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Need-To-Go Food Destinations in NYC (Boroughs Included)

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So my last year of college will be starting soon. I've spent the past three school years in Manhattan, and I feel like I haven't even begun to discover what is there. I don't know if I'll ever be able to live here again - large animal veterinarians don't seem to be in too high of demand around here. So help a girl out. I've got from September to May to taste my way through the City.

I love all types of food - and I'm willing to try pretty much anything. My only restriction is price. I don't mind splurging every once in a while, but for the most part meals need to be around $20 or less.

Do you have three or four suggestions for places it would be a crime not to try before I leave?

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  1. Yes. Three years. In my defense, I have had a heavy course load and worked in whatever spare hours I could.

    I'm in the upper West side.

    3 Replies
    1. re: pennyperogi

      Hi pennyperogi. As a long-time New Yorker, I can understand getting so wrapped up in whatever you're doing that it's hard to get out and enjoy the wealth of tastes the city has to offer. A couple of suggestions, keeping in mind your budget requirements:

      1. Take a walk around Chinatown. You experience a movable feast just by sampling what the street vendors have to offer. I can bet you can also find suggestions of particular ones to try on the boards here.

      2. Check out Brighton Beach's food markets. Again, you can get a taste of a culture and neighborhood by eating where the locals shop. Many of the stores there have a wide selection of prepared foods. While you're in the neighborhood, go to Coney Island and get a Nathan's hot dog and ride the Cyclone. Actually, it's probably wise to ride the Cyclone, FIRST, for obvious reasons.

      3. I had the most amazing sandwich at the indoor market off of Bedford Avenue in the Bronx. It's close to Fordham, the Botanical Gardens and the Zoo, so you can make a day's outing out of exploring the area. The sandwich still makes my mouth water - fresh mozzarella, fried eggplant, roasted red peppers, basil leaves and olive oil on an Italian roll. I don't remember which stand it was, since this was years ago.

      4. Jackson Heights. A lot of interesting food out there and at very reasonable prices. The neighborhood is great.

      Run a search on the boards for whatever kind of food interests you. I'm sure you'll find some great options. Good luck with your last year of school and enjoy!

      1. re: skpow

        Thanks - these are great suggestions. I think Coney Island's boardwalk is closed, or soon will be. But I have been wanting to ride the Cyclone since I first started living here.

        1. re: pennyperogi

          To add to #3 above, skpow is referring to the Arthur Ave area, off Bedford Park Blvd... it is literally right behind the Bronx Zoo.
          Don't miss:
          Pastry from Egidio or Morrone (sfoglliatelle, canolli, chocolate mousse!)
          Lunch/Dinner at either Dominick's or Enzo's
          Bread from Madonia bakery
          Italian groceries from Teitel Bros.
          This is more of a neighborhood than Little Italy in Manhattan. Totally spend an afternoon there.

    2. Joe's Shanghai - 9 Pell Street, chinatown - So much has been said about this place over the years, here's the jist. Their soup dumplings are legendary. 8 pork soup dumplings are about 4.65. Nevertheless, the place hosts some of the best chinese food in the city.

      Caracas - 7th btw 1st and A. A very popular Venezuelan restaurant in the east village. Their signature are Arepas. Rice-Pita-Crepe-sandwiches that are crispy on the outside and soft in the inside with your choice in fillings. I absolutely go bonkers for this place, and so do many, on weekends during prime eating hours expect a long wait.

      These two are great to start off with. Cheap and NY favorites. let me know how it goes.

      1 Reply
      1. re: silencespeak

        I love Caracas! My roommate and I try and go at least once a month because we get cravings for the arepas. I will have to try Joe's as soon as I get back to NY.

      2. Puerto Rican cuchifritos on E. 116th and Park
        Sichuanese food stalls in Flushing
        Brawta for real Jamaican jerk
        Bagels and nova at Russ and Daughters
        Classic pastrami sandwich at Katz's Delicatessen
        Barbecue in K-Town
        Dim Sum at Golden Unicorn or Jing Fong
        Pizza at DiFara's

        1. Here are some of my favorites that I hold dear..enjoy!!

          OTAFUKU - little japanese street food stand in the EV on east 9th (2nd & 3rd avenues on south side) - known for yakotaki, amazing little fried round dumplings filled with octopus and ginger. amazing little savory treats.

          DOK SUNI'S - amazing little intimate Korean restaurant on 1st ave and 7th street in the EV. Great atmosphere and inexpensive.

          REPUBLIC - asian noodle spot on Union Square West and 17th street. fast and cheap. great, fresh food.

          JOYA - A must in Cobble Hill Brooklyn on Court Street. Cheap, fresh, great Thai food with a Soho, buzzing vibe. People come from all over Brooklyn to eat here.

          Here's an Italian:
          PEPE ROSSO - tiny little Italian take out spot on Sullivan right off of West Houston. You can get a great spicy sausage parpadelle pasta for $10 and eat on the church steps right next door.