25 Tasty Places to Eat for Cheap in NYC

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BIG APPLE, SMALL BUDGET

New York restaurants are infamous for being expensive, with multi-course tasting menus costing hundreds of dollars per person. Still, by exploring the variety of cuisines and fusion food on offer, residents and visitors can sample some of the city's best for just a few bucks.
Photo credit: Oasis-of-Williamsburg/facebook.com

OASIS

161 N. 7th St.
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Neighborhood: Williamsburg
Phone: (718) 218-7607

This hipster magnet serves cheap falafel and shawarma sandwiches until the wee hours of the morning. Although loyal patrons were dismayed when Oasis raised prices at the start of 2015, it's still only $4 for a fresh, crispy, fried-chickpea sandwich with all the veggie toppings you can squeeze in.

Photo credit: Tina W./yelp.com

SPICY AND TASTY

39-07 Prince St.
Queens, NY 11354
Neighborhood: Flushing
Phone: (718) 359-1601
Web: spicyandtasty.com

Flushing is home to thousands of immigrants and hundreds of cheap restaurants. For a taste of Chinese, check out Spicy and Tasty. The Szechuan fare here is exactly as advertised: spicy and tasty. More than two dozen dishes are just $6.95 at lunchtime on weekdays.

Photo credit: Thuong D./yelp.com

GRAY'S PAPAYA

2090 Broadway
New York, NY 10023
Neighborhood: Upper West Side
Phone: (212) 799-0243
Web: grayspapayanyc.com

For the quintessential New York hot dog, head to Gray's Papaya, where a frankfurter with spicy mustard costs $1.25. Got a bigger appetite? Order the Recession Special: two franks and one drink for $3.50.

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PETER'S SINCE 1969

168 Bedford Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Neighborhood: Williamsburg
Phone: (718) 388-2811 

Even upscale restaurants are serving comfort food these days. But why pay upscale prices when you can sate your appetite here? Peter's Since 1969 is the place for large servings of hearty, straightforward food. Rotisserie chicken, two sides, soup or salad, and a mini-corn muffin costs less than $10 at lunch.

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BÁNH MÌ SAIGON

198 Grand St.
New York, NY 10013
Neighborhood: Little Italy
Phone: (212) 941-1541
Web: banhmisaigonnyc.com

Vietnamese food in Little Italy? Yes, indeed. Bánh Mì Saigon offers one of the city's best bargains with its cheap, flavorful sandwiches. The foot-long bánh mì Saigon (pork) sandwich is $5.25.

Photo credit: Austin P./yelp.com

PETER PAN DONUT AND PASTRY SHOP

727 Manhattan Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11222
Neighborhood: Greenpoint
Phone: (718) 389-3676
Web: peterpandonuts.com

Anyone who has ever been to this beloved Brooklyn doughnut bakery comes back for the quality. The low prices are just the icing on the éclair. The specialty here is the cake doughnut, which comes in many flavors and is touted by many customers as the best they've ever had. Doughnuts start at $1.10 a pop.

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BIG WONG KING

67 Mott St.
New York, NY 10013
Neighborhood: Chinatown
Phone: (212) 964-0540
Web: bigwongking.com

It might take longer to read the menu at this cheap New York restaurant than to eat whatever Chinese dish you've ordered. Among the more than 100 options at Big Wong King are duck congee for $4.50 and wonton soup for $3.75.

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TANOREEN

7523 Third Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11209
Neighborhood: Bay Ridge
Phone: (718) 748-5600
Web: tanoreen.com

Eat enough Middle Eastern appetizers and you don't need to spring for a main dish. At Tanoreen, you can have your fill of tasty and cheap dishes such as eggplant with tomato and basil for $12 or grape leaves stuffed with lamb for $10.

Photo credit: Amy D./yelp.com

SUGAR SWEET SUNSHINE BAKERY

126 Rivington St.
New York, NY 10002
Neighborhood: Lower East Side
Phone: (212) 995-1960
Web: sugarsweetsunshine.com

Do you have a giant sweet tooth and a small budget? Skip the "Sex and the City"-inflated prices at the cupcake place across town. At Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery, scrumptious flavors such as pistachio, peppermint chocolate, and red velvet sell for $2.50 each or $1.25 for the mini size.

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TACOS MATAMOROS

4508 Fifth Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11220
Neighborhood: Sunset Park
Phone: (718) 871-7627

This cash-only joint in Sunset Park has delicious, super-cheap Mexican fare and a BYOB policy. Tacos Matamoros serves large chicken, beef, or pork tacos for $2.75 each. With those prices, the $8.75 burritos feel like a splurge.

Photo credit: Mike C./yelp.com

XI'AN FAMOUS FOODS

41-28 Main Street
Basement Stall #36
Queens, NY 11355
Neighborhood: Flushing
Web: xianfoods.com

The competition is hot for the best budget Asian noodles in New York, but Xi'an Famous Foods is a serious contender. Try the hand-pulled noodles starting at $7.90 or a spicy cumin lamb burger for $4.79 in the Golden Shopping Mall food court. If Flushing is too far away, there are eight other locations and real-time traffic meters on the chain's website.

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EMPANADA MAMA

763 Ninth Ave.
New York, NY 10019
Neighborhood: Theater District/Hell's Kitchen/Midtown West
Phone: (212) 698-9008
Web: empmamanyc.com

It's hard to beat the quality for the price at Empanada Mama. Among the many varieties of the namesake dish are cheese steak and Viagra (seafood). Some can be made with corn flour instead of wheat or oven-baked instead of fried. Prices start at $3.30 per piece.

