When It Comes To Cheap Eats, NYC Is King

This may be news to you, but living in New York is kind of expensive. But, while it may always be the land of £13 cocktails and unmentionable rents, the scenery isn’t all bleak. The sheer number of restaurants in our proximity means at least a few of them have to be affordable, right? When you finally discover these gems, it can feel like winning the lottery — but we’re helping tip the scales by giving you this list of New York's best spots for cheap (and delicious!) eats.

Photo: Via @mimimoslares.
The Meat Hook At Threes Brewing
This large Gowanus brewery has partnered up with former Williamsburg sandwich shop, The Meat Hook, for bar food bliss. Stop by for some delicious dishes in a casual setting with a casual price to match (snag any tasty item for less than £15 a pop).

Threes Brewing, 333 Douglass Street (at 4th Avenue) in Brooklyn; 718-522-2110.
Photo: Via @foodbabynyc.
2nd City NYC
A casual Filipino joint tucked into the cozy streets of the West Village. 2nd City NYC is a bonafide delicious "cheap eats" destination — die hard foodies must stop by for the pork belly buns and the Plan-B Rito (both under £8).

2nd City NYC, 525 Hudson Street (between W. 10th Street and Charles Street); 917-639-3262.
Photo: Via @vivalawhite_grl.
Only in our wildest dreams did we think we'd find an entire bar dedicated to mac and cheese. But Macbar has made those dreams an incredibly delicious reality. On top of the cheesy menu offerings (e.g. mac reuben, cheeseburger mac, mac quack, and more), the prices at this place can't be beat (ranging between £4.50 to £7).

Macbar, 54 Prince Street (at Lafayette Street); 212-226-0211.
Photo: Courtesy of Two8Two Burger.
Two8Two Burger
This Brooklyn burger joint is not messing around with their patties — all beef is freshly ground from the legendary neighbourhood butcher, Paisanos, and will cost you around £7.50 or less. Not too shabby for some seriously quality grub. And if you're feeling wild with a little extra cash to spend, throw in a side of fries with a beer too.

Two8Two Burger, 282 Atlantic Avenue (at Smith Street); 718-596-2282.
Photo: Via @foodiemagician.
Fish Market
Fish Market is the definition of a hole-in-the-wall restaurant — well it's not quite a restaurant, it's a bar with some tables in the back for grabbing your grub. Hidden inconspicuously on a street in Manhattan's southern seaport, Fish Market does not disappoint in the cheap, delicious eats department. Order just about anything off of "Mama's Menu" and prepare to be seriously wowed — the food is really that good.

Fish Market, 111 South Street (between Beekman Street and Peck Slip); 917-363-8101.
Photo: Courtesy of @foodballin.
Court Street Grocers
This isn't your average grocery. Court Street Grocers is a cool and casual breakfast and lunch destination in Brooklyn's Carroll Gardens. Come here for the insane sandwiches (try the Turkey Durkee or Macho Woman) and stay for the gourmet grocery treats (Zapp's Cajun Dill chips and Boylan Creme Sodas).

Court Street Grocers, 485 Court Street (between Nelson and Huntington streets); 718-722-7229.
Photo: Courtesy of Vanessa's.
Even in the land of cheap food, Vanessa's is a standout. Considering four of its oversized pork and chive dumplings run you £1, it's the perfect destination for when you're literally counting your pennies. An order of those plus a sesame pancake sandwich (starting at £1.50) is enough to fill you up. But the dumplings are great for sharing — bring a group and order a variety, from veggie to spicy wonton, and still run a bill less than dinner for one at many NYC restaurants.

Vanessa's, multiple locations.
Photo: Courtesy of @cattyshoe.
This cutie-patootie shop looks like a New England beachside clam shack, but seafood doesn’t have to be expensive. All the dishes but two are under £14, like a £11 lump crab roll. Add fries, wash it down with a cheap beer, and just pretend you're a Kennedy.

Littleneck, 288 3rd Avenue; (718) 522-1921
Photo: Courtesy of Il Bambino Panini.
Il Bambino Panini
Like many places in Astoria, Il Bambino is unpretentious and unbelievably delicious. Their concept is Italian food served Spanish tapas-style, which really means one million variations on bread and cheese. There are panini and crostini in every combo you can imagine, plus cheap beer, wine, and cocktails. Done.

Il Bambino Panini, 34-08 31st Avenue, Astoria; (718) 626-0087
Photo: Courtesy of @jeaniusnyc.
Joe's Pizza
Not all casual pizza places were created equal. This place looks so normal from the outside that you might be wondering why there's constantly a line stretching along its West Village block. The difference is in the quality of the ingredients—the light, crisp crust, tangy sauce, and lush mozzarella.

