Connect With Us Connect With Us Newsletter Connect with us
 
Frugal Foodie
10 Great Cheap New York City Restaurants (Photo: iStockphoto)

10 Great Cheap New York City Restaurants

You don’t need deep pockets to eat well in NYC. To prove this point, we tracked down the 10 best cheap restaurants -- places where you can chow down on everything from spicy Thai to fried chicken for less than $10

Dining out in New York can add up quickly, between tasting menu dinners, upscale lunch joints and $16 cocktails. But one of the greatest things about the New York food scene is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy top-notch cuisine. For every out-of-reach omakase, there are fabulous $10 meals that’ll leave you just as satisfied. But finding such gems isn’t always easy. To make it easier for you, we took it upon ourselves to identify outstanding restaurants where you can dine for less than the cost of a cocktail elsewhere. From masterfully crafted pizza slices to killer falafel to Chinese food, here are our favorites.

 

Phat Thai from Pok Pok Phat Tai (Photo: Pok Pok)

Phat Thai from Pok Pok Phat Tai (Photo: Pok Pok)

Pok Pok Phat Thai
Chef Andy Ricker, who made his name in Portland, specializes in Thai dishes that are no holds barred and always authentic an overused term, but fitting, with Ricker’s deep understanding of Thai ingredients, regional dishes and how to execute them in America. His restaurant Pok Pok, and nearby cocktail spot Whiskey Soda, both in Brooklyn, are absolutely worth a visit. But while the restaurant is by no means expensive, you also won’t get a $10 meal. For a taste of Pok Pok on the cheap-er (and right in Manhattan), head to Pok Pok Phat Thai, where Ricker serves his take on the popular noodle dish. Just don’t expect standard-issue chicken pad thai; instead, it’s taut noodles with a little funk and a lot of heat, whether you opt for ground pork, fresh prawn or others. 137 Rivington St., 212-477-1299, pokpokphatthai.com

 

Chicken biscuit at The Commodore (Photo: The Commodore)

Chicken biscuit at The Commodore (Photo: The Commodore)

Commodore
While you’ll find chefs all over the city trying their hands at comfort food, it generally comes at quite a premium. Not at Commodore, where you can feast on American classics in an appropriately dive-bar setting with the prices to match. And it all just happens to be really, really good. Promising orders include fried chicken sandwiches (spicy or mild), an excellent cheeseburger and a kale Caesar salad (this is Brooklyn, after all), with a wide range of beers and cocktails to wash it all down. 366 Metropolitan Ave., Brooklyn, 718-218-7632

 

Corned beef sandwich at David's Brisket House (Photo: David's Brisket House)

Corned beef sandwich at David’s Brisket House (Photo: David’s Brisket House)

David’s Brisket House
Only in Brooklyn could you find a Jewish-style deli run by two Muslim men from Yemen. But that’s part of the charm at David’s Brisket House. From locations in Bed-Stuy and Bay Ridge, they serve up classic sandwiches pastrami, corned beef but in reasonable portions (and at reasonable prices). It’s possible to get a $7 pastrami sandwich here that still makes for a full meal (whereas at Katz’s, it’ll be about $18). Any of their meats are worth an order, or try a combo sandwich if you really want to go crazy. Just don’t expect to finish it in one sitting. Multiple locations, davidsbriskethouseinc.com

 

Liang Pi Noodles at Xi'an Famous Foods (Photo: Xi'an Famous Foods)

Liang Pi Noodles at Xi’an Famous Foods (Photo: Xi’an Famous Foods)

Xi’an Famous Foods
You’ve heard of Sichuan cooking, and maybe Cantonese. But few Americans are familiar with the food of Shaanxi province, in China’s northwest unless, perhaps, they frequent Xi’an Famous Foods. Starting out from a stall in Flushing, the father-son team now operates seven locations across three boroughs, plus their sit-down restaurant Biang! in Flushing, with more on the way. What made them a success? There’s the spicy cumin lamb burger, a dead bargain at around $3.25. There’s the famous Liang Pi cold skin noodles, oh-so-slurpable in an addictive spiced sauce. If you’re feeling brave, there’s the Spicy and Tingly Lamb Face Salad made from all the delicious morsels from, you guessed it, a lamb face. No matter how much you order, it’s hard to ring up a serious bill here. (Headed to Flushing? Make a day of it with A Perfect Day in Flushing.) Multiple locations, xianfoods.com

 

La Surena at Caracas (Photo: Caracas)

La Sureña at Caracas (Photo: Caracas)

