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cheap eats in Manhattan - $10 and under

My friend and I are travelling around america in the summer and as we are borh students we need to keep it as cheap as possible. We are looking for places to eat, both lunch as dinner, both to go and to eat in, that will cost us $12 and under. We would particularly be interested in eat in places on an evening. Also, these places would need to be central as we are relying on public transport. We are not particularly fussed about the type of food, pizza, pasta, hot dogs, etc would be fine. We would also like to know where the best coffe shops are and their prices. Thanks

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  1. Yes, you can and should do some searches, but here are some suggestions that come quickly to mind:

    Burger Joint, or Shake Shack (in nice weather) for burgers. Avoid both places at peak meal times, because they are both wildly popular

    Head to Chinatown--$10 will go far at New Green Bo, Jing Fong (for dim sum) and lots of other places; for noshing on street there are many places that offer 5 dumplings for $1 including Tasty Dumpling on Allen Street and Dumpling House on Eldridge

    The sandwiches at the Spanish gourmet shop Despana feature their delicious cured meats (mostly) and are delicious--and around $8.

    For Mexican, there are two places on 10th Avenue and 47th street, that offer tacos and more

    Polish style food at Teresa's in the East Village is tasty, and quite filling

    It's not really a coffee shop, but I like the Donut Pub on 14th and 7th avenue, for donuts and coffee at the counter

    You get the idea: you can and will eat well here for not that much.

    1. Try momofuku or mee noodles for japanese noodles and steamed pork buns.

      1. There was a recent post (04/17) called "Current Favorite Dish/Item for Less than $10? ". This should have pretty much everything that you can get.


        1 Reply
        1. re: kobetobiko

          second on that list, probably 1000 choices on that particular thread.

        2. gray's papaya , mike's papaya , papaya king, papaya dog. most of them will serve 2 tasty hotdogs and a papaya drink for under 4.

          Do a search for ramen. Most will run you under 10 bucks for a bowl of ramen. Menchenko tei , sapporo, men kui tei etc..

          spanish american cafeteria style food tends to run under 10 bucks too like the margon restaurant which is only open only for lunch. They have fairly tasty cuban sandwich.

          the golden krust chain offers low priced jamaican meat patties for a couple of dollars. Entrees with rice will run you near 10 dollars.

          kati roll chain has pretty good indian style rolls. 4 -5 bucks each. you probably need to eat 2 get full.

          Starbucks has killed most local coffee shops but you can sit in one for hours without anyone bothering you. I suggest the starbucks in barnes and nobles or the seattles best in borders books, that way you can look at their travel books and plan. Macdougal street seems to have a string of dessert/coffee shops. Kind of pricey for desserts and its touristy too.

          Like the other users said 10 bucks in chinatown goes far. Chinese bakeries will sell you a variety of meat buns for 70 cents or under. The most popular bun is the roast pork bun. Mei lei wah bakery seems popular for roast pork buns even though I think its too fatty. No clue why people buy em by the dozen. 2 -3 meat buns should get you full. Meat buns keep extremely well so you can store em and eat em later. Look for something called the egg tart too in the bakeries.

          You probably can have dinner in chinatown everyday to save money and not get bored as there are a variety of cuisines down there.

          Vietnamese food - for lunch or dinner you can get something called a vietnamese sandwich or banh mi for 4 dollars or under.
          You can get tasty beef noodle soup with weird stuff (tendons, navel, tripe etc.. ) called pho for 6 bucks or under. You can order it without the weirdstuff too.
          You can get lemongrass grilled beef,pork, chicken with rice for like 6 dollars.
          Order some spring rolls for appetizers

          Malaysian - most with rice dishes are around 6 dollars. ie. hainanese chicken rice, beef rendang n rice. nyonya and penang are popular restaurants.

          Cantonese style chinese - hit noodletown or big wong. Get roast duck with rice, roast pork with rice, soy chicken n rice or wonton noodle soup (you can also combine the meats too like roast duck n roast pork n rice, or roast pork n wonton noodle soup) around 4 -5 dollars.

          Shanghainese - new green bo as some other user mentioned. The crab meat n pork soup dumplings for 6 - 7 bucks can be eaten like a meal instead of an appetizer.

          hong kong style food - xo kitchen . they sell stuff like baked spaghetti with cream sauce (portuguese sauce) and other stuff like it if you desire to eat stuff like that. (its nothing like italian food aside from the noodles)

          1 Reply
          1. re: randumbposter

            Don't forget banh mi Vietnamese sandwiches. These are simple but tasty sandwiches with French bagette bread and meat and veggies inside, usually $3-4. I'd recommend the BBQ Pork Banh Mi at Pho Saigon in Chinatown on Bowery just south of Canal.

          2. There are lots of places in Chinatown where you can get noodle soup or a dish over rice for $5 or less. There are also a bunch of places, such as on Division St., where you can get 4 sides and rice plus soup for $4.

            In the East Village, you can get a really sizeable meal by ordering the lunch special at Teresa's, 1st Av. between 6th and 7th Sts. One example of the lunch special would be a cup of soup, chicken stew with one side, and a soft drink, tea, or coffee - plus the bread that comes with the meal. I think the lunch special is $7.75 plus tax and tip.

            At Skyway Malaysian restaurant, Allen St. between Division and Canal in Chinatown, you can get a very filling noodle soup like asam laksa for $5.25 or curry mee with young tau foo for $4.95.