Joe's Pizza, 7 Carmine Street (near Sixth Avenue); (212) 366-1182 and 150 E. 14th Street (between 4th Avenue and Irving Place); (212) 388-9474
Photo: Courtesy of Dan Hallman.
Henry Public
This tavern wants to honour the history of Brooklyn, which it accomplish with an old-timey saloon atmosphere and decor. To complement the look, you’ll get fancy bar food. They’re most famous for their turkey-leg sandwich, so you might want to start there.

Henry Public, 329 Henry Street (between Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street); 718-852-8630.
Photo: Courtesy of @missioncantinanyc.
Mission Cantina

The happiest little Mexican place in New York serves up colourful, playful dishes with a slight Vietnamese influence and gourmet touches. The options are cheap enough to share and experiment, like the bone marrow fajitas and lamb breast tacos with raisins.

Mission Cantina, 172 Orchard Street (at Stanton Street); (212) 254-2233
Photo: Courtesy of Zabb Elee.
Zabb Elee
Put down the pad thai. It's not even on the menu at this East Village gem. Here, you’re getting a giant plate of pork, squid, crab, beef, accented with sweet chilli lime juice or tamarind chilli sauces, all for $11 or less. Not too shabby.

Zabb Elee, 75 Second Avenue (between 4th and 5th streets); 212-505-9533 and 71-28 Roosevelt Avenue (at 72nd Street), Queens; 718-426-7992.
Photo: Courtesy of Parm.
This restaurant may be the only stop from the Carbone-Torrisi food empire that you can actually afford (or at least feel less guilty about). The interior gives off the vibes of an Italian-American diner in the 50s, and the menu is filled with Staten Island favourites like chicken parmesan and sausage and peppers sandwiches, which both cost £7.

Parm, multiple locations.
Photo Courtesy of Gaia Italian Cafe.
Gaia Italian Café
There are a million places in the city to go for amazing pasta, but this café celebrates all the other things Italy does perfectly — like cured meats, mozzarella di bufala (imported weekly from the motherland), homemade cookies, and pastries stuffed with Nutella. If that’s not enough, there are £4 paninis stacked with ingredients like prosciutto, marscapone, taleggio, eggplant, pesto, and black pepper.

Gaia Italian Café, 251 East Houston Street (between Norfolk and Suffolk streets); 646-350-3977.
Photo: Courtesy of Wilma Jean.
Wilma Jean
Named for chef/owner Rob Newton’s grammy, Wilma Jean is an expert at southern comfort food; namely golden-brown, crunchy, finger-lickin’ fried chicken. Of course, like the best southern food, it’s all about the sides: go for the fried okra chips and cornbread served with salted molasses butter.

Wilma Jean, 345 Smith Street (at Carroll Street); 718-422-0444.
Photo: Courtesy of Dining with Skyler.
Yes, there is such a thing as Italian fast food — sort of. The simple menu at Porchetta is based on the street food of central Italy, where a roast pig is rolled around on a cart. Every dish revolves around the skin-crackled, salty, generously seasoned meat, and you won’t find anything else like it in New York (especially at these prices).

Porchetta, 110 East 7th Street (between First Avenue and Avenue A); 212-777-2151.
Photo: Courtesy of Jessica Nash.
In the East Village stands the Yiddish diner of your dreams. Walking into this old-fashioned greasy spoon is like stepping back in time, or to the old country at least. There are Eastern European favourites like pierogis, borscht, and one epic grilled cheese (on challah, of course).

B&H, 127 Second Avenue (between East 7th Street and Saint Marks Place); 212-505-8065.
Photo: Courtesy of Nicolas Bloise.
Blue Collar
This Williamsburg burger joint is most often compared to Shake Shack, but since the latter has gone nuclear, you can still feel like you’re getting an insider experience here. The prices are nearly fast-food level, with the most expensive-possible burger coming in at £7.

Blue Collar, 160 Havemeyer Street (between South 2nd and 3rd streets); 347-725-3837.
Photo: Courtesy of Brooklyn Taco.
Brooklyn Taco
Amidst the bustle of the Essex Market, there is a tiny taco stand that you don’t want to miss. Brooklyn Taco serves up monstrous eats for £4, with a dozen different combinations and descriptions that will make your mouth water. Pork shoulder braised in a citrus and cola broth with pineapple salsa, cheese, and habenero sauce? Excuse us, we’ve drooled.

