The Best Cheap New York City Restaurants You Have To Try

by Melissa

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Eating in New York City doesn’t need to break the bank. Check out these cheap and yummy New York City restaurants the next time you are in the Big Apple. 

The best cheap NYC restaurants

Heading to New York City?

If a trip to New York City is on your radar, get excited! That city is packed with energy, fun things to do, and amazing food!

New York City has a special place in my heart (as cliche as it sounds). My husband proposed to me on Bow Bridge in Central Park and since then, I’ve been back too many times to count. I’ve taken girls trips, trips with my husband and even taken my little children on a family trip.

I get questions from friends about favorite places to go in the city, and while I am no expert (really, my sister should be writing this post since she lives there), I’m sharing some of my NYC favorites.

Since there is so much to say about NYC, I’m going to break it up into a few different posts. Let’s talk about food first. Because isn’t that half the fun of traveling? Let’s just say we planned our trip around the food!

Other NYC Guides That May Be Helpful To You:

The Best Places to Eat in New York City 

This post is dedicated to all of the cheaper restaurants you’ll find in the city. We love good food, but we also don’t want to spend our life’s savings on food on vacation. If you’re looking for some really good, but good priced food in the city, be sure to check out: 

The Shake Shack 

The Shake Shack in Madison Square Park is my favorite location because of the ambiance (hello outdoor lights!), but there are locations throughout the city. You’ll find really yummy hamburgers, fries, and delicious shakes at a cheap price. The Concrete Jungle is my favorite shake!


Julianna’s Pizza

  • 19 Old Fulton Street, Brooklyn| (718) 596-6700

Order a pizza from Julianna’s to go as you walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and it will be ready by the time you get to Brooklyn. That’s a great way to avoid the lines. Take it to the park on Dock Street (where Jane’s Carousel is) and you’ll have a magical view of the city. There is a lot of hype about Grimaldi’s which is practically next door, but Julianna’s is better in my opinion (we’ve tried both) and doesn’t have as long of a wait.




  • 119 West 56TH Street 212.245.5000

For a decadent, gourmet over the top  brunch, try Norma’s. This is the one place that’s a little more pricey, but worth it in our opinion. The Crunchy French Toast is what I always get, but everything looks amazing to be honest.



  • various locations

Three words for you: Lemon Ricotta Pancakes. Get a side of fresh berries and cream and you’ll be wishing Sarabeth’s was local.  It’s a great place for brunch and much cheaper than Norma’s.


Levain Bakery

  • 167 West 74th St

Levain Bakery is famous for cookies. You’ll find this bakery on the upper west side. It’s worth the trip, promise!


Chelsea Market 

Aside from the fun and unique decor and gift shops, Chelsea Market has a lot of fun food options as well.


Wafels & Dinges 

  • check the website for locations

Wafels & Dinges has amazing Belgian waffles with delicious toppings. You won’t need lunch after this!


Street Vendors near 9/11 Memorial

My husband tries gyros in every city we go, and these from the street vendors near the 9/11 memorial are his favorite! Grab a fresh fruit smoothies from a food cart next to the gyro cart and you’ve got a really cheap lunch or dinner.


Other Good Eateries We Like: 

  • Rice to Riches — my husband’s favorite rice pudding
  • Serendipity — famous for Frozen Hot Chocolate 
  • Junior’s Cheesecake — near Time Square. You can pick up to-go cheesecake to avoid the long lines. 
  • Stardust Dinerthe food is diner-type food, but the atmosphere is super fun for before or after a broadway show. They have Broadway singers sing and perform throughout dinner.
  • Magnolia Bakery— try the Banana Pudding. So so good!
  • Carnegie Deli– huge deli type sandwiches that will fill you right up.
  • Panna II –  If you love Indian food, you’ve got to try this place out! The food is really good, and the atmosphere is unforgettable! Hundreds of thousands of lights adorn the ceilings and walls. It’s loud and tables are tight together, but you won’t forget your experience. Click here for a preview of what you’re in for.

And a few places that were on our list but we ran out of time for :

  • Parm
  • Max Brenner (Chocolate by the Bald Man)- anything and everything chocolate. Yum!

Tip: Use “OpenTable” to make reservations for the busy and popular restaurants. 


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