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Manhattan eats for dirt cheap prices?

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Where can I find the cheapest eats in Manhattan, preferably $5 or less a meal - that is filling too. Something, or somewhere that will make it feel like I'm having an actual meal (i.e. drink included). I'm tired of Chinese and french fries, which seems to be the only food I can find for under $5. Is wraps and sandwiches the second best option I have? Any locale is fine, since I'm on a hunt. Please help out guys, and thanks.

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  1. Nha Trang on Baxter has lots of Vietnamese options in the $4 range. I like the barbecued pork chop over rice ($4.25) and the pho tai ($3.75).

    I know you're trying to get away from sandwiches, but Banh Mi Saigon is not to be missed for $3.25.

    There are lots of falafel options out there in your price range, too. I tend to go to Mamoun's on Macdougal since it's most convenient to me, but there are several threads debating other options for good falafel.

    Dojo on W. 4th has lots of cheap options - check out the breakfast specials (served until 5 pm).

    It's a little above your price range, but pastas start at $5.95 at Pepe Rosso To Go on Sullivan.

    1. Bangal Curry on Church Street (close to Chamber Street) has both chicken / lamb curry with Rice or Naan combo mostly less than $5 (lunch and dinner). Also have vegetarian options.

      1. please ask these kind locals to direct you to a nice taco restaurant in say, Hell Kitchen. I found a few on prior visits -cannot remembers names. South of port authority-by the tunnel. homemade shells, savory filling (think salted beef, tongue, tripe), fresh cilantro and lime. swoon. When you say tired of chinese have you had the dumplings at the Dumpling House? Have you found the best bah mi sandwich or Pho (Vietmanese)

        1 Reply
        1. re: lyn

          I've never tried Dumpling House, but I've had my share of dumplings. I've also tried numerous bahn mi sandwiches, and they are very good indeed - but they're usually grab-and-go type of places. I would prefer somewhere I can sit and eat, that'll be a big plus+. Thanks for the suggestions so far, guys!

        2. Wow, $5 isn't a lot to work with especially since you want a drink included. Here's a few:

          (1) Halal cart offerings are usually $4 or so. Beverages are another $1.

          (2) Two hotdogs and a drink special $3, at Gray's Papaya. (3 locs, 8AV/37St IMO is best).

          (3) Patsy's Pizza, 2 slices $3. Beverage $1 more.

          (4) Falafel, at you favorite spot is inexpensive. Mamoun's ? ...Rainbow?

          I'll post more if I think of any. : )

          1 Reply
          1. re: Cheese Boy

            The halal chicken on rice on the SW corner of 6th Avenue and 53rd is the best.

          2. Koronet Pizza, B'way and 110. HUGE slice, less than $3.

            The egg sandwich special at most bodegas/small diners. Ditto rice and beans.

            "_________ over rice" in almost every Chinese restaurant.

            I'm guessing the dumpling/bings have been covered.

            1 Reply
            1. re: piccola

              Some I forgot - pierogis at Ukrainian Restaurant, and almost everything on the menu at Landmark Pancake House (including the pancakes).

            2. Pakastani Tea House, Church street

              1. there's a pizza counter on 41st and 9th ave that rolls out pies every 5-10 minutes. highest turnover i've ever seen. a buck/a slice. supplement it with a hotdog and drink from the corner on 42nd and 9th.

                1. In case you don't know, Roll and Dough, while "Chinese food", is hardly your average greasy spoon joint. The buns, steamed buns and delicious "bings" (hockey puck shaped pastries coated in sesame seeds) are excellent and if you are looking for something light, one will fill you up for around 2 dollars. If you are looking to be very full, 2 will get you as full as you can be for around 4 dollars. It is an excellent deal and also a unique flavor. The Manhattan branch is located on 3rd bet. MacDougal and 6th.

                  In terms of Mexican, the best place I've found without busting the bank over at Mexicana Mama or Mi Cocina is Pio Maya, over on 8th, also between MacDougal and 6th. Tamales are 2.75, Tostadas (which are enough for a light lunch) is 3.50, delicious Tortas (a yummy, greasy sandwich) is just above 5 and you can get away also with a rotisserie chicken special with sides for 4.95. The food is excellent and I am always appalled when I go in there that it is not busier, since the food is so excellent.

                  For the record though, a lot of the suggestions I've heard are excellent. There's still not a lot of cheap lunches better than two falafels from Mamoun's. Halal cart's will get you in at 3.50 for a sandwich or 5.00 for a large platter which are both good values. Beware though. Only buy halal food from places that don't sell hot dogs, knishes or that other junk. If a halal cart is good enough, it should not have to pander. As a rule, the cart chain Rafiqi's is good and safe to eat from.