Brooklyn Taco, Essex Street Market, 120 Essex Street (between Rivington and Delancey streets); 646-820-8226.
Photo: Courtesy of Bobwhite Lunch and Supper Counter.
Bobwhite Lunch and Supper Counter
This Southern-style eatery has beloved proteins like pulled pork and catfish on the menu, but it’s really all about the chicken sandwich and all its varieties. For £9, you can try their fried chicken platter, which gets you multiple pieces, grits, and a biscuit. Mmmm, good.

Bobwhite Lunch and Supper Counter, 94 Avenue C (between East 6th and 7th streets); 212-228-2972.
Photo: Courtesy of Black Seed Bagels.
Black Seed Bagels
New Yorkers take their bagels seriously, so it takes a bold group to say they’re reinventing the wheel (of bread). These puppies are wood-fired and smaller than those inflated balls of dough you’ll get elsewhere. Stand in line for one of its signature sandwich combos and you’ll feel like you’re finally ahead of a food craze.

Black Seed Bagels, 170 Elizabeth Street (between Kenmare and Spring streets); 212-730-1950.
Photo: Courtesy of Taquitoria.
When a taco or a burrito just seems like too much of a commitment, stop by this tiny spot on the Lower East Side and grab some taquitos. The little, rolled-up tacos are stuffed with meat and cheese and come three for just £4.50. Pop by while bar-hopping and eat as you stroll.

Taquitoria, 168 Ludlow Street (between East Houston and Stanton streets); 212-780-0121.
Photo: Courtesy of The Commodore.
The Commodore
It’s Williamsburg, so forgive this restaurant for doing a meta take on a dive bar. The wood panelling, red leather booths, and kitschy art is all about irony, but the the food is definitely not. A full meal of chicken and biscuits, with honey butter and hot sauce, will run you £8, and there ain’t nothing silly about that.

The Commodore, 366 Metropolitan Avenue (between Havemeyer Street and Marcy Avenue); 718-218-7632.
Photo: Courtesy of Pok Pok.
Pok Pok
Located on the waterfront in Cobble Hill, this outpost of the Portland phenomenon serves up Northern Thai food with wildly unique flavours. Thankfully, there are long explanations written for each dish, so you know the amazing concepts behind the combinations. A fan favourite is the pork shoulder and pork belly curry, with ginger, palm sugar, Burmese curry powder, and more.

Pok Pok, 117 Columbia Street (at Kane Street), Brooklyn; 718-923-9322.
Photo: Courtesy of Egg Shop.
Egg Shop
A married couple opened this eatery inspired by their one true love: the egg sandwich. There are tons of egg dishes to choose from, obviously, but you can also customise your own egg and cheese. Have you ever considered dousing yours in a Meyer lemon citronette? Probably not. But, you should.

Egg Shop, 151 Elizabeth Street (between Kenmare and Broome streets); 646-666-0810.
Photo: Courtesy of Sigmund's Bar.
Sigmund's Bar
What's better than a salty carb? Nothing. Located right in Alphabet City (perfect for a post-happy hour snack), this bar has a full menu of sandwiches and salads, but you’re going to want to focus on the fresh-baked pretzels. There are incredible flavours like feta olive and truffle cheddar, in addition to a variety of dipping sauces.

Sigmund’s Bar, 29 Avenue B (between 2nd and 3rd streets); 646-410-0333.
Photo: Courtesy of Mimi Cheng's Dumplings.
Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings
The sweet, sunny interior of this little restaurant is almost as adorable as the story behind it: It’s a family affair, with two sisters sharing their mom’s recipes for Taiwanese-Chinese cuisine. There's also a story on the menu behind every dumpling, and they run six for £6, despite being handmade daily, using organic meat.

Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings, 179 Second Avenue (between 11th and 12th streets); 212-533-0169.
Photo: Courtesy of El Aguila.
El Aguila
Competition may be stiff in Spanish Harlem, but one of its most beloved Mexican restaurants is El Aguila. Is it the gargantuan helpings of meat, beans, and rice? The taco al pastor special, two tacos for £1.50? The fact that it’s open 24 hours a day? You could try to figure it out, or you could roll home from 116th Street, stuffed beyond belief.

El Aguila, 137 East 116th Street (at Lexington Avenue); 212-410-2450.
Photo: Courtesy of Dos Toros Taqueria.
Dos Toros Taqueria
Big portions, for tiny price. burrito, taco, quesadilla, mere pennies to add guac, which is really important, great for quick meal, can of Tecate for less than £2.

Dos Toros, with locations in the West Village, Union Square, Upper East Side, Battery Park City, Williamsburg.
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