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suggestions for cheap good eats?

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I'm a student at NYU, and I have a friend visiting me for thanksgiving vacation, who is expecting me to take her out and eat good food (preferably under $20/person). Problem is, I've been eating dining hall food/whole foods for the past couple months, so I have no idea where to take her.

Can anyone recommend any good places that aren't too expensive/sketchy?

Or, even better, what restaurants do we absolutely have to go to?

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  1. There are so many inexpensive eateries in the area. Give us some idea of what kind of cuisines you like, please. Also, I assume you want something sit-down, not really good food from Roll & Dough that's really cheap but best taken out and eaten in a park?

    1. Republic, which is right in Union Square (37 Union Square West) has tons of great dishes that are around $8 a person. The tables there are 'family style' so you sit at one long table with other diners. It's usually a fun experience and they're very fast. Asian cuisine but influenced from a few different Asian styles!

      1. Also, I'd search for East Village recs.

        Crif Dogs 113 St. Marks Pl (Btw 1st ave & A) - fun but not romantic at all.

        Minca 536 E 5th St (btw A & B) - ramen noodles

        1. First of all, you need to tell us what your friend likes. That being said, you can't go wrong with Chinatown and a lot of ethnic cuisines (Malaysian, Vietnamese, Mexican, etc), as well as the various options in the East Village. The best way to stay under $20/person is to NOT drink alcohol. I'll share my standbys with you

          Hop Kee (Peking pork chop, Cantonese crab, Chinese broccoli)
          Big Wong (congee, roast pork)
          Green Tea Cafe (they have both savory and sweet foods that are cheap and yummy; nice atmosphere, too)
          NY Noodletown (stick with noodle soups and share a salt-baked seafood dish)
          Joe's Shanghai (soup buns, scallion pancakes)
          Dim Sum Go Go (dim sum)
          Nha Trang (Vietnamese - cha gio, pho)
          Nyonya (Malaysian - roti canai, char kway teow, rendang with rice, mango chicken)
          Chinatown Ice Cream factory ( love the almond cookie and ginger ice cream there)

          East Village:
          Pommes Frites
          Caracas Arepa Bar
          Lil Frankie's (pizza)
          Supper (Italian)

          1. we're really not picky eaters. i guess asian would be the favorite though. thanks so much for your recs so far!!

            1. It really depends on what kind of friend she is. If this is a more romantic thanksgiving I'd suggest any of the East Villiage Itallian restaurants (Max, Franks, Lil Frankies) - Max is the chepaest of the bunch. For a slight splurge you could do the $35 omakase at Cube 63 and bring your own drinks.

              For fantastic food that is very cheap go to New Green Bo in Chinatown and then head to Oriental Garden for Dim Sum. OG is a bit more "upscale" than New Green Bo but won't set you back that much for dim sum.

              Take her for cup cakes at Sugar Sweet Sunshine on Rivington and a drink at Angel Share near Astor Place.

              But please for the love of god - cancel your meal plan, get your parents to give you that same amount in cash and enjoy all the cheap eats available to you!

              1 Reply
              1. re: wingman

                That is a VERY good last bit of advice - that area is ripe with possibilities.