Looking for good food in NYC
June 21, 2006 10:21 AM   Subscribe

I need good but affordable restaurant recommendations for New York (specifically Manhattan).

I'll be in New York after the Fourth and want to hit up some good restaurants. (I refuse to eat fast food.) I'm open to anything as long as it is good food. I don't care about novelty or creativity. I just want good taste.

Of course, I can't afford to eat at Aquavit or Per Se, so I'm looking for places that won't cost more than $20-25 per person tops (preferably around $15). And I already know about the ever-popular Shake Shack, which I do intend to visit.

Most of my time will be spent around the "sites" in Manhattan, so that's where I'll be wanting to eat.
posted by BradNelson to Food & Drink (44 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
Dirty Bird to Go, on 14th St near 7th Ave. Delicious fried chicken.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:23 AM on June 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


I'm a Burritoville fan myself, and they've got a bunch of locations all over, but I'm not sure if that qualifies as fast food in your calculus. They are, to be sure, fast, and they do serve food, but I would never group them with McDonald's or KFC.
posted by schustafa at 10:31 AM on June 21, 2006


In Times Square, if you'd like to avoid Olive Garden, Bubba Gump, etc., check out John's Pizzeria.

260 W. 44th St. (btw 7th and 8th Ave). In an old church with a beautiful stained-glass ceiling, a true brick-oven pizza place.
posted by deadfather at 10:32 AM on June 21, 2006


Pakistan Tea House, if you eat there a few times maybe you could go to Aquavit with the savings.
posted by StickyCarpet at 10:38 AM on June 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


Grrrr.
posted by StickyCarpet at 10:39 AM on June 21, 2006


Soul Fixins, for when you're in the Penn Station area.

Peanut Butter & Co., for when you're near Washington Square Park.

Veselka, for when you're in the east Village.
posted by MsMolly at 10:40 AM on June 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


Voila!
posted by lovejones at 10:43 AM on June 21, 2006


Around The Clock.
posted by Venadium at 10:44 AM on June 21, 2006


Definitely get yourself a bagel with a schmear for breakfast. There are endless arguments about who makes the best ones, but you're always safe with a bakery that makes fresh bagels (not a deli that gets a daily delivery).

NY Noodle Town (Bowery and Bayard, in Chinatown) serves awesome cheap Chinese food.

Haters will decry the recent move, but I still think Joe's Pizza on Bleecker & 6th has the best slice (get the fresh mozz one).

A sandwich at the Carnegie Deli will run you ~$20, but will fill you up and leave you enough for a big snack later on. A better, cheaper deli sandwich can be had at Katz's, but it's probably out of the way for you (Houston & A).
posted by mkultra at 10:46 AM on June 21, 2006


You might want to mention which "sites" as you may get the phone book in this thread...it's a big city.
posted by lovejones at 10:47 AM on June 21, 2006


cafe mogador

nice atmosphere, nice price, nice food
posted by milarepa at 10:48 AM on June 21, 2006


Peanut Butter & Company.

Peanut Butter & Company.

Peanut Butter & Company, for the love of God, Peanut Butter & Company.

Before them I didn't know you could have mouth-orgasms. But you can. Oh God, you can.
posted by schroedinger at 10:59 AM on June 21, 2006


You get their Cinnamon Raisin Sandwich, it will be the best fucking sandwich of your life. I have spent the past two years dreaming about that sandwich, I am not even kidding here.
posted by schroedinger at 11:01 AM on June 21, 2006


Otto is nice. Great wine bar, nice atmosphere, and you get to eat in a Mario Batali restaurant for $20-$25/pp. It's right on the high end of your range, but worth it, I think.

