One time trip - great food on a budget
We are bringing our family (2 teens, 2 kids, 2 parents) to NYC from Mississippi next week and staying in Times Square Doubletree (thanks to all my husband's travel). We have VERY little to spend on meals but want to enjoy the essence of NYC. I am fine with street vendors - or whatever is the best way to eat well on a dime. Does anyone have some recommendations close by where we can enjoy good food on our budget? I have searched all the boards and have some ideas but would love input from the people who really know the area - thank you so much!!!
I just want to thank you all for the help! We are very excited about the trip (well as excited as tweens and teens get) - and I really think we can have a great time without spending more than we have - your suggestions are VERY MUCH appreciated and I will be bringing them all with us on Saturday! I have been to NYC once years ago and, despite being in the heart of the South where everyone is born to be nice, found that the natives of NYC are the best - and make us "outsiders' feel right at home - thanks again!
If you want to eat cheaply (and very NYC) go for "ethnic" food, rather than eating in touristy areas like Times Square or Rockefeller Center: check out Chinatown (search the boards for recs), Vietnamese (an "approachable" place would be Saigon Grill, they have several locations), Indian, etc. Where I think most tourists make a mistake is trying to eat within a 1-2 block radius of a big tourist destination -- so plan your days so maybe you have lunch in Koreatown (around 32nd bet. 6th and 5th, Mandoo Bar is a good option) before heading to the Empire State Building, for example. Menupages.com is a good resource for prices and menus to help with your planning.
Based on where you're staying, you could also search the boards for places in Hell's Kitchen area (9th Ave). I think there are some decent pizza spots, some diners, and places like Pam Real Thai and Uncle Nick's (Greek) that aren't too pricey for NY and would do for more of a sit down meal.
some cheap eats off the top of my head
mamouns falafel on macdougal
naruto ramen on 89th and 3rd (6.50 ramen on mondays)
papaya king hot dogs
saigon #1 for vietnamese banh mi sandwich
new pasteur for pho and cheap vietnamese on baxter st. (used to be pho pasteur)
italian village pizza
wawa canteen on mercer - korean inspired student eatery
(always look near universities for cheap eats)