New York City is expensive! Today I am sharing a list of my go to places for cheap meals in NYC. I’ve included bagel shops, pizza joints, diners, and more. Some of these foods are full meals while others are snacks or desserts. These affordable NYC restaurants are ways to get a meal without breaking the bank.
Best Cheap Meals in NYC (and some snacks too)
This is my favorite pizza place ever. This pizza is very filling, eating two slices is an accomplishment. I love their namesake pizza, which is topped with artichokes, spinach, and a delightfully creamy sauce, but they have other options too.
Prince Street Pizza
If you want classic thin crust cheese or pepperoni pizza, this is the place to go.
This Ukranian diner is a classic NYC restaurant and a place for a great meal on a budget. Get pierogi, blintzes, potato pancakes, or a wide range of entrees. The prices of the entrees varies, but you can get four pierogi for $7-$9. The restaurant is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Mamoun’s has two locations in Manhattan, one in the Greenwich Village and another in the East Village. The falafel sandwich is just $5.25 and nothing on the menu is more than $14 – and there are lots of sandwich options.
Located just outside Union Square, this spot specializes in tortas (Mexican sandwiches) and tacos. Most items on the menu are under $10.
I used to live just down the street from this Harlem barbecue joint. A sandwich with a side is under $13. I recommend the pulled pork and the mac and cheese. You can also add an extra side (making it a platter) for $1.50. Heads up – the wait time can be very long.
74 St Cafe at Fairway
Yup, there is a restaurant on the second floor of this grocery store. You might remember it from the Alec Baldwin episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. The cafe serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and most entrees are $12-$16.
The Greek yogurt company has a cafe in Soho. Yogurt is the basis of the menu, and it includes sweet creations like yogurt with pistachios, dark chocolate, orange, honey and mint, plus savory offerings like the yogurt topped with mango, avocado, jalapeño, and cilantro (pictured above). The yogurt with toppings is $5-$6 and sandwiches are $10.
Crack pie, cereal milk ice cream, and cake truffles are some of the most beloved desserts in New York City.
The recession special is $4.95 for two hot dogs and a drink.
This fast casual plant-based restaurant has a cult following, and top-notch french fries. The menu has a wide range of salads, veggie burgers, snacks, and breakfasts. The guac burger with a black beans, quinoa, and sweet potato patty topped with guacamole and the air baked sweet potato fries are pictured above.
My sister and I love this Thai restaurant on the Upper East Side. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but inside, it’s really nice! For dinner, most noodle dishes and entrees are $13. More expensive meals are $26. At lunchtimes most meals are $11.
If you need a snack, it doesn’t get much better than this. Their famous 6 ounce chocolate chip cookie is $4. The original location is on the Upper West Side, but there are also locations on the Upper East Side and Harlem.
There are lots of great places for a bagel in NYC, but this one if my favorite. Grabbing a bagel, cream cheese, and coffee is a classic New York breakfast, and a very affordable meal.
Sure, there are locations all over the world now, but I love the original location in Madison Square Park. You can get a cheeseburger and fries for just about $10. It’s also worth noting that a location just opened at Laguardia.
The Halal Guys
What started as a cart on West 53rd and 6th Avenue has become a small empire. Today there are 5 carts and 2 restaurants in New York City. A big serving of chicken and beef gyro over rice and lettuce topped with white sauce and red sauce is just $8.
When I was a poor grad student, I dined at this Upper East Side restaurant on a regular basis. The lunch specials are $10-$12 and include a complementary appetizer. I always got the pad thai.
If you want lots of food options at an affordable price, head to this food hall in the Meatpacking District. Charles loves Very Fresh Noodles. I also hear great things about the cheese sticks at Big Mozz.
What are you favorite places for cheap meals in NYC? I am always looking to try out new places!
More NYC Travel Guides:
250+ Things to do in New York City
A 3-5 Day New York City Itinerary
NYC Neighborhood Guides
NYC Packing List
26 Foods to Try in New York City
Cheap Meals in NYC
Gossip Girl Filming Locations
Sex and the City Filming Locations
What to do in Lower Manhattan
What to do in Soho
What to do in Greenwich Village and Chelsea
What to do in the Meatpacking District
What to do in Tribeca
What to do in Union Square
What to do in Midtown
What to do in the Upper East Side
What to do in the Upper West Side
What to Do in the West Village
What to do in Murray Hill, Gramercy, and Kip’s Bay
What to do in the East Village
What to do in the Lower East Side
What to do in Brooklyn
What to do in Williamsburg
What to do in DUMBO
What to do in NYC at Christmastime
What to Know about Visiting New York City
Which NYC Airport to Fly Into
24 Hours in NYC and a Visit to Roosevelt Island