NYC on a Budget / Brunch / Dinner / Etc
We are two SF foodies that are really excited to explore NYC this weekend. Unfortunatly one of us just got laid off and we have to watch our budget.
Do you have any general budget recommendations ($25 pp or below)?
What is your brunch recommendation?
We are staying near 2nd & 91st in the UES, any close eats that are good are appreicated as well.
For a truly cheap and filling meal that is a New York favorite, head to Mamoun's (http://www.mamounsfalafel.com/) for a $2 falafel sandwich. I think it's the tastiest falafel in NYC, and you can eat it in nearby Washington Square Park and enjoy people-watching. Then go back for another, if you are still hungry (but this is highly doubtful.)
Also go split some frites at Pommes Frites on 2nd Ave near 7th St for a super decadent, delicious carb-overload experience. (Hey, you wanted cheap, not healthy, right?)
The great thing about NYC is that while there are crazy expensive good eats, there are also really cheap eats that beat what other cities have to offer at much higher prices. As for UES, I cannot help you since I have never had very good cheap food there. But head to Payard Patisserie at Lex and 74th if you are fond of dessert and splurge on a $5 tart to go (which is a fair price for a dessert in NYC.) Their tarts are to die for.
Do you feel the felafel at Mamoun's is more flavorful than the felafel at other places, such as Hoomoos Asli? I went to the new St. Marks branch recently, and while I thought the felafel sandwich was perfectly good and cheap, it was by no means as flavorful as Hoomoos Asli or, probably, the place on 51st or so and 10th (which slips my mind, but I haven't been to that place in several years and was at Hoomoos Asli a few months ago).
In terms of bruch, I feel some of the best cheap options are: Dublin 6 (Hudson and Perry Street), Ditch Plains (on Bedford at Downing) and Fred's (83rd and Amsterdam). As of the last time I had brunch there, Dublin 6 and Fred's had wonderful fixed menus for less than $15. The menu at Ditch Plains is full of cheaper options.
Cafe Mogador, St. Marks Place between 1st Av. and Av. A in the East Village.
I second Banh Mi Saigon (Mott St. between Grand and Hester) as one of the best values in New York - a truly great sandwich.
Get savory and sweet Greek pastries at Poseidon Bakery, 9th Av. between 44th and 45th Sts.
Get delicious, filling bing (sesame buns) at Roll & Dough, 3rd St. just east of 6th Av. in the Village.
There are any number of places in Chinatown where you can get noodle soups for anywhere from about $3.50 to $4.50 or so. Bo Ky and Great NY Noodletown are among them.
Get delicious pollo a la brasa, Dominican style, at El Malecon, between 97th and 98th Sts. and Amsterdam or on 175th St. and Broadway - $7.50 for a half chicken with rice and beans ($1.50 extra for platanos maduros, if I remember correctly).
We could really go on and on with suggestions for good, cheap food.
the bahn mi at Saigon Bahn Mi are good -- for New York. but based on my recent trip to the Bay Area where i grew addicted to Bahn Mi in Oakland (International Blvd, forget the name specifically), the New York Bahn Mi isn't going to compare.
i'll say that the Chinese overall is as good or better here (depending on your taste and the region), lots of great suggestions for Chinatown.
until i moved to NYC, the most memorable Thai i had was in SF. but here in NYC, i live almost next door to Sripraphai, arguably the best, most authentic Thai in the country. and certainly you can eat there for less than $25pp. (Queens, 7 train to 61st or R train to 65th St).
for brunch i recommend the Bright Food Shop in Chelsea (8th Ave @ 21st St). they fuse some of the flavors of Latin America and the Far East and pull it off most of the time -- esp. for breakfast or dessert. lunch and dinner have always left me lacking and feeling like it was expensive ... but breakfast is generally $8-15pp (depending on how much you can't resist) and is tasty. dessert is on the expensive side at around $7-8pp, but is really excellent and seems a fair value to me. and i rarely bother with dessert in general.
there are dozens of great, affordable places in nyc. but leave the UES, which tends to be more high end. the east village, lower east side, and chinatown are the neighborhoods with the best taste to price ratio, and if you do a search for these neighborhoods, you'll find loads and loads of recommendations.
is a great run down of nyc highlights (with some UES rec's too!
some great affordable places include:
caracas arepas (get the arepitas)
'inoteca (get the truffled egg toast)
saigon banh mi (contender for my favorite food in nyc)
spicy mina's (g/r/v to 65th street in queens, get the pakoras and the rose lassi, which is not on the menu)
shake shack for an excellent burger
florence's in harlem for kelewele (see http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...
)pizza (check out the outer boroughs board for more on Grimaldi's and DiFara's)
and many many more...
There are some good, affordable Latin American restaurants in your immediate nabe. Try the chicken at Pio Pio (Peruvian)on First Avenue, Zebu Grill (Brazilian) on 92nd st, and Don Pedro's on 96th St.
Spanish Harlem's only a few blocks away. You probably don't want to bother with Mexican coming from Cali, but La Fonda Boricua on 106th (btwn 3rd and Lex) is a good--albeit not great--neighborhood standby for Puerto Rican food, which you won't find out west. Best of all, it's dirt cheap. Under $10.
Reif's Tavern on 92nd St. (btwn First and Second Avenue) is a welcoming, adorable little neighborhood dive bar with cheap prices if you want to drink off those just-laid-off blues and only have to worry about stumbling a block or two home.