus every few months to highlight what's in season”