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cheap eats in 8th Ave/W 51st St area?

Will be in the 8th Avenue/West 51st Street area next month, any cheap eats around for lunch/dinner? Also one of our friends is vegan. Require as much details as possible - restaurant name, address, intersection, phone number, website etc. Any help will be appreciated, thanks from Toronto Canada!

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  1. Your best bet will be on 9th avenue. There is actually a Zen Palate (asian vegetarian cuisine) on 46th and 9th.

    5 Replies
    1. re: zGustibus

      Zen Palate was interesting at the very beginning, but over time it has become pretty pedestrian.

      1. re: Peter Cherches

        agreed - upper west side branch is shuttered

      2. re: zGustibus

        I have exactly one word for the food at that Zen Palate on 9th Av.: Horrible!

        I think Uncle Nick's, on 9th, b/t 50th & 51st Sts., would work for you. It's a taverna-style Greek restaurant with well-prepared food. There are options for a vegan, including a very tasty vegetable kebob. No website, but info and menu are on menupages.


        1. re: RGR

          Uncle Nick's has been my suggestion for a vegetarian in the past too.

          For pescaterians, I was just there on Monday, where I had the most incredible grilled octopus. Really, it redefined my idea of what octopus could be. Four thick tentacles on a plate, coated in herbs, slightly charred, swimming in olive oil and vinegar. Texture wasn't chewy at all- a slight crust enclosing a soft, tender interior almost like a semi-firm cheese. It's just an appetizer, so no sides, but paired with Greek fries it's a meal.

          1. re: Spoony Bard

            Stop! You're making me hungry (& I already ate).

      3. Grand Szechuan-I think 9th and 51st. Food not too spicy if mention ahead, if that's a concern. (actually, even asking for it extra hot didn't up the spice level enough for us). use menupages.com for more info.

        3 Replies
        1. re: eve

          Yeah, but Sichuan food is not generally a great bet for vegetarian in my experience. I think Shanghai is the best Chinese cuisine for vegetarians.

          It's Grand Sichuan if you're searching, btw.

          You might want to look at the Roberto Passon menu & see if there are vegan-friendly items. Excellent Italian with a Northeastern focus. Very reasonable for the quality.

          Also, look into Pam Real Thai, on 49th between 9th & 10th.

        2. Orchid for homestyle Caribbean and Soul food, on the west side of 9th ave.

          May not be best choice for a vegan, I'm not sure, but you could call. I think their collards were all veggie so you could probably patch togther a meal. They're very nice, and cheap. (212) 206-9951

          1. i really like vynl. they have all sorts of food, from sandwiches and burgers to thai specialties, homestyle american food like mac and cheese, as well as steak frites, veggie burgers, grilled portabello mushroom salad, etc. not to mention one of the best black and white milkshakes! it's a cute little restaurant, and they also have great brunch and breakfast items all day.

            745 9th ave btween 50th and 51st st

            1. Azuri for falafel (51st b/w 9th and 10th)
              Kiran (53rd b/w 9th and 10th) or Baluchis (56th b/w b'way and 8th) for solid Indian

              3 Replies
              1. re: Hungry Esquire

                Baluchi's isn't awful, but I don't think it's anything special either, especially for anybody coming from Toronto (except possibly Devi which so bowled me over recently, but wrong neighborhood). In general I wouldn't recommend Indian or Hong Kong Chinese to Torontonians since there are so many good places at home.

                It's a chain, btw.

                An interesting possibility that comes to mind is Afghan Kebab House on 9th Ave. in the lower 50s, and there would be several vegan choices. Non-vegans should try the aushak (chive dumplings w/ lamb-yogurt sauce) in addition to the excellent kebabs.


                1. re: Peter Cherches

                  Peter, you're referring to Ariana Afghan Kebab House between 52nd and 53rd, aren't you?

                  1. re: Pan

                    They're good too, but I was referring to the one on the other side of 9th Ave, just Afghan Kebab House with a number after it (I can't keep track of the numbers, and the one on 46th closed).

              2. I like Eatery's lunch specials. They are on the corner of 53 St and 9th Ave. I know there have been complaints about service on this board, but as I said before all I am looking for is that the waiter gets my order right and is not downright rude.

                1. There's a Thai place that I think is really good, on 49th and 9th. It's called Pam Real Thai food. I think that's the best Thai food I've had in Manhattan.

                  1. there are also a couple of ethiopian places in the neighborhood: meskerem (468 W 47th St | Btwn 9th & 10th Ave) and queen of sheba (650 10th Ave | Btwn 45th & 46th St). they have vegetarian options (that i THINK do not use animal fats, but i'm not sure you may want to check). vegetarian combos ( and fit fit are good options. very tasty.

                    also, you may want to consult menupages.com - you can search for restaurants by area and they include, well, menus! so you can check on vegan options at your restaurant of choice.

                    1. Thanks to all, i have documented all the suggestions including menupages.com for easy reference.

                      My next question is - if you can pick only one, what would be a new york must-eat? I tried checking other threads and Katz's Deli seems to be tops, would everyone agree? Also is there a must-eat that can accomodate a vegan?

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Little T

                        If I had to pick only one it would be pizza, but which one is a major source of schism worthy of global politics.

                        I'm not a Katz's fan. Too bad 2nd Ave. Deli is gone.

                        1. re: Little T

                          I would agree.

                          If you're willing to spend the money for the vegetarian tasting menu at Devi, that could be your ticket for the vegan:


                          1. re: Pan

                            Not really. I don't know what is in the tasting menu, but Indian vegetarian food is dairy-heavy.

                            1. re: Peter Cherches

                              I understand that some vegans do eat dairy. Besides, I imagine they'd do something to accomodate a non-dairy-eater deliciously. From what I know of them in their previous positions at Amma, Suvir and Hemant are very considerate and want customers to have a good experience.

                              1. re: Pan

                                Not to be nitpicky, but by definitions, vegans don't eat dairy (or anything of animal origin, for that matter). Some vegetarians do, but not vegans.
                                Re: the menu at Devi - haven't tried the tasting menu, but generally South Indian food is less dairy-centric than the Northern kind.

                        2. if you're motivated to stroll a bit south and west, Hallo Berlin (45th and Tenth) has great, inexpensive, hearty German food. It's been discussed here - do a search.

                          1. Just a late follow up, the menupages website was really helpful, hopefully toronto gets something similar. The site helped my vegan friend the most, to find a place to eat in a specific area. I did try Coldstone Creamery we don't have that here - nice, different. We also went to Katz' Deli, the pastrami was good but $14usd?! All in all though it was a great time, thanks again for everyone's help.