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(Very) Cheap Restaurants, Grocers, and Liqours in Midtown?

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Me and friend of mine are going to be staying between Union Square and Washington Square Park at our friend's apartment. We are both taking this trip with under 200-300 dollars each for food, drinks, entertainment, transportation, ect... and I want to leave New York feeling like it was really worth it. Is there anywhere you know of where I could get amazing food for very cheap? Especially exciting would be food that would be hard to find in Minneapolis. Minneapolis has a lot of vietnamese, eastern african, mexican, japanese, and scandanavian restaurants so I might want to steer clear of those. But if it's really good I would reconsider. It's ok if it's outside of the area we are staying because we can take an adventure out to find it. We're both young and are ok with the dirtiest, nastiest areas of the city, as long as we can find some good food.

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  1. As a college student and a SpaHa (spanish harlem) resident, I know that my area has very, very cheap liquor stores. Handle of decent vodka for $22, as opposed to the ten or 15 dollars more it would cost anywhere below 100th st. It's well worth the $4 subway ride for a booze run, stock up.
    I would explore China Town while you're here. You can get awesome dim sum for extremely cheap and amazing dumplings 5 for a buck. You're gonna be staying right near St. Mark's Place (8th Street), a colleg-ey area. I would also reccomend Yaffa Cafe on 8th between 1st ave and Ave A.
    Have a fun trip!

    1 Reply
    1. re: conngirl

      I second the Chinatown recommendation. You can eat like a king for $8 and they have specialties that are harder to find in Minneapolis like soup dumplings or fishballs on a stick. And if you do make it to Spanish Harlem, you should check out the Cuchifritos stand. You definitely won't see that back home. Downtown, 1849 has a special on buffalo wings and drinks (1/2 price) that you should check out. Falafel from Ali's or a dönerkebab from Yatagan are definite musts in the Village. Crif Dogs and belgian fries at Pommes Frites on the east side. Also be sure to try Korean fried chicken at one of the places on 32nd and the buffet at Woorijip. Lunch specials are also great deals for trying out nicer places. I dropped $40 at Highline last night, but had I gone for lunch, I would've only paid $8.

      While Warehouse Wines and Spirits is beyond cheap for buying liquor, you might want to also try looking at the following website for happy hours: http://www.drinkdeal.com/.

    2. (BTW, you're sort of at the north eastern edge of Greenwich Village, not in midtown). For bottled wines and liquor, you're very close to the cheapest place in the five boroughs: Warehouse Wines and Spirits, on Broadway, a block south of Eighth St. Note that liquor stores do not sell beer. Supermarkets, groceries and beer distributors do. However wine is only sold in liquor stores. As conngirl suggested Chinatown is a good bet for inexpensive food. There is also *very cheap* (but not very good) Indian food on 6th St. around Second Ave. Surprisingly good, inexpensive food can also be found at many street carts around the City. And there is always Gray's papaya for a cheap dog.

      Also, it's worth a trip out on the #7 train to Queens for cheap Chinese, Filipino, Indian, and South American Food. Ask on the Outer Boroughs board if you are interested.

      1. Sounds like you want street food.

        here's a thread.

        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/423530

        If you;re looking to bring alchohol back to the apt . you can't beat "new beer" distributors on chrystie street for beer selection. Prices are good too. Warehouse wines and spirts near nyu is usually a couple dollars cheaper than most of the standard places in nyc.

        If you can get a seat there, Kenka has 8 dollar pitchers of japanese beer. The 1.50 glasses of beer are small so I'd stick with the pitcher. The food ranges from mediocre to terrible. The place is real trippy and offers bizzaree stuff like cow penis. (I'd probably skip the food. Just go there for cheap drinks) Plus they give you some sugar powder to make cotton candy after your meal.

        1. It would really help to know how long you're staying in NYC--how long does your money have to last?
          That said, I'm originally from Minneapolis (maybe I should head over to the Midwest board and check out what's going on in Scandinavian food, as there wasn't that much of it there outside of home cooking and the occasional novelty joint and Nye's when I was growing up in the 80s and 90s), and I know you've got Thai, but Galangal on the north side of West 4th St. between Washington Square Park and 6th Ave. (closer to 6th Ave.) offers relatively cheap and very good lunch specials (you can get out of there for under $10) if you want a sit-down meal. One block south, on the south side of West 3rd St. between McDougal and 6th, there's the "Philly cheese steak" place (PB Sandwich Bar? It's right next to the parking garage up a very short flight of stairs)--in quotes because purists would kill me, but they're extremely delicious versions thereof with this kind of sweet and savory warm pepper relish on top.

          If you followed the street food link above, you will no doubt have read about the dosa man on the south side of Washington Square Park--he just won the "Vendy" awards (street food awards), and you can get very full for about $6.50 (as an inveterate meat eater, it's my favorite vegetarian food in the city).

          I know opinions vary a bit on this, but for maximum food:value ratio in an Italian restaurant (not the absolute cheapest or the absolute best, but an awesome combination of cheap, if you order carefully, and very good), I absolutely love Max in the East Village (Avenue B between 3rd and 4th)--go early and get the lasagna (so enormous and dense that you will only be able to eat half, and it reheats great), which is $9.95. Ignore any exasperation from the waiters and go with water and get out of there for under $13 all in. Get a glass of wine and leave for about $20 each or split the lasagna and a starter with your friend (I swear this will be enough food) and it's about $10 apiece. Love that place.

          Not exciting, but The Stoned Crow is a bar on Washington Place between McDougal and 6th. Their basic burger is $5 and one of the best in the city, and it's, well, a bar. A student bar with relatively cheap alcohol. Go early in the evening for cheep beer and a delicious burger.

          I second the recommendation above for Yatagan for kebab (I much prefer it to Mahmoun's, which you'll see rec'd a lot for the area in which you're staying)--the meat's really tasty--and that you should check out the Outer Boroughs board for better luck with cheaper "exciting" cuisines.

          1 Reply
          1. re: planetjess

            Yeah, I'm living in Minneapolis and would also like to know where to find that horde of good Scandinavian food. Just got back from NYC last night. I.left in a rush so didn't check out the board here, but ended up at two of plantjess's recommendations even so, and can second her recommendations for the Philly cheesesteak spot (traditional enough, and darn good) and Max's. At Max's I had the gnocci special, which consisted of lovely little balls of gnocci in a gorgonzola-saffron sauce, and a glass of house red, all for about $20.