Sure, there are plenty of pricey chefs’ flagships here, but we’ve sleuthed out the neighborhood’s standout cheap eats. Take a break from shopping with artisanal coffee and locally baked pastries, or take your sweetie to one of the area’s best date spots without damaging your wallet.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Tribeca, New York
A Mediterranean-tiled interior and Christmas-light-trimmed awning have attracted Tribeca’s daytime workforce to this popular luncheonette. But it’s the toothsome Caprese fare, such as tramezzini sandwiches layered with grilled vegetables and house-made mozzarella, that keeps the 17 seats filled. It’s also a good option for dinner. Pastas, prepared on a two-burner stove, include perfectly al dente rigatoni lightly coated in bolognese. It’s just a matter of time before the lunch crowd starts returning at night.
The bright lights and linoleum at this Pakistani eatery may not be sexy, but the alluring fragrance of freshly baked nan and South Asian home cooking is plenty seductive. A mere six bucks buys you any of three saucy dishes, like chicken curry, chicken makhani (butter chicken), saag panir (spinach with cheese) or dal (lentil stew) over rice. But the chicken tikka ($7) is our favorite dish in the house, with meltingly tender pieces of the poultry soaked in a creamy, masala-spiced sauce. Get your order to go and hop into one of the many cabs lined up outside—assuming the driver’s finished his meal.
A job in investment banking doesn’t ordinarily precede employment as a baker, but that was the unusual career trajectory for Rachel Thebault, the chef-owner of a sprawling 12,000-square-foot bakery and boutique in Tribeca. Enjoy her made-on-the-premises sweets, such as chocolate bonbons and truffles, decadent black-and-white or peanut-butter-and-jelly cupcakes, fudge brownies and graham-cracker-and-cinnamon-cream sandwich cookies. Pair the treats with iced teas, Ronnybrook Farm milk and Kobricks coffee.