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Visiting Manhattan on smallish budget

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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!

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  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. 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.

            2. Thai - Wondee Siam
              Hummus Place, Taim (falafel)
              Chelsea - Friedman's Lunch (Chelsea Market), check out other Chelsea Market options, Cookshop.
              'ino, corsino - wine bars with nice food
              Bar Pitti - pastas, etc.

              -----
              Hummus Place
              305 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10023

              Cookshop
              156 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

              'ino
              21 Bedford St, New York, NY 10014

              Bar Pitti
              268 6th Ave, New York, NY 10014

              Friedman's Lunch
              75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

              Wondee Siam V
              969 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025

              Corsino
              637 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

              1 Reply
              1. re: Chuck Lawrence

                Cookshop is a bit pricey for the range the original poster gave us, and in my opinion, it's not consistently good enough for them to splurge on. I've had meals there that have ranged from very good to just OK, though service is always good and it's always a pretty pleasant experience. But at their prices, when the scallops had sand in them, I was not happy. I was hungry and ate them, but I haven't been back since.

                -----
                Cookshop
                156 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

              2. Cheap places near art galleries in Chelsea:

                Grand Sichuan has already been suggested, but I would be quite skeptical of their lunch specials and would stick to their regular menu, and only the Sichuan and Hunan parts of it. If you do that, you're likely to have a tasty meal, but consider telling your waitress to have them make the food spicy and not sweet.

                Legend has also been mentioned, but their portions are humongous and kind of impractical for only two people, especially for lunch.

                For a place that's casual and uses excellent, fresh ingredients and is way better than a bar and grill on 23rd west of 10th has to be, consider Half King. And because it's a bar, they have a selection of beers on tap, wines, etc. It's very well-priced and serves food that's way better than ordinary bar food.

                If you want cheap Italian food, Pepe Giallo is no great revelation, but it's fine and rather inexpensive, certainly by Manhattan standards.

                -----
                Grand Sichuan
                229 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

                The Half King
                505 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011

                Pepe Giallo
                253 10th Ave, New York, NY 10001

                Legend
                88 7th Ave, New York, NY 10011

                1. Caracas Arepa Bar. You will not be disappointed.

                  -----
                  Caracas Arepa Bar
                  93 1/2 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                  1. 1) You can have a great inexpensive meal at The BEST Vietnamese restaurant in NYC at Nahn Thrang on Baxter Street about 100 feet south of Canal Street in Chinatown. A great restaurant where you can get a fantastic bowl of Pho (Vietnamese Soup that's a meal in itself) and get an appetizer each for about $25 total pus tip.
                    2) SunSai Gay Rice Shop is right up the block on the corner of Baxter and Canal. Great Roast Duck over rice for $5.00 or combo of Duck and Soy Sauce Chicken with rice just $5.50 and you can get a pork bun to start for just $1.00
                    3) Cheaper thant this and the greatest food value in New York is at either Prosperity Dumpling where you'll get an order of 4 Tasty pork Dumplings for just $1.00, and Sesame pancake with Beef just $1.50, a whole meal just $2.50. Prospertiy Dumpling on Eldridge Street and a new one on Clinton St. just south of Houston Street.
                    4) PERCY'S PIZZA, great quality and the BEST $1.00 PIZZA in town. 2 slices and soda for $2.75 in Greenwich Village on Bleecker Street at McDougal
                    6) For a nice affordable sit-down dinner, Go to East 6th Street between !st and 2nd Avenues and pick any Indian Restaurant you like, dinner for two about $30
                    Have a Great Time and Enjoy

                    photo Below.. New Prosperity Dumpling location on Clinton Street south of Houston .. great inexpensive happy Hour Bars on this street......

                    -----
                    Nha Trang
                    87 Baxter St, New York, NY 10013

                    Sun Say Gai
                    220 Canal St, New York, NY 10013

                    Prosperity Dumpling
                    46 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

                    C&C Prosperity Dumpling
                    69 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

                    Percy's Pizza
                    190 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012

                     
                    1 Reply
                    1. re: xpicassox

                      Thanks, this is great. I really don't eat alot right now (winter = hibernating and lack of exercise) so I don't want to spend 20-30$ per person and not be able to eat most of it, so this helps alot. I would rather skimp on the lunch budget and have a better dinner. Those dumplings sound good, I've only just recently tried them and loved them.

