Best Bargain Restaurants in New York City
Our guide to the best budget-friendly restaurants in New York City that are low in price yet excellent in taste and portion size.
Looking to experience delicious cuisine at New York City restaurants but want to go easy on your wallet? Look no further. We rounded up a selection of the best bargain restaurants where you can get the most bang for your buck; New York restaurants that are a bargain in price, yet high in quality and quantity. An endless variety of cuisines and types of bargain restaurants can be found in New York City, from Italian to Indian, Mexican to Japanese, to Southern/soul/comfort foods, New American, vegetarian/vegan, and specialty restaurants like dessert restaurants, steakhouses, and 24-hour diners. These bargain restaurants are top-rated for their "all you can eat" style deals, buffets, and prix-fixe menus. For a bargain lunch buffet, try Chola for Indian cuisine, or Becco for the budget-friendly Italian pasta special. For generous portions of bargain Mexican food, visit La Esquina, or Yuka Restaurant for all you can eat sushi. Cheap, large steaks are hard to come by anywhere, but they can be found at Frankie & Johnnie's for a great deal. Enjoy the wallet-friendly prix-fixe brunch at Penelope. Indulge in delicious desserts at ChikaLicious, or come with an empty stomach and fill up on inexpensive, large portions of Southern comfort food at Mama's Food Shop. For the best hummus in New York City for a bargain, eat at one of Hummus Place's four bargain restaurants, or for the best inexpensive borscht, visit Veselka for 24-hour Ukrainian dining.
(232 East 58th Street, 212-688-4619)
Rated as one of the best all you can eat buffet bargain restaurants in New York City by Zagat for 2009, Chola offers an extensive menu of eclectic Indian cuisine, superb service, and high ratings among critics. The popular lunch buffet is the main draw at Chola, which features a price tag below $15 for all the flavorful Indian cuisine you can eat.
(355 West 46th Street, 212-397-7597)
A theater crowd favorite in Hell's Kitchen, Becco serves exceptional yet reasonably priced Italian cuisine in generous portions and a top-notch wine list all priced at $25 a bottle. Becco has a lunch and dinner pasta special, each for about $20, a great value for a Caesar salad or grilled vegetables with assorted seafood to start, followed by the renowned unlimited service of the chef's three daily pasta options.
(114 Kenmare Street, 646-613-7100)
Some of the most delicious and budget-friendly Mexican food at a New York restaurant can be found downtown on the border of Soho and NoLita at hot spot La Esquina. La Esquina is in a restored diner car with neon signs, though the interior does not have the diner appearance. This bargain restaurant has a counter-service taqueria and sit-down cafe, offering typical chicken tacos and tortas as well as generous main courses.
(1557 2nd Avenue, 212-772-9675)
Yuka Restaurant is a small, bustling bargain restaurant in New York on the Upper East Side where copious amounts of high quality sushi can be ordered in an all you can eat style for less than $20--a definite bargain in New York City.
Frankie & Johnnie's
(32 West 37th Street, 212-947-8940; 269 West 45th Street, 212-997-9494)
While it's not easy to find a cheap steak at restaurants in New York City, Frankie & Johnnie's at least comes at a decent price and large portions are served. There are two historic Midtown locations in New York City, one a former speakeasy and the other actor John Barrymore's former townhouse. Frankie & Johnnie's offers unpretentious, casual dining, serving classics like steaks, seafood, chops, and chicken, all for bargain prices.
(204 East 10th Street, 212-475-0929)
Dessert restaurant ChikaLicious is a 20-seat New York restaurant offering cheap, beautifully crafted sweets like puddings, cupcakes, s'mores, cheesecake, ice cream and sorbet, as well as a three-course dessert pre-fixe menu for the bargain price of $12.
(71 Seventh Ave., 212-924-2022; 109 St. Marks Place, 212-529-9198; 305 Amsterdam Ave., 212-799-3335; 99 MacDougal Street, 212-533-3089)
Hummus Place has four restaurants in New York City, all small, comfortable restaurants famous for having the best bargain falafels and hummus, with an assortment of delicious, creamy hummus available. This bargain restaurant serves simple vegetarian meals in satisfying portions for budget-friendly prices.
Mama's Food Shop
(200 East 3rd Street, 212-777-4425)
Mama's Food Shop in the East Village is an excellent New York restaurant offering overflowing portions of appetizing Southern comfort foods at budget-friendly prices, such as meatloaf, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, sweet potatoes, and grits. Try a main course plus two sides for $12.
(144 Second Avenue, 212-228-9682)
Veselka, a casual Ukrainian diner located in the East Village, is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Veselka offers cheap pierogis, stuffed cabbage, grilled Ukrainian kielbasa, beef stroganoff, and is known for having the best borscht in New York City, an Eastern European vegetable soup. All food and drinks are under $15, a true bang for your buck in New York City.
(159 Lexington Avenue, 212-481-3800)
Penelope is a charming, budget-friendly New York restaurant in Murray Hill serving New American and comfort food favorites including chicken meatballs with pesto, spinach pie, macaroni and cheese, and grilled sandwiches. There is a $13 prix-fixe breakfast/brunch menu and a lunch/dinner menu with everything under $10. Each menu is short but has plenty of variety. Try the red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting from the onsite bakery for dessert.