                  My specialty is Greenwich Village, but I have been to Koronet and the man is correct that it's a good deal. Also, the Soy Burger Dinner at Dojo, though it receives mixed reviews on this board, is similarly a good value and a good deal of food for 3.75, if I remember correctly.

                  We have given you many places; now the onus is on you. Go out, try what we have suggested and even experiment and find your own place. Report back to us and teach us what you have learned.

                  1. Most cuban and domincan platters are about five bucks.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: csw

                      Can you direct me to some of these Cuban and Dominican places? They sound good.

                      1. re: asdf

                        There's that joint on Lafayette, just north of Spring, west side of the street. I don't think I've ever known the name, but it's not a bad plate at all. I'm not positive it comes in under $5, but it's not much more.

                        1. re: jasmurph

                          La Conquita on Lafayette between Cleveland and Prince. I believe most of the dishes there are about $8. However, you will not have to eat again for 48 hours, so it's a pretty good deal. And what I have had there -- plaintains and roasted pork with onions and gravy -- has been terrific.

                          1. re: Desidero

                            Exactly! I didn't remember it being that much, but roasted pork tends to make me forget prices.

                          2. re: jasmurph

                            La conquita was $6 during the summer. La Isla on 14th btwn A-B is 24 hours has a lunch special from 1-4PM. El Famoso Restaurante on Madison street by 27 Rutgers St has a $5 rice and beans plate with pulled pork/meat. Genas Grill on 12th street 1st avenue has rice plates from 4.50-6.50. Those are the only ones I've tried at that price point and its enough for two meals.

                          3. re: asdf

                            Malecon on 97th & Amsterdam. Grab a seat at the counter with the regulars.

                        2. Dumpling House has amazing dumplings and seasme pancakes with beef that are less than $5 all together! It is not typical greasy chines take out at all!

                          1. Curry in a Hurry--2 samosas (1 meat, 1 veg) & can of soda, should be slightly under $5.

                            Any korean fish fry place -- all over town -- fried whiting fish sandwich--about $3.50

                            La Taza De Oro--puerto rican food--though $5 is going to be tough

                            116th & Park Ave area heading east --cheap latino food abounds

                            Kathi Roll Shop--1 veggie or egg kathi roll is like $3

                            Harlem wings and waffles --3.99 special

                            Jimbos--a chain all over Harlem/Uptown--very cheap diner type food--all day breakfast burgers etc.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: Ora

                              Castillo de Jagua (excellent dominican) on Rivington just off Essex (opposite Economy Candy). Get the small sized special (meat specials of the day, rice and beans all on one plate). Also, try the chicken sandwich as well as the chicken soup. This place has been consistent for years. I was never happy with Taza. Enjoy!

                              1. re: jpeee

                                I love that place. I think it's worth the extra $2 or so (if you can afford it) to have a larger portion on several plates. The sauce is absorbed by the rice and lost if you get the small sized special.

                                1. re: jpeee

                                  Finally hit this place, after having passed it hundreds of times. I loved everything about it, the homey atmosphere, the counter, the warm, friendly service. Had the big chicken soup for all of about six bucks. Although just a tad too salty, still good, thick, generous portions, like home cooking. I feel bad not to have gone there sooner, but will definitely be back. P.

                                  1. re: Polecat

                                    Glad you enjoyed it. I've been going there for years:


                                    I'm beginning to think that the daily specials are as good as the cooked to order stuff since they can spend hours cooking them.

                                    1. re: Brian S

                                      Definitely. I'm guessing that they cook the daily soups and stews in the morning. The later you get there, the better they will taste. Those flavors have been slowdancing all day. Back to the post topic, though, this place is not only cheap eats, but amazing and hearty value for your money as well.

                                      Then again, I would say that about a great many Dominican and Cuban places all over town, including but not limited to Lechonara Sandy(2nd and 116th), Margon (46th Street), El Mundo Fried Chicken (Bway and 190th, I believe) and Sucelt Coffee Shop (on 14th). All cheap, all good. El Mundo's chicharron de pollo is a garlicy, crisp wonder.

                              2. When times are tough, you can also go to any Golden Krust and get a beef patty and coco bread for under $5 and you will be full!

                                It's not gourmet, but it does the trick.

                                1. taim on waverly place btwn w. 11th st/perry st (1/2 block northwest of 7th ave south) in the west village. awesome israeli falafels and very good fries, smoothies, drinks, teas, etc. they have a handful of seats.

