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 at these Soho restaurants in NYC.
RECOMMENDED: The best cheap eats in NYC
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.
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 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 coriander, are tasty gourmet offerings in a sea of pub grub. Gobble up the atmosphere along with your food.
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, this upscale quickie-food joint originated in Amagansett.
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 miso-glazed salmon—when everything’s nine bucks or less, you can’t go wrong.
Spoon Table & Bar
Forks jab and knives stab; spoons are the gentlest of utensils, so Spoon Table and Bar is aptly named. A cozy little nook nuzzled onto a desolate block abutting K-Town, Spoon is a surprisingly delightful New American eatery, featuring unfussy, seasonal comfort food. The host’s greeting could use a little work, but the otherwise cheery, brightly smiling staff makes up for any irritation immediately. The room is spare but lively, a convivial energy warming the elemental decor. Concrete floors and raw timber columns complement blonde wood table tops and white-washed walls, all illuminated by some of the most flattering lighting possible from woven cylindrical fixtures. The effect is like looking through a real-life blur filter, creating flawless complexions with zero unsightly shadows. The ambiance combined with the restaurant's modest prices, danceable retro soundtrack and plates conducive to sharing makes it a great date spot. Start off with a little pickle plate full of sprightly preserved vegetables to get your appetite up and running ($10), or picnicky snack of creamy deviled eggs spiked with bacon and chives ($8). Salads are categorized as entrees for a reason: they’d be difficult to polish off on your own as a starter, so either order them to split or add a grilled protein to make them a main. Heartier options include rustic skillets like four-cheese mac, meatballs with garlic bread and a homey pot pie (each $15). The mains are slightly elevated in culinary finesse, cos
Venue says: “Comfort food. Warming adult bevvies. Caffeine by Stumptown. Book your next private party here or expert off-premise catering. B/L/D/Brunch!”