Caracas Arepa Bar
Sandwiches make ideal snacks. Sandwiches inside Venezuelan griddled corn cakes? Even better. Caracas, with locations in the East Village and Williamsburg, has been a hit since it first opened. It’s easy to see why, with arepas including De Pabellón (shredded beef, black beans, cheese and sweet plantains); La Sureña (with chorizo and chicken broth, plus avocado and chimichurri); and vegetarian options like the Leek Jardinera (grilled leeks, sundried tomatoes, caramelized onions and cheese.) The fact that everything’s less than ten bucks certainly doesn’t hurt, either. Multiple locations, caracasarepabar.com

 

Pizza at Best Pizza (Photo: Best Pizza)

Pizza at Best Pizza (Photo: Best Pizza)

Best Pizza
It’s a little audacious to name your pizza spot, well, Best Pizza. (It makes Googling a little complicated, too.) But this Williamsburg pizzeria stands up to its title. Their classic New York-style slices are crisp-edged with a superb tomato sauce and just the right cheese balance. But there’s plenty more to discover, like the white pizza and excellent chicken Parm. And since they’re open until midnight, it’s an ideal spot to refuel while bar-hopping. 33 Havemeyer St., Brooklyn, 718-599-2210, best.piz.za.com

 

Falafel and hummus at Taim (Photo: Taim)

Falafel and hummus at Taim (Photo: Taim)

Taïm
Manhattan has many, many falafel vendors. And plenty of them are a few bucks cheaper than Taïm. But no one can match this beloved shop in quality. Their falafel balls are always freshly fried, crisp and vibrant, and come in three different flavors; their hummus is ethereally creamy; and their pita bread is fluffy and warm. Plus, they toss in pickles, which are the perfect accent. And the whole meal is vegan. The price is right at just $6.25, and smoothies and french fries round out the menu. Multiple locations, taimfalafel.com

 

Soup Dumplings at Shanghai Cafe Deluxe (Photo: Dianne S./Yelp)

Soup Dumplings at Shanghai Cafe Deluxe (Photo: Dianne S./Yelp)

Shanghai Cafe Deluxe
Every restaurant in Chinatown seems to specialize in something different; here’s where you get the best Peking duck, that’s where you go for hand-pulled noodles, the best congee is down the block. But if it’s soup dumplings you’re after, Shanghai Cafe Deluxe is a great (and affordable) place to enjoy them. You’ll find expertly made dumplings filled with a succulent, meaty broth. And since it’s a sit-down restaurant, you can take your time enjoying them. 100 Mott St., 212-966-2988, shanghaicafenyc.com

 

A gyro at BZ Grill (Photo: BZ Grill)

A gyro at BZ Grill (Photo: BZ Grill)

BZ Grill
You might think you’ve had gyros. But if you’re envisioning stale pita topped with all-but-unidentifiable strips of meat, think again. At BZ Grill in Astoria, you’re getting marinated pork, slowly cooked, but crisping up on the edges, all piled into pita with tzatziki, lettuce, tomato and onion. And the fact that you can get fries topped with a shower of feta cheese and olive oil, all crisped up in the broiler, just gives you one more reason to get out there. 27-02 Astoria Blvd., Astoria, Queens, 718-932-7858, bzgrill.com

 

Jerk chicken at The Islands (Photo: Leonard F./Yelp)

Jerk chicken at The Islands (Photo: Leonard F./Yelp)

The Islands
Don’t visit The Islands in Prospect Heights if you’re in a hurry. But if you’re in the mood to linger? Place an order with the welcoming ladies up front, and scale the stairs (okay, it’s really more of a ladder) to their charmingly cramped attic. You’ll get passed up massive platters of hearty Jamaican fare: jerk chicken and stewed oxtail, even a Jamaican “shepherd’s pie.” A single plate can easily feed two, so go with a group and share. Budget bonus? It’s BYOB, so you’re saving on drinks, too. 803 Washington Ave., Brooklyn, 718-398-3575

 

Popular Buys

Popular Reads

  • Fall 2014 Broadway

    The 14 Most Anticipated Broadway Shows for Fall 2014

    Read More
  • A Night at the Museum

    Top 12 Unforgettable Movie Moments at NYC Museums

    Read More
  • Best NYC Hotels for Families

    10 Top Family-Friendly Hotels in NYC

    Read More
  • Penthouse 808

    8 Rooftop Restaurants with Awe-Inspiring Views

    Read More
  • What You Can Rent for $1,500

    Armchair Apartment Hunting: What You Can Rent for $1,500 a Month in NYC

    Read More