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Cheap Eats Near Times Square?

m
millican11 Apr 22, 2012 09:37 PM

My wife and I will be making our FIRST EVER visit to New York at the end of May. We will be staying at the Milford Plaza Hotel and will be within walking distance of Times Square. We will only be in town for three days and will be on a pretty tight budget. I have read numerous posts and visited forums pertaining to cheap eats in the area, but thought it might be beneficial to start my own (it gets really hard to remember and/or sort all of the posts out after a while). We prefer to eat at places we've never eaten at before (we live in Alabama and have eaten at most of the big name food chains), but we want to shy away from Thai, Indian, or any other spicy-type food. Whether it's in Times Square or in the surrounding area, do you have any suggestions for low-budget dining? Breakfast, lunch, dinner ... your suggestions are welcome. We're also open to suggestions for things we MUST do while in the area. Thanks!

  1. Sra. Swanky Apr 24, 2012 09:46 AM

    Not as famous as Shake Shack, but closer to where you'll be is Island Burgers and Shakes - 766 9th Ave between 51st and 52nd St. It doesn't look like much from the outside (or inside for that matter!) but REALLY good burgers chicken sandwiches too. Good bang for your buck.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Sra. Swanky
      m
      millican11 Apr 24, 2012 11:12 AM

      Thanks for the tip. Due to longer lines, we would prefer to avoid the more "touristy" joints. Info like this could prove to be greatly beneficial. God bless.

      1. re: Sra. Swanky
        f
        FoodDabbler Apr 24, 2012 07:43 PM

        I vigorously disagree that the Island burger is any good. You get a limp pile of fairly tasteless ground meat. The beef in the burger at Shake Shack is much tastier. If you go to the 44th St. location at a slightly off time the wait isn't too bad.

        1. re: FoodDabbler
          Sra. Swanky Apr 25, 2012 05:04 AM

          Well - I'm more of a fan of the churrasco chicken sandwiches myself. Have you tried those? Well made - nice char and you can top them with any of the offerings that they put on a burger. Worth a trip in my opinion - and I love the non-touristy vibe. millican won't have to wait long for a meal there.

          1. re: Sra. Swanky
            f
            FoodDabbler Apr 26, 2012 06:03 PM

            Yes, I prefer the chicken, too, and I agree that it has an unpretentious, off-the-beaten-track atmosphere.

      2. treestonerivershrub Apr 23, 2012 07:59 AM

        Is it lame of me to suggest Shake Shack?

        691 8th Avenue (between 43 & 44th) 10036

        2 Replies
        1. re: treestonerivershrub
          m
          millican11 Apr 23, 2012 09:33 AM

          No, that's not lame. I've heard great things about the place. Thanks.

          1. re: treestonerivershrub
            g
            Garlic Guy Apr 24, 2012 05:28 AM

            I work near that Shake Shack. Depending on when you go, it'll probably take about 30-45 minutes for you to work your way through the line, at which point you'll be rewarded with a fairly average burger.

          2. k
            kathryn Apr 23, 2012 07:49 AM

            You should definitely check out Midtownlunch.com and Realcheapeats.com.

            BTW, not all Thai, Indian, etc. is spicy. You can have a good meal that isn't spicy if you order carefully.

            Especially the Japanese options in the area don't strike me as spicy at all (skewered meat, noodles in soup, etc).

            Are you interested at all in non-American, non-European foods if they aren't spicy?

            Cheeryvisage has a great Times Square list here, too:
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8332...

            1 Reply
            1. re: kathryn
              m
              millican11 Apr 23, 2012 09:33 AM

              Thanks, Kathryn. Will do.

            2. u
              ukitali Apr 23, 2012 07:26 AM

              If you must eat near your hotel stick to places near 9th ave and avoid Times Square itself no matter how tempting and fun some the restaurants look. I work in the area and some of the places I've enjoyed or heard are good are: Don Antonio for pizza, Amy's Bread and Sullivan Street bakery for baked goods and lunch, Totto Ramen for ramen, Nook for dinner BYOB, Hummus Kitchen and Kashkaval for Mediterranean, Uncle Nick's for Greek, Lime Jungle for Mexican and falafel/halal carts.

              We're not really supposed to give touristy advice but things you must do in my opinion: Central Park, Top of the Rock, walk Times Square, 5th Ave window shopping, walk around Soho, Greenwich and East Village, check out the Wall Street area and the World Trade Center Memorial. For food/tourist spots check out Chelsea Market and the Highline as well as Eataly.

