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Best Cheap Eats in Midtown West

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I've been living on 51st and 9th for about a year now and I'm looking to branch out to wayyy more restaurants.

At this point I have a pretty solid 5-10 restaurants that I go to on the regular including...Won Dee Siam for thai, Mee for chinese, Sapporo for ramen, Island burger (along with all the other usual suspects) for burgers, Nick's for greek, Daisy May's for BBQ, Sacco's for Pizza, and Renaissance for late night diner.

Now I'm a film student graduate and have a ton of loans to pay so my budget is sort of limited to say $15ish a meal or so.

I always have options outside of my hood and I'm constantly discovering great new spots throughout the city, but for lazy days when I want to stay in and deliver or keep it close to home, where should I go??!!! I'm open to any and all suggestions.

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  1. Looks like you've found some good, solid places. I've inserted links of some others worth looking into, especially Shorty's (decent Philly cheesesteaks), Sandwich Planet, and
    Tehuitzingo (really great, cheap and authentic Mexican. The deli is next door to the restaurant).
    I'd also like to recommend Uncle Nick's Ouzaria (you may already know this one having eaten in Uncle Nick's. It's open really late and has good food) and Piece of Chicken (West 45 bet. 8th and 9th). IMO, Sullivan St. Bakery has the best bread in the city so buy a loaf and head to a deli or try their Roman-style pizza or panini. The pizza bianca is cheap and crazy good. Rice n Beans has great pao de queijo but I haven't tried anything else there. I'd also recommend Angelo's which is on W57th near Burger Joint.
    Use menupages.com to look at menus, prices and reviews. Good luck in grad school. I ate my way through it.

    -----
    Tehuitzingo
    695 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036

    Burger Joint
    118 W 57th St, New York, NY 10019

    Sullivan Street Bakery
    533 W 47th St, New York, NY 10036

    Shorty's
    576 9th Ave, New York, NY 10036

    Rice 'n' Beans
    744 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

    Bangkok House
    360 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036

    Five Guys Burgers and Fries
    43 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019

    Basera
    745 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10019

    1. Tehuitzingo is a *great* suggestion. I give it three thumbs up. Also, across the street from Tehuitzingo, there's Tulcingo del Valle for more of a sit-down experience.

      I haven't been in a while, but I used to love Empanada Mama when i lived in the area. The food is good, but I've read more recent reviews that complain about service. If it's bad, you could always get it to go.

      Hallo Berlin and Hallo Berlin Express are both near you and good for a wurst + beer (or even pickled herring should you be in the mood).

      1. Make sure to add Tulcingo del Valle to your list: 10th Ave between 47/48. Some of the city's best and most authentic Mexican food that won't cost you more than $15

        www.thelunchbelle.com

        1. Piece of Chicken on 45th isn't definitely worth a stop for cheap food. The fried chicken is strangely lemony, but good, and at $1 a piece, can hardly be beaten. Luckys Famous is the best burger joint in the area and they have addictive onion rings (which I've been eating twice a week now for the past two weeks, unfortunately for my gut). The 80-year old Poseidon bakery is worth a visit for generous slices of spanakopita or tiropita that can easily serve as a meal. Vynl isn't bad for diner food (especially their calamari). For Thai, Q2 is pretty cheap and can be good, though I've noticed some uneveness as of late. Minar is fantastic for Indian: cheap, authentic and well within walking distance.

          6 Replies
          1. re: JungMann

            thanks for reminding me about lucky's famous. i had been looking forward to trying it when i first noticed it a while a back but it fell off my radar. i'm glad to hear the onion rings are good b/c i can't seem to find good ones. how are they prepared? are they thin or thick? breading, buttermilk or beer batter? any dipping sauces?

            1. re: nativeNYer

              I'm fairly certain they're prepared with crack cocaine. The onion rings themselves are huge loops, like some Mineola girl's gawdy earrings: easily 2-3 bites per ring. They come with a thick layer of breading that is crisp and flavorful without being overly greasy. Of course even flavorful onion rings can benefit from a dab of the spicy chipotle mayo or the slightly smoky and tart Lucky Sauce, the latter of which is great on the burgers as well.

              1. re: JungMann

                thanks. must try these!

                1. re: JungMann

                  haha dipped in crack indeed. i second this! lucky's is my favorite fast-food style burger in the hood (versus island burgers, which is more of a restaurant or grille style) and the onion rings are insanely good. crispy, not too greasy, and a serving bigger than my head. lucky's fries are quite good too - crispy but substantial.

              2. re: JungMann

                So what's the location of Luckys Famous? We'll be in city in early January and would like to check it out.

                1. re: berkleybabe

                  Lucky's Famous is on 52nd St. just east of 9th Avenue. It's a blazingly brightly painted storefront. You can hardly miss it.

              3. azuri cafe for falafel (51st & 10th). chai thai (55th & 8) for $8 lunch specials. burger joint at the parker meridien (57th & 7th)

                1 Reply
                1. re: thievery

                  AZURI for sure! best falafel in the city - and his toppings are fabulous.
                  just be nice to the owner - he can be a bit gruff.

                2. There are two places that I would add.. both are cheap as hell and delicious. One is Desi Deli on 10th between 49th and 50th on the west side. Total hole in the wall with tins that you just point to as well as tandoori, kebabs, and samosas (among other things) but you know its good by all the cab drivers lined up on their breaks. Also try Old San Juan on 9th between 51 & 52. I skipped it for years then tried their $6 lunch sandwich and was hooked, just tell them to go light on the mayo or you are in for a nightmare.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Amete

                    hate to tell u this,but old san juan is gone-they closed sometime in the first six months of 2008.

                    1. re: mrbeachy

                      They're still answering the phone as of just now. Could the place have moved?

                      -----
                      Old San Juan
                      765 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

                      1. re: squid kun

                        yes. they are answering their phones. they are on 9th ave between 51-52 st. i believe they used to be at 9th ave and 50th street. i will plan a visit to check them out- their cuisine used to be very good to excellent.

                  2. Pam Real Thai on 49th just off 9th. Try their green curry. It's amazing ... and I swear it will cure anything that ails you.

                    1. Also try Thalia on 8th & 50th. It's fancy. But for lunch they have really good prices -- just order their crab cake sandwich, and you really don't need anything else.

                      1. lime jungle, on 9th ave at 53rd st (where empanada mama used to be) is pretty good cheap mexican. they're not incredibly consistent, but if you want cheap mexican you can go to chipotle, or lime jungle. the steak fajita salad is filling and delicious, steak tender and juicy, peppers, buttermilk dressing - the works. and they put bacon in the salad, which makes it highly addictive. salsa bar near the register has about 8 different kinds of fresh salsa free for the taking, so add some chips and you've got yourself a pretty good meal for under $10. it's not authentic mexican and isn't the best, but in the neighborhood, it's cheap, fresh, and tasty. they also serve liquor and beer at a very reasonable price.

                        1. Amish Market on 9th Ave and 49th st - good marketplace for sandwiches, sushi, salads, etc. i also really like the Food Emporium cafe on 8th and 49th for the same type of fare.