In this city, it’s easy to drop $15 on a sandwich and a soda without even realizing it — but you don’t have to pony up nearly that much for a tasty midday meal, as we will explore in this ongoing penny-pinching series, $5 Lunch. To start things off, we’re visiting the beautiful West Village known for its delicious (but not usually cheap) restaurants. Still, we’ve uncovered four places to get lunch for $5 or under, from old-school pizza to Indian-style wrap sandwiches.
On an NYU-area strip filled with unexciting eateries, Thelewala stands out for its menu of Indian street food-inspired eats. The Nizami rolls — soft, griddled paratha wrapped around a filling of your choice — are the real draw and both the achari aloo tikka roll, stuffed with eggs and red onions, and the okra roll are $5 or under. And if you decide to go carnivore with the spiced chicken roll, it’s only fifty cents more. 112 Macdougal St., 212-614-9100, thelewalanyc.com
Bleecker Street Pizza
This old-school slice joint is what we wish for every corner — a reliable New York-style pizzeria with tons of delicious options and super-fast service. While you can’t go wrong with any of its slices, the Nonna Maria is a specialty here, with generous pools of fresh mozzarella, tangy marinara sauce and fresh basil too for just $3.50 a slice. 69 Seventh Ave. S., 212-924-4466, bleekerstreetpizza.net
Some folks say egg sandwiches are only for breakfast, but we find that rather unimaginative. Egg and cheese on a bagel is a classic New York meal, and at Murray’s Bagel, one of Manhattan’s better bagelries, it’s still $4.50 (high rollers can add bacon or ham for just another dollar). Another alternative: a bagel with their Nova (lox) cream cheese spread for $4.95. Great rugelach for dessert, too. 500 Sixth Ave., 212-482-2830, murraysbagels.com
Hands-down, the best falafel in the West Village is at Taim, but it’ll cost you (a still wallet-friendly) six bucks. For also-tasty falafel on the cheap, head to the original location of perennial favorite Mamoun’s, where you can get a falafel-stuffed pita for just $3 — we won’t judge if you order two. 119 Macdougal St., 212-674-8685, mamouns.com