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BROS. PIZZA

32 St. Mark's Place
New York, NY 10003
Neighborhood: East Village
Phone: (212) 777-0600
Web: 2brospizza.com

Slap a buck on the counter at 2 Bros. Pizza in the East Village, or one of 10 other locations, and a fresh, steaming slice is yours. For a full meal, grab two slices and a soda for $2.75.

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PETEY'S BURGER

30-17 30th Ave.
Queens, NY 11102
Neighborhood: Astoria
Phone: (718) 267-6300
Web: peteysburger.com

As you'd expect, Petey's Burger turns out juicy and affordable burgers. Made from scratch, they're often likened to California's beloved In-N-Out burgers. Burger prices start at $4.75, and it's $6.99 for a double dripping with American cheese. Add hand-cut fries for $3.50.

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ZARAGOZA

215 Avenue A
New York, NY 10009
Neighborhood: East Village
Phone: (212) 780-9204

Some of the best cheap burritos in New York are found at this Mexican deli and grocery in Alphabet City. An enormous burrito filled with meat, cheese, and mouthwatering sauces costs only $6.

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VANESSA'S DUMPLING HOUSE

118A Eldridge St.
New York, NY 10002
Neighborhood: Chinatown
Phone: (212) 625-8008
Web: vanessas.com

Dumplings cross culinary boundaries. If it's the Chinese variety you crave, turn to Vanessa's Dumpling House. A full plate loaded with dumplings costs $5 or less and delicious sesame pancakes are $1 each.

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PROSPERITY DUMPLING

46 Eldridge St.
New York, NY 10002
Neighborhood: Chinatown
Phone: (212) 343-0683
Web: prosperitydumpling.com

There's no shortage of cheap dumplings in this neighborhood. Prosperity Dumplings features deliciously cheap fried pork and chive dumplings for $1 each. Make sure to hit the ATM first: It's cash only.

Photo credit: HD D./yelp.com

SHAKE SHACK

11 Madison Ave.
New York, NY 10010
Neighborhood: Flatiron
Web: shakeshack.com

The city's best-known burger has spread to locations around the world, but this is the original. The single Shack Burger, with its Danny Meyer pedigree, costs $5.55. Plan to wait on line in Madison Square Park -- go online to check the Shack Cam and wait for the crowd to thin.

Photo credit: Ethan F./yelp.com

TASTY HAND-PULLED NOODLES INC.

1 Doyers St.
New York, NY 10013
Neighborhood: Chinatown
Phone: (212) 791-1817
Web: tastyhandpullednoodlesnyc.com

Slurp up ultra-cheap Chinese cuisine at Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles Inc., where enormous portions of eponymous noodle soups start at $6. Both meat and veggie options are available.

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PUNJABI GROCERY AND DELI

114 E. 1st St.
New York, NY 10009
Neighborhood: East Village
Phone: (212) 533-3356

This under-the radar place serves tasty, homemade, all-vegetarian Indian food 24 hours a day. Look for the taxis parked out front, just north of Houston Street near Avenue A, while hungry drivers procure a taste of home. It's $3.50 for two helpings of dishes such as chana masala and paneer over rice or bread.

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JOE'S SHANGHAI

136-21 37th Ave.
Queens, NY 11354
Neighborhood: Flushing
Phone: (718) 539-3838
Web: joeshanghairestaurants.com

You can hardly go wrong with cheap Chinese when you're in Queens. Joe's Shanghai is the place for delicious dishes such as an eight-piece order of steamed pork buns or Peking-style minced pork noodle soup, each for $6.25 (also available at the restaurant's Chinatown location).

Photo credit: Ginn C./yelp.com

RAKKA CAFE

81 St. Mark's Place
New York, NY 10003
Neighborhood: East Village
Phone: (212) 982-9166
Web: rakkacafenyc.com

This East Village gem is a go-to spot for cheap, fast, fresh Middle Eastern food. The best deal on the menu is a falafel sandwich loaded up with homemade salads, veggies, pickles, and house-made tahini and hot sauce. One of these will keep you full for a night out at the nearby bars for just $3.95.

Photo credit: Fallopia T./yelp.com

RAY'S CANDY STORE

113 Avenue A
New York, NY 10009
Neighborhood: East Village
Phone: (212) 505-7609
Web: rayscandystore.com

Ray himself has been known to work the graveyard shift at this 24-hour ice cream and soda shop, a New York institution. Try the beignets, at $5 for a half dozen, or a hot caramel sundae for $5.

Photo credit: Dave A./yelp.com

WO HOP

17 Mott St.
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (212) 962-8617
Neighborhood: Chinatown
Web: wohopnyc.com

This late-night Chinatown staple offers some of the most beloved, authentic Chinese fare in the city. The menu features bargains including cold sesame noodles for $4.50, spring rolls for $3.80, and roast duck wontons for $4.74. Virtually everything is less than $10, making this a perfect spot to fill up after a night of munchie-inducing bar hopping.

Photo credit: Alan T./yelp.com

WAH FUNG NO 1

79 Chrystie St. 
New York, NY 10002 
Phone: (212) 925-5175 
Neighborhood: Lower East Side 

This neighborhood haunt is famed for low prices and long lines. There's no seating (grab food to go), but many find it worth the wait for a $3.75 lunch box that comes with roast pork or chicken, rice or noodles, and veggies.