Cheap Restaurants in New York City

Cheap Restaurants in New York City - New York, United States

Here at EuroCheapo headquarters in New York City, the staff is almost as opinionated about restaurants as we are about European hotels. It's no secret that New York is a gourmand's paradise, with top-notch chefs from 'round the world tempting the city's eight million residents (and millions of visitors) with mouth-watering fare. Usually, it will cost you—a lot. So what is the budget gourmand to do?

Well, EuroCheapo is here to help. We did some pretty extensive in-house research (the evidence of which is, ahem, under our belts) and put together a modest list of our favorite cheap eats.

Editors' picks are organized into three categories:

This section features establishments whose menu items mostly fall below $12. We've also included a few on-the-go places that don't offer full meals but are great stops for a quick fix.

Worth It
Our pricier favorites are represented in this category. As true blue Cheapos, however, even the more indulgent favorites we list offer a wide array of dishes below $20.

Just Desserts
Well, it's pretty self-explanatory. And hey, some days you might just want to skip straight to the dessert course anyhow!

You might notice that most of our selections are concentrated in the same neighborhoods. For example, we've picked many restaurants in the East Village. Why? Because we like the neighborhood, and the restaurant-culture is buzzing with decades-old mainstays holding court next to newer, trendier joints. And while Midtown is great for sightseeing, it's not a particularly exciting or affordable place to eat. You'll mostly find jazzed-up chain restaurants with jacked-up prices.

Similarly, you'll have to scour the (already clean) streets of the Upper East Side for a reasonably priced (or very interesting) meal, while across Central Park knowledgeable Cheapos polish off delicious dinners in the Upper West Side without breaking the bank.

Bon Appetit!

Cheapo Eats


Neighborhood: East Village
144 Second Ave. (at E. 9th Street)

Daily: 24 hours
Price: $5 - $15.50

The best Ukrainian food in the East Village can be found at this brightly lit corner restaurant, jam-packed with everyone from neighborhood hipsters to Ukrainian grandmothers. The borscht and pierogi are to die for. We recommend the veggie or meat combination plate for an easy introduction to Ukrainian fare.


Neighborhood: East Village
51 Avenue B (between Third & Fourth Streets)

Hours: Sun. - Thurs.: 5:00 p.m. - 11 p.m.; Fri. - Sat.: 5:00 p.m. - 12 a.m. Price: $10 - $20
Price: $10 - $20

Everything at this intimate, candlelit Italian eatery—from the delectable homemade pastas to the daily specials—is cooked in front of customers. This is the tastiest affordable Italian restaurant in the neighborhood. Even Max's succulent wines won't break the bank. Max doesn't take reservations, so expect to wait at the bar.


Japanese/American Fusion
Neighborhood: West Village
14 W 4th St. (between Broadway and Mercer)

Hours: Sun. - Thurs.: 11:30 a.m. - 1 a.m.; Fri. - Sat.: 11:30 a.m. - 3:30 a.m.
Price: $4 - $9.25

Dojo is a great choice for yummy, reasonably priced "Asian food lite." Dojo offers a selection of Japanese dishes along with American mainstays. If you're into tofu and noodles, but not so crazy about wasabi, dig into a soy burger or a mildly spiced stir-fry. The joint is a favorite with NYU students, so you'll be saving cash in good company!


Neighborhood: East Village
91 E. Seventh Street (between First Avenue & Avenue A)

Daily: 12 p.m. - 11 p.m.
Price: $4.75 - $15

A breeze blows through the open windows while you enjoy an arepa and a glass of coconut juice. You might as well be in Venezuela while dining at this tiny joint. Caracas is adorned not only with wall murals, but with Cheapo-friendly prices.

Gray's Papaya

Hot Dog
Neighborhood: Greenwich Village
402 Sixth Ave. (at Eighth Street)

Daily: 24 hours
Price: $1.25 - $4.25

These 95-cent hot dogs and papaya drinks are a New York City staple. Though the franks aren't technically the best around, they do hit the spot—and you can certainly feel better about them than street vendor wieners.

Tea and Sympathy

Neighborhood: Greenwich Village
108 Greenwich Street (between Seventh and Eight Avenues)

Hours: Mon. - Fri.: 11:30 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.; Sat. - Sun.: 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.
Price: $3.50 - $15

This cute shamble of a place offers the best beans on toast, ribena and bangers & mash this side of the Atlantic. Homesick British ex-pats flock here to drink PG Tips, a popular and distinctive British tea.

Tiny's Giant Sandwich Shop

Neighborhood: LES
129 Rivington St. (At Norfolk Street)

Daily: 12 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Price: $3 - $10

This Lower East Side sandwich standby recently relocated next door to its old haunt. It now offers table service, more dining space and a cozier atmosphere for snarfing down innovative, mouth-watering sandwiches. There's plenty for both meat lovers and vegetarians (the veggie burgers are yumsville), and prices are reasonable.

