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Friends coming to visit on a budget

Ok, I never thought I would be asking for advice - I am usually suggesting restaurants, but I want to come up with some authentic and interesting "NY places" on the cheap for some friends that are visiting for the first time. We tend to eat at places that would be deemed "moderate" but moderate to New Yorker's is expensive to people from alot of other places in the middle of the country. I have been saving up some experiences for myself like Momofuku, so that one may be on the agenda. We may also take them to Itzocan Cafe int he East village or Itzocan Bistro on the way UES (I actually prefer the strange tiny one in the east village). I was also considering Otto - but it may fall more into the moderate category if you do a selection of meats and some salads and pastas to share.

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  1. Whenever my friends from the midwest come in town, I try to take them to inexpensive but unique places in NYC. Here are some of the places that are on my list:

    Caracas Arepa in the East Village
    Rice to Riches (spring and mott)
    Joe Shanghai in Chinatown for soup dumplings
    Pommes Frites in East Village (this one has been a big hit with vistors since it was featured on the Food Network)

    1. Thanks, my friends are coming in from Louisville and this sounds perfect. I am taking them on my downtown walking tour and tasting as well. We hit a couple of places in chinatown including the Bullet cake cart on Canal, Sullivan street Bakery for pizza bianca, Kees Chocolates, and a couple of other places. These will fit right in.

      1. Maybe a coal oven pizza place would be good too, like Lombardi's or Arturo's, or even Patsy's in Harlem and Una Pizza Napoletana. Assuming they won't eat a whole pie each, this would probably fit the budget.

        What about Shopsin's? It's not dirt cheap, but would make an interesting brunch.

        I agree with all of the ones mentioned above, tourists would love those. I don't know if they get much authentic ethnic foods in Louisville, but depending on their adventurousness-levels, places like Sigiri or some Thai places might also be a good choice. Or cute places in the East Village - Cacio e Pepe and Cafe Mogador come to mind.

        1 Reply
        1. re: janethepain

          These sound great. We are hitting a new pizza place in my neighborhood called Krunch on Thursday night when they get into town it is just a slice place but it is really good.

          OK so you named all of the downtown places that I wanted to try but haven't gotten around to yet. I have been to Cacio e Pepe, but not Sigiri, of Cafe Mogador, and I completely forgot about Shopsin's - it is one of those places that people mention and I say "I have to go there" and then I promptly forget about it. Thanks for the suggestions.

        2. if you hit pommes frites in the east village, make sure to cross the street to a salt and battery for the deep fried mars bars. omfg!

          also, it's not cheap, but (i've mentioned this in half of my replys to posts) the lunch at bouley is a steal! a relatively inexpensive way to get a top flight meal. but a lot of it is seafood, often not a favorite amongst midwesterners (i grew up there).

          1 Reply
          1. re: krunkymunky

            And when you're done with the frites and the Mars bars, stop at Gem Spa for the quintessential NY drink, the egg cream!

          2. A Salt and Battery is no more on the East Side, it started going downhill and then was gone. For a fun dessert experience, try ChikaLicious on E10th or Venieros on E11th.

            1 Reply
            1. re: theShizzKnit

              While I love ChikaLicious, it's definitely *not* the place for people on a restrictive budget.


            2. I always go with a gf or my bf, we choose one desert and share all three courses that come. With tax and tip it comes out to $8 each which seems pretty darn reasonable to me, but then again may not be so per centrejack's comments.

              2 Replies
              1. re: theShizzKnit

                I think for that kind of experience it is reasonable. They aren't cheap people just on a budget. Plus I hear chickalicious is also a great experience - probably worth it.

                1. re: centrejack

                  In that case, yes, definitely take your friends to ChikaLicious. Note: You want to sit at the counter so you can chat with Chika and watch as she prepares your desserts. To avoid the crowds, go between 3 and 5 p.m.

              2. Surprised that no one suggested Katz's. Perhaps the idea of $12 for a sandwich does not fall into the inexpensive category. But $12 for a meal ($20 with French fries, a Brooklyn lager and a tip for the sandwich maker) is pretty cheap.

                2 Replies
                1. re: bobjbkln

                  Don't you want a Cel-Ray or Cream Soda with that? That'll cost you extra!

                  1. re: Pan

                    My price included a Brooklyn lager. A Dr. Browns would be cheaper.

                2. Momofuku is a great idea. You might also consider Bar Carrera & Havana Chelsea.

                  1. Yum, Momofuku! Their Ssam Bar on 2nd Ave is also good.

                    1. One more question. We are going to a party on the upper east side tomorrow night. We never go out up there. Any suggestions for that neigborhood? Around 84th and second?

                      1. I like Poke ( 85th between 2nd and 3rd) i think. It's BYOB sushi.