The Top 7 Penny Pinching New York City Restaurants


Beloved by all who visit its busy streets, New York City is a place that truly captivates the senses. It’s millions of tourists and residents sing its praise as they crank their heads up in awe to see the shining tops of its mammoth skyscrapers that are often lost in the clouds. Its world renown performances fill ones ears and hearts with some of the most famous artists and performers of all time.

Though there are many reasons to love New York City the one thing that will leave a lasting taste in your mouth is its mouth-watering food. As a melting pot of cultures and access to almost any ingredient it’s no wonder that this fabulous city has a menu that will knock your socks off, and leave a hole in your wallet.

You might ask, “isn’t there a way to experience the food culture of New York without going broke in the process?”

My response to you is; ” if you  know exactly where to go, then a “thrifty” tourist (or resident) might beat the system and dine for less”

      1. Grays Papaya

Located on West 72nd Street & Broadway Grays Papaya, featured in the movie “Only Fools Rush In”, is famous for its delicious hot dogs and fresh fruit juices. Their best deal by far is 2 hot dogs and a drink for $4.95! In a city where many hotdog stands sell mediocre dogs at $4.00 each, this is a real bargain. There aren’t any seats to sit in, but there is a bar table by the window that is always a great place for leaning hotdog eaters to munch while watching the Upper West Side pass by the window. Additionally, if you are rushing out in the morning and are in the mood for a hardy breakfast sandwich, I recommend checking out their breakfast menu as well.


      2. Big Daddy’s

If you’re looking for an all American Diner, with delicious food, reasonable prices, and a fun atmosphere, Big Daddy’s is your new favorite eatery.

With multiple  locations throughout New York City, and comfortable seating this is truly a unique restaurant that dishes daily half price specials (excluding weekends). With excellent service,trivia games, a retro Pac-Man arcade, and the overall feeling that you’ve stepped back into the 1960’s this is a great place for the entire family to eat and play. The staff is very friendly and will give you a warm welcome each and every time you return. Everything on the menu is unique, absolutely delicious and VERY generously portioned, so be sure to start out with a growling appetite 🙂


     3.The Dallas BBQ

If you’re a carnivore, that loves a good Texan style meal then this certainly is your kind  of restaurant.

This fabulous meat lovers paradise has multiple  locations throughout New York City, Brooklyn. and  my personal favorite, the Times Square Location.

If you find yourself exploring Times Square (like most first time tourists) and are looking for a great place to eat without breaking the bank, then look no further. As far as meat restaurants go, this is inexpensive, and features an early bird special – $9.99+vat chicken feast for two. Don’t forget to come hungry, the portions and drinks are truly enormous, and will stuff you to the gills.

dallas bbq

    4. Buddha Bodai

This scrumptious vegan Chinese restaurant, dishes gourmet treats that  wont leave you feeling like the meat was missing from your plate 🙂

Whether you’re a strict vegan looking for affordable Asian cuisine or simply find yourself wandering around Chinatown (Mott Street) and searching for a delicious and affordable place to test out the local cuisine, then this is the right place for you. Although the entire menu is reasonably inexpensive, I recommend their 3 course lunch special for just $7.50! In addition to the great food and prices, the service is truly top-notch.

buddah bodai rest

    5. Gaia Italian Cafe

If you’re seeking a taste of New York City’s Italian delights without racking up a big bill then Gaia Italian Cafe is your next stop.

Nestled in the exciting east Houston area this simple but charming cafe serves some delicious Italian bites, and the best part is that most things on the menu are less than $7.50. Combine the price with their delicious and authentic Italian cuisine and you have just found your favorite affordable Italian cafe!

gaia itallian cafe

   6. Hot-dog Stands

A classic New York City hot dog stand is a great place to stop for a quick bite without the hassle of leaving a tip or shelling out big bucks.

There once was  a time when a  New York City  hot dog stand conveniently sold $1.00 hot dogs and $3.00 gyros. Today, in 2015 these hot dog stands are not as inexpensive as they once were, and it’s not uncommon for a simple  hot dog to be $4.00-$5.00!!

Though the prices vary based on site (central park hosts some of the most expensive hot dogs and ice cream), a hot dog stand can still be a less expensive alternative to buying food on the go in a restaurant or cafe. For example, if you are spending the day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and find your self craving something hot to eat, it’s advisable to avoid their overpriced museum cafe and buy a hot dog or sandwich from a stand that is just outside of the museums main entrance. There is one specific stand outside of the Metropolitan Museum of Art that sells jumbo foot long hot dogs for $4.00.

2015-01-20 10.48.03

  7.  Trader Joe’s

It may seem strange to you that I am listing a grocery store as an inexpensive place to get a good bite to eat in New York City, but I feel that this article wouldn’t be complete without it.

Whether you’re going to Trader Joe’s for their drastically cheaper groceries or to boost your blood sugar with one of their delectable daily free samples, it’s more than worth your while. In addition having access to a giant assortment of delicious food, it is also a chance to get elbow to elbow with local New Yorker’s and get to know what it feels like to be a fellow “New Yorker”.

trader joes 72

There’s no doubt about it!

Whether you call it New York City, Manhattan,The Big Apple. or The City That Never Sleeps, one thing’s for certain, you will never be bored in its electrifying streets. Just one “sip” (or bite) from this melting pot of cultures will have you coming back for more. If you know the best places to eat I guarantee that this city will be as beloved to your wallet as it will to your stomach 🙂

Zoe Green

You are not signed in. Sign in to post comments.