20 SATISFYING Cheap Eats in New York City (Less Than $10)

I’m always on the lookout for the best cheap eats in New York City. In a city full of such rich cuisine it’s easy to fall victim to the dreaded tab at the end of a fun meal where you might have gotten a little carried away.

But getting a good meal doesn’t always have to cost an arm and leg. New York is home to plenty delicious restaurants serving a variety of different meals at affordable prices. You just have to know where to look.

And that’s where I come in! After moving here as a broke young adult 12 years ago, I’ve become a (slightly) less broke adult that has a handful of the best cheap eats in New York City in my back pocket.

And I don’t necessarily mean dollar pizza and hot dogs. Not that there is anything wrong with them, I just want this list of the best cheap eats in New York City to be great food at great prices. I’m keeping it under $10 to make sure everybody gets a bite.

So without further ado, let’s get into the best cheap eats in New York City!

Visiting New York City? If you haven’t decided where to stay (yet) check out our helpful guide on Where to Stay in New York City (The best neighborhoods for first timers +2 to avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s our favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.

Cheap Eats New York City

20. Daily Provisions (all day breakfast)

Daily Provisions was opened by Danny Meyer, the mastermind behind Shake Shack, and now proudly boasts three locations (Union Square, Upper West Side & West Village). Most folks come to this cute bakery for the crullers (which is a non-negotiable, order it!) and find themselves returning to try everything else on the menu.

I’m partial to the all day breakfast menu they offer and I find it to be some of the best cheap eats in NYC. The breakfast sandwiches are less than $9, which may sound like a lot but the quality is exceptional.

The bread is perfectly fluffy and the sandwich is served toasted, so all the ingredients are melted together and every bite is guaranteed to satisfy.

This is one of my favorite cheap eats in New York City and I find myself starting my day here more often than I’d like to admit.

Address: 375 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

Best bakeries Upper West Side

19. Shu Jiao Fu Zhou

Known for their peanut noodles and pork & chive dumplings, Shu Jiao Fu Zhou has earned a spot on our list of best cheap eats in New York City.

Located in Chinatown, this is the spot if you are trying to save a buck. An order of the pork and chive dumplings will cost you less than $3 for 6 dumplings or $4 for 10. And don’t even get me started on the peanut noodles that only cost $2.75 (for a generous amount might I add).

It’s hard to believe that for those prices the quality (and flavor) of the meal don’t suffer– but they truly don’t! After one bite you’ll understand why this made our list of best cheap eats in NYC.

Come prepared: This is a CASH-ONLY establishment.

Address: 295 Grand St, New York, NY 10002

Cheap Eats NYC

18. Mei Lai Wah

Mei Lai Wah is also located in Chinatown, but this spot is known for their baked and steamed buns.

Be prepared for long lines because this spot is very popular. Serving a multitude of flavors, my personal favorite is the pineapple pork bun or the BBQ pork bun.

The buns are fluffy and pull apart nicely to allow the explosion of flavor inside to shine. The meat is tender and juicy enough to complement the slight sweetness in the dough of the bun.

This is one of the best cheap eats in New York City because the buns start as low at $1.50 and they are a decent size (a little bigger than a fist).

Local’s tip: If you pay with cash, there is a small discount.

Address: 64 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013

17. Trapizzino

This next spot is an Italian restaurant serving what some like the call the “adult version of a hot pocket”.

Simply put, this popular Roman street food (Trappizzini); is pizza dough, cooked into the shape of a cone and then stuffed with different fillings.

The dough is fluffy and chewy while the pocket of filling is savory and fresh. The portion size is very satisfying and for $9 I can’t complain.

The restaurant itself is cute and affordable, perfect for a date or grabbing food to go. The Lower East Side is lucky to have some of the best cheap eats in NYC.

Address: 144 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002

Image Courtesy Trapizzino

16. Banh Mi Saigon

If there is anything you take away from this post, it’s that some of the best cheap eats in NYC are going to be located in Chinatown.

Banh Mi Saigon makes the list thanks to their delicious Banh Mi (a Vietnamese sandwich) which is typically made with a crispy baguette and filled with savory ingredients.

