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Cheap Food secrets

Hey there. I am on a really tight budget. Are there any places that are so cheap they are worth a mention. I am talking about a sit down rather then carry out. Thank you.. keep cool

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  1. Let's see:

    1. Lederhosen, 39 Grove, wurst sandwich and a beer;
    2. Neptune, 1st Ave about 11th, stick to your ribs Eastern European;

    I'll think about more.

    1. Delphi at the corner of Reade St. and West Broadway. They sell a very large (and very good) gyro sandwich (billed as "souvlaki") for $5.00. The front of the place is a glassed-in cafe - great for people watching.

      1. Temple in the Village, a vegetarian place on West 3rd, has some decent Korean food in a salad bar type set-up. Not everything is great, but a lot of it is, and it is 5.99 a pound. I could just eat kimchee pancakes and stirfried watercress for every meal I think.

        Just down the road at Sullivan St., there is the Shade Bar, where you can sit and have a $6 glass of wine and a good $5 crepe with 3 fillings. It's pushing it for CHEAP, but it is sit down, and has a fairly nice atmosphere for not TOO much money.

        1. Do some research into Indian places on eihter Curry Row (East 6th btw. 1st and 2nd) or Curry Hill, in the 20s, eastside, on Lex. or 3rd. Also, look for posts on Chinatown, places like Wo Hop or Doyers Street.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Captain

            None of the cheap "Indian" places on Curry Row is any good, nor is Wo Hop, which is on Mott St.

            devil and I are on the same wavelength. Bo Ky and Great NY Noodletown are excellent suggestions. I'd add East Corner Wonton and similar places (yes, Marco Polo, too) that serve a full meal bowl of noodle soup for some $3.50. XO Cafe on Hester (and presumably the one on Walker) is another one. And you can get a cheap and very good Malaysian meal at Skyway.

            There are Dominican places like El Malecon (branches at Amsterdam between 97th and 98th and on 175th St. near the George Washington Bridge) where you can get any of the daily lunch or dinner specials for some $7.50 with rice and beans.

            Teresa's Polish restaurant on 1st Av. between 6th and 7th Sts. serves a sizeable lunch special on weekdays for about the same price ($7.50). You get soup or salad, a main dish (some come with a side), and coffee, tea, or soda. I like the chicken stew.

            1. re: Pan

              Never really been a fan of Wo Hop's, but I have a few friends who love it. I did like Marco Polo and Skyway, been ages since I have tried different places in CHinatown.

              Same with East 6th, but there have been times when I liked a really cheap Indian place on E. 6th, but usually there is a limited time during which anyone of them is making decent food.

              With the cheap stuff, you need to keep your ear to the ground and eyes on the board.

              It's been while since I went uptown to Pio Pio, but last time I went, it was cheap, good and plentiful.

              1. re: Pan

                El Malecon is awesome! It's the thing I missed most after moving out of that hood. Also, it's my friend's favorite restaurant in all of NYC. No joke.

                1. re: jenhen2

                  Do you have an address or cross streets? Is it Mexican or something else?

                  1. re: Just Larry

                    I gave cross streets above, and mentioned that it's Dominican. The uptown branch is on 175 St. and Broadway, I believe I remember correctly, in case you needed those cross streets.

            2. Chinatown. A bowl of pho for about $5 at any Vietnamese restaurant. I like Pho Tu Do or Pho Grand. Chinese noodles at Marco Polo Noodle Shop. Bo Ky, Great NY Noodletown, Excellent Pork Shop House are all pretty good at around $5.

              Non asian would have to be Mexican: Burritoville, Chipotle, Tehuitzingo, Fresco Tortillas

              1. DoJo on St. Marks Place blows my mind as to how cheap it is. You can easily walk out of there having spent $5-6 on a full meal.

                1. Chinese: Big Wing Wong on Mott

                  Vietnamese: Cong Ly on the corner of Chrystie and Hester

                  Dumplings: Dumpling House on Eldridge

                  Indian: Bengal Curry between Murray & Warren St

                  1. Well, there's always the $2.75 concession special at Gray's Papaya (2 hot dogs and a drink). But for a real meal, Woogiri on 32nd St, about half a block off Broadway, has amazing Korean entrees for very little money - you could easily get a full meal for about $5. Water is free, a (small) cup of coffee is 50 cents.

