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LES dinner recs

My fiance and I are travelling from San Diego to your fine city and will be staying in the Lower East Side. We will be there in April for a week and plan to nosh on street food for lunch so that we can spend more for dinner.

I am a vegetarian and he is an all inclusive eater but we would like to avoid paying more than $25 each (not including alcohol).

Can you please provide recommendations for good places to dine in this 'hood that won't break the bank?
Neither one of us is particularly adventurous but we prefer sushi, Italian, Thai, and seafood.
Thank you in advance for your help!

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  1. One of my favorite places, both for food and value, is Bruschetteria. It's on Rivington Street between Ludlow and Stanton. You can probably hit your price point even with wine.

    For a bit more of a splurge, try Zucco on Orchard just south of Houston.

    188 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

    92 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

    1. Supper is a nice little Italian restaurant that meets all of your criteria.

      Other options: Stanton Social (order carefully to stay within budget, though), Essex, Shopsin's (inexpensive, good, HUGE menu).

      Stanton Social
      99 Stanton Street, New York, NY 10002

      1. 'inoteca would work for you. Shopsin's isn't open for dinner, and although I like Essex Restaurant fine, it's not the place I'd go for my one dinner in the neighborhood.

        1. $25 each sadly isn't much in this town - in most restaurants that'd be the cost of the entree alone. But that said there are some decent places to grab a bite without doing the whole app/entree/dessert dinner.

          1. Schiller's Liquor Bar - it's a mob scene at dinner, so it might be best to make a reservation, but it's decently priced bistro food. Any number of entrees under $25 that might even leave you a little $$ to split an appetizer or dessert, too.

          2. Frankies 17 Clinton Street Spuntino - great Italian, not terribly expensive, similar price point to Schiller's. Their cavatelli with sausage is one of the neighborhood's great dishes. Good decently priced wine list.

          3. Cibao - awesome Cubanos (a/k/a "Cuban Sandiwches") and mofungo - great if you like hearty porky goodness. Split a sandwich and mofungo and the both of you won't feel the need to eat again for a day, all for under $10 total.

          4. Pho Grand or Cong Ly - two good place for Pho, a nice filling Vietnamese beef noodle soup. My gf and I will go often, each get a (big) bowl of Pho Tai Gau (with eye of round and brisket) and split an order of spring rolls, and we're out of there for under $20 total.

          5. BaoHaus - good Asian steamed buns, a little sweet for my taste but not bad. Not what I'd call a substaintial "dinner" but good for a quick bite before going out.

          6. Tiny's Giant Sandwich Shop - good sandiwches and salads, filling, nothing fancy but everything is fresh and tasty.

          7 EarthMatters - good healthy food place without being too "health food"-ish. A good size salad bar with lots of selections, all very tasty, not your usual steam-table stuff. Great lunch spot.

          8. El Maguey y La Tuna - best of the cheaper-end Mexican places in the neighborhood, for my money.

          9. Sachiko's on Clinton - the best of the neighborhood sushi, IMHO, though it might be hard to get out for under $25/each. That said, there are some cheaper sushi options around, just not as good.

          Tiny's Giant Sandwich Shop
          127 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

          Cong Ly
          124 Hester St, New York, NY 10002

          Frankies 17 Spuntino
          17 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

          Sachiko's on Clinton
          25 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

          Pho Grand
          277 Grand St, New York, NY 10002

          Schiller's Liquor Bar
          131 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

          72 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

          El Maguey y La Tuna
          321 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

          177 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002

          137 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

          2 Replies
          1. re: sgordon

            Second Frankies
            Ill add the meatball shop, I think they have good veg balls...
            You could have tons of 5USD dumplings for 25USD, there are lots of good spots down that way, search the site.

            349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

            1. re: sgordon

              Oops. Just noticed you're a vegetarian. So cross off some of the above - Cibao, Schiller's, and the Pho places. The Mexican and Italian places, though, will be good. And if you're doing veggie sushi you could certainly do some rolls at Sachiko's for your price range.

