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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

          Chinatown:
          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
          Minca
          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!!