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The Best Cheap Eats in NYC

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New York City is a world capital of cuisine and your trip to the Big Apple would not be complete without trying some of the city’s fantastic food. 

Just like you, our New York guides love great food at great prices and know where to find unforgettable New York food that won't take a bite out of your wallet.

Flatbush Food Tour - De Hot Pot - Free Tours by Foot

We've compiled sources and sites we rely on to find the best food deals around.  

Be sure to check out our full guide to the best of New York on a budget and our post on the overall cost to visit NYC for all budgets.

We also offer daily pay-what-you-wish guided food tours, which you should take advantage of on your visit.  Click on the video below to learn more about our food tours.


Iconic New York foods 

You’ve seen these in movies, you’ve heard your friends rave about them. Here are just a few NYC foods not to be missed!

  • Pizza
  • Bagels 
  • Cheesecake
  • Pastrami
  • Hot Dogs

Read about these foods and many more from our post on the famous foods of New York City.


Chinatown Food Tour

By Neighborhood

When you know what neighborhood you'll be in when your stomach starts to grumble, check out Time Out’s best restaurants by neighborhood guide.

Better still is the essential Serious Eats Food Guide by Neighborhood

These folks know where to eat in every corner of the city. Locals routinely use this site to find the newest spots to check out.


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Vegans

A great source for vegans and vegetarians is Happy Cow's website

This site is hardcore vegan, and the reviews are from people who know the difference between merely edible vegan and incredible vegan.


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Food trucks

Just as there are dozens of food trucks roaming the city daily, there are dozens of “Best Food Trucks” lists. 

Here are a few we rely on: Village VoiceUSA Today and Gothamist.

Since food trucks are by nature mobile, they move to different locations daily.

The Food Trucks website helps you track down where food trucks are parked for the day.


Pre or Post your Broadway show

You’ve already spent a fortune on your ticket. For a list of reasonably priced Theater district restaurants, check our post on Things to Do in Times Square and Serious Eats Pre and Post-Theater Dinner.


Mamouns Falafal

$5 and under 

If you know exactly what you want to eat, Real Cheap Eats website lets you search by the form or flavor of food.

Craving something spicy, but don’t care what country it’s from? Love noodles, be they ramen, spaghetti, japchae, or chow fun?

Only have $5 in your pocket but don’t want McDonald's? This website is perfect for you.


Teitel Brothers Arthur Avenue

$10 and under

If you are feeling overwhelmed by so many options, let The Gothamist, a New York City-savvy website, narrow the playing field.

Its 12 best cheap eats and 10 best cheap eats lists include meals from Puerto Rico, Mexico, China, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Vietnam, Greece, and Ukraine.  

We also recommend Big Appled's 10 Places to Get a Meal for Under $10.  

Bagels are cheap. Read our post on where to find the best bagels in NYC.


$20 and under

If your goal is to have incredible and affordable food, regardless of what kind of cuisine or ambiance, take a look at New York Magazine's 101 Best Eats under $20.


$40 and under

You know you can rely on Michelin, the renowned food reviewer to steer you to great food, and this year they published a list that is affordable!

See their 126 restaurants for less than $40 list.


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About The Author

Stephen Pickhardt

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers. Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo, Washington.org, and more.
Updated: December 26th, 2022
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