              72 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

            2. Falai Panetteria
              Tai Thai


              Falai Panetteria
              79 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

              1 Reply
              1. re: LeahBaila

                How could I have forgotten Panetteria? Probably I was thinking of the Falai flagship too much, well out of the OP's price range. But definitely makes my list, too!

                68 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

              2. Wow thank you for the wonderful recommendations. We are planning to hit up Bruschetteria, Schiller's Liquor Bar, and Sachiko's. I have never stayed in this part of Manhattan so am very eager to check out these spots. Will report back.

                Schiller's Liquor Bar
                131 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

                92 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

                1. for vegetarian, I like Counter, but it is a bit pricey. For LES, there are a lot of very good Italian restaurants that have good veg. food. the Frank empire (supper, frank, l'il frankie's) all are fun and not that expensive. Look for special prix fixe menus as well.
                  Oh, you've got to go to Moby's tea shop - teany.

                  1. Follow-up:

                    The LES is hands-down my favorite NYC neighborhood. Thanks again to all of your recommendations. We weren't able to check out all that we had on our list but we enjoyed our culinary experiences nonetheless.

                    Bruschetteria: Friendly service, reasonably-priced, and cute setting. Very good portion for the salads and tasty sandwiches.

                    'Inoteca: Mixed reviews. I really liked the mozzarella and mushroom pannini. My significant other was disappointed with the very small portions of the cannelloni di coniglio although it was apparently pretty tasty. This dish came with high recommendations by our server. We just wish the server had alerted my big and tall (and admittedly hungry) man about the paltry portions. As an aside, when we paid in cash, we used large bills and expected to receive change. The server (who earlier told us he is not normally a waitstaff but had to serve us due to shortage of personnel) looked at the cash and exclaimed, "wow thanks!" My partner and I looked at each other, hoping he would assume we'd need change considering the tip would be close to 50% of the bill. After he saw us waiting, with wallet open, we finally got our change.

                    Schiller's Liquor Bar: We loved the decor and found out later it was a former apothecary. Unfortunately, the only thing we were craving at the moment were burgers. Veggie for me, regular for him. They were fine. We liked the cocktails better than the burgers.

                    Tre: Romantic setting and friendly service. I ordered the baked salmon, gnocchi, and cauliflower. I loved this dish, particularly the gnocchi. The lasgna wasn't "divine" as claimed by the server. Very good wine selection though and overall we liked this place.

                    Jules Bistro (in the East Village): I had been here before and had good memories of the food and live music. It did not disappoint. We were surprised to snag a table on a busy, rainy Friday night. The mussels were excellent, as was the risotto with truffle sauce. THAT was divine. My partner was very impressed with the skirt steak. Not a crumble left on our plates.

                    Mermaid Oyster Bar (Greenwich): This was hands-down our favorite joint. We walked in based on the advertised happy hour. Despite the "specials" we managed to spend $100 but that is considering we ordered several small plates and five drinks. So for NYC, I guess that isn't too shabby. The oysters, shrimp "corn dogs", and fish tacos were amazing. Very friendly service, cool music, fun scene.

                    As for my most touristy, overrated experience.....
                    Gramercy Park Hotel bar. My friends and I walked in on a whim. We were way underdressed and unaware of the high prices. No drink less than $18. This was fun to people watch and take in the gorgeous hotel. But the prices. My god.

                    There just wasn't enough time to go to Pommes Frites, Gruppo, or Sachiko's, all places we were looking forward to.


                    Jules Bistro
                    65 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

                    98 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

                    Schiller's Liquor Bar
                    131 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

                    173 Ludlow Street, New York, NY 10002

                    Gramercy Park Hotel
                    2 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10010

                    92 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

                    Mermaid Oyster Bar
                    79 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

                    1. Update on my update:

                      We also loved Ten Bells, a wine bar in the LES. Very knowledgeable and helpful barman who recommended delicious European wines we would have never tried otherwise.

                      And for breakfast we hit up The Pink Pony on Ludlow. The eggs were pretty lackluster but we enjoyed their yogurt and granola dish. The atmosphere was cozy, which was much appreciated on the gloomy mornings.

                      Pink Pony
                      178 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002

                      The Ten Bells
                      247 Broome St, New York, NY 10002