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How to Eat Cheaply in NYC

Old May 21st, 2008, 03:03 PM
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How to Eat Cheaply in NYC

How to eat cheaply in NYC


Every, and I do mean every, neighborhood in Manhattan have what are euphemistically called delis. Almost all have some sort of breakfast specials that usually includes eggs, potatoes, toast and coffee. If you are not hungry or are cholesterol adverse, they also usually sell sliced fruit and yogurt. Of course there are bagels and pastries. NEVER EVER order room service.

There are many places that make their bagels. NOT DUNKIN DONUTS. Some of the better one’s include Ess-a-Bagel, H &H, Murray’s Tal’s, David’s. Avoid the bagel place in Chelsea Market, the one on Carmine Street, and Bagel Zone on lower Avenue A.


Part of the NY experience is to avoid chain restaurants. There are an incredible variety of inexpensive foods, among them Chinese and Indian. Quality varies substantially. If you are in or near Chinatown, there are many places including Joe's Ginger and Big Wong’s. If you are near the East Village East 6th Street has literally 17 Indian restaurants to choose from. There are also excellent Indian restaurants on Lexington Avenue in the high 20’s. If you are in the East Village you can also have inexpensive Eastern European cooking at Veselka, Filipino at Elvie’s, comfort food at Mama’s.

Every NY’er cannot resist a frank at Gray’s Papaya. Papaya refers to one of the drinks available. Nathan’s are also very good but they are much more expensive.

Pizza is a long lunch standby-do not go to ANY chain, the cheese is older than the kids who make it. Look for by the slice places and try a calzone as well, you will not eat for two days.

Sidewalk hot dog venders are always cheap, avoid the guys around Rock Center, you pay a premium.
There are those who wonder about the hygiene, the dogs are boiled and the knishes grilled for forever.

Free samples are available at Dean & Deluca, Sarabeth’s, and Gourmet Garage.

It is the rare independent bakery in NYC that does not have at least bread or pastry that is enticing.


When we travel we often buy different foods as we walk around the city and put them in our backpacks and have dinner in the hotel room. In NYC you will probably see foods that are unfamiliar. Carry a knife, forks, and a corkscrew. Among the better places to buy foods as you walk-Greenmarkets including Union Square.

The following are expensive but cheaper than a meal for either prepared foods, fruits, cold cuts, and desserts-Balducci’s. Dean & DeLuca, Zabar’s, Zeytuna, Gourmet Garage, and Chelsea Market.

Indian-Brick Lane-Banjara, Mitali, Brick Lane

Inexpensive Italian- La Marca (3rd Ave. and 22 Street, only opened noon-10 PM, Mon-Fri)

Inexpensive Eastern European- Veselka

Very Inexpensive Filipino-Elvie's

French Bistro-Cafe Deville $14.95 daily multi-course pre-fixe

Tapas-Xunta. Bar Carrera,

Dessert-Veniero's, DeRobertis for the frozen lemon thing and tortonis.

Brunches-Five Points, Zoe's, Blue Ribbon Bakery ,Turkish Kitchen , City Bakery (18th off 5th), Cafecito (Ave C), Clinton Street Bakery ,9th St. Market, small and impossible to get into.

Pizza-Lombardi's Totonno’s (2nd and 26th.) Pizza Fresca

Hole in the wall-Stage (next to Stomp) great cheap home made soups

French fires-Pomme Frites

Inexpensive American-Mama’s

Ice Cream-Cones on Bleecker, Australia, Il Laboratorio de Gelato, Chinatown Ice Cream Factory

Dim Sum-Jing Fung, Golden Unicorn

Chinatown-Big Wong's, Joe's Ginger, Joe's Shanghai, Noodletown

Aduchamp1 is offline  
Old May 21st, 2008, 04:18 PM
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Fabulous stuff, aduchamp1. Thanks.
Old May 21st, 2008, 04:22 PM
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Or, you can go to Chanterelle and have the EXTREMELY reasonable prix-fixe $42 lunch. That is a REAL bargain in Manhattan.

Proenza_Preschooler is offline  
Old May 21st, 2008, 07:14 PM
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Thank you.

Just trying to encourage visitors not be afraid of NYC and Chanterelle.
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Old May 21st, 2008, 07:19 PM
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Great post Aduchamp!
andrew8 is offline  
Old May 21st, 2008, 07:36 PM
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Thanks I am sure many others have hints and cheap places that they enjoy.
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Old May 22nd, 2008, 10:48 AM
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Thank you for this post! I will be in NYC tomorrow for the long holiday weekend and although I have dinner reservations each night there's always lunch and breakfast to look forward too!
LowCountryIslander is offline  
Old May 22nd, 2008, 02:02 PM
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<<There are many places that make their bagels. NOT DUNKIN DONUTS.>>

This comment made me laugh. I just had friends visiting from the Netherlands. At the end of their stay I asked them if there was anything they tried (foodwise) here, that they particularly liked or was different. For the most part, they really enjoyed everything about NYC. But they had me on the floor when they said that they thought they had better bagels in Amsterdam (to be fair, Gary's Bagels in Amsterdam is the real deal). I asked them where they had tasted their NY bagel. When they replied "something donut" I told them do not, I repeat do not ever get a bagel again from Dunkin Donuts!

lp_nyc is offline  
Old May 22nd, 2008, 02:33 PM
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I did not know that Dunkin had an international reputation for phony bagels.

Just because it is round does not make it a bagel.
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