Top 10 budget restaurants in New York City

Top 10 budget restaurants in New York City

Are you planning a trip to New York City and hoping to eat out every day but are afraid the restaurants might be out of your budget? Don’t worry – the great thing about NYC is that there are restaurants to suit all budgets. To help you in your search we’ve teamed up with our friends at TripAdvisor to see what are the top 10 most popular budget restaurants in NYC according to their reviews.

1. Levain Bakery, 167 W 74TH St, Upper West Side, Manhattan


‘MissGlobetrot’ says: Un-blinking-believable. I had read the reviews on TripAdvisor but still thought that a cookie is just a cookie. How wrong I was. We bought the chocolate and peanut butter cookie for $4 and then went to baked-goods-heaven. It is impossible to articulate here exactly how good it was but our reaction to the cookie drew attention from a complete stranger on the street who nodded knowingly at us before saysing “yep they are incredible”.

‘kathygreen48’ says: Omg!!! The warm chocolate chip cookie melts in your mouth. I thought I died and went to cookie heaven. My oatmeal raisin scone was the perfect balance of sweetness. Yummy!!! Had to make a stop on my way out of town for one last cookie and scone. Will definitely return.

‘67531212’ says: OK, for all you cookie-lovers this is a message for you: visit Levain Bakery next time you are in NYC! I cannot begin to describe the sensation I felt when I took the first bite of my cookie… Cookie: HUGE, delicious and amazing! They have 4 types of cookies: double-chocolate-chip , oat and raisin, peanut butter and chocolate-chip and walnut-chocolate-chip. We chose peanut…

2. Empanada Mama, 763 9th Ave, Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan

‘Bigemail’ says: Delicious. Very inexpensive for New York… or anywhere. Open 24 hours. Service friendly but somewhat slow. Dining area is very small and I imagine it gets packed during peak times. We went on a Sunday mid-morning for breakfast empanadas. If in Manhattan, it is worth your time to go out of your way to eat at this fine restaurant!

‘JackBauer1955’ says: My wife and I visited Empanada Mama today and found it to be a wonderful place. The food was great and in addition to the empanada’s there are many other things on the menu including home-made soup! We each had 3 empanada’s and water and it all came to $17.60! My favorite was the “Viagra” which contained seafood, and my wife’s favorite was the “Brasil” which had ground beef with olives, onion and sauce. 3 each was pretty filling and we did not leave feeling stuffed. The place is quite small, so you have to sit close to your neighbour, but that was ok with us. We found it quite clean and would go again. They also have dessert empanada’s but we did not try them. For the money, I would call this place excellent.

‘alli565’ says: We loved that this was close to Times Square and although small, if you catch it before true dinner hour (five pm or so), the food was excellent with a lot of choices, and the empanadas were the best! I was going to order an entree of chicken and rice but decided to do as my family was doing and order several smaller servings of the empanadas to try (at $2.25-$3.00 each). Service was quick, and all of the choices we made were very good! Go there for an inexpensive, different and delicious meal.

3. Amy’s Bread, 672 9th Ave, Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan


‘Tim B’ says: We popped into the shop down on Bleeker a few weeks back just for a snack. Got a coffee and chocolate brownie which was by far the best brownie ever, Will be back! One of the few places you don’t mind waiting in line for.

‘OxfordBlue92’ says: Quite simply amazing bakery / sandwich shops. Full with locals eating the best quality bread and cakes. Not cheap but if you want rubbish then go to somewhere else. If you want some of the finest quality bakery food, give this a blast – it’s that good.

‘bex9993’ says: We went here for breakfast as it was only down the road from our hotel. We got a sticky bun and a brownie…both great but the sticky bun was AMAZING. Really busy in there with locals and really worth it if you are in the area.

4. Patzeria Perfect Pizza, 231 W 46th St, Midtown, Manhattan


‘WineMeister’ says: This small but amazing little gem is great for grabbing a quick bite before the show or if you’re just passing by. They will make slices to your order and heat them up quickly. For a slice and a soda the price averages about 7.00 or maybe less, but, it’s a BIG slice and STACKED with toppings (at least mine was). There are only 3-4 counter seats an no other seating so this is not really a “dine-in” type place, but deserves a visit if your hunger is calling and you are in the neigbourhood. Very nice and polite staff make for an effortless quick bite experience.

