New York City is home to some of the best food on the planet. But you don’t have to reserve a table at a Michelin star restaurant to enjoy the best flavors in town. Here’s your guide to the best cheap eats in Downtown Manhattan.
Vanessa’s Dumpling House is the cheap eats champion of the Lower East Side. Dumplings are handmade each day inside the small, always-bustling storefront where four dumplings will run you $1.50. Next best choice is the sesame pancakes—stretched from a giant ball of dough and fried on a sprawling stone pan. Take your order to go and grab a bench at nearby Sara D. Roosevelt Park.
Vanessa’s Dumpling House. 118A Eldridge St, New York, NY. (212) 625-8008
This Greenwich Village legend needs little introduction. Crisp crust, tender dough, tangy sauce and gooey cheese make Joe’s generously-sized slices the essential grab and go snack. At $2.75 a pop the price is right, too.
Joe’s Pizza. 7 Carmine Street, New York, NY. (212) 366-1182
Tucked on quiet Stanton Street where the Lower East Side turns into the East Village, you’ll find one of Manhattan’s best Greek joints. Stepping inside Souvlaki GR feels like a trip overseas—bright white and blue stucco walls, colorful flowers and dangling lights create a distinctively Mediterranean vibe. Home to the $6 Souvlaki Pita with chicken, red onion, tomato, fries and tzatziki, you’ll leave with both stomach and wallet satisfied.
Souvlaki GR. 116 Stanton St, New York, NY. (212) 777-0116
NYC doesn’t miss a food trend, and right now arepas are in. Popularized in Venezuela, Arepa Factory’s round corn muffins are split and filled with toppings like pulled pork, avocado, cheese or even Thai curry shrimp. A tasty bargain, most of these South American sandwiches ring in at $10 or less.
Arepa Factory. 147 Avenue A, New York, NY. (646) 490-6828
There’s nothing like the savory, herbal flavors of Thai cooking, and few do it better than Zabb Elee. The East Village restaurant’s extensive menu includes traditional favorites like shrimp with basil sauce and tom yum soup, or more adventurous fare like sauteed swamp cabbage and crispy pilot fish. The best part? Few dishes exceed $13.50.
Zabb Elee. 75 2nd Ave, New York, NY. (212) 505-9533