                    1. Cafe Yafa on St Marks Place has inexpensive food, but Rice on Mott St is very good and affordable. It is a small cute restaurant. You can get a maincourse for $5.00.

                      1. I found the most AMAZING deal. It's in Chinatown on Division Street. I can't remember the #, specifically, but I dont think its a very long street, so if you keep your eyes open, you can find it. If people are really curious, let me know and I'll look next time I go. Anyway, It's on the south side of the street. They have dozens of items to choose from. You get white rice, soup and a choice of four items (and they do NOT skimp) for $3. No frills, no tax, no tip (though there are seats if you would like to stay and eat) just hand them three bucks and you're set. I've never seen anything like it.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: Melanie

                          Go to the bookstore and read (don't buy) Sietsema's "The Food Lover's Guide to the Best Ethnic Eating in NYC." In addition, check the dumpling and Chinese posts.
                          Although I'm a lover of authentic Mexican food, when I'm really broke, I skip past the Shade Bar (W. 3rd and Sullivan) and walk two doors down to the Fresca Tortilla (it might not be called that), a Chinese run tex-mex joint. The place is clean, has a bathroom, a seating area, magazines to read, and you can get a pile of grilled steak on a freshly made flour tortilla for less than two bucks. I usually get the grilled steak or grilled chicken fajita.
                          As far as dumplings go, take the F train over to Delancey, walk over to 118A Eldridge Street. You can probably get a very large and unique beef sesame pancake sandwhich for a 1.50; Dumplings are 5 for a dollar and there's a little room to sit down, if you're lucky.

                          1. re: worm

                            Speaking of Eldridge St., there are some really cheap no-frills Fuzhounese places on that street north of Division.

                            billyeats, I hear you about Dojo being cheap, but is it worth going to?

                            Around the corner, there is a Polish place called the Stage Restaurant, on 2nd Av. between 7th St. and St. Marks, next to the Orpheum Theater where STOMP plays. It serves food of solid though not super-high quality, and the prices are really low. I don't go there too often but I did go a lot back when Teresa's was closed for renovation a number of years ago and have been back since on occasion. Try their soups, for example.

                            1. re: Pan

                              By "north of Division" do you mean Canal?
                              You can get lunch for $3 at the carts on the east side of Rutgers Street, across the street from Seward Park. F to East B'way and exit the north side of the station via the escalators to E.B'way/Rutgers. They're right there.

                              1. re: tamasha

                                "North of Division" means starting on the block between Division and Canal.

                          2. re: Melanie

                            Melanie, are you talking about Yi Mei, a.k.a. New Bai Wei at 51 Division St.? Over there, your choices often include crab pieces, salmon heads, tasty greens, and all kinds of other stuff. I think I had a pretty good tofu steak there too as one of my four choices. It's been written up in Time Out NY and maybe Village Voice. I wouldn't say it's the best food ever, but it's above-average and, obviously, that's a killer, killer price. They have a competitor *right* next door that looks very similar.

                            A ways down the street at around 11 or 13 Division, there's another place, similar but bigger, with a HUGE selection. You get four items over rice plus soup for $4. I tried it, figuring maybe the extra dollar meant higher quality, but no, no, no, not IMHO. I normally love authentic Chinese food but some of this stuff made me feel queasy, and that's unusual for me. Place could've been cleaner, too. I think this place was written up favorably by another hound several years ago (or at least the description sounds VERY similar):


                            ...but I strongly prefer New Bai Wei. Although maybe I just didn't pick the right stuff at the $4 place. I got seaweed (the texture and toughness of vinyl), a cauliflower dish with other stuff in it, and a couple of other things I don't remember.

                            And to the original poster: For more cheap eats, see these threads:




                            1. re: Ike

                              Yes! that is the place I'm talking about. I thought I was the only one that knew about it : ) And, I agree, it isnt the best food EVER (I like to exaggerate when I get excited), but its pretty amazing, considering the cost, as you said. And, thanks for letting me know about the $4 place. I had wondered about that, but haven't yet tried it.

                              1. re: Melanie

                                Well, the old post about the $4 place suggested it might be really good if you choose your four items wisely. Maybe I just didn't choose wisely. There's an ENORMOUS selection and most of it looks seriously authentic.