‘Needatissue’ says: If you don’t mind standing or are going to do take-out, this is the best place. The Pizza is the best. Try the grandmas and get ready. If you don’t like garlic you may have a problem. The crust of all the pizza’s is perfectly crisp and flavorful. I wish we had one in Miami…

‘davealoha’ says: While in NY we visited several Pizza places. Lombardi’s, Artichoke, Oringial Ray’s, Famous Ray’s and others. While I recommend that you try everything your heart desires I also recommend Patzeria Perfect Pizza if you can only go to one place and you are short on time. My Reasons: The location is near most of the theaters. No Line! Unlike Lombardi’s or other famous pizza places we never had to wait in line. Grandma Pizza was wonderful! Crispy crust, tasty sauce and just the right amount of cheese. I’m sure there are others we must try but for this trip it was the best!

5. Num Pang Sandwich Shop, 21 E 12th St, Union Square, Manhattan

‘verycriticaltraveler’ says: OMG are these sandwiches delicious or what?!!! The night before I had a $300 dinner at one of NYC’s finest, but the sandwich I had the next afternoon at Num Pang was hands down the best meal I’ve had in NYC, ever. The buns are toasted, warm and crisp. The meat, glazed pork belly, has the right amount of fat and sauce. The vegetables on the sandwich perfect. And the sauce divine. The brisket sandwich was every bit as good. The sausage a little spicy but also a great choice. Roasted corn is wonderful as is but imagine it with a mayonaisse/chipotle-ish sauce, toasted coconut, and fresh lime on it? So, so good. If I worked in that area I would eat there every day. I don’t even live in NY, but next time I am there I’ll take a trip to Union Square for this sandwich again. Okay — one more superlative. I ate a sandwich at Cafe Viena in Barcelona and they have a sign in their shop saysing Mark Bittman says that this ham sandwich is the “best sandwich” he’s ever eaten. It was good. Very good. But the glazed pork belly sandwich at Num Pang is the best sandwich I’ve ever eaten!

‘JAS57NY’ says: Hole in the wall (literally) sandwich shop – no substitutions or variations accepted – pick one of 15 or so sandwiches and enjoy. (I can’t comment on the sides, never wanted any). If you are expecting some perfectly crafted, easy to eat, artfully prepared sandwich this is not for you. If a sandwich that may slide around, or drip down your chin or on your clothes if you are not careful turns you off, stay away. If you are dining with an important client or new date you are trying to impress, pick somewhere else. But if you are willing to eat alone, or have your companions see you in the throws of culinary orgasm (which just might get messy!), this place is da bomb! Yes it isn’t perfect, and yes all the sandwiches taste very much the same – but that is a good thing!!! I definitely go back, over and over and over again!

‘dinkG’ says: We got the Five Spice Glazed Pork Belly sandwich and I am wishing I had one to eat on a daily basis. The flavors are amazing together and such a fun experience for my taste buds!! The pickeled japanese pear is wonderful with the pork belly and sriracha sauce added wonderful heat to balance the sweet.

6. 53rd & 6th Halal, 53rd Street, Midtown, Manhattan


‘imsupafly’ says: I don’t get how something could be so simple and plain looking, could be so good! Street food at its best, cheap eats and popular among everyone, there is a huge line all the time. Place opens from 7pm til 4am I think, great spot to hit up after hanging out all night.

‘MeghaB’ says: I used to always says that I will never eat street meat… until I tried this. I couldnt believe the quality and the freshness of the food – this is the only street meat I will ever eat at!! So don’t hesitate!

‘lauraincal’ says: Its a small street vendor on the corner of 53rd and 6th and its always crowed, that’s because the food is REALLY good. Its freshly made and you can decide between chicken, lamb or mixed. You’ll get a big bowl with meat, rice, salad and bread. You can also choose a sauce, either a mild yogurt based one or a hot red sauce. The food was freshly made, hot and delicious. You can also buy drinks, they’re only $1 with the food. The bowl itself if $6 which is a reasonable price.

