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Nov 19, 2008 02:06 PM


Well, the times they are getting tougher, need some new ideas for some inexpensive meals. Please list some of your best bets, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, anything goes, as long as it's filling, cheap, and good. If you're trying to watch the bill, avoid beverages, and drink water--that difference in cost, can help to defer the tip.

Know that the flushing malls are a favorite of many, but I've never ventured there, because most of all that I have read involves some sort of pork, lamb, or offal of some kind. What about any strictly vegetarian stuff in the malls, and what about shrimp dishes (without heads, please), is there anything that is tame and really remarkable at the same time?

DE MOLE (Mexican Sunnyside, Queens)
Lots of things under $10 on their menu
All of the breakfast items are around $5-6 and are great
The torta's are around $6
The burritos are under $10
Quesadillas under $6
DeMole salad with grilled shrimp is about $7

Sripiphrai (Thai, Woodside Queens)
Now has lunch special that someone just posted about. That would be great, as I never get out of there for less than $40 for 2

Pio Pio used to be a good deal, but they raised their prices, and got rid of their lunch special on Woodhaven, so ordering ala carte if you like white breast chicken gets pricey now.

Spicy and Tasty (Szechuan Chinese Flushing, Queens)
$6 Lunch Special, lots of great choices ,comes with soup and free app, sm portion Eat here all the time My fav's, shrimp with turnips spicy --get an ala carte appetizer from cold bar to share--

Was going to Sun Lok Kee (Flushing), but have no idea what happened in the last couple weeks, their gate has been down, and their lunch special at $4.25 for squid with black bean sauce was great, even though the service always left something to be desired, and that's being kind.

The Lunch Special at Seva the Indian place in Astoria was very good, but I haven't been lately, and last reports indicated a severe slip in the place, so interested in some more recent reports.

Too tired to think of any more, but would like to hear some new ones...thanks.

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  1. Pio Pio Riko (Peruvian, Sunnyside, Queens)
    Cheap chicken and enough choices for vegetarians (i.e. avo salad, tostones, tacu tacu).

    Papacitos (Mexican, Greenpoint, Brooklyn)
    Most items under $10 with good choices of fillings for omnis and vegans/vegetarians.

    Mundo (Turkish/fusion, Astoria, Queens)
    I go for the Red Sonja ($7) but most entrees are $12-$13.

    Mighty Diamond (Caribbean/vegan, Brooklyn)
    I haven't tried this place yet, but I hear you get a ton of spicy vegan delights for $7-$11.

    Veggie Castle II (Caribbean/vegan, South Richmond Hill, Queens)
    Take-out only but $10 worth of food will feed you for a couple of days. Vegan doesn't mean bland or boring at this joint. Excellent, filling smoothies for about $3.

    Corfu (Greek, FoHi, Queens)
    Still has solid, cheap lunch specials ($5-$6).

    Cinco de Mayo (Mexican, Bayside, Queens)
    Solid, filling lunch specials for around $7. Free chips & salsa.

    Happy Buddha (Chinese/vegan, Flushing, Queens)
    Flushing's best Chinese stunt meat & dim sum joint for vegetarians/vegans. Usually packed with locals, not tourists, unlike Buddha Bodai on Main Street (which I find inedible). Lunch specials daily for about $6-$7. Copious amounts of free tea. Friendly service and good portions.

    Avli (Greek, Bayside, Queens)
    My favorite Greek restaurant with lots of options for vegetarians. Portions are huge and they do have lunch specials in the $8-$9 range (I believe the specials are dine-in only). It's hard to finish the huge portion of spanakopita after you've scarfed down a few baskets of grilled pita bread...

    Stir It Up (Caribbean, Brooklyn)
    Large portions of great Ital food near BAM, with lots of choices for vegetarians (the "Ha Ha Chicken Balls" are delicious). Most cost $7-$9 depending on whether you're ordering for lunch or dinner.

    Rice Avenue (Thai, JaHi, Queens)
    Lunch specials for about $6 and entrees around $9.

    7 Replies
    1. re: PlomeekSoup

      Yes, Avli is pretty good, very good pasticchio, and huge portion, the chicken kebab though not as good as Corfu on a good day (sometimes they overcook it),--never had their spinach pie, is it triangle shaped or is it in a big square?

      The Mt. Ararat Bakery on LIE service road just before Springfield, has very nice little mint spinach shallot triangles, and lovely house made pita, and some good cookies and such that they make...good for a quick lunch to take home and make a meal with other stuff..also, great selection of string cheese that is hard to find....

