5 Places to Eat in NYC on a Budget


New York City’s reputation as an expensive city to eat in isn’t unfounded—it’s the most expensive city in the United States to live in, after all. But you don’t have to dine out at places like Per Se (restaurant) to enjoy delicious food in NYC; there are actually several affordable options available for your dining enjoyment. Here are five great places to eat in NYC on a budget that won’t leave you going broke.

1) Chinatown

For years, Chinatown has been considered one of New York’s best foodie destinations. Known for its diverse mix of Asian cuisines and colorful markets, it’s home to over 70 restaurants where you can eat for cheap. While most people think of Chinese cuisine when they think about Chinatown, there are lots of other great options as well—including Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese dishes. Some local favorites include Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns (for dim sum), Fung Tu (for Sichuan) and Imperial Garden (for General Tso’s chicken). No matter which restaurant you choose though, expect to spend less than $10 per person on any given dish here.

2) Caracas Arepas Bar

A hole-in-the-wall spot that has outposts all over Manhattan, Caracas Arepas Bar is a great place for cheap eats that’ll blow your socks off. They have traditional Venezuelan arepas as well as Cuban dishes like lechon (slow roasted pork), ropa vieja (shredded beef stew), and empanadas, but their standouts are definitely their creative specialty arepas like pork belly and goat cheese or crispy eggplant with smoked mozzarella. The most expensive thing on their menu costs about $10.00, which is why it’s always crowded; take advantage of New Yorkers’ distaste for waiting by getting there before noon or just enjoy lunching at your desk when you get back from eating here.

3) Nomadic Eats

find something delicious, but do it cheap. Going out for dinner should never be more than $25 unless you want to splurge and try something pricey—and even then, maybe only if you’ve got an expense account. New York City has so many amazing food options at any budget level that it’s hard not to enjoy eating out without going broke. But regardless of where you choose to dine, there are key principles for getting good value from your dollar spent. To save money at restaurants near empire state building, keep these tips in mind

4) STATE Grill and Bar

A New York favorite, STATE Grill and Bar is a great place for nomadic eats. You can find it at 42 State Street, just across from City Hall. The menu includes burgers, steak sandwiches, pulled pork sliders and fried pickles with bacon jam. Definitely not what you’d expect from a restaurant just next door to NYC’s financial district! But that’s what makes it fun.

5) Hole in The Wall NYC

Manhattan is a great place for eating, but knowing where to go can be tricky. Sometimes you don’t have time or money (or both) to make it into one of New York City’s more expensive restaurants. One option is eat at small restaurants that lack that certain je ne sais quoi but still have good food. A few of my favorite local places like these are: Jackson Hole and Zad-E-Jo’s, both located near the Empire State Building, while Nomadic Eats is a small hole in wall diner located near NYU dorms. These restaurants are all within minutes from each other and won’t break your bank account when dining out!

Posted on: June 24, 2022

By Daniel Johnson