New York is a food-lovers paradise. There are so many amazing cultures influencing the food that’s available, that you really are spoilt for choice when you visit. I found myself planning my entire time there around each meal, wanting to take in as much great food as possible. Thing is, food in any city can be pretty expensive. If you’re visiting New York on a budget and want to eat a lot of great food without breaking the bank, I’ve got you covered. Here are my top tips for the very best, must-try, cheap eats in New York.
With so many amazing places to eat in New York, this list is far from comprehensive. In fact, I barely scratch the surface, so if you have any of your own great tips for awesome cheap eats in New York, share them in the comments below.
Bleecker Street Pizza
When you think of New York, you think of grabbing a slice of pizza. While you can do this just about anywhere, you don’t want to waste good food memories on bad pizza. Head to Bleecker Street Pizza for a slice of the good stuff. Find Bleecker Street Pizza here.
Dominique Ansel Bakery
One of the very best bakeries you will ever visit happens to be in New York. Take yourself and your wallet down to Dominique Ansel Bakery for all manner of deliciousness, like soups and sandwiches or intensely amazing sweets like their Beet Raspberry Tart. If you love Madeleines, they sell at $4.50 for 10. It’s also the birth place of the Cronut!!! Find Dominique Ansel Bakery here.
For great fried food, like fried chicken with buttermilk dressing, and all those other gorgeously American foods that spring into mind, visit Wilma Jean. All the good food on their menu makes it hard to choose just one thing, lucky then that nothing runs over the $16 mark. Find Wilma Jean here.
Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings
This delightful little spot serves up some fantastic dumplings that are just perfect for anybody on a budget. Their treats are handmade fresh using their very own recipes, so you know they’re good. Pan fried or boiled, they run at 6 for $8 or 8 for $10. Eat 100 of them. Find Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings here.
Los Tacos No. 1
Take a trip to the Chelsea Market and find Los Tacos No. 1. Their recipes are authentic, using fresh ingredients and each taco will set you back around $3.50. Find Los Tacos No. 1 here.
Ever tried Venezuelan food? Your trip to NYC is a great chance to do just that. What’s an Arepa? It’s like a burger bun meets flatbread and it’s all kinds of wonderful. At Arepa Factory they stuff them full of amazing fillings, like baby back ribs and American cheese or breaded fish with salads. So good. They’ll cost you around the $9 to $13 mark. Find Arepa Factory here.
Get stuck into a delicious burger for under $10 (a single hamburger costs $4.29) and try their menu of other uniquely American things while you’re there. They offer concretes, shakes and hotdogs, crinkle cut chips and a very refreshing drink, known as a fifty/fifty. Find Shake Shack here.
Beautiful, delicious and indulgent cupcakes don’t get much better than those from Magnolia Bakery, made famous by Sex and the City. I tried one, just because I felt I had to, and it really was amazing. Their classic cupcakes will set you back $3.50 each and specialties, like Red Velvet, cost $3.75. Find Magnolia Bakery here.
Cheap dumplings are on the menu at Prosperity Dumpling, a tiny shop located in Chinatown. You’ll find the menu to be very budget-friendly, boasting tasty bites like pork and chive dumplings, wontons and vegetable dumplings. Nothing over $10! Find Prosperity Dumpling here.
Mamoun’s Falafel Restaurant
The falafels at Mamoun’s are legendary, so vegetarians, rejoice! Take a trip to this awesome spot and try their falafel sandwich, it’s next level delicious, will you fill you up with middle eastern goodness and, at $3.50, won’t break the bank. Find Mamoun’s Falafel Restaurant here.
Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies
Oh my goodness. I really don’t think any kind of detailed explanation is needed here. Best Key Lime Pies you’ll ever have! Find Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies here.
The Original SoupMan
Yep, the infamous soup man from that episode of Seinfeld. It’s a legit shop and it sells damn good soup. It’s a touristy spot, but the soup is good so it’s worth it. The menu varies day to day but, if you can, get stuck into the Lobster Bisque. Find The Original SoupMan here.
Holy heck! The doughnuts at Doughnut Plan are ridiculous, they look like a piece of art. They have a few different locations and their offerings change with seasonal specialities like Crystallised Ginger. At around $3 – $4 per doughnut, you can definitely afford to spare some change for a few of these lil beauties. Find Doughnut Plant here.
Souk El Shater
This place may not look like much from the outside, but for under $5 you can get your fill of delicious Shawarma and authentic Lebanese food. Find Souk El Shater here.
Bagels are so delicious, it’s not even funny. I could eat them every day. For amazing bagels and good coffee, take a trip to Brooklyn Bagel. Their handmade bagels are absolutely divine, especially topped with their creamy and indulgent cream cheese. Find Brooklyn Bagel here.
Want to try the best Weiner in New York? Get yourself over to Crif Dogs. Try their handmade, naturally smoked beef and pork dog with your favourite toppings. They also offer variations with cool names, like ‘Chihuahua’ and ‘Temptee Dog’. Find Crif Dogs here.
Carb up at Breads Bakery and spend the rest of the day feeling like a large bread roll yourself. This place looks really cool, with that effortlessly chic NYC thing going on, but it also serves amazing croissants, walnut bread and their famous chocolate babka. Try one of everything. Find Breads Bakery here.
This sweet little spot offers awesome Mexican food and, oddly enough, great Chinese food too! Their menu is diverse and delicious, but nothing on it will cost you more than $16. Find Mission Cantina here.
This place does the best food, from tacos and burritos to hamburgers and salads, all of which is well-priced for the budget traveller. The must-try item, though, is their famous grilled corn, Mexican-style. Perfectly grilled corn on the cob, topped with mayo, lime, chilli and cotija cheese. Find Cafe Habana here.
Useful travel resources for your next adventure!
If you found this post useful, we’d be grateful if you used the affiliate links below. We’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Rest assured, these are the products and services we love and use ourselves. Thanks for your support! Phoebe and Matt x.
Read our disclaimer for more information.
Agoda – hotel bookings
Booking.com – hotel bookings
Cover-More – travel insurance
Motorhome Republic – RV rentals
RentalCars.com – car rentals
SimsDirect – travel SIM cards
Skyscanner – flight bookings
Surfshark – VPN
TourRadar – tour bookings