Café Habana

Neighborhood: NoLita
17 Prince Street (at Elizabeth Street)

Daily: 9 a.m. - 12 a.m.
Price: $4 - $11.25

Café Habana is a total scene and often very crowded. Everything on the menu is delicious, but we especially enjoy the charred corn with queso blanco. The Cuban sandwiches are also a solid mainstay. Around the corner, Café Cabana offers a to-go menu, but if you want to experience the scene without the hassle, you can eat at the bar or, better yet, go during off hours.


Neighborhood: NoLita
292 Elizabeth Street (between Houston & Bleecker Streets)

Daily: 12 p.m. - 12 a.m.
Price: $4 - $10

Flavorful dishes on the Pan-Asian menu are served with one of four rice options or, for a small extra charge, one of the specialty rices. This is a cozy spot great for both lunch and dinner, and the small and large sizes make it ideal for diners with different appetites. There are also two locations in Brooklyn (one in Dumbo and another in Fort Greene). The take-out option next door is useful on crowded weekend nights.

Koronet Pizzeria

Neighborhood: Upper West Side
2848 Broadway (between 110th and 111th Streets)

Hours: Sun. - Wed. 10 a.m. - 2 a.m.; Thurs. - Sat.: 10 a.m. - 4 a.m.
Price: $2.50 - $15

If you're looking for the quintessential New York thin-crust slice, then there's no better bet in this ‘hood than Koronet Pizzeria. This little place advertises slices the size of a yield sign, and they're not far off. Authentic and unbeatable, their pizza is also indigestible in quantities greater than two slices.

Crif Dogs

Hot dogs
Neighborhood: East Village
113 St. Marks Pl.(between Avenue A & 1st Ave)
(212) 614-2728

Hours: Sun - Thurs. 12 p.m. - 2 a.m.; Fri. -Sat. 12 p.m. - 4 a.m. Sun 12:00 p.m.-1:00 a.m
Price: $2.50 - $5

An East Village fast food favorite, Crif Dogs offers deliciously greasy hot dogs—OR veggie tofu dogs—for street vendor prices. This venue serves more than the typical wiener, though: Look for the "Tsunami," which comes wrapped in bacon with pineapple and green onions. (A Ms. Pacman game and an indoor telephone both are extra quirky touches).

Worth It

Dok Suni

Neighborhood: East Village
119 First Avenue (between Seventh Street & St. Marks Place)

Hours: Tues. - Sat.: 4:30 p.m. - 12 a.m.; Sun. - Mon.: 4:30 p.m. - 11 p.m.
Price: $11 - $20

Even Korean ex-pats will appreciate the tasty yuke-ja-ong, while newbies with more conservative palates can choose fusion treats like the jalapeno chicken dish. The owner has published a cookbook that one of our editors swears by. She also operates a second, more up-scale restaurant called Do Hwa, co-owned by her friend and restaurant regular Quentin Tarantino. Cheapos should stick with Dok Suni for moderate prices and quality cuisine.


New American
Neighborhood: East Village
54 E. 1st Street (between First & Second Avenues)

Hours: Mon. - Thurs.: 11:30 a.m. - 3:30 pm. & 5:30 p.m. - 11 p.m.; Fri.: 11:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. & 5:30 p.m. - 12 a.m.; Sat.: 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. & 5:30 p.m. - 12 a.m.; Sun.: 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. & 5:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Price: from $12; lunch/brunch: $7 - $17

Known as a favorite amongst chefs, Prune is a treat for diners with a sharp palate and a taste for the uncommon. Some of the dishes are pricey, and the wine list is downright scary-expensive, but the diverse menu offerings make this a great place to share a few plates amongst friends.

Azuki Sushi

Neighborhood: Gramercy
239 Park Avenue South (between 19th & 20th Streets)

Hours: Mon. - Wed.: 11:30 a.m. - 11 p.m.; Thurs. - Fri.: 11:30 a.m. - 12 a.m.; Sat.: 4:40 p.m. - 12 a.m.; Sun: 4:30 p.m. - 11 p.m.
Price: Kitchen: $9 - $22; Sushi: from $13

The sushi and sashimi are tasty and moderately priced in this narrow, warmly lit restaurant. What makes it a great deal, especially before hitting the bars, is the unlimited white wine or saki that comes with a $15 per person order. We suggest a sushi sampler conveniently priced at or just above $15.


