It’s no secret that The Big Apple is home to some of the best food in the world, and also some of the most expensive. So how can a foodie on a budget sample the best New York City has to offer? Enter our guide to the best cheap eats in NYC, which includes the city’s top restaurants with menu options that are $10 or less.
Your Guide to the Best Cheap Eats in NYC
From bagels to dumplings to falafel, our guide to the best cheap eats in NYC will satisfy all of your food cravings at an affordable price. After one bite at any of the restaurants below, you’ll be dying to show your friends that delicious hole-in-the-wall spot you found in the city. And with all the money you’ll save, you might as well take them to a Yankees game or Broadway afterward!
12. Mamoun’s Falafel
Falafel is a New York City staple and Mamoun’s does it right. Mamoun’s is a well-known spot that draws in tourists, students, construction workers, and passersby alike. Grab a heavenly falafel pita and baklava for under $10 for one of the best cheap eats in NYC. You cannot beat the flavor in Mamoun’s falafel—it’s spicy, crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside (never dry!). The Mediterranean spices here are unmatched and will have you planning your next visit back!
11. The Halal Guys
There is a reason the Halal Guys has a long line no matter the weather, season, or time of day. What started in 1990 as a singular food cart in NYC serving platters of chicken and gyro over rice, falafel sandwiches, and crave-able sauces has now become a legendary international franchise. The Halal Guys satisfies all who are eager to enjoy new and exotic tastes, textures, and flavors. Whether you go for a platter or sandwich, this food cart will have you coming back every time you visit the city. It is, without a doubt, one of the best cheap eats in NYC.
10. Flip Sigi
Flip Sigi is a fun, upbeat restaurant in the West Village that has some of the best cheap eats in NYC. This is a Filipino restaurant with a twist where you can order noodles, a burrito, even a burger—basically whatever you’re in the mood for—and it’s guaranteed to be tasty. If you’re having a difficult time deciding (we totally get it), you can’t go wrong with the flavorful and fresh California burrito. Make sure to sample all of the spicy side sauces as well to make your meal complete.
9. Two Hands Corn Dogs
Two Hands Corn Dogs will make your childhood dreams come true. These gourmet, Korean-style corn dogs will capture your taste buds and take them on a wildly delicious ride. Go classic and order a deep-fried dog with just mustard and ketchup, or be a bit more adventurous and order the spicy dog which comes covered in Hot Cheetos powder. The flavors in every menu item are so unique and really work together. Two Hands Corn Dogs truly offers some of the best cheap eats in NYC.
8. Empanada Mama
Empanada Mama is a lively restaurant that serves up some of the best empanadas in the city for a great price. There are so many options to choose from but some Female Foodie favorites are the Cuban (think Cuban sandwich in empanada form), the Reggaeton with Caribbean-style roast pork, spinach and cheese, and the Buffalo. There are green and red sauces served with the empanadas that add even more flavor and acidity. It truly is love at first bite with these little pockets of perfection. And we love that there is enough variety of flavors for everyone in your group to be satisfied. Pro tip: Don’t be fooled by the size of these empanadas. Just two or three of these will fill you up!
7. 7th Street Burger
It’s difficult to go wrong with a burger, but it’s also difficult to find a cheap AND extremely delicious burger that is worth coming back for (and isn’t at a fast food chain). 7th street burger offers just that, and will knock your socks off with their famous Smashburger. The bun is a sweet, Hawaiian-style bread and the patty is extremely fresh and juicy, but they take it to the next level with the tangy, garlicky sauce, caramelized onions, and melty cheddar cheese. The hype for this place is building, and they’ve already decided to open another location. It is slowly becoming a favorite for New Yorkers and is easily one of the best cheap eats in NYC.
6. Absolute Bagels
Get yourself ready to consume the best bagel you’ve ever had. This small, cash-only bagel shop near Columbia University serves up the most delicious, warm, fluffy bagels. No bagel compares to the toasted egg bagel that pairs with seemingly any cream cheese. When in doubt, order the strawberry cream cheese made with fresh strawberries for the perfect pairing. Just know that because these bagels are dangerously delicious, the line will be out the door (especially on weekends) and you could wait up to an hour (it’s worth it). Eating a bagel from Absolute Bagels may just be the best decision you’ll ever make on your hunt for the best cheap eats in NYC.
5. Supreme Restaurant
If you aren’t on the lookout, you may miss it. Supreme Restaurant is truly a hidden gem in Chinatown and they serve up some of the best Chinese food you can find in the city. Their soup dumplings are heaven in dim sum form. They are rich, gingery, and full of flavor. Pair your dumplings with some scallion pancakes to have the ultimate dim sum experience. But the best part about this place? All of this deliciousness can be had at a really great price.
4. Cheeky Sandwiches
The Lower East Side of Manhattan has always been known to have great food, and Cheeky Sandwiches just adds to the greatness. This place is a classic hole-in-the-wall in the best way. Their sandwiches are all superb but the real standout here is the fried chicken sandwich. It is served on a flaky, buttery biscuit with gravy and pickled cabbage which gives the sandwich just the right amount of bitterness. The chicken is perfectly fried and so flavorful. They’ve really nailed the size of the sandwiches here. They don’t leave you feeling overly full, but there are definitely no hunger pangs happening. And for $6.50? You really can’t beat that price—making Cheeky Sandwiches one of the best cheap eats in NYC.
3. Mama’s Too
As we all know, New York City is the pizza capital of the US and luckily, pizza slices are some of the cheapest eats you can find in the city. The best cheap slice you can find is at Mama’s Too, which is a Detroit-style pizza joint located on the Upper West Side. A pizza slice from Mama’s Too will be one of the best you ever consume, hands down, and you can tell that by the size of the out-the-door line. The flavor offerings are unmatched, including the pear with hot honey and gorgonzola, vodka, or classic pepperoni. The bottom is crispy, the cheese is oozy, and the slices are generously sized.
There are almost no words to describe how good Saiguette, a cozy Vietnamese sandwich and noodle shop, is. There are two words, however, that you must speak at the counter, and those are “bahn mi”. Saiguette’s beloved lemongrass pork, cucumbers, pickled carrots, jalapenos, cilantro, and special sauce are all served on a hoagie and come together to create absolute magic. If you’re not familiar with bahn mi, it may seem like an interesting combo, but after one bite you’ll never want another sandwich for the rest of your life. If sandwiches aren’t your thing, get the vermicelli noodle bowl with the same lemongrass pork. With unparalleled flavor and freshness, Saiguette will always be one of the best cheap eats in NYC.
1. Los Tacos No. 1
Everyone loves tacos, but no one wants to hunt for one in NYC, the land of bagels and pizza slices. Consider your search over, because Los Tacos No. 1 is home to the best street tacos in the city. Prepare to be treated to dinner and a show as you watch your tacos being prepared. The process is incredibly fast, a little chaotic, and in the end, you get a perfect taco (or three) in your hands. The adobada is so flavorful with a little spice, pineapple, and all the salsa fixings. Add cheese to any taco and make it a little quesadilla. They will melt in your mouth and leave you in a puddle of happy tears. It’s safe to say that Los Tacos No. 1 offers THE best cheap eats in NYC!