            1. Go to Greenwich and pick up a wonderful falafel plate at Mamouns...Walk down the street to Rocco's for a great cannoli...
              Grab a burger at Burger Joint
              Lots of good places to grab a slice of pizza...Ben's comes to mind
              There have been a lot of posts on carts that have good/cheap food
              Personally, I can be happy for lunch with a great bagel and veggie cream cheese!
              There are a lot of great eats in NY that don't cost a lot of money....

              1. My favorite coffee shop in NYC is Cafe Reggio. The capuccino is about 4 bucks and the place has a bizarre decorating scheme but it is definitely not a starbucks. It is usually full of NYU students and is located in the west village.

                119 MacDougal Street
                New York, NY 10012
                (212) 475-9557

                My favorite place for the ever-popular coffee/cherry strudel combination is the Hungarian Pastry Shop. The strudel is the best that I have ever tried!! The place is right by Columbia University and is usually full of Columbia students who are studying. The coffee and a strudel together should be about 5 bucks or so.

                1030 Amsterdam Avenue
                (between West 110th and 111th streets)
                New York, NY 10025

                1. Chinatown serves coffee thats cheap

                  1. For the evening I recommend two spots downtown that are both filled with students and young crowds.

                    Lovely Day - it is a little vintage-looking kind of asian inspired diner in Nolita. Its always packed with a good looking young crowd, who love the scene and the good cheap food. My favorite thing to order is the seared salmon. It is an enormous piece of fish served with mashed sweet potatoes covered in a creamy citrus type of sauce accompanied by an amazing house salad for only $9.50. Plus it is big enough to share with another person, so you could even order a cocktail and still be within your $12 budget.

                    Ino - is another favorite of mine for inexpensive, but fun dinners. The West Village restaurant is almost the size of the shoe box, but once you have a seat who cares. It is dimly lit and a great New York type of experience. The truffled egg toast for $7 is amazing or just order a bunch of the $2 bruschettas.

                    You might also want to check out happy hour specials.

                    Lure Fish Bar - kind of like being inside a yacht, but you're in Soho. $5 glasses of wine and $6 martini, along with a discounted bar menu Mon.-Fri. 5-7. The shrimp tempura, $6, is quite similar to Nobu's rock shrimp tempura in creamy spicy sauce. It is a large portion, enough for one for dinner and with a blood orange martini or a grapefruit margarita you'll be at $12. Great way to start the evening.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: wlark

                      I have to say that I've had the worst meal I've ever had in new york at lovely day. It's greasy, bland and the serice is just flat out obnoxious (which isn't uncommon in nolita, sadly). If you want cheap food in nolita, you'd be better off at rice (pan asian and assorted other cusines) which has entress on fancy rice for 5 dollars and up. Bite and Sparky's up on lafayette and bleecker have sandwiches and bugers/hot dogs that are inexpensive and tasty too.

                      1. re: alexis

                        Well, not everyone agrees on Lovely Day. I personally love the salmon and that is always what I order there and I have yet to be disappointed. But, I do second your suggestion of Rice. That is a great place to enjoy an inexpensive meal and the atmosphere is lively during the evening.

                        1. re: wlark

                          lil frankies, la pizza fresca, otto for $10ish brick oven pizzas.
                          il buco for lunch serves great panini's under $10 each.
                          bar veloce also $10 and under panini.

                          1. re: wlark

                            coffee. my faves are:
                            oren's - many locations
                            domo - west village
                            9th ave espresso (on 13th between 3rd and 2nd ave)

                        2. re: wlark

                          I agree that Lure has a good happy hour - for $12 not including taxes or tip you could get 1 drink and 1 app. but I would NOT recommend the $1 oysters.

                          Sapa has a similar happy hour that lasts until 7:30, $5 drinks, $5 and under apps, and really good oysters for $1 so I would probably suggest Sapa over Lure.

                          I think a really good place for a filling and inexpensive brunch is Velseka. Also I second Cafe Reggio, cute place again inexpensive and good food and coffee.

                          1. re: socialgirl

                            In west chelsea on 10th ave near 24th is Pepe Giallo, a small italian restaurant with a nice garden. Food is Very Fresh. Pasta's are 6-10$ a half carafe is like 12$ salads 5-7$ not incredibly cheap but the food is very good and overall an excellent value plus it's in the the finearts gallery district which is a cheap date thing

                            Also New Green BO in China Town on Bayard near Mott is a treat. You can a feast there on your budget and it is among the best Chinese restaurants of its kind.

                        3. Casa Adela on Avenue B/C in East Village. No ambience, but love their baccalau. You will be so full for so little $$$. Also quite fond of the pierogis at Ukrainian National home. Nothing can beat Chinatown. You can get 1/2 roast duck (they hang in the window) for approx. $7. Yummy.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: financialdistrictresident

                            Pardo's, you can get a Peruvian chicken right off the rotisseire for $7.Share an appetizer and you'll eat for under $12 each.

                          2. Another good happy hour is at Nolita House. You can get 3 cheeses and a glass of wine for $12.

                            1. Worijip (sp?) on 32nd between B'way and 5th. has very tasty Korean food by the pound from a steam table and noodle soups made to order in the back. One can have a decent meal for well under $10. Some of the other Koreatown places can be good value as well.