Cafe Havana is a trendy Cuban place that's a lot of fun. Go on a night that's not Friday or Saturday (it gets PACKED) and you'll leave totally stuffed for $10-$15/pp. Get the corn.
posted by rachelv at 11:02 AM on June 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


For a nice light walking lunch, get Banh Mi (vietnamese sandwiches) at 369 Broome between Mott and Elizabeth. There's no place to sit down in the little shop, so eat it in the park at Spring & Mulberry. Then, walk down to the original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, and get the almond cookie flavor or the black sesame (omg, they have wasabi flavor now!).
posted by hooray at 11:13 AM on June 21, 2006


If you go to Cafe Havana, as mentioned by rachelv above, get the CORN. It's fantastic.
posted by hooray at 11:14 AM on June 21, 2006


I don't know if you're interested in consuming alcoholic beverages with any of your meal, but if so, you can save a lot of money by seeking out B.Y.O.B. restaurants.
posted by staggernation at 11:17 AM on June 21, 2006


Oh, and Crif Dogs.
posted by staggernation at 11:20 AM on June 21, 2006


Here's a restaurant guide I co-authored for a conference in Manhattan. Lots of attention to budget restaurants.
posted by luriete at 11:27 AM on June 21, 2006 [2 favorites]


Galaxy, open late and insanely flavorful.
posted by superfem at 11:28 AM on June 21, 2006


and of course crif dogs is in there ... what kind of bon vivant would i be without regular visits to crif dogs, jeesh
posted by luriete at 11:28 AM on June 21, 2006


You want something unusual but delicious and very cheap? Go to my favorite, the Afghan Kebab House in Hell's Kitchen. (Make sure you go to the one on the east side of the street, not the one on the west side of the street.)
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:29 AM on June 21, 2006


Peanut Butter & Company

YES EAT HERE

Seriously, your mouth will thank you. Just be sure to drink enough water.
posted by oaf at 11:31 AM on June 21, 2006


Pho Viet Huong is amazing. Get the papaya salad with beef (on the specials board). The food is super cheap and yummy.

La Palapa is very good in a unique way, and serves delicious margaritas in a variety of fruit flavors.

I definitely second Veselka-- on my most recent visit (*I am a former NYC-er who now lives in Maine*) my husband and I ate there 5 times in one week. Mmmm, kielbasa.
posted by miss tea at 11:34 AM on June 21, 2006


milarepa: cafe mogador

Not to be a pill, but it's hard to love a place that was once great, and that has become good.
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:41 AM on June 21, 2006


I always go to this list when looking for somewhere new, interesting, and inexpensive. This covers the entrie geographic region of NYC, but many are concentrated in Manhattan. Of all the ones on it I've been to, I most most heartily recommend Empanada Mama (Argentine).

If you go to the Bánh m&igrave place mentioned above, make sure to follow up with dessert from Fayda bakery - they do good (and cheap) European desserts as well as the usual Chinatown fare. Another AskMe pointed me to the (truly) EXCELLENT DUMPLING HOUSE, and they do, indeed, serve excellent, cheap dumpling and noodle dishes.
posted by whatzit at 11:42 AM on June 21, 2006


urp. Bánh mì. Xin lỗi.
posted by whatzit at 11:43 AM on June 21, 2006


Restaurant Florent in the MeatPacking District, if you want to mingle with fancy people but don't want to pay a lot to do it.
posted by hermitosis at 11:46 AM on June 21, 2006


Hermitosis, Florent used to be one of my favorite places in the city, but no longer. It's been at least 5 years since the food was at its peak - the big boules of moules were wonderful, but are now rubberty and fishy; the great bloody marys are now mediocre and unspicy, no matter what you ask for, and the service, once funny and weird, is now rushed and perfunctory.

I used to go there as a sort of memorial for Tibor Kalman at least once a year, but no more. I don't think it's open 24 hours anymore, either.

The Meatpacking District has better choices for pretty people watching now, too.
posted by luriete at 12:40 PM on June 21, 2006


Thanks for all the great recommendations. I promise I will catch Peanut Butter & Co. as well as Cafe Havana ("Habana"?).
posted by BradNelson at 12:53 PM on June 21, 2006


Kalustyan's, if they still have their delicious deli counter upstairs...it used to be my lunch stand by...they can be found at Lexington and 28th.
posted by dchunks at 1:07 PM on June 21, 2006


luriete: Hermitosis, Florent used to be one of my favorite places in the city, but no longer. It's been at least 5 years since the food was at its peak - the big boules of moules were wonderful, but are now rubberty and fishy; the great bloody marys are now mediocre and unspicy, no matter what you ask for, and the service, once funny and weird, is now rushed and perfunctory.