              4 Replies
              1. re: ukitali
                m
                millican11 Apr 23, 2012 09:36 AM

                Awesome. Thank you so much ... tons of advice :)

                1. re: ukitali
                  p
                  Pan Apr 23, 2012 09:35 PM

                  I was at Eataly tonight and had dinner at Verdure, I think it was called (the vegetarian counter). I really enjoyed their eggplant "lasagna," which didn't have any pasta in it, and I accompanied that with a glass of very good Bastianich rosato.

                  You've given some good recommendations above, but I do not like Kashkaval. For mezes, it's much better to go to Gazala's, though of course the cuisine is not identical.

                  1. re: ukitali
                    njmarshall55 Apr 24, 2012 09:07 AM

                    Agreed. As a NJ native who has spent an inordinate amount of time in "The City," my only 2 recommendations would be 1) Try NOT to be a tourist. Be a traveller (ala Bourdain) and get out of the bright lights and glitz of the usual spots. 2) Try NOT to be in all places at once...research the city, choose a neighborhood, and stick with it. It will be much more rewarding and ALOT less tiring than trying to do too much.

                    1. re: njmarshall55
                      m
                      millican11 Apr 24, 2012 09:35 AM

                      Great advice. Thank you so much!

                  2. t
                    tex.s.toast Apr 23, 2012 05:46 AM

                    Do a search for Don Antonio, a new neopolitan pizza place featuring the most recent fad in nyc pizza - fried pizza (they also have very good non-fried pizza). Sure, its expensive for pizza - most of the NYC neopolitan places are getting between 15 and 20 bucks for what are potentially individual sized pizzas (i find them to usually be sharable with an appetizer or salad, depending on how hungry we are) - but its still a pretty affordable meal and not something youre likely to find in AL.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: tex.s.toast
                      f
                      FoodDabbler Apr 24, 2012 07:46 PM

                      Based on two experiences -- one when they'd just opened, and one last week -- I'd rate Don Antonio as OK, but not great.

                    2. BrookBoy Apr 22, 2012 10:24 PM

                      Let me suggest you try lunch at the Edison Cafe on 47th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue. It is part of the Edison Hotel, and the food ranges from good to a lot better than good (try any of their soups). Prices are quite friendly by NYC standards. Edison gets a lot of tourists from the hotel, mostly Europeans on a budget. At lunch there are also a lot of local NYC workers there, especially from Morgan Stanley, which is right across the street.

                      Two particular favorites are the chicken salad on rye toast and the BLT on rye toast. Both yummy, both very filling, neither costly at all.

                      When you're done, if you wander around the pedestrian plaza that begins at 47th and Broadway and runs downtown for several blocks, you're likely to encounter people giving tickets away for live TV shows and other venues. There is also the TKTS booth right there at 47th, between 7th and Broadway, and you should be able to get a couple of tickets for a Broadway musical or play at half price.

                      Here's wishing you a wonderful stay. I hope you enjoy our fair city...

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: BrookBoy
                        p
                        Pan Apr 23, 2012 01:14 AM

                        I haven't been there in a few years, but they've long been known for doing a good matzo ball soup that tastes like it was made by a good home cook (definitely a recommendation).

                        To the original poster: Uncle Nick's serves inexpensive Greek food. They're merely OK/good, except for their grilled fish, which is excellent.

                        How tight is your budget? Is $30 for dinner too much? I'd like to recommend Gazala Place, but it will probably cost you close to $30/person including tax and tip, perhaps $25/person. Don't get the osh al saraiya dessert because its price has gone up to $7.50 and though it's tasty, the portion is way too small for that price to be anything but ridiculous. However, anything else is reasonable to get. I'd recommend their big meze platter that includes meat items, which is an off-menu special, and also their vegetarian meze platter, which is on the menu. Their soups are fine and so are their main dishes, such as kebabs.

                        Also, consider Hallo Berlin - it's quite inexpensive for excellent wursts and quite decent cheap beer and wine.

                        Do a search on Times Square and theater/theatre district, pre-theater, etc., in this board. There have been some recommended pizzerias lately.

                        1. re: BrookBoy
                          m
                          millican11 Apr 23, 2012 07:07 AM

                          Thank you so much. I'm sure we will :)

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