                                BUT, on the other hand, there are actually a LOT of these super-cheap three- or four-items-over-rice places, so maybe exploring some of the others would be a better idea than the $4 place. In a post just above, Pan noted there are some really cheap Fujianese places on Eldridge just north of Division. I walked past those too, and wondered about them. One or two have this same kind of deal, with various choices over rice for $3 or $4.

                                My stomach is ticked off that my office is moving out of the greater Noho/NYU/Chinatown area and up to the Upper Whitey Side... ooops I mean the Upper West Side... in a few months. Arrrgh! I am a white boy with an Asian stomach!

                          3. neptune, a polish restaurant on 1st ave and 12th st, has a really good dinner special. $10 gets you a not good but generously poured glass of wine, a salad or cup of soup, an entree with two sides, and a dessert with coffee or tea. their chicken cutlet (a lightly breaded escalope the size of a dinner plate) is excellent, as is the homemade apple cake.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: wleatherette

                              Do you have an address so I can enter it in my GPS. I will be a tourist. Thanks

                              1. re: Just Larry

                                Larry, I like for people to say where the place they're talking about is, but if you need the exact address, as long as the name of the restaurant is spelled correctly (as this one is), you can look it up in the online Yellow Pages, www.superpages.com. Many restaurants are also listed on menupages.com, etc.

                            2. Try NY Noodletown which is located in Chinatown on the corner of Bowery and Bayard. Super cheap food, not the best service but the food is cheap and really good. A rice and meat dish will cost about $3.50. Their noodle soups are outstanding too. Also, ask for some of their ginger-scallion sauce, it goes great with any meat dish and tastes terrific. There's usually a small wait for a table but worth it. They're also open everyday until 4 AM, maybe 5 on weekends.

                              1. I have to concur with Devil, about 10 or so comments ago: You can't go wrong with Chinatown. Try Mei Lei Wah's legendary combination bun with a thick coffee that will keep you awake for about 3 daze - it will set you back all of a buck fifty or two bucks. This place is a couple doors away from New Green Bo, itself very reasonably priced and home to some of the best soup dumplings this side of Shanghai. Someone also mentioned the New Bei Wei on Division, where you get a choice of four items plus soup and rice for about 4 bucks. this place is hit or miss, the hits being well worth it, and is bound to fill you up for the day. There are also any number of dumpling stalls, 5 fried for a buck, my favorite of which is the great Excellent Dumpling House on Eldridge, which also serves up a scallion pancake, which I like to call "chinese pizza". Also, Punjabi, where 1st Street runs alongside Houston, at the south edge of the East Village. Again, dirt cheap. You can mix and match chickpeas, samosas, yogurt, rice, wash it down with a milk tea or a sweet indian coffee, for around 3 bucks give or take. If you're headed up town, dig Yakitori Taisho or Kenka, hit or miss Japanese diners where you can down enough cheap beer for it to not matter one way or the other. These places are a good time, no matter what. Dig the yaki-onigiri (fried rice balls) at Taisho, as well as the yakitori. If you get drunk enough, you might even brave the "cow penis" served up at Kenka. You also owe it to yourself to head uptown, 125th and Madison, I think, to a place - name of Taste Of Seafood - to try an amazing Fried Whiting with tartar and hot sauce on whole wheat bread. Have fun, margaritaman.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Polecat

                                  Is Excellent Dumpling House related to the place of the same or similar name on Lafayette? I'm guessing it isn't. I think that other place was Excellent Dumpling, and I was underwhelmed with it.

                                  1. re: Pan

                                    Thanks, Pan. You're right. The place I'm thinking of is just called "Dumpling House", and it's on 118 Eldridge, or thereabouts. Definitely Eldridge anyway.

                                2. The $4 place I know on Division Street is just north of Canal. There is plenty of spartan seating which is severly washed out by the flourescent lighting, and the place looks and serves up like a soup kitchen (yes I have eaten at a soup kitchen...we were in college and my 'date' worked there). The few times I've been there, the place is staffed entirely by older women who don't speak English armed with giant ladles, so it's point-and-scoop. Customers are not allowed to touch the food (this is a good thing). I've had good luck with the braised Chinese black mushrooms, and simple chicken and vegetable dishes. . Stay away from deep fried pork lumps or anything 'sweet and sour'. Extra soup of the day will cost you 50 cents. Now that's cheap eats.