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Aug 20, 2007 07:42 PM

We're Going to Per Se, So We're Eating Street/Really Cheap Food for the Rest our Trip. Ideas?

OK, New Yorkers Mr. Suebee and I need your help. We are going to have dinner at Per Se during our upcoming trip to NY but $700 for one meal is way more than we are used to (or should be) spending.

So for the rest of our trip, my goal is to find the city's little and cheap gems. I'm thinking the best slices of pizza, burgers, salads, basically anything for $25 or less for 2. Any ideas?

Gray's Papaya?
Shake Shack?
Burger Joint?

There must be so many more - please help this Angeleno find them.

Thanks in advance!


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  1. I suppose Grey's Papaya could be done...however I tried it twice and didn't like it at all....something about grilled onions from a can.

    My favorite cheap eats are Pomme Frites, Essa Bagels (for breakfast) (you'll never eat another bagel), Una Bella Pizza Neapolitana (hands down the best pizza in America), and The Dumpling Man (amazing handmade dumplings).

    Enjoy Per Se!

    7 Replies
    1. re: vinoepasta

      Thanks so much Vinoepasta! These all sound like great ideas and will be on the top of our list.


      1. re: vinoepasta

        Here in Toronto you can get a really big bowl of pho, which is not junk food but makes a very satisfying meal (broth, meat, noodles, bean sprouts, etc.) for about 6.00 in most Vietnamese restaurants. I assume you can get the same in New York.

        1. re: ekammin

          Yes, yes, yes we love pho! And yes, there must be at least 50 great pho joints in Manhattan.

          1. re: Suebee

            Pho is best in the west but if you must...I like the chiu chow noodle soups at Bo Ky (Bayard street btwn. Mulberry and Baxter street) and their country duck with generous helpings of their special hot sauce. Nha Trang (Baxter st. between Bayard and Walker st.) for pho. It is indeed very cheap.

            1. re: DarthEater

              The pho satee at Nha Trang is 4.00 and really good.

          1. re: vinoepasta

            For hot dogs, what about Crif Dogs? Dash Dogs?

            As for pizza...Una Bella Pizza? You mean Una Pizza Napoletana on 12th Street and 1st Avenue? It's very good but nowhere more like $40 for 2.

            Chinese is a good idea, though. Check out one of the Grand Sichuan branches (Chelsea, St Marks, etc.) There's also a wealth of 5 dumplings for $1 joints.

            Don't forget to check out RGR's Lower East Side noshing tour. Plenty of cheap eats there.

          2. Not a New Yorker, but I always stop at Ray's Famous (bunch of locations) for either a gooey slice of pizza, or an even gooier meatball hero (with sauce and cheese!!).

            Also, try one of the delis on 7th Avenue - I'm not going to get into the holy war between Carnegie/Stage Door/7th Ave - all of them are pretty good compared to the bland deli meats we get elsewhere, and the sandwiches are huge, so if you have a fridge at your hotel, they end up being lunch for two days straight.

            BTW, in the "cheap and cheerful" places, don't expect too much cheer during the lunch rush. In Manhattan, time is money, and if you're not ready to order, you'll either be told as much, or get passed over for the next guy in line. I'm not saying this to be critical; in a city where you might only get 30 minutes for lunch, and spend five minutes of that riding the elevator, you want to get your order placed and your food served quickly. If I'm in a place where I don't know the menu or what I want, I stay out of the line until I'm ready.

            8 Replies
            1. re: KevinB

              Good thinking about the line strategy :)

              And yes, delis are a must. Mr. Suebee loves Katz's but we'll for sure hit up some delis on 7th as well. Thanks for the tip.

              Oh and speaking of pizza, what about Di Fara's in Brooklyn? Worth the hype?

              1. re: Suebee

                Don't go to Ray's! Unless you're starving and have no other choice.

                Go to Patsy's in East Harlem.

                Please ask about Brooklyn pizzerias on the Outer Boroughs board (I love Totonno's BTW).

                1. re: kathryn

                  Sorry about the poor board etiquette! I'll ask about Brooklyn on the other board, thanks.

                2. re: Suebee

                  hey sue, another la hound, here and difara's is worth, do make the trek. take a subway to Avenue J and while you're there get some slices, it's a ramshackle place but there's no place like it. oh, and stop by the orchard for samples of fancy fruit.

                  also, make sure to hit up Olympic Pita on coney island ave near difara's. should be very cheap too.

