Depends, of course, on what your idea of "doesn't break the bank" means. That said...
Rene Pujol, on 51st, b/t 8th & 9th - French - http://www.renepujol.com
Trattoria Trecolori, on 47th, b/t B'way & 8th - Italian - http://www.trattoriatrecolori.com
Roberto Passon, on 9th, corner 50th - Italian - http://www.robertopasson.com
Uncle Nick's, on 9th, b/t 50th & 51st. - Greek - Menu on Menupages
Old San Juan, on 9th, b/t 51st & 52nd - Puerto Rican - Menu on Menupages
Daisy May's BBQ, on 11th, corner 46th - http://www.daisymaysbbq.com
I very much appreaciate your suggestions.
Friends are coming to the states for the first time and are very excited about their NY jaunt.
By "break the bank" I simply meant places like Per Se, Bernardin, Gotham Bar & Grille, Picholine etc. (you get the idea.)
So, RGR, I imagine your suggestions fit closer to the line.
Thanks all so much for your comments.
(That's 8th & 51st)
La Bonne Soupe
48 W 55th St (btw 5th & 6th aves). bistro, inexpensive
Wu Liang Ye
36 W 48th St - Szechuan, "medium priced" (~$15 entrees, order family style.)
"Secret" Burger Joint in the Parker Meridian
118 W 57th Street (near 6th Ave.) - inexpensive, the wait can be significant
Menchanko-Tei Midtown East
43-45 W 55th St. ramen noodles, inexpensive
359 W 45th St (btw 8th & 9th). Taco joint, inexpensive
all these are tasty and totally worth eating.