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Best Affordable Dining Options in NYC

By October 26, 2019September 1st, 2022New York, New York City

How to Eat Incredible Food in NYC For Dirt Cheap

New York is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in or visit. Rent prices are through the roof, a fancy coffee drink will cost you at least $5, and a cab ride anywhere will quickly add up in price. But whether you’re just visiting the city or you live there, there are several things you can do to experience New York without hurting your wallet. Yes, even when it comes to food, you can find some amazing deals. In this post, we’ll show you how to enjoy some world-class food in the best affordable dining options in NYC.

Don’t Turn Up Your Nose at Food Trucks

If the concept of eating delicious food that was whipped up in a truck seems a bit bizarre to you, don’t be deterred by the idea just yet. New Yorkers know that food trucks are the holy grail of incredible cuisine. So if they swear by it, definitely give it a try. Food trucks are like Starbucks; you’ll find one on every corner. And though you’ll have no trouble finding great food trucks in Manhattan, the crème de la crème of food trucks are found in a different borough: Queens. Venture into Long Island City, Astoria, Jamaica, and Woodside for amazing food truck dishes from all around the world.

There are several El Rey Del Taco food trucks throughout Astoria, the place to go for killer tacos. And the best part is, they’re only $3 a piece! For $10, you can get three tacos and a drink. King Souvlaki is another fan favorite found throughout various neighborhoods and Queens. If you’re craving Shawarma but don’t have the time or budget for a sit-down meal, try the food at KOF NYC King of Falafel and Shawarma for some authentic Middle Eastern cuisine. You can easily put together a full meal for under $10 by grabbing eats from a food truck.

Take Advantage of Happy Hour Deals

If you want to grab a snack at happy hour, you can find some pretty sweet deals across all five boroughs. At Rudy’s Bar & Grille in Hell’s Kitchen, you can get a free hot dog with every beer you buy, regardless of whether it’s happy hour or not. In Astoria, you can enjoy savory tacos at the bar of Mojave for only $2 per taco. At Crocodile Lounge on East 14th Street, you’ll get a free personal pizza with any drink you buy. Again, it doesn’t even have to be happy hour to score this deal! If you’re a cheese connoisseur, you’ll love getting your own free cheese plate when you buy a beer at Blind Tiger Ale House on Bleecker Street. If you do a little research, you’ll discover a hidden world of restaurants just waiting to gift you with some free snacks when you decide to happy hour at their establishment.

Two Numbers, Two Words: 99 Cent Pizza

Our best affordable dining options in NYC review would not be complete without this classic go-to. In a city where it seems almost everything is astronomically more expensive than it would be anywhere else, there’s still one thing you can rely on: 99 cent pizza. These joints are about as common as 99 cent stores, so just keep your eyes peeled and you’re bound to find them in any borough, especially Manhattan. Just look for the sign that says 99 Cent Pizza. Most of these tiny walk-in eateries also have other deals like two pizzas and a soda for $2.50. So even in New York, you can enjoy a filling lunch for dirt cheap. And you may be wondering, “Is the pizza really any good if it’s only 99 cents?” The answer is, “Absolutely, yes.” In fact, these 99 cent stores are where you’ll find the real deal New York-style pizza: gigantic slices of greasy, cheesy, pepperoni-y, thin-crust wonderfulness.

Shop Like a Local at Fruit and Vegetable Stands

Although the city has a little more grit than say, a place like LA, New Yorkers are just as health-conscious as their West Coast counterparts. They take pride in eating healthy, fresh produce, and such produce can be found right on the street. Granted, you will want to make sure the produce looks clean and fresh before buying, but once you’ve found a good stand, pick up a few items. You’ll find a vast assortment of beautiful, in-season berries, citrus fruits, greens, tomatoes, onions, and other healthy foods, and all of it will be far cheaper than anything you would find in a grocery store. Whether you’ll be looking for produce to bring back to your place for dinner later that night, or you just need a midday snack, a fruit and vegetable stand has a variety of healthy options for you.

Restaurant Week, a Twice-Yearly Dining Event Throughout New York City

Mark your calendar for restaurant week! With prix-fixe meals at over 370 of the City’s finest restaurants, the program is an affordable way to sample the incredible array of eateries that make up NYC’s culinary culture. They offer a two-course lunch for $26 and a three-course dinner for $42. Yes, you should make reservations well in advance. Locals an tourist wait all year for this chance to dine at the most popular places at affordable prices.

Feeling confident enough to explore the (cheap) New York food scene? Start planning your trip to the city by buying a bus ticket from today!


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