7. Ess-a-Bagel, 359 1st Ave, Murray Hill, Manhattan


‘Hallie G’ says: I walked 3 miles in 23 degree weather to get to this place but it was SO worth it. Service was great despite the place being totally packed, and everything was very affordable. The bagels were big, soft, and warm but not toasted; my FAVORITE. They sure do know how make some good cream cheese too. They had a huge assortment of bagels and cream cheeses, all looked delicious. Mine tasted heavenly. The people who worked there were very friendly and cheery despite the busy atmosphere.

Spotngrey’ says: I have never tasted better bagel ever since I had bagel there. I always go back whenever I visit NY. People who work there are all friendly. Jalepeno cream cheese with toasted everything bagel and a coffee make me weep everytime I go there!! The value is unbeatable.

‘ARTravelers’ says: They are, without a doubt, the best bagels I ever had. They are so good we bought two dozen last week and brought them home on the plane. They now are sealed and in our freezer to enjoy in the coming months. We go there every time we are in NYC. Go there, it is worth the wait!! My only suggestion would be they put a lock on the restroom door.

8. Two Little Red Hens, 1652 2nd Ave, Upper East Side, Manhattan

‘ohsmartymarty’ says: Best cupcakes in the city! If you love chocolate, the brooklyn blackouts are for you – and if you have a microwave at home – take it home and after twenty seconds in the microwave you will be in heaven! Everything in here is good, some people may say it is slightly more expensive than other places in the city, but when everything is so good, who cares about an extra 75 cents!

‘Fei26’ says: Its a little little shop with just 3 tables that has the best cheesecake in NY (and we have tasted a lot!) and a fridge display with their amazing buttercream frosted cakes that you just want to eat them all at once!

‘Missy_Lina’ says: This little bakery is superb!! They offer cupcakes which are amazing and the New York cheesecake is the absolute BEST you will ever taste. Perfect and fluffy, not too sweet and the base is a delicious biscuit. An absolute MUST for anyone traveling to NYC – well worth the travel from any part of town!!

9. Cranberry Deli, 115 W 45th St, Manhattan


‘pattib22’ says: Great, fresh food, lots of selections, good prices, efficient and fast service. Should be rated higher! A must visit in New York City. We stopped for lunch several times – sometime carry out and sometimes we carried our food upstairs to the seating area. Enjoyed our food and the people watching – a steady stream or diners coming through from NY cops, tourists, and locals.

‘RabyFamily’ says: Each time our family goes to NYC, we always eat at least once at the Cranberry Deli. The food choices are wonderful and the prices are fair. Each of us can get what we want to eat and drink. The staff is always friendly and the food prepared well. The location is great if you are on your way to or from Times Square.

‘lipglossqueen’ says: This place does many different types of food which was delicious and at great prices. Even though there are so many places to eat in NYC…we found ourselves going back here a few times as we were so impressed

10. Rice to Riches, 37 Spring St, NoLita, Manhattan


‘Imaspen’ says: This unique dessert place is one of my favorite places to visit when in NYC! I had my doubts, but the rice pudding is really unbelievably fantastic. Besides many flavor choices you can also enjoy 12 different toppings. I love the humorous slant and friendly staff. You MUST try it at least once – you will be hooked. My favorite is the vanilla pudding with toasted coconut on top. Mmmmm…

‘SanAmsterdam’ says: We had our dessert here…and what a nice place this is…! Can definitely recommend the cheesecake rice pudding. Super tasty..! Also pay attention to the texts and funny comments everywhere. When in neighborhood, certainly worth a visit…can’t go wrong here.

‘Kingscountygal’ says: Who would have imagined there could be so many different flavors of Rice Pudding EVERYWHERE!! The little dishes they come in are kinda neat too, a perfect place to get something sweet after strolling around Little Italy!

All restaurants listed are in the ‘£/€/$ x 1’ price range
All images courtesy of TripAdvisor. Please note that ranking is correct as per TripAdvisor reviews from Wednesday 28th February, 2012.

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