June 16, 2019

Cheap Eats Guide: Where to Eat in New York City

Nothing can prepare you for the sheer quantity of food that you’re going to consume when you visit New York City. Not only because their portions are huge, but also because there are so many great places you need to try.

My biggest concern was that everything was going to be mega bucks and we’d splash the whole holiday budget in two days, but we actually left with some money to spare despite eating like absolute pigs three times a day, and that’s down to choosing some top cheap eats.

You can find great little (or big) cheap eats are all over NYC, but here are 11 of my favourites from our trip to give you a head start.

Read more: How to Plan a Trip to New York City

Big Daddy’s Diner

This was a great find near our hotel. It was a peaceful, retro-style diner with a humungous menu full of the most ridiculous meals. You can get great food any time of day, but going for breakfast meant we got to indulge in fluffy pancakes, tater tots and a huge egg, bacon and hash brown sandwich.

We paid $28 for two meals at Big Daddy’s Diner.

Where: 239 Park Avenue South (near the Flatiron District)

Price: $$

City Pizza

You can find really cheap pizza all over the city, and don’t judge it for its price. For as little as 99c in some places, you can get a HUGE slice of pizza that is literally big enough to be considered a meal. Don’t underestimate a classic margherita either, it’s to die for. I’ve also heard great things about Joe’s Pizza which we didn’t get a chance to try.

We paid $12 for our two slices of pizza and two drinks at City Pizza.

Where: 625 9th Avenue (Hell’s Kitchen)

Price: $

Street Taco

If you fancy a Mexican meal, head to Street Taco! We found this spot by accident after a long trek in the rain and loved it. There’s something for everyone and the vibe of the restaurant is really fun at night. Their tacos were out of this world too, and they come fresh out of an actual taco van inside the restaurant.

We paid $35 for two meals and two beers at Street Taco.

Where: 358 3rd Avenue (near the Flatiron District)

Price: $$

Pick a Bagel

A trip to New York City isn’t complete without a huge cream cheese bagel (or two, like us!). Pick a Bagel was the best place to grab any sort of bagel from and the menu options were endless. The first time I had a cinnamon and raison with pink strawberry cream cheese, and the second time I had an onion with jalapeno cream cheese (both better than they sound!). They also do a great iced coffee, or a hot coffee and bagel breakfast deal on weekdays.

We paid $13 for two breakfast bagels and an iced coffee, and $10 for two lunch bagels at Pick a Bagel.

Where: 891 8th Avenue (near Central Park); 1101 Lexington Avenue (near Central Park); 210 E 23rd St (near the Flatiron District); 102 North End Avenue (Lower Manhattan)

Price: $

Shake Shack

I’ve been dying to try Shake Shack for years and I finally had one in New York City! I didn’t rate their fries that much, but the burgers were really good and the lemonade was even better. And don’t forget to treat yourself to an obligatory shake for dessert1

We paid $26 for two burgers, shared fries and two drinks at Shake Shack.

Where: All over the city

Price: $$

The Doughnut Project

If you’re up for a sweet treat (which is big enough to count as a meal), head to The Doughnut Project. It’s a bit of a hit with locals and tourists and I can see why. My doughnut was massive and the most delicious flavour I’ve ever eaten. Go for the sparking rosé! The one with bacon creeped me out, but whatever floats your boat.

We paid $9 for our two doughnuts at The Doughnut Project.

Where: 912 7th Ave (Central Park) and 10 Morton Street (West Village)

Price: $$

Juliana’s

You’ll have to queue for a while to get in here, but it is the one of the top five restaurants in Brooklyn so it’s well worth the wait! I first heard about this spot from Sophie and I’m so glad she recommended it. Not only was this the best customer service we’ve ever experienced, but the food was extremely good and the atmosphere spoke for itself. This is a bit of a legendary spot, so don’t miss it! It’s a great place to end up after a walk along Brooklyn Bridge. It can get expensive in here, but the pizzas are more than big enough to share which helps bring the cost down.

We paid $23 for a shared pizza at Juliana’s.

Where: 19 Old Fulton St (Brooklyn)

Price: $$

Schnippers

If you’re after some fast, old fashioned American food, stop by Schnippers. Most of their meals will leave you with one hell of a food baby, but if you’re looking for a great burger, hotdog or OTT sandwich, this is your place. I’d recommend the Sloppy Joe fries too!

We paid $33 for two burgers, a shared fries and a drink at Schnippers.

Where: All over the city

Price: $$

Townhouse Diner

This is a great little place to go if you want to dine in place that has a classic American diner feel to it. Picture pink and blue booths, fridges towered with huge indulgent cakes and a menu that’s almost the size of the table. They don’t hold back on their portions either, as you can see.

We paid $25 for two meals and two drinks at Townhouse Diner.

Where: 696 2nd Avenue (Murray Hill)
Price: $$

Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs

I’m gutted that we didn’t get to try the hot dogs and lemonade from Nathan’s because they’d sold out, but I’ve heard from so many people that they’re insane. Maybe one day I’ll get over to Coney Island to try get the most authentic hot dog on the market!

From what I’d read, a hot dog from Nathan’s will cost around $3.

Where: All over the city

Price: $

Insomnia Cookies

Last but not least, indulge in the gooiest, meltiest cookie from Insomnia cookies before you head home. We dived out of a storm into one of their stores and splashed out on two deluxe cookies; S’mores and Peanut Butter Cup. You can get the regular cookies though if you want to save a couple of dollars. They also deliver until 3am if you’re too exhausted from all the walking to go and get them.

We paid $8 for our two deluxe cookies at Insomnia Cookies.

Where: All over the city

Price: $$

I hope these recommendations help you map out your food tour of New York!

If you’re after some not-so-cheap eats during your trip to New York, try the famous Ellen’s Stardust Diner for breakfast or brunch, and Tao for dinner. Both great places, but you’ll easily spend £50+ for two people.

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Have you been to any of these places? Where would you recommend that I haven’t mentioned?

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