                  Lombardi's is good too, near though not in Little Italy. much better than the stuff at mozza.

                3. re: KevinB

                  Please tell me more about Una Bella Pizza Neapolitana - I did a Google search and couldn't find anything!

                  1. re: pizzajunkie

                    Una Pizza Napoletana (no "bella")
                    12th Street and 1st Avenue
                    349 E 12th St
                    New York, NY 10003
                    (212) 477-9950

                    1. re: kathryn


                      Una Pizza Napoletana
                      349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

                      1. re: kathryn

                        On that Napoletana style there is also Pizza Gruppo on ave B

                  2. My favorite is Mamouns on Bleeker and MacDougal...Best falafal, hummus, pita, lamb, etc...Cheap, but I would eat there if it was expensive..Burgers and fries at Burger Joint in the Le Parker Meridien...Get a "slice" of pizza at Ben's in Soho...I could live on a good bagel with veggie cream cheese..Many good places for this...H & H is good, and many other places as well....There are all kinds of Korean delis that have these hot food and salad bars that are very economical...Split huge sandwiches at Katz or Stage Deli or Carnegie...Grab a hot dog or sausage or pretzel or other things on the street carts...Happy Cheap Eating!

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: jinet12

                      Thanks much Jinet12! Mamoun's sounds great as we love a good falafel. And yes, last time we went to Burger Joint and enjoyed it, so it's probably on the list again. Now that you're bringing it up, we should just get a half dozen bagels at H & H and call that breakfast every morning. I've never heard of Ben's in SoHo, but thanks for the tip!


                      1. re: jinet12

                        Your on the money with Mamouns but Korean delis for an angeleno? Egads~!!!!!! Hardly economical for the quality and state of the food.

                        1. re: DarthEater

                          I work in Koreatown here in LA where you can find excellent Korean everywhere and yet I must say I'm not a huge fan. But I'll line up for good Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, etc. any day.

                          1. re: Suebee

                            I suggest Moon House, 67 Bayard Street, between Mott and Elizabeth. Good and cheap. Don't miss the fried tiny buns.

                        2. re: jinet12

                          Stay away from the pretzels, they're often hard as a rock, and no better than the ones you can find in the frozen case at Costco or something.

                          1. re: jinet12

                            I understand the appeal of Mamouns, but Yatagan, the Turkish falafel shop down the street is much better

                          2. The Halal Carton 53rd and 6th, 7pm -4am


                            The Calexico Cart on the corner of Wooster and Prince in SoHo, 11am - 4pm


                            1 Reply
                            1. re: pacz

                              Great calls on some of the best cart food in the city. The halal cart on 53rd has actually started attracting tourists from what I understand, so why not send an Angeleno there as well.

                              Among New York's bounty is some great:
                              Chinese - New Green Bo, Moon House ($2 pork tiny buns, $8 dinner item)
                              Thai - Highline ($10 prix-fixe lunch)
                              Bagels - H&H, Tal, Ess-a-bagel ($3 for a generous schmear)
                              Burgers - Shake Shack, Corner Bistro ($6 bacon cheeseburger)
                              Soul - Charles's Southern Kitchen, Rack & Soul
                              Australian - Tuck Shop
                              Empanadas - Empanada Mama, Argentine bakery on 8th Ave.
                              Half-price "Anniversary" Sushi - Oyama
                              And too many pizza and stromboli joints to mention. In a city where the average studio is approaching $2000/mo., you can bet that there is great demand for cheap, affordable places to eat.

                            2. The Dosa Cart in Washington Square Park is delicious, and you can get gelato from the Otto cart at the other end, too.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: tamasha

                                I'm always up for some gelato....this isn't Batali's Otto cart?

                                Also, what are dosa?

                                1. re: Suebee

                                  Yes, the official name of the cart is GelOtto. They do have odd hours, though, so I'd check their web site or call ahead. And don't expect to find their famous olive oil gelato at the cart; I think they save that one for the restaurant.

                                  1. re: Suebee

                                    and supposdely they now have the olive oil gelato at mozza in la.

                                    but if you can squeeze out a little more dough, Babbo is really good.

                                    1. re: kevin

                                      worse case scenario, walk into otto (around the corner from the park) and order a pint to go from the hostess.