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Jan 8, 2001 11:33 AM

Budget Manhattan restaurants for British students

  • h

We are a group of poor art students from England coming to Manhattan and would like to sample some of the best budget eating. Don't mind what kind of cuisine - any suggestions welcome! thanks!

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  1. There's a thread on this site about Robert Sietsema's brand new book -Secret New York-. His last book was a bible for us and got our family hooked on the really cheap but great, off-the-beaten-Zagats-path places. Jim's *Eclectic Gourmet* has a bunch of ideas for cheap dining in the NYC area and you'll find more info about the book on this site.

    I'm not their publisher (wish I were!), but can guarantee between the two of these you'll find plenty of wonderful cheap eats ideas that you can carry around with you in your pocket. Make sure to call any places before you go.

    Also do a search on "cheap Manhattan" (or any of the other boroughs) on this site and you should come up with some great stuff.

    If you want to give us ideas for the addresses you'll be staying in, what kinds of food you'd like to try, that'll narrow things down.

    1. y
      yvonne johnson

      Hi: First, don't feel just bec you are on a budget that you can't go to some of the higher-end places.A good idea is to go to these restaurants for lunch. For example, Gotham Bar and Grill, 12 E 12, (bet 5 th Ave and University Place) tel: 620-4020 does a great three course prix fixe lunch for $20. This is really good value, and at lunch time it is more relaxed.

      You might want to try some of the famous delis. I'm not a big fan, but they offer huge sandwiches.

      There's a thread on the NY, Craving Board on "best burgers" (started a few weeks back) that might interest you.

      Indian food tends to be better in Britain, so I'd give it a miss here.

      And, oh, just a thought in case you've not been here before. If there are more than six to eight of you in your group some places will automatically include service charge/tip on the bill. If there are fewer, it's usual to leave, as a tip, an amount that is roughly double the tax seen at bottom of bill (this is also an easy way of calculating tip)--unless, of course, the service is lousy!

      Let us know where you will be based and I'm sure people will come up with more for you. Cheers.

      14 Replies
      1. re: yvonne johnson
        Jessica Shatan

        Just to clarify... the tip should be betw. 15 and 20 percent, and NY state tax is 8 1/4 percent so doubling the tx has you leaving a 16 1/2 percent tip. If you find yourself in another state (Hoboken, NJ let's say) you want to be aware of this as their tax may be much lower and doubling it will yield a very skimpy tip.

        1. re: yvonne johnson
          heidi schaefer

          Thanks for the suggestions and advice on tipping. We will be staying at the Y on Upper West side, though no doubt will be seeing the key art museums and sights and therefore in lots of places all over Manhattan at eating times.

          As for the kind of food .... there are quite a few of us in total, so a range of places and types would help but quite a few people want to try Chinese, Italian,Vietnamese to name a few kinds.

          Also where would I look for the famous delis?

          1. re: heidi schaefer
            yvonne johnson

            You might want to scroll down this board: Vietnamese sandwiches, 1/6/01, Grand sichuan international, 1/4/01, pad thai, 1/3/01. Also try thread beginning on 12/21/00 on "the same boring zagatish places": some chinatown favorites were listed. Try searching on this site too using home page.

            Time Out NY Guide to eating and drinking (which should be easily available in UK) has a section on delis and diners. Time Out also has a web site which is I believe:


            The problem with recent issues of Time Out's special guides is that they are not very critical.



            can be used as a basic resource.

            Don't forget about those cheapish lunches at the "higher end" places. You won't need much dinner after the $20 splash out! Cheers.

            1. re: heidi schaefer

              The Carnegie Deli on 7th Ave. is less than a mile's walk from the Y. That would be my suggestion for a full-service deli close to your "hotel" (and one within walking distance of midtown museums). If you are interested in smoked fish and/or chopped liver, I'd recommend Barney Greengrass, on Amsterdam and 86th. St. (also easy walking distance), but they are not open for dinner (closed Mondays).

