HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >

Discussion

Visiting Manhattan on smallish budget

Hello!
My boyfriend and I are visiting for four days and are looking for some tasty foods. We are going to school in Keene, NH, but I'm from Saratoga Springs and he's from outside of Boston. We want to go to one nice restaurant (sit down) and spend maybe 20- 45 per person, I'm not sure if thats possible on that low of budget. We are staying in the Upper West Side. We like Mexican food, homemade pasta, thai, Indian, LOVE Lebanese and other food like that ( hummus falafel, etc) Fusion foods and something that is creative and not a ordinary type of place that you would find in NH. haha Yes we do have very good restaurants, just not as many as our hometown areas. We also love very good coffee, like fair trade, organic, happily made beans. Fancy drinks would be fun but not a snobby vibe. Also we are spending a day at the the galleries in Chelsea so a lunch place would be nice. something causal and cheap ( under 15$). either soup, falafels, tacos IDK something tasty, we are very open. Oh and maybe some where at night that has cool unique mixed drinks that has a fun vibe not too fancy. I know this is vague and you don't have to answer every request, I thought I would throw stuff out there. I have spent alot of time looking at other boards but I thought I would make one myself and give it a try. Thanks SOO MUCH!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Also, I would love to try a place that uses locally produced food, organic, etc and I very much enjoy real smoothies with fresh fruit and other good things. I'm interested in Juice bars and unique tea places.

    In Toronto, they have this Japanese place where you can pick your type of ice tea with so many options and they put a plastic seal on it as a lid. I loved it!
    I am a avid fan of high quality teas ( not the bagged stuff) ,so if there is a great place to buy some to take home with me, I would be very excited. I would prefer a more casual place, for example the European chain that has a location in Burlington, VT was a bit intimidating and stuffy, even though their selection was wonderful. I have probably requested way to many things but if you must choose one, knowing how to get to an amazing tea place would be nice Thank you for your time!

    1 Reply
    1. re: alish15

      My favorite spot to purchase loose leaf tea is Harney & Sons in soho...lots of interesting vareities, and very helpful staff

      -----
      Harney & Sons
      433 Broome St, New York, NY 10013

    2. Do you like Japanese food? The ramen at Ippudo is delicious and not terribly expensive. Or the Sichuan place Legend looks a bit fancier than the average Chinese restaurant and is also pretty great. After Chelsea, I'd pop down to Taim for great cheap falafel. If you're on the hunt for ethnic, Queens is definitely your best bet in that price range.

      -----
      Taim
      222 Waverly Place, New York, NY 10014

      Ippudo
      65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

      Legend
      88 7th Ave, New York, NY 10011

      1. > We want to go to one nice restaurant (sit down) and spend maybe 20- 45 per person, I'm not sure if thats possible on that low of budget.

        For your nicer meal, does that $45 per person include tax, tip, any wine/drinks? Or before?

        If before tax and tip, I think you might like the pastas and other dishes at Sorella.

        What about the other meals? You say you have a smallish budget, but can you be more specific? $20pp for each meal before tax and tip? Less?

        > We like Mexican food, homemade pasta, thai, Indian, LOVE Lebanese and other food like that ( hummus falafel, etc) Fusion foods and something that is creative and not a ordinary type of place that you would find in NH.

        For Thai, Zabb Elee is pretty good. Ngam also just got a good review in the NY Times.

        For Indian, stay out of 6th Street, and go up to "Curry Hill" for places like Dhaba or Tiffin Wallah.

        For falafel, try Taim.

        > Fancy drinks would be fun but not a snobby vibe.

        Note: you should expect to pay around $13-14 for a "fancy drink," downtown or $15 or more in Midtown or in any place with a view, etc.

        > Also we are spending a day at the the galleries in Chelsea so a lunch place would be nice.

        I would do Grand Sichuan (order the Sichuan items like gui zhou spicy chicken, dan dan noodles, cucumbers with scallion sauce, wontons in red oil, etc) or Company (aka Co.) for pizza.

        You can also go to Chelsea Market and eat there, lots of different options.

        Here's a good listing of cheap eats:
        http://realcheapeats.com/nyc/manhattan/
        http://newyork.timeout.com/restaurant...