At Banh Mi Saigon the BBQ pork sandwich is my go-to order every time. The baguette is perfectly crisp, the BBQ pork is juicy and the vegetables offer a refreshing crunch. You’ll be able to find a tasty option for less than $10!

Since this is one of the best cheap eats in New York City there usually is a line. But, stick around and give them a chance, Bang Mi Saigon is very efficient and quickly get the line moving.

Local’s tip: If you don’t plan on eating the sandwich right away or want to save it for the next day, ask for your sandwich to come prepared “for tomorrow” and they will set the veggies to the side so your sandwich doesn’t get soggy.

Address: 198 Grand St New York, NY 10013

Banh Mi Saigon Cheap Eats NYC

15. Birria Landia

Churning out thousands of tacos a night, Birria Landia has seen an astronomical rise in popularity after opening in 2019. Thanks to social media’s fascination with birria, it didn’t take long for it to hit NYC, and the Moreno brothers were there to capitalize.

The flavor ultimately is what keeps New Yorkers coming back. The slow roasted beef marinates for hours getting so tender it practically falls apart. It’s borderline addicting, and the lines are further evidence that this is one of the best cheap eats in New York City.

Tacos are $3 each and come topped with onions, cilantro and sauce. There’s also the option to get the birria on tostadas for the same price, or a mulita for $4. The mulita is a tortilla sandwich stuffed with birria and melted mozzarella and the traditional taco toppings.

The consome, or broth, is an additional $4 but it’s so good you could drink it on its own (maybe do this in the privacy of your own home) but it’s made to dip the tacos in for a richer flavor.

Address: Multiple locations in NYC

Cheap Eats New York City Birria Landia
Image Courtesy The New York Times

14. Evelia’s Tamales

The story of Evelia’s Tamales begins after 9/11, when Evelia Coyotzi couldn’t go back to the fast food restaurant where she worked. She opted to begin selling tamales out of a shopping cart. However thanks to growing popularity she was able to get a legitimate food cart located at the corner of Junction Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue in Corona, Queens.

Not only is Evelia’s Tamales among the best cheap eats in New York City, they’re some of the best tamales in NYC period. There’s tamales verdes, rojos, chicken and cheese. For $1.50 each it’s hard not to buy one of every kind just to try!

There’s also an Oaxacan style tamale that’s not all too common. In Oaxaca they use banana peels instead of corn husks for the tamale, and I encourage everyone taste this novelty at least once. For only $3 each it’s worth trying this NYC cheap eat.

In the winter months I come here for the atole and champurrado alone. They’re Mexican sweet drinks that are served hot and not always easy to come by. Evelia’s pulling out all the stops to bring a little bit of authentic Mexican flavor to New York City.

Address: Roosevelt Ave &, Junction Blvd, Corona, NY 11368

Cheap Eats Evelia's Tamales
Image Courtesy The New Yorker

13. Wonton Noodle Garden

Chinatown is home to some of the best cheap eats in New York City, and Wonton Noodle Garden just might be the best of them. Serving a multitude of every day Chinese dishes, where it truly shines is in regards to it’s namesake.

For under $9 guests can order a noodle soup with sizable wontons filled with pork and shrimp. It’s a satisfying meal that punches above its weight both in flavor and in value.

And if you’re not in the mood for soup, for $8.75 there is an order of siu mai which is essentially just the dumplings. I tend to go heavy with the chili oil but regardless the authentic flavor resonates through the additions.

Address: 56 Mott St New York, NY 10013

12. Cheeky Sandwiches

Allow me be the first to say, spending an arm and a leg on a sandwich is the last thing I want to do. The ingredients are rarely expensive themselves, so paying someone else to assemble it for me doesn’t always seem like the best use of my hard earned funds.

However Cheeky Sandwiches has helped me come around. None of their sandwiches are over $10, and I can attest that they are in fact cheeky. Simple ingredients give way to bold creations that come together for a dance party of flavors.

Their beef sandwich is top tier delicious. It’s made out of braised short rib that is tender and juicy all without making the bread soggy. Topped with horseradish sauce, arugula and cherry tomatoes it’s an uncomplicated masterpiece. For a whopping $8 it’s well placed among the best cheap eats in New York City.