              The Carnegie is a tourist magnet but can seat a big party.

              1. re: Dave Feldman

                Can't speak for The Carnegie, but Barney Greengrass is FAR from 'budget'!!!

                I went to Barney Greengrass week before last, after a hiatus of 20+ years. I found it so expensive, and the portions so stingy that I was positively insulted at their greed and I will never go back *even though* the ingredients are still superb. $13 for a small plate of scrambled lox, eggs & onions. Four slices of rye bread, for six people sharing a plate of $7 chopped liver. We had to ask for more bread. And the maitre d' even made an unprovoked joke about their stinginess when we asked for water...he said "I can only bring you one glass for the table - you'll have to share."

                All told, breakfast for six was $90 and we left hungry.

                1. re: magnolia

                  They may be part of what makes NYC NYC, but they ain't cheap! If I were counting my pennies, this might be a NY experience I'd forego.

                  On the other hand, it would be a shame to miss out on real pastrami and corned beef. Since NY deli sandwiches tend to be huge, some of your group might opt to share. Don't know how that would be received at a regular deli with table service. (Any opinions out there?) You might consider Katz's, a large, self-serve place on Houston St., where sharing wouldn't be a hassle.

                  1. re: Helen

                    Having never in my life even been able to contemplate eating an entire deli sandwich, I can assure you that both 2nd Ave Deli (2nd Ave and 10th Street) and Carnegie Deli are very used to the sharing gig. One sandwich with extra bread will feed two happily, and then the waiter will wrap up the rest (and there WILL be meat left over) for you to take home and eat later - don't forget that taking home the leftovers is an honored American tradition.

                    1. re: Helen

                      I think The Carnegie - (wasn't that the venue for "I'll have what she's having?") and probably others like it - have exorbitant sharing charges.

                      But...per your idea, The Poor British Art Students could get a few sandwiches to go, some slaw, macaroni or potato salad; several cans of Dr Brown's Cel-Ray (ick, but it's all for The Cause, right?) Cream or Black Cherry; and go back to the Y and have a feast and some leftovers for less than it would cost to eat in...

                        1. re: magnolia

                          "I think The Carnegie - (wasn't that the venue for "I'll have what she's having?") and probably others like it - have exorbitant sharing charges."

                          No. That scene took place at Katz's, which has no sharing charges whatsoever. You just stand in line, get what you want, bring it to your table, and share it any way you like.

                          I like Katz's, by the way, but you have to be really hungry to get one of those huge sandwiches, which tend to run around $8-10, depending on what you get. I like lean pastrami, and they always give me a little to taste, asking whether it's OK. By contrast, 2nd Av. Deli lied to me the last and final time I went there, claiming they had lean pastrami but giving me tasty but very fatty pastrami.

                          1. re: Michael

                            Katz is WAY over priced $14.50 for Reuben and a large coke, COME ON I DONT CARE IF BUBBA ATE THERE

                            1. re: rusty

                              I have only passing interest in who else ate at Katz's myself, as I go there for the food. So why don't you tell us where you know of a better value for Jewish delicatessen food.

                  2. re: heidi schaefer
                    yvonne johnson

                    Hello all, as you can see, chowhounds have many ideas, some of which are at odds with each another. This is, I think, a plus, but it can make for confusion. Do you go to a deli or not, this is the question!? What you find on your own will probably beat any of the suggestions here. I hope you post a report of your trip. Cheerio and all the best, Yvonne

                    1. re: yvonne johnson
                      heidi schaefer

                      Thank you all for your varied and interesting suggestions. I have really enjoyed reading through them. I am going armed with many places to try both from other threads and your suggestions - too many for the time we have ... Will let you know how we got on.

                2. b
                  Brian Wickham

                  As long as you will be on the Upper West Side you should try breakfast at Big Nick's on the west side of Broadway between 76 & 77 Streets. These guys know how to fry and scramble eggs properly. The hash brown potatoes are delicious - a rarity in NY diners. The breakfast special is on until 12 noon every day.