Where to Eat Cheap in New York?

Big names and fancy restaurants aren’t the only places you can dine well and there are some excellent cheap places to eat in New York. You don’t have to limit it to hotdog stands or fast food places either (though the former is still a good option from time to time). Believe it or not, you can eat good food without burning a hole in your pocket whilst dining at cheap places to eat in New York City. Here’s how…

Cheap Places to Eat in New York

Unbeatable Combo: $20 Three-Course Multi-cultural Dinner

This might seem an unconventional way of dining but it certainly is worth doing especially if you’re a foodie like me. It involves a mixture of three different cuisines, at three different locations, located in three different neighborhoods.

Start off your meal at this small Chinatown gem called Prosperity Dumpling. Tucked away on a side street bordering the Lower East Side, the place is visibly small, cramped, and crowded. It has a limited menu, takes only cash, and has a seating capacity for six people at most. Despite all these limitations, people still flock here. Most of them are Asians, but an occasional European or two will queue up to order its most popular item: #1, the 4-piece pork and chives fried dumplings priced at $1. They aren’t skimpy in size either. For 25 cents per dumpling, this is truly one of the cheap places to eat in New York.

Cheap places to eat in New York: Pork and Chive Dumplings
Pork and Chive Dumplings

Walk off those delicious Cantonese-style dumplings and head north towards Bleecker Street in NoHo (North of Houston) where you will find another local gem in the form of an Italian osteria called Bianca. This place is undeniably small, cramped, and requires cash payment too, but do not fret because the food is really cheap (even for New York City standards) and fantastic. The service is quick and friendly as well. You can order from the antipasti whose portions are enough for a full meal or choose from one of the pasta offerings.

Cheap places to eat in New York: Eggplant Parmesan at Bianca
Eggplant Parmesan at Bianca

Finally, the quintessential finish to a fabulous meal in New York is a slice of authentic style New York cheesecake and none one does it better than chef Eileen whose recipe remains the same even after 40 years. Her Cleveland Place retail store serves up one of the creamiest cheesecakes in all of New York and has been ranked among the top bakeries in the city. Eileen’s Special Cheesecake is a worthy New York City indulgence.

Cheap places to eat in New York: Mini Cheesecakes
Mini Cheesecakes

Evening’s dinner tab tally:

$1 at Prosperity Dumplings

$10.50 at Bianca

$3.75 at Eileen’s Special Cheesecake

Total: $15.25

The Cheapest Steak Dinner for Two

Great food exists beyond the borough of Manhattan and that is certainly true for steak. No, I’m not referring to Peter Luger Steak House because nothing in that restaurant even remotely falls under the definition of cheap. I’m referring to the workingman’s equivalent, also located in the trendy Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg, called St. Anselm. They don’t take reservations so if you fancy trying to get in, plan for an early dinner or a rather late one. Otherwise, you’ll end up waiting for hours (up to four is not unheard of). With that said, the food is great and the prices are very reasonable particularly for the quality of steak. Its signature offering is a butcher’s cut ranging anywhere from 8-10oz, lightly seasoned with just salt and pepper, and grilled to perfection.

Cheap Places to Eat in New York: Butcher Steak at St. Anselm
Butcher Steak at St. Anselm

What’s the best thing about? Quality steak for a mere $16! The menu is a la carte and prices for salads, appetizers, and sides range anywhere from $8-14.

Cheap places to eat in New York: Iceberg and Blue Salad
Iceberg and Blue Salad

They are however, served family-style so each portion is good enough to share between two to four people. The price for alcoholic beverages range from $8-15. A three-course steak meal at St. Anselm will run you less than $50 (including tip) which makes it one of the best cheap places to eat in New York.

Evening’s dinner tab tally:

Appetizer: $10

Salad: $9

Steak: $16 x 2

Sides: $8 x 2

Wine: $10 x 2

Total for Two: $87

New York City is a travellers delight. Cheap food, themed hotels, and unexpected secrets are just a few of its draws. Don’t just stick to what you know. A city like New York is worth exploring.

Restaurant Information:

Prosperity Dumplings (Chinatown)*

Address: 46 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

Hours: 7:30AM-10:PM seven days a week

Bianca (Nolita)*

Address: 5 Bleecker St, #1, New York, New York 10012

Hours: M-R: 5PM-11PM, F-Sat: 5PM-12AM, Sun: 5PM-10:30PM

Eileen’s Special Cheesecake (NoHo)

Address: 17 Cleveland Place, New York, New York 10012

Hours: M-F: 9AM-9PM, Sat-Sun: 10AM-7PM

St. Anselm (Williamburg)

Address: 355 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, New York 11211

Hours: Sun-R: 5PM-11PM, F-Sat: 5PM-12AM

About Iris A

Website: http://www.travelingwithiris.com

Born in the Philippines, but grew up in Texas, Iris has been traveling and writing about her experiences for well over a decade. Her work has been published on well-known travel sites like Hipmunk (#hipmunkcitylove) and D Magazine Online Travel Club. She has been all over Europe, the US, and has recently started exploring Latin America. She loves trying local cuisine and visiting UNESCO deemed World Heritage sites. Her favourite city is New York, with London, following a close 2nd. You can follow her on Twitter @sundeeiris or through her travel blog, Traveling With Iris.

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    […] gentrification has diluted the ethnic authenticity of New York’s Chinatown, it remains an unmistakably Asian enclave in the heart of North […]


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