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Cheap Eats in the Village and Morningside Heights for one

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So I know this topic has been done to death, so if you're annoyed at the post please just ignore me. However, while I've read through old posts on these subjects (I promise I searched!) and looked at some of the sites people link (midtown lunch, for instance), the lists are kind of overwhelming and nothing really jumps out for a non-New Yorker. I also worried about the suggestions being out of date as I've seen that restaurants can go from amazing to terrible pretty quickly. So, if you're bored and are familiar with either of these areas, I would love some help/suggestions!

Where: Morningside Heights and the Village, though I'm more flexible about this area (Chinatown, LES, etc. are all totally acceptable).

When: For about 5 days in March.

Who: One person, college student

How much: Would prefer to spend no more than $10-15 per meal, drinks not included.

What: Suggestions for lunch and dinner places in these neighborhoods. Takeout is fine as well. I'm going to be there looking at grad schools and would love to find some good neighborhood places that I could enjoy visiting on a regular basis when I move there this summer. Though obviously I hope to visit the Eleven Madison Park style restaurants of NY at some point, I am, as I said, a college student who will be on a limited budget for the next few years. Therefore, I'm really looking more for your favorite casual places in these neighborhoods than I am for the absolute *best* places. I'm sure my price range (which is somewhat flexible, but still) suggests that, but just in case.

What kind of food I like: I grew up in a pretty small town in the south so I don't have a lot of experience with more unique food styles, and am unfortunately kind of picky as a result. I'm open to trying new things, but I would probably prefer Italian, American, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, Indian etc. kind of suggestions over Ukrainian, Mongolian, etc.

I hope I covered all the questions you guys usually ask of original posters! I would really appreciate any suggestions!

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  1. Places I've been in the past few weeks that might fit the bill--Soho/EVillage/LES:
    Cafe Select, Lafayette st in Soho: $10 for schnitzel sandwich (fried chicken cutlet) with salad or chips
    Slainte, Bowery near Houston st: $10 for 4 sliders with fries, 2 for 1 draft beer at happy hour
    Pinche Taqueria. Lafayette st just above Houston st: tacos, quesadillas and burritos, most choices under $10

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    Slainte
    304 Bowery, New York, NY 10012

    Cafe Select
    212 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

    Pinche Taqueria
    333 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

    2 Replies
    1. re: iluvcookies

      these are exactly the sort of thing i'm looking for, thanks!

      1. re: snarkysweets

        You're welcome, and enjoy!

    2. Chinatown has great cheap eats and you can search the boards for specific recs or just follow your nose. Likewise the East Village is chock-a-block full of cheap eats, there are so many it's hard to give a list. Do a search for East Village and you will get tons of places. As for Morningside Heights, this is a notoriously lousy neighborhood for food. So bring leftovers from your forays downtown!

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/777349

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/724362

      3 Replies
      1. re: visciole

        Haha, I've heard that about Morningside Heights but was still hopeful there were a few good places. I'm leaning towards NYU over Columbia partially for that reason...

        Thanks for the links!

        1. re: snarkysweets

          Choose the school that's better for your educational needs... :)

          You'll be taking the subway everywhere else anyway, so you will eat well regardless. Plus if you live by Columbia you will be forced to get out of your 'hood for entertainment, and that will make your NYC experience more rewarding.

          Prolly there are some good places but I don't know them -- someone else will!

          1. re: visciole

            Haha, fortunately they're almost equal academically speaking in my field. Thanks again for the tips!

      2. Dinosaur BBQ is right on the northern border of Morningside Heights. Sandwiches and platters from there range from 8.00 (sandwiches) to 12-20.00 IIRC (platters), with the platters including cornbread and two sides (lots of food). I think they also have some big platter deals for two for around $30. The BBQ there is the best I've had on the East Coast IMO (lived in central TX for a while).

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        Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
        777 W. 125th Street, New York, NY 10027

        1 Reply
        1. re: diva360

          this is great, I'll totally miss barbecue (also central texas here!). Thanks! Especially appreciate that it's a Morningside rec.

        2. Mark on St. Marks Place has pretty good sliders, and fries. You can easily get 2 sliders and fries for $10 (and they're pretty big, so it's enough for dinner). They also have really good milkshakes and a decent beer selection.
          Oaxaca is on Extra place, off of 2nd street between 2nd ave and bowery. Really good taco's with high quality ingredients. I think it was only about $3 per taco.
          You can always get Indian on 6th street. They're always cheap and I've never had a bad experience, and they all seem about the same to me!

          -----
          Mark Burger
          33 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

          Oaxaca
          16 Extra Pl, New York, NY 10003

          1 Reply
          1. re: knol

            thank you! excited to try all these places. especially appreciate the specific taco rec (I feel like there's a million taco places and it's hard to distinguish between them)