        Here's a list of my favorite places in NYC:
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8050...

        If you visit places like Motorino, Katz's Deli, Russ & Daughters, Barney Greengrass, Zabb Elee, Xian Foods, Sigmund Pretzel, the Halal Cart at 53rd & 6th (SW corner at night, SE during the day), Shake Shack, Otto, Defonte's, Parm, Crif Dogs you should be able to stay within a low budget fairly well.

        I highly recommend RGR's self guided Lower East Side Gustatory tour as a way to do some of the iconic NYC foods, just sub in Pickle Guys for Guss' Pickles:
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/493333

        Please help me eat during a month in New York - some of the nouveau cheap eats around town
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/716238

        Don't leave NY without eating these foods - focused on the more iconic NYC foods
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/610739

        3 Replies
        1. re: kathryn

          Thanks, that helps a lot. For most of our meals our budget can go 10-15 each before tax, etc. but
          I get full quickly so we will probably share a few meals.

          Only one of us drinks right now, so I would be only getting a drink maybe two. I would be happy eating from a food cart for lunch, or something simple like that, so we can spend more on dinner.
          For our "fancy" dinner, we changed it to up to 100 total including tax, tip, one glass of wine or two. Of course, it would be nice to spend less than that but good food is worth it. Oh and I would be willing to spend 15$ or a little more for a drink or a nice glass of wine. Thanks to my boyfriends brother, we have been lucky to had have excellent wine that he gave to us. So I really appreciate a nice wine and would love to have some on our trip. Thanks again, the advice will help very much!

          1. re: alish15

            You'll find different opinions about carts, but I like some of the halal carts, and there are many of them around the city. I usually just judge by the smell - if it smells spicy and tasty and I'm in the mood, I buy something. I've had some good, cheap meals from the Rafiqi's cart that hangs out on the northern end of the Farmer's Market at Union Square, in spite of the fact that I've read some harsh criticism of them on this site.

            Have a look at an article about the finalists for the 2011 Vendy Awards here: http://ny.eater.com/archives/2011/09/... The Vendys go to the top-rated vendors in the city each year.

            1. re: alish15

              $15pp is indeed pretty low for Manhattan, but it's doable if you tend to share plates or graze.

              For a fun cocktail bar that isn't too quiet, I'd try Flatiron Lounge, Pegu Club, or Lani Kai. I think maybe some of the tiny, speakeasy ones may be too quiet for you.

              Since you like wine, I think it will be a challenge to stay within your budget. Otto, where you can order by the quartino (250ml) might be good, since you can share it, and save some cash there.

              -----
              Otto
              1 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10003

              Flatiron Lounge
              37 W 19th St, New York, NY 10011

              Pegu Club
              77 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012

              Lani Kai
              525 Broome St, New York, NY 10012

          2. The original comment has been removed
            1. West Chelsea Galleries. Look online at these menus and see if careful ordering will keep them within your budget.

              Ovest offers a weeknight aperitivo - basically free food at the bar. And it's really good! Get there right at 5.30 and have a feast.

              Trestle on tenth; Red Cat; Ovest; Co.; Tipsy Parson; La Promenade des Anglais

              -----
              Trestle on Tenth
              242 Tenth Avenue, New York, NY 10001

              Red Cat
              227 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011

              Co.
              230 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

              Tipsy Parson
              156 Ninth Avenue, New York, NY 10011

              Ovest
              513 W 27th St, New York, NY 10001

              La Promenade des Anglais
              461 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011

              2 Replies
              1. re: thegforceny

                I don't want to sound harsh; I know you're trying to help. But did you look at their budget? In my opinion, Red Cat is overpriced, beyond their budget, and not memorable. I think Trestle on Tenth busts their budget, too.

                -----
                Trestle on Tenth
                242 Tenth Avenue, New York, NY 10001

                Red Cat
                227 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011

                1. re: Pan

                  'Look online at these menus and see if careful ordering will keep them within your budget."

                  Did YOU look at the menus? A [huge] meatball parm at Red Cat for lunch is $13.

                  I'm not about to peruse all the menus and strategically plan a meal for them. That's for the OP to do. I cut and pasted a post on Chelsea galleries. She can take it FWIW.