Neighborhood: Little Italy
32 Spring Street (between Mulberry and Mott streets)

Hours: Sun. - Thurs.: 11:30 a.m. - 11 p.m.; Fri. - Sat.: 11:30 a.m. - 12 a.m.
Price: $15.50 - $22

Ever wonder where New York's love affair with the pizza pie started? Right here, or so the legend goes. Gennaro Lombardi opened up his shop in 1905, and this pizzeria has been a hit ever since, getting downright packed on just about every Friday. The toppings are positively savory, though the traditional margarita, exquisite in its simplicity, should not be ignored.

Good Enough to Eat

American Comfort Food
Neighborhood: Upper West Side
483 Amsterdam Avenue (between 83rd & 84th Streets)

Hours: Mon. - Thurs.: 8 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.; Fri.: 8 a.m. - 11 p.m.; Sat.: 9 a.m. - 11 p.m.; Sun.: 9 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.
Price: $5 - $20

Saturday and Sunday bring brunch lines down the block as chef and owner Carrie Levin brings her international skills to down home American foods, infusing them with a touch of class. Brunch is definitely the most popular meal here, but the restaurant also serves a great hearty dinner, offers an in-between lunch and dinner menu, and brews a delicious cup of coffee all day long. The lox plate in particular is fantastic.

Miss Mamie's Spoonbread Too

Soul Food
Neighborhood: Upper West Side
366 W. 110th Street (between Columbus & Manhattan Avenues)

Hours: Mon. - Thur.: 12 p.m. - 10 p.m.; Fri. - Sat.: 12 p.m. - 11 p.m.; Sun.: 11 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Price: $5 - $17

We think this small country kitchen, along with Miss Maude's in Harlem, serves the best soul food in New York City. The portions can only be described as humongous. Stop in for lunch and you'll be certain to have a late dinner. The meatloaf and catfish are great entreé features, and the mashed potatoes and macaroni & cheese are your best bets for side items.

Just Desserts


Desert Bar and Dessert Club
Neighborhood: East Village
203 E. 10th Street (between First & Second Avenues); 204 E. 10th Street (between First & Second Avenues)
212-995-9511; 212-475-0929

Hours: Thurs. - Sun.: 3 p.m. - 10:45 p.m.
Desert Club Hours: Mon. - Thurs.: 1 p.m. - 12 a.m.; Fri.: 1 p.m. - 1 a.m.; Sat.: 12 p.m. - 1 a.m.; Sun.: 12 p.m. - 11 p.m.
Price: $14 (dessert bar); $1.95 - $5 (dessert club)

This chic minimalist dessert bar is filled with couples and offers a small but luxurious three-item prix-fixe menu. Great for after dinner, even when you're dateless. Or, if you’re looking for a little less, uh, commitment, try the ChickaLicious Dessert Club just across the street, more a stand (with a sprinkling of tables) selling single treats from cupcakes and ice cream to apple crisp and molten chocolate cake.

Ferrara Café

Espresso Bar
Neighborhood: Little Italy
195 Grand Street (between Mulberry & Mott Streets)
(212) 226-6150

Hours: Sun. - Fri.: 8 a.m. - 12 a.m.; Sat.: 8 a.m. - 1 a.m.
Price: Variable

We can never decide which of the delicious Italian treats to order, which is why we suggest the sampler of three mini-desserts. And while we haven't researched Ferrara's claim to be the first to bring espresso to New York, we do agree that it serves one of the best cups.

Sugar Sweet Sunshine

Neighborhood: Lower East Side
126 Rivington Street (between Essex & Norfolk Streets)

Hours: Mon. - Thurs.: 8 a.m. - 10 p.m.; Fri.: 8 a.m. - 11 p.m.; Sat.: 10 a.m. - 11 p.m.; Sun.: 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Price: $1.25 - $3.50

We think this sassy little place bakes the best cupcakes in NYC. We suggest you try sexy red velvet—the LES cupcake, not the Midtown peep show.

Related posts from our blog

From our New York blog

Welcome to EuroCheapo's guide to cheap hotels in New York City!

Although our budget hotel sleuthing is primarily focused on European cities, our offices are located in the Big Apple. So we regularly send out our editors unannounced to inexpensive hotels all over the city, where they inspect the rooms, and pass their recommendations on to you.

New York’s hotel prices are unpredictable. Most big chain hotels in Midtown have wildly different rates from one night to the next, depending on availability. We’ve tried to avoid these properties in our hotel picks, focusing instead on smaller, less expensive hotels and B&Bs that have more straightforward (and lower) pricing. (These tend to be more interesting, too!)

Find the right affordable hotel

Search in the box above with your travel dates to see which recommended hotels are available.

Or click through to see a list of all of our “Editor’s Picks” in New York. Note that all of these hotels are central (within walking distance of most sights), clean and cheap (for New York).

Save on everything else

Stop by our city guide and our New York blog for articles and posts covering budget tips, cheap eats, and more.

Thanks for visiting EuroCheapo. Together we can afford to go anywhere!

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