The Best Fast-Casual Spots In NYC That Are Fast, Delicious & Cheap

There are over 45 thousand restaurants in New York City, meaning you could eat out every day for 40 years without repeating a spot. The infinite possibility can be overwhelming, especially when you have another couple thousand non-food activities you need to fit into your schedule. Which is why sometimes, food that's fast and cheap is all we're looking for.

And while it's tempting to run into the first familiar fast food restaurant we see, one of the benefits of living in a city of such infinite possibility means you don't have to compromise, even if it's for a quick or cheap meal. The fast-casual options in NYC have multiplied rapidly in recent years, providing hungry office workers and those on-the-go or on budgets with solid options. Plus, at all these spots, its 100% acceptable to eat alone and binge-listen to your favorite podcast.

Dos Toros
Founded by two brothers trying to bring the "hella fresh" California burrito experience to NYC, Dos Toros has been embraced with open arms. Choose between a burrito, bowl, taco, or Cali quesadilla, which allows you every delicious topping you'd want, just put in a toasty flour tortilla complete with melted cheese.

Dos Toros, Multiple locations.
Shake Shack
Since opening up the first location in Madison Square park, Shake Shack has become an international phenomenon. But New Yorkers are still perhaps the chain's biggest fans, with nearly every location boasting crowds at all hours of the day. Yes, the burgers are delicious, and the chicken sandwich a modern classic, but the breakfast is a slight more under-the-radar meal worth seeking out. If you're lucky to pass by a location that serves it, treat yourself to a sausage, egg, and cheese on their signature potato roll with an order of crinkle cut fries. If you're feeling really decadent, add cheese sauce.

Shake Shack, Multiple Locations.
Dig Inn
Fast food often means sandwiches, burritos, or anything that can be wrapped up quickly to go. But sometimes you want something a bit more like a real dinner your parents might make. At Dig Inn, you can choose from several mains as well as veggie-rich sides, all made with fresh, seasonal ingredients.

Dig Inn, Multiple Locations.
The Sosta
We're predicting big things for the newly-opened Sosta, offering fresh pasta and Italian bites in a casual setting that's also incredibly chic. In addition to an all-day menu perfect for a weekday lunch, the weekend brunch is low-key genius. The spaghetti pie, made with caramelized onions, ricotta, and mozzarella, seems heaven-sent for our next hangover — and only costs $8.

The Sosta, 186 Mott Street (between Kenmare and Broome streets); no phone number.
Taim
Make all your falafel dreams come true at one of Taim's tiny downtown storefronts. Choose from a variety of toppings, mezze, and sauces to make your pita an explosion of fresh Middle Eastern flavors, or get one of the fresh smoothies to go. While the focus here is on fresh, healthy, vegetarian options, the fries are also a sleeper hit served with a seriously addicting saffron aïoli.

Taim, 222 Waverly Place (between 11th and Perry streets); 212-691-1287, and 45 Spring Street (between Mulberry and Mott streets); 212-219-0600.
Chikarashi
Poke places are popping up everyone in NYC these days, but Chikarashi's extensive menu of chef-designed bowls has remained a standout in the ever-growing market. In addition to lots of tuna-centric options, diners can also order premium cuts of salmon, eel, and cod served atop a bed of still-warm sticky rice and Japanese-inspired toppings like house-made spicy mayo, nori, and garlic chips.

Chikarashi, 227 Canal Street (between Baxter and Centre streets); 646-649-5965.
CAVA
Is the best part of any appetizer platter the dips? Probably, which is why supermarket-favorite CAVA's dips and spreads are the perfect anchor for the restaurant's bowls and pitas. Start with a base (choose from grains, greens, or pita), three of their dips, and the protein and topping of your choice.

CAVA, 143 4th Avenue (between 13th and 14th streets); 646-416-6440, and 325 Park Avenue South (between 24th and 25th streets); 718-360-1815.