                                  azuri cafe on w. 51st st btwn 10th & 9th aves (closer to 10th) in hell's kitchen. along with taim, the best falafels by a mile in manhattan. very gruff service, but you're there for the cheap, great food, right? they have some seating as well.

                                  there are a ton of great fujianese chinese cafes on eldridge st in chinatown. i know you said you're tired of chinese, but there are some good, cheap noodle and dumpling shops. sheng wang and super taste are both good noodle shops; i like super taste better, tho it's different (lanzhou-style). and i think dumpling house is still the best dumpling place in manhattan. most people seem to get the 5 fried dumplings for $1 (#4 on the menu) but i think the best thing to get is #6 (10 boiled dumplings with pork and chinese vegetables for $2). squirt on a little hot sauce, and it's perfect. i think they serve the best sesame bread, too.

                                  viet-nam banh mi so 1 on broome st btwn mott & elizabeth sts on the chinatown/little italy/nolita boundary. very good, cheap banh mi (personally, i think they serve the most consistently good version in manhattan, tho others will surely disagree) and freshly-squeezed fruit drinks. then go a block up mott to kenmare and get a slice at l'asso; it's no di fara, but perfectly fine wood oven pizza.

                                  1. So many places in Chinatown for cheap eats- throw a rock and you're likely to hit one.

                                    For your money, you are not likely to get more than the choices afforded at New Bei Wei, which is one of many such places on Division Street that allow you to choose three items from behind the cramped counter, plus rice and soup for about 4 or 5 bucks. The food is decent, not what I'd call great, in a no nonsense get-in-and-get-out kind of setting. But it's a great opportunity to just point to any number of food items, most of which are good and filling, that you might not have tried before. I had an egg with lots of spots on it once, couldn't understand what they were telling me when I asked what it was. Damn good, though.


                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: Polecat

                                      thousand year egg, maybe? it's the only one i can think of that would have spots, or a pattern.

                                        1. re: spanky28

                                          Yeah, I thought of the tea egg after my post was submitted. It seems more likely.

                                          1. re: kwanito

                                            Yes, thanks. It was the tea egg. P.

                                      1. The original post I feel is asking for a cheap dine in place. However, if we are just listing cheap eats now, including stands, I have to mention Otafuku on 9th between 2/3rd ave. try the octopus takoyaki

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: brokeinEV

                                          Mee Noodle at 9th Ave. and 53rd St.. Order Vegetable Hot and Sour Soup w/ Cellophane Noodles, Sesame Pancakes and Cold Sesame Noodles. It would be less than $6.00

                                        2. Since Malaysian isn't chinese, Skyway has a 3.75 lunch special with free soda, bottle water or soup 11-5pm daily.

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: csw

                                            Daily including weekends??? Whoa...I may need to check it out this weekend.

                                            1. re: NancyC

                                              Yes Indeed. Eat in or takeout, "Monday-Sunday 11:00AM-5:00PM served with spring water, coffee, tea or house soup $3.75". I would order their beef rendang or curry chicken over rice.

                                              1. re: csw

                                                Would you post an address please? TIA. If you look on yellowpages dot com the spelling of "malaysian" is kinda funny and no address is listed.

                                                Look ---> http://www.yellowpages.com/sp/yellowp...

                                                  1. re: csw

                                                    Thanks csw ... ! Right near Canal. That explains a lot now like why I didn't recognize the name Skyway, and why the prices are so good. Chinatown NYC!

                                          2. Check out the 6th Street "Indian Row" eateries for South Asian food... especially lunch, maybe... but $5/meal is pretty low even for that. (It's 6th between I think 1st & 2nd Aves, or maybe 2nd & 3rd... can't remember exactly)

                                            1. do you like korean food? Woorijip (32nd b/t 5th & bway) offers pre-packaged bentos, noodle bar and buffet. you can get a hearty lunch for $1 to $6.

                                              1. oh and if you like japanese, Yagura on 41st b/t 5th and madison is great. again, w/a drink you'd be pushing the $5 limit...but they offer donburi, noodle dishes, japanese curry dishes in the $4 to $5 range. they usually have a featured udon for really cheap everyday...

                                                and there's a another japanese sandwich/bakery shop on the same street, but i forget the name. it's always packed in a seriously clastrauphobic way though, so i tend to avoid it.

                                                chiyoda is on that street as well, but i don't like their stuff as much...the pre-prepared stuff tends to be cold and not that tasty. but again, on the cheap side.