                    2. I live in NYC and am always on this kind of budget. Here are my favorites:
                      Dumpling Man for steamed pork dumplings
                      Stage Restaurant and Ukrainian East Village restaurant for Ukrainian/Polish food
                      Mamoun's and Murray's for falafel (there are some good carts in midtown too...check out http://midtownlunch.com it will be very helpful when you doing touristy things in the area)
                      Mark, Paul's or Shake Shack for burgers
                      You can spend $5-10 in these places and get a filling meal.

                      For a "splurge"
                      V Bar for it's half-priced happy hour (nice wines by the glass) and Italian food
                      Nook which is BYOB
                      Bianca for Italian
                      Dhaba for Indian food

                      There are of course many, many others but you can definitely eat in NYC on a budget.

                      -----
                      Shake Shack
                      Madison Ave and E 23rd St, New York, NY 10010

                      Nook
                      746 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

                      Stage Restaurant
                      128 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                      Bianca
                      5 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012

                      Dumpling Man
                      100 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009

                      Ukrainian East Village Restaurant
                      140 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                      Mamoun's Falafel
                      22 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

                      Paul's
                      131 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                      Dhaba
                      108 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10016

                      Murray's Falafel & Grill
                      261 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

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

                      V Bar
                      132 1st Ave, New York, NY 10009

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ukitali

                        This is great.I have been there many times and am aware of the prices there. I know Nyc is crazy expensive but I have read and watched enough things to know that there is good , reasonable priced food. Having a meal that is hundreds of dollars is probably amazing but at the same time seems kinda silly , but then again I come from a modest background and I'm in college. Haha, always broke. Anyways this is helpful and it will be fun finding them.

                      2. For inexpensive good Lebanese try Mamoun's. Two locations downtown. Small places with a couple of tables.
                        There are a couple of hummus places on the Upper West side. Can't remember the names, sorry, hummus place? Pita place?

                        -----
                        Mamoun's Falafel
                        119 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

                        Mamoun's Falafel
                        22 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Motosport

                          I like Jerusalem Restaurant a lot, and it is inexpensive.

                          -----
                          Jerusalem Restaurant
                          2715 Broadway, New York, NY 10025

                        2. You can definitely eat well and cheaply in Manhattan!

                          Chinatown is your friend. Also Curry Hll as others have mentioned for Indian. Plenty of decent inexpensive places downtown. It's hard to suggest specific places since many of them are perfectly good, fun, acceptable -- but not necessarily good enough to stand out .

                          Try not to find yourselves, oh, say near the Met Museum or in Times Square and starving. Bring a few snacks in case, and take the subway to where there are better options.

                          For your nice sit-down I'd consider looking at early bird prix fixe menus if you don't mind eating early. Just as an example Apiary in the east village has a $35 3-course meal. That's just the first one that comes to mind.

                          -----
                          Apiary
                          60 3rd Avenue, New York, NY 10003

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: visciole

                            Apiary is great. Note that the $35 prix fixe is offered Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday only.

                            -----
                            Apiary
                            60 3rd Avenue, New York, NY 10003

                          2. For your limited budget meals, I would try some BBQ and/or fried chicken at Georgia on Orchard St. The fried chicken is as good as Aunt Hattie's in Saratoga. Definitely go to Katz's Deli. For 20 -45 bucks a person you might want to try Buddakan or Kittichai. Grab a hot dog at Japodog on st. marks. Falafel anywhere on MacDougal St. Grab a Cambodian,sandwich at Nam Peng ( parking lot) on 12th st. Try a Robata meal at Robataya, and order according to your budget, it's a fun place to eat. Motorino for pizza. D'Andrea for some Italian food ( better than Pinell's in Saratoga which is my favorite restaurant up there). Go to Queens to Don Pepe's on Leffert's for Italian food ( they used to own Villa Balsamo which was by far the best italian food in Saratoga, only open during racing season , but they closed in Saratoga many years ago).

                            -----
                            Katz's Delicatessen
                            205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

                            Georgia's Eastside BBQ
                            192 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

                            Buddakan
                            75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

                            Da Andrea
                            35 W 13th St, New York, NY 10011

                            Kittichai
                            60 Thompson St, New York, NY 10012

                            Num Pang Sandwich Shop
                            21 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

                            Robataya NY
                            231 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003

                            Motorino
                            349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

                            Japadog
                            30 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003