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Best Restaurants Without the High NYC Costs

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I want to know your absolute favorite restaurants, whether it's a stand on a street corner, a bar, a hole in the wall or fine dining with a 2month wait list. I want the places you love that everyone else loves, the places that you're embarrassed that you love and even the places that you're the only fan. The only thing is, I want the places that i can actually afford, so a max. of approximately $40-50 per person without alcohol, however feel free to include places with a great wine/drink selection. I know there are a million and one restaurants in NYC, and I also know that unfortunately as a college foodie, I can't afford many of them especially the ones most commonly discussed on here.

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  1. Jackson Hole is one of my guilty cheap-food pleasures. It's essentially bar/diner food, but the portions are enormous, and you can easily afford it as a college foodie (their 7 oz burger is $7.99, for example.) I would order one set of food and divide it between two people -- their side of broccoli is an entire head of broccoli, for example.

    I generally get my food from the Madison Avenue location but they are all over town. http://www.jacksonholeburgers.com/

    2 Replies
    1. re: brendastarlet

      I live very close to that Madison Ave. one, but I have to say, I really detest their burger - just seems like gloppy loosely put together ground beef to me. However, I've only ever had their burger and fries/onion rings.

      In that area, for burgers, I'd much rather go to Ottomanelli, and I think their burger is cheaper as well.

      1. re: MMRuth

        Oooh, there are so many great places in the city. I think the west village has some really great places, my favorite affordable place is Po, which Batali used to work at I believe. The apps are around 10 to 15 and the mains are all around 20. Great value and the food was amazing.

        I know that Yasuda is always mentioned, but the lunch prix fixe is a great deal and I think you can get out of there for 50 a head if you hold back just a tad on the order for dinner.

    2. Amen on the Jackson Hole "gloppy loosely put together ground beef"

      JG Melon...GREAT burger

      Had lunch @ Burger Joint today....No joke burger...top 5-10 in NYC

      PO is great

      3 Replies
      1. re: kvrsos

        I like Burger Joint, too, but their burgers are TINY. And I'm not a really big eater. Good fries. Go after 3 p.m. ( think) when you can get a vanilla milk shake!

        1. re: uwsgrazer

          Wow--I definitely wouldn't call the burgers at BJ tiny. They're not 10 oz. behemoths, by any stretch, but I'd call them normal size burgers. Agree on that it's worth trying the shakes too, but they're now available after 1:30.

          http://www.parkermeridien.com/eat4.php

          1. re: Lucia

            okay, okay, maybe they're not tiny but I would say they are on the small side of a normal burger, at least in this super-sized world we live in. Or maybe they are just so tasty I don't realize how much I'm eating. It's possible.

      2. Just revisited an old standby I frequented a lot when I was barely getting by in nyc- Spice. You can't beat their lunch special with a free appetizer. It's filling and good.

        http://nyctastes.blogspot.com/

        Also my other two upscale favorites are Gramercy tavern & Giorgo's of Gramercy. Both have great food, great ambiance and you can get out for under $40 a head.

        http://nyctastes.blogspot.com/search/...

        1. bacon cheeseburger at molly's is pretty good. add soup (onion) and a salad and you won't won't break the bank. sub onion rings for fries.

          1. Plenty of discussion of places w/in your price range. You could probably do the following w/in that range w/o alcohol:

            Apizz, Crispo, Tavern Room at Gramercy Tavern, Momofuku Ssam Bar, Ippudo, Otto, Pylos Snack Taverna, August, 'ino, 'inoteca, Tia Pol/El Quinto Pino, Casa Mono, Boqueria, Azul Bistro, Little Owl, Upstairs, Shake Shack, Ali Baba, Lupa, Po, La Nacional, Hill Country, Spotted Pig, etc.

            You could also do some of the high end lunches around town like Jean Georges, Perry Street, Bouley, Fleur de Sel, Gramery Tavern, etc.

            Check out some of these cheap eats threads:
            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/494015
            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/433341
            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/422332
            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/521350
            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/212295

            1. All these places listed are really good and affordable.
              Enjoy. These are good restaurants without the high NYC cost.

              Japanese: Yasuda has a prix fixe around 20$ or sushi matsu for 34$, yakitori totto(55th) and soba totto(43rd) are great spots where you can eat for 20$,kyotofu (dessert place,<20$), aburiya kinnosuke, en japanese brasserie
              French: check out Bouchon bakery in the time warner center (less than 20$), Bar boulud (lincoln center area, <50$) and Cafe d'alsace (upper east side, <40$)
              consider JG restaurant: Jean georges, Vong, Perry street, Spice market : 12$ a dish at lunch
              Italian: gennaro, otto pizzeria, mezzaluna (<40$)
              American: pearl oyster bar, ed lobster bar for a lobster roll (<40$)
              Thai: Thai market (107st and amsterdam) is excellent (8$ lunch)
              Indian: Saravanaas (vegetarian) (<20$)