Address: 35 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

Cheap Eats New York City Cheeky Sandwiches
Image Courtesy Bloomberg

11. Joe’s Steam Rice Roll

Steamed rice rolls are a traditional dish that originated in southern China, but have developed a cult like following in New York City. In fact it’s one of the most popular NYC cheap eats thanks to Joe’s Steam Rice Roll.

The popular dish has seen a rise in automation like a lot of other kitchen processes have over the last few decades. Joe’s Steam Rice Roll however has continued using imported grindstones to replicate the authentic and more spongy texture and flavor.

And for those wondering what is a steam rice roll even is allow me to explain. Made with rice batter, a roll is formed that is filled with pork, shrimp, beef or other vegetables and topped with soy sauce or any other sauces of the consumers choosing.

For less than $8, locals can enjoy one of the best cheap eats in New York City at any of their 4 locations. And for those in search of dessert, there is also the option to order a $5 Chinese crepe which is particularly memorable.

Address: Multiple locations in NYC

NYC cheap eats
Joe's Steam Rice Roll

10. Ess-A-Bagel

My husband and I were randomly wandering down 3rd Avenue and couldn’t resist making a pit-stop. Considering we’re always in the mood for a good NYC cheap eat, we popped in for a quick bite and soon realized we were ill prepared for the experience.

This is easily one of the best bagels in New York City. 

We had no idea we stepped foot into our soon-to-be favorite bagel shop in New York City. Ess-a-Bagel sets the standard for all NYC bagels. And at $2 a bagel (+ your spread & toppings) it’s one of the best cheap eats in New York City.

The interior of the bagel is perfectly airy and chewy while the exterior satisfies a bite with a crunchy texture few bagel shops have mastered to this level of perfection. 

Be forewarned though! The long lines at Ess-a-Bagel are warranted, arrive after 2pm to skip the lines (like we did). Although in all honesty, I’d happy wait 30+ minutes for this bagel on the reg.

Location: Midtown East, 831 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10022

Further reading: 15 MOUTHWATERING New York City Bagels That Validate the Hype


9. Veselka

This Ukranian Diner has been a staple of the East Village since 1954. Even as “Little Ukraine” dwindled, Veselka remained a popular destinations and has served as a reminder of the once abundant Ukrainian people who called that area home.

The restaurant has helped introduce Eastern European cuisine to generations of New Yorkers. And whether it’s a businessman catching a bite before work or college students stopping by for a sobering meal after a night out, the love for Veselka can be felt all around.

Affordable dishes are aplenty at the diner, making it a popular New York City cheap eats destination. There’s homemade soups sold at either $6 per cup or $11 for a large. Those looking for a traditional meal should order the Ukrainian borscht. It’s a beet soup that is perhaps the best known slavic dish.

Another popular and authentic dish are pierogis. They’re Ukrainian style dumplings that are either boiled or fried, and served with sautéed onions and sour cream. There’s an order of 4 for $9 that is hard to pass up whenever I visit.

Address: 144 Second Ave, New York, NY 10003

Cheap Eats NYC
Image Courtesy Fox Business

8. Halal Guys

It goes without saying, the Halal Guys have stands everywhere. The popular NYC cheap eats destination is rarely far from from wherever you might find yourself. The Halal Guys started their business out of carts in 1990, and have continued expanding to now include brick and mortar restaurants.

The word halal is Arabic for “lawful”, meaning in line with the practices of the Quran and Islam. Similar to how a Jewish person must keep Kosher, a Muslim person must follow Halal guidelines.

As far as the best cheap eats in New York City I have to include the sandwiches from the Halal Guys. Even though the gyro plates are more than $10, the gyro sandwiches are under and easier to eat on the go for that matter.

I can’t envision my life in New York City without a chicken and beef gyro sandwich from a Halal Guy’s food cart. It’s my go-to whenever I come back to NYC after being away and one of the first places I bring out of town guests.

Address: Multiple locations in NYC

NYC Cheap Eats
Image Courtesy The Wall Street Journal

7. Two Hands

Two Hands quickly grew in popularity thanks to its online presence. They gave the classic corndog a twist and created a fun new dish that adults and children can enjoy alike. The best part? You have a say in creating the perfect dog for yourself.

