The last time I set foot in New York, I had a preview of just how expensive the city can be. Fortunately, as I saw myself back in the city this past holiday season, it’s great to know that despite the rising cost of living, good food can still be relatively inexpensive. Whenever I come to visit, the city never fails to impress with the cuisines available for consumption and unlike Washington, DC where I reside, you literally can sample the world in just one neighborhood. As such, here is a list of NYC cheap eats. The adventure for your palate never ends…
Best NYC Cheap Eats
Yes, it is a chain, but like all New York-based chains, this one is worth stopping by. What started as a fruit smoothie stand now also serves many of your guilty pleasures including hot dogs, curly fries and fried Oreos. Papaya King lands a spot on this list of NYC cheap eats because it’s possible for two people to have a full meal here for less than $10 each. Stop by for an afternoon or late hour snack and you won’t be disappointed.
Locations: Upper East Side (86th and 3rd Ave), East Village (St Mark’s Place), Boerum Hill, Brooklyn (Flatbush Ave and Nevins St)
Nearest Subway: 86th and Lexington (4,5,6), Astor Place (4,5,6) Nevins St (4,5)
Feltman’s Hot dogs
Most people think of Nathan’s when it comes to hot dogs, but locals will be quick to tell that you that Feltman’s, which was also based in Coney Island, was the original hot dog. Started by a German immigrant back in 1867, the original establishment was at one point, the largest restaurant in the world. Gone are the boardwalk days but what visitors staying in New York can still get is an original red hot, a reboot of the glory days, with an uncured crisp and juicy all-beef hot dog, topped with grilled onions, chili, mustard and sauerkraut.
Location: East Village at St Mark’s Place and 1st Avenue
Nearest Subway: Astor Place (4,5,6)
Street food in New York has always been great especially if you’re on a budget. The popularity of food trucks elevated cuisines to a new level, but then there was always the Halal Guys. Most visitors often overlook the simplicity of these skewered meats on a stick, but New Yorkers will be the first one to tell you that there’s probably no better place to get more bang for your buck than a plateful of chicken and gyro smothered in white and red sauce. If you’re looking for NYC cheap eats, look no further than the cross streets of W 53rd St and 6th Avenue.
Locations: 2 in Midtown West (53rd on 6th and 7th Avenues), 1 in Stuyvesant Town (14th and 2nd Ave) and 1 on the Upper West Side (9th Ave and 95th St)
Winter finally arrived on the east coast, which means it’s time to start slurping on those flavorful broths: ramen, pho or just your regular hearty vegetable soup. Incidentally, one of these places makes the list of NYC cheap eats. Udon West, a tiny Japanese eatery located on St Marks Place, serves guest piping bowls of udon and ramen that locals, particularly the nearby student population, absolutely love. And with just less than $10 per bowl (there’s a minimum of $7 per person charge), it’s easy to understand why there’s always a queue out the door.
Location: East Village (St Mark’s Place)
Nearest Subway: Astor Place (4, 5, 6)
Sugar and chocolate are my food weakness so no trip is ever complete without at least trying one of the trending sweets. For this most recent trip, I found myself trying Dough, the Brooklyn doughnut shop famous for their one-of-a-kind glazes and inventive fillings. Unlike the many dessert and bakeries in the city though, Dough manages to still be affordable. One doughnut will only cost you $2.75 and because of its size and density, two people can essentially share one.
Location: Clinton Hill, Brooklyn (Lafayette and Franklin Ave)
Nearest Subway: Classon or Bedford – Nostrand Ave (G)
BeeHive Oven Biscuit Cafe
This Williamsburg brunch hunt is known for their biscuits and homemade jams, but more than just a breakfast spot, BeeHive Oven Biscuit Café also serves light salads and sandwiches. This eatery specializing in Southern comfort food can get pricey if there’s alcohol on the table, but if you’re strictly looking at food prices and portions, this one definitely qualifies as one of the NYC cheap eats, at least comparatively speaking.
Location: Williamsburg (Driggs and 2nd Ave)
Nearest Subway: Metropolitan Ave (G)