In a city as expensive as New York City, pinching pennies wherever possible is on everyone’s radar.
Even more so when you’re visiting from out of town. After all, it’s not like you have a kitchen to go back home to for a quick bite to eat. Instead, you’re left with hundreds, if not, thousands of eateries to choose from.
So how do you sort through all the wannabes and find the delicious yet, cheap eats in NYC? Easy. You go to these affordable places found in all areas of NYC from Manhattan to Brooklyn.
For cheap eats NYC, check out these neighborhoods:
Despite my effort to walk all the different boroughs in hopes of getting some exercise while traveling, I regained the calories burned every few blocks or so when I came across yet another delicious place to eat.
The first stop on this list are some cheap eats found around the Chelsea Neighborhood.
Cheap eats in Chelsea
Hold My Knots, Gansevoort Market
Located in Gansevoort Market, “Hold my knots” is the last thing you will be saying as you bite into one of these delicious sandwiches made with warm garlic knots.
You can choose from three different garlic knot sliders: chicken parm, eggplant parm, or meatball parm. The chicken parm is my personal favorite on the menu. So much, in fact, I had three (no shame).
L’arte del Gelato, Chelsea Market
A little piece of Sicily found its way into Chelsea Market and is serving up the best gelato in town. Stop by L’arte del Gelato for some tasty and authentic gelato. Their Stracciatella and Amarena Variegato are to die for.
Dana’s Bakery, Gansevoort Market
I’m what you would call a macarons connoisseur – a name I dubbed myself. So when I tell you that Dana’s Bakery has some of the best macarons I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating, believe it!
Also located inside the Gansevoort Market in Chelsea, Dana’s Bakery offers tons of macarons from Smore’s, Pecan Pie, and other seasonal treats sure to get your mouth watering.
Here’s the tricky thing about these macarons. Cheap indeed, but if you go for one of everything, your bill might get a lil’ pricey. Choose wisely, my friends. What I especially love about Dana’s Bakery, is given their popularity they still remain this quaint little macaron shop in a food market.
Once you bite into these sweet, chewy macarons you will wish you lived in NYC so that you can visit every day. However, there is no need for that. You can take home one of their Macaron Making Kits and give this whole macaron baking career a shot.
Cheap Eats in Little Italy
To be honest, I really only got one cheap eat worth visiting in Little Italy and that’s The Original Benito One. Not only is this an affordable option for authentic Italian food in the most Italian place outside Italy, it’s also a romantic date spot.
A bottle of wine will run you around $50 which is super cheap compared to most restaurants. As far as the food goes the Garlic Aioli, Rice Balls, and Carbonara are muah, so good! You will keep eating until they have to roll you out. Those Italians and their carbs. Gets me every time.
Should you find room in your stomach for dessert, the cannoli stand right at the entrance of Little Italy (on Mulberry St.) has an original flavor that is so rich and delicious. $3 USD gets you a giant cannoli that can easily be shared.
Cheap eats in the Financial District
NYC is home to some spectacular pizza, or as some like to put it, home to the arch-enemy of Chicago style pizza – a lifelong debate among Americans. Which one do you think is better? Since it’s my article, I’ll let it be known that New York style pizza takes the win in my book.
My love was confirmed when I enjoyed a cheap lunch at Pranzo Pizza. For $13 USD I got two gigantic slices of cheese pizza with garlic knots. Did I also mention it was so bomb?! Pranzo Pizza was so good, I had it twice in one week.
With this next place I will say, for New Yorkers, it’s probably not that special. In fact, Diners like this can be found on most NYC street corners. Yet this one made the list because it was right below my hotel, the breakfast was dirt cheap and salads, so fresh. The best part? Their food was really good. Completely satisfied me every morning I ate there, and let me tell you, I ate there every morning.
If you find yourself in the Financial District looking for an NYC corner diner experience, head over to Cafe Bravo. This place does not disappoint! For under $20 you can get a full meal for two, water and coffee.
Cheap Eats in Midtown
To my surprise, Grand Central Terminal turned out to be a cheap eats paradise. Not knowing they had an entire food market located inside, I was excited to find a hearty dinner for less than $10 USD. If you are craving some comfort food or at least a hot meal, stop by Hale and Hearty for some soup and sandwiches.
I went for the broccoli cheddar which hit the spot. If that’s not your thing, they have a ton of other soup options from chicken noodle to butternut squash. Plus, tons of sandwiches, protein boxes, and salads to choose from.
If you are in the mood for something a little less salad and a little more meat, Shake Shack is located here too. A true New York fast food burger joint that is to be enjoyed at least once during your time in the big apple. Grab a burger, fries, and don’t forget your shake!
Cheap Eats in Brooklyn
No trip to New York City is complete without trying a good ol’ fashion Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog found at Coney Island! It’s carnival food delight. That also means you’re off to the borough, Brooklyn!
Nearby Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog is Coney Cones. Stop here and indulge in the most authentic Italian Gelato in Luna Park. For just a couple bucks you can get yourself a nice big double scoop to enjoy as you walk along the boardwalk or into the park for some carnival rides and games.
Located in Brooklyn, Smorgasburg takes food markets to a whole other level. I’m talking, the largest open-air market in America kind of level – the definition of foodies paradise. You can enjoy cheap eats here year round (winter market located at Brooklyn Flea) every weekend till 6pm.
They are constantly welcoming start-up food vendors from street tacos, lobster rolls, ice cream, pastries and a dozens more. Many who have gone on to open their own successful restaurants. Come hungry and stay all day eating and shopping your way around.
Find the latest food cooking at Smorgasburg on their Instagram.
Hopefully, now you have a little direction on where to find cheap eats in NYC. Like I said earlier, this city is home to so many restaurants it’s impossible to keep track.
If you’re headed to NYC remember Chelsea has great markets you have to check out, as well as, Smorgasburg in Brooklyn. If you’re looking to keep it cheap, limit your options to hole in the walls, markets, and any mom and pop shop you come across. Satisfaction guaranteed.
What cheap eats in NYC did you come across? Share your recommendations in the comments below!!