While ordering, you are given the choice of a full beef hot dog, a full cheese stick or half & half. Once coated in cornbread, the corndog is fried until golden. Now comes the fun part- toppings.

You can choose to have your corndog coated in potatoes (yes, potatoes!), crispy rice or a handful of other seasonings they offer. A cult favorite is the cheese corndog topped with hot Cheetos. 

Running at around $5.00 a corndog, Two Hands is one of the best cheap eats in New York City. If you choose cheese as your filling, don’t forget to film your first bite- the cheese pull is insane!

Address: Multiple locations in NYC

Cheap Eats NYC 2 Hands

6. Mamoun’s Falafel

Mamoun’s Falafel was founded in 1972, long before there were Middle Eastern food carts lining Manhattan’s streets. Back then, this hole in the wall restaurant was one of a kind and helped introduce this popular dish to America.

Located between the Comedy Cellar and Cafe Reggio, Mamoun’s Falafel is a part of New York City’s history, too. In fact, it’s the oldest falafel restaurant in NYC.

For those who don’t know what a falafel is, it’s a deep fried ball made traditionally out of ground chickpeas with a soft center. Mamoun’s is unique in that it primarily uses parsley, which gives it a unique green color.

Their signature sandwiches are some of the most popular cheap eats in New York City. For $6.50 New Yorkers can order the classic, which comes with falafel, hummus, lettuce, tomato, onions and tahini sauce wrapped in a pita bread pocket.

Mamoun’s is also a popular late night munchies spot since they are open until 3 AM. A benefit that is sure to be appreciated by the college students who call the Greenwich Village home.

Address: Multiple locations in NYC

Cheap Eats NYC
Image Courtesy Mamoun’s Falafel

5. Tiki Chick

Tiki Chick is brought by way of John Pickle Hospitality, AKA the folks responsible for Maison & Jacob Pickle. The tropical restaurant and bar is staffed by folks in beachwear serving fun and fruity drinks.

Their entry for best cheap eats in New York City comes by way of their $5 sandwiches. In fact, sandwiches are the only food on their menu besides drinks, so a meal here isn’t going to cost an arm and a leg.

On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays there are doughnut breakfast sandwiches until 4 pm. The rest of the time they have chicken sandwiches that are better than those of the big chains. If there’s one thing John Pickle Hospitality can get right it’s fried chicken.

My go-to is the Stiki Tiki, which comes with chicken, spam, pineapple, pickles and tiki sauce. I will mention this though, after a few of their (not cheap) drinks I wouldn’t be able to tell you which sandwich I’m having!

Address: 517 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

Tiki Chick Cheap Eats NYC

4. Los Tacos No. 1

Perhaps the most well known taqueria in New York City, Los Tacos No. 1 has a lot of well deserved hype behind it. The founders (originally from Tijuana & California) noticed a lack of authentic tacos in New York City and opted to bring that Mexican flavor to Manhattan.

At $5 a taco, they’re not the cheapest you’ll find in NYC but they are the best, and you can still get 2 for $10 and enjoy some of the best cheap eats in NYC.

A simple menu pays homage to the traditional flavors of our southern neighbors. Things like corn tortillas made in house (always get corn) and pineapple slivers in their bestselling adobada tacos have helped propel them above their competition.

Even the ambience is authentic. Mexican music plays in the background, there are jugs of aguas frescas (Mexican drinks) and standing counters to eat at rather than tables.

For $5 a taco it’s not only among the best cheap eats in New York City, they also are among the best tacos in NYC, period!

And allow me to share both a little NYC cheap eats & Mexican tip, a mula is like a quesadilla sandwich. Two corn tortillas are stuffed with cheese and the meat of your choosing. For under $7, they’re a little more fulfilling than a taco and only a few more bucks.

Only thing to remember is if you do opt to go this route, they’re a little harder to eat on the go. Make sure you have enough time to eat at one of their counters.

Address: Multiple locations in NYC

NYC Cheap eats

3. Scarr’s Pizza

I’m not going to be that guy who proclaims dollar pizza (now $1.50, thanks inflation) as the best cheap eats in New York City. No way, at New York Simply we dine in style with a… $6 slice!