      Cinco De Mayo, I've never tried and I'm in the Bayside area once a week, will have to check the place out...

      Pio Pio Riko is on my sunnyside list to try, do you think it's as good as Pio Pio?

      Thanks for the good suggestions! Please keep them coming!

      1. re: janie

        I never ate at the Pio Pio you're referring to, and it's been a few years since I ate chicken, but I think it's a good spot for the prices and portions. And the white garlic sauce that comes with the tostones? Awesome.

        1. re: janie

          Pio Pio Riko is vile, especially compared to Pio Pio. i was never crazy about their food at all, but they delivered to a former job, so we ordered about once a month. Our order was usually $100-150. The last time we ordered we waited 2 hours (for a large order we knew we'd have to wait, but that was outrageous), and they didn't include any aji or utensils. When we called to tell them, they told us it was "too bad" and we were lucky we got our food.

        2. re: PlomeekSoup

          Second the vote for Pio Pio. Where else can you get a whole chicken and avocado salad for ~ 16 bucks?

          1. re: dbosullivan

            Just about anywhere in Queens...oh, wait, it won't be 16 but rather 9 bucks! Second the idea that Pio Pio Riko is "vile." It truly is. I went there last night, on a Thursday, and I got a ceviche that stunk like fish, a baked tamal that was as dry as a brick, a sopa a la criolla whose meat also tasted old, and then a check with the 15% service charge included but no tax visible--the 15% was in the tax line. I thought that was illegal in NYC. I didn't have the chicken, which is supposedly their specialty, but their criollo dishes really rot. If you want Peruvian in Queens go to Urubamba on 37th Ave in Jackson Heights. The place is much more upscale and looks more expensive than Pio Pio but it's not, at least in terms of food (drinks are more expensive, but ceviche actually slighty cheaper).

            1. re: zemilideias

              The chicken is what you want at Pio Pio, it is top notch. Anything else you order there is at your own risk.

          2. re: PlomeekSoup

            Just got word that Mighty Diamond went bye-bye.

          3. The place on SI that I mentioned the other day- Dosa Garden. A HUGE dosa for $4.50. Add a Lassi and you are set for the day- and under $10

            1. Think Balkan.

              In Astoria go to Cevabdzinica Sarajevo and get 5 cevapi sausages with diced raw onion and Ajvar red sauce and flat bread for $5.00. $9.00 buys you 10.

              In Ridgewood $8.00 buys you a large Bosnian burger (aka pljeskavica) at Bosna Express.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Bob Martinez

                There's now a rockin Bosnian place on 12th St. near 30th Ave in AStoria/LIC border

              2. Ghoroa. I've had three course meals for under 4 dollars there.

                3 Replies
                1. re: JFores

                  Location? Cuisine? Any details at all? Anything to recommend it other than the fact that it's dirt cheap?

                  1. re: Bob Martinez

                    Wow, I have to try this place out.

                    It's on Hillside Ave in Jamaica, Queens:

                    1. re: PlomeekSoup

                      I think I have eaten here but I'm not sure. I have definitely eaten some fantastic Indian food in Jamaica. Can you describe the interior so I can figure out which one this is?

                2. I try to live my life by that rule. Besides the places you mentioned (De Mole and Pio Pio are on my list):

                  Joe's Shanghai- 8 pork/crab soup dumplings and an order of shanghai lo mein with chicken and I am a happy man- you can share that for less than $20.

                  El Coyote- tonight my woman and I shared a large chicken soup and a pollo with salsa verde, rice, beans, and tortillas for $17.

                  Bella Via- get a large thin crust pizza and drink some water. It feeds two :)

                  Jackson Hole- I love their grilled chicken sandwiches- I get one with monterey jack cheese and grilled onions for $8.45 including tax and it is enough to feed me- it's big. That times 2 is $17.

                  Jackson Diner- I know a lot of people don't consider it authentic but one order of chicken tikka masala (which comes with rice) and 2 orders of naan and 2 people are well fed for $20.

                  Salut- 4 kebabs (love the lula and boneless chicken), hummus, and bread for under $20 (if you pay cash you don't have to pay tax).

                  Northern Manor- beef pan fried noodles and an order of rice (white or fried) will cost you in the teens but it easily feeds two and the quality is good.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: BigV

                    It's not that Jackson Diner isn't authentic, it's that it's long lost its luster and now serves 2nd rate, listless Indian stuff that seems as if it belongs in Toledo, OH