I used to go there as a sort of memorial for Tibor Kalman at least once a year, but no more. I don't think it's open 24 hours anymore, either.



Well, of course everyone is entitled to their opinion, and experiences vary-- but they ARE still open 24 hours.

Can't vouch for the moules or the Marys, being a consumer of neither, but their sandwiches are good and their desserts are really fun. Best French toast ever. And while service diminishes during peak hours, I still always had a good time.

I like that they keep so many of Tibor's desigs on display in the restaurant. Hope you get a chance to bury the hatchet and enjoy a few more meals there before it closes in a couple years...
posted by hermitosis at 1:53 PM on June 21, 2006


Don't forget the street meat. I highly recommend the Halal team at 53rd and 6th. It's only $5 (people love the mixed platter with extra white sauce, no hot sauce) but the line can get ridiculously long. I've stood in line for over an hour.
posted by exhilaration at 2:08 PM on June 21, 2006


For the best burgers (Shake Shack is wayyy over rated IMHO), try these two joints:

Corner Bistro and

Burger Joint.

For awesome Korean food in K-Town, check out Kum Gang San.

For top notch sushi that's cheaper than Nobu but better than neighborhood delivery spots, eat at either Sushi of Gari or Gari--its sister location on the West Side.

For fantastic brunch/lunch, go to Blue Ribbon Bakery.
posted by Juggermatt at 2:22 PM on June 21, 2006


Go to Rai Rai Ken for some seriously delicious ramen. There are actually several good ramen restaurants in NYC, but I think Rai Rai Ken has the best noodles (Sapporo probably has the best overall soup, but YMMV).

This is nothing like freeze-dried ramen, btw.
posted by bshort at 2:44 PM on June 21, 2006


Even thought there is often a wait for brunch, and the waitstaff can be snooty, I love Cafeteria. It was uber trendy once upon a time (Sex & the City, Madonna), but now it's a pretty diverse crowd. And conveniently, it's opened 24 hours. My favorite is the croissant french toast. I can't speak for their dinner menu though.
posted by kimdog at 2:59 PM on June 21, 2006


Actually, here is their menu.

Oh, and I third Veselka and second Katz's. Another great choice on the lower east side is Boca Chica.
posted by kimdog at 3:04 PM on June 21, 2006


I swear by Il Corallo Trattoria at 176 Prince St. It's not ubercheap, but it's excellent value for really good Italian food. I've been there many a time and have never had a bad meal.
posted by Bromius at 3:10 PM on June 21, 2006


My favorite good cheap food source is Westville in the West Village (Bleeker and W. 10th.) American food, with an amazing array of seasonal veggie sides.
posted by np312 at 6:06 PM on June 21, 2006


a little out of manhattan (upper west side, but easy train ride) is Taqueria Y Fonda which is mind-blowing. Hands down the best mexican food i've had outside of Mexico.
posted by casconed at 6:31 PM on June 21, 2006


Dirty Bird to Go, on 14th St near 7th Ave. Delicious fried chicken.

I was underwhelmed, but I had no expectations since it's just down the block and maybe it's gotten better.
Same with Florent. Meh.

I love Maroons on 16th and 8th for Sunday brunch. Fried chicken and waffles (and a good stiff drink) for $15 ($20 with tax and tip).

I looooove Petite Abeille in all its locations. Mussles, burgers, fries, yummmm.

Cafe Habana is fantastic but omg the wait. The margaritas there are really fantastic as well as the corn.

If you're on the UWS and up for a wait, Gennaro on 92nd and Amsterdam is really fantastic reasonable Italian. The gnocci is mmmmmm.
posted by ch1x0r at 7:16 PM on June 21, 2006


Ghenet on Mulberry in Little Italy for Ethiopian.
posted by brujita at 10:05 PM on June 21, 2006


Whoops! In Nolita.
posted by brujita at 10:06 PM on June 21, 2006


Confetti Pasta on 38th St. at Madison Ave. You pick your pasta, sauce, and whatever ingredients you want and the cooks make it right in front of you. It's really good and pretty inexpensive.

Sticking with Italian food, Sapore in Greenwich Village has really good food, big portions and inexpensive prices.
posted by SisterHavana at 9:19 AM on June 22, 2006


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