Now before you come after me with pitchforks screaming that in some towns in the U.S. you can buy a whole pizza with $6, let me say within a bite, my husband proclaimed Scarr’s as the absolute best pizza in New York City. Fighting words, I know!

But he has a point. I mean, I don’t know if we were exceptionally hungry or something, but Scarr’s Pizza was so good that we returned the next day for more. The Sicilian grandma slice was so satisfying but the pepperoni took the cake, both of which can be had for less than $6.

The large slices demand to be folded and the thinly stretch dough is the ideal canvas for the delightful marinara sauce and quality toppings. The cheese and marinara sauce form a harmonious union without overwhelming. In effect, this pizza is everything a pizza should be — simple and delicious!

Plus, extra points for the incredible staff here. The man that took our order (both times) was so friendly and enjoyable. In a city where good food sometimes comes at the expense of good service, Scarr’s stands a mile above the rest. Plus, the unfussy storefront definitely evokes old school vibes.

Further reading: 15 EPIC Pizza Joints in New York City You Can’t Afford to Miss

Address: 22 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

New York City best pizza

2. 7th St Burger

“Smash” styled burgers have seen quite the rise in popularity in recent years. Although nobody can say for sure where the idea first originated it is frequently associated with west coast burger joints like In-N-Out.

7th St. Burger however has many folks saying that the best smash burger is in New York City. 7th St Burger also happens to be one of the best cheap eats in NYC.

The signature flavor is achieved by smashing the patty as soon as it hits the grill to get the browning effect on as much of the patty as possible. This gives it a crispy, caramelized taste that starkly contrasts the thick and meaty patties a lot of other restaurants use. 

The menu is extremely simple. A cheeseburger, a double cheeseburger, an impossible burger and fries. Each burger comes with their signature sauce, grilled onions, pickles and cheese. It’s not uncommon for their to be a line since it’s among the best cheap eats in New York City, but it tends to move rather quickly since there is no indoor dining. 

Nearly every item on the menu is under $10, with a cheeseburger and fries together combining to put us just over at $10.50. Like I tell my friends, eating good in New York City can be affordable, you just have to know where to look!

Further reading: 13 Prime New York City Burgers You Won’t Soon Forget

Address: Multiple locations in NYC

7th St Burger best burger NYC
Image Courtesy The Infatuation

1. Xi’an Famous Foods

Named after Xi’an, China — one of the easternmost cities in China (and last stop on the Silk Road!) — Xi’an Famous Foods offers the best cheap eats in New York City. Traditional noodle-centric meals are made from family recipes with the motto, “if it’s not spicy it’s not as good”.

Now the food won’t knock you out of your chair (unless you want it to) but most dishes have a customizable spiciness level so you’re fully in the drivers seat. Just bear in mind, the house made chili oil is what adds the kick, but it’s also what contains the flavor.

There are a handful of options under $10. The best selling B1 pork burger and B2 spicy cumin lamb burger are both under $7 and are some of the best cheap eats in NYC for those who need to just grab and go.

For the New Yorkers who want more of a sit-down meal I suggest the $9.75 A2 Liang-Pi, which is a stir-fried noodle dish with scallions, bean sprouts, cilantro, cucumbers and spongy cubes of house made gluten. It’s *chef’s kiss*

Address: Multiple locations in NYC

best cheap eats New York City

Best Cheap Eats New York City (Post Summary)

  1. Xi’an Famous Foods
  2. 7th St Burger
  3. Scarr’s Pizza
  4. Los Tacos No. 1
  5. Tiki Chick
  6. Mamoun’s Falafel
  7. Two Hands
  8. Halal Guys
  9. Veselka
  10. Ess-A-Bagel
  11. Joe’s Steam Rice Roll
  12. Cheeky Sandwiches
  13. Wonton Noodle Garden
  14. Evelia’s Tamales
  15. Birria-Landia
  16. Banh mi Saigon
  17. Trapizzino
  18. Mei Lai Wah
  19. Shu Jiao Fu Zhou
  20. Daily provisions

Best Cheap Eats NYC Map

And there you have it, folks! Our list of the best cheap eats in New York City. We’re always looking for a way to save some coin so let us know any of your suggestions.

Cheers! Thank you!