21 of the Best Cheap Eats in NYC for $10 or Less

If you’ve been feeling like just about everything breaks the bank way more than before…that's because it does. Over the last 12 months, grocery prices have skyrocketed with the average cost of eggs—aka our go-to lazy, nothing in the fridge meal—jumping 38 percent. And cooking is supposed to be the more affordable alternative to takeout, delivery or dining out at a restaurant.

While it’s true that you can’t escape inflation, some things in the culinary universe of New York City remain almost mystifyingly wallet-friendly. Scroll on for the most flavorful (fiscally responsible) cheap eats in NYC to satisfy your cravings for great food on a budget.

9 Omakases in NYC That Won’t Cost an Arm and a Leg

1. Nasi Lemak at Kopitiam ($8.50)

Not familiar with Malaysian food? Let us introduce you to the country’s lick-your-lips national dish, Nasi Lemak. It’s a perfectly balanced bowl of coconut rice topped with fried anchovies, peanuts, hard-boiled egg, cucumber and spicy sambal. 

151 E Broadway, Manhattan; 646-609-3785

2. Stir-Fried Liang Pi Cold-Skin Noodles at Xi’an Famous Foods ($9.75)

Few things in life give us as much joy as diving into a big bowl of noodles. These addictively chewy ribbons of steamed wheat flour noodles, stir-fried with scallions, bean sprouts, cucumbers and cilantro is totally worth the chili oil splatters we inevitably incur while slurping like a maniac. 

Multiple locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens; @xianfoods

3. Lil’ Rowdy at Rowdy Rooster ($9)

Giving ‘em the bird means something a bit different at Rowdy Rooster. The latest venture from Unapologetic Foods makes a killer Indian chicken sandwich that’s bursting with aromatic spices—don’t worry about a scorched tongue, you can customize the heat level from rascal (mild) to rowdy (crazy hot)—and costs less than $10.

149 1st Ave., Manhattan; @rowdyroosternyc

4. Harissa Falafel at Taim ($9.75)

No matter how much time passes, we keep coming back to the Taim outpost around the corner for our falafel fix. The hunger-curbing, palette-pleasing alchemy of warm pita, fresh cucumber salad and creamy hummus never fails. 

Multiple locations in Manhattan;

5. Cheese Slice at Joe’s Pizza ($4)

When we’re in the mood for an authentic street slice, it’s got to be Joe’s Pizza. Classic thin crust with just the right ratio of sauce and cheese. Eat it with one hand while you hurriedly walk down the street like a true-blue New Yorker.

Multiple locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn; 212-366-1182 or

6. Jerk Chicken at Fish N’ Ting ($9.50)

This Bronx Jamaican spot is known for its seafood but also does a mean jerk chicken that comes with a choice of sides (salad, rice and peas, steamed cabbage or white rice). Just don’t forget to budget for a couple of glasses of the rum punch. 

4063 Boston Rd, Bronx.; 718-881-6116

7. Empanadas at La Masa ($10)

With some two dozen different delicious combinations to choose from, there’s something for everyone at this Colombian eatery. Oh, and four empanadas will only set you back $10 so feel free to sample a selection. The cilantro lime chicken and beef are popular. Don’t sleep on the vegetarian and sweet options. 

Three locations in the Bronx; 718-822-8400 or

8. Arepa de Queso at Arepa Lady ($7)

If you’re not into oozy, melty cheese and crispy cornmeal deliciousness, don’t visit any of the Arepa Lady outposts in Jackson Heights or Brooklyn. Because that just means a shorter queue and more delicious arepa de queso for us.

Two locations in Jackson Heights, Queens and Brooklyn; 917-745-1111 or @arepalady

9. Two Eggs Any Style with Home Fries at B&H Dairy ($7)

B&H Dairy has been a steady favorite for kosher faves like borscht and blintzes since 1938. But the thing we keep coming back for is the piled-high plate of eggs, home fries and challah bread (it comes with orange juice and coffee or tea, too) that’s still priced like a dependable old-school diner.

127 2nd Ave., Manhattan; 212-505-8065

10. Fried Chicken Sandwich at Cheeky Sandwiches ($9)

A trip to New Orleans on a $10 budget? Not gonna happen. Alternatively, you could just walk to the Lower East side for Big Easy flavors in the form of crispy, crunchy, juicy fried chicken topped with coleslaw and gravy on a buttermilk biscuit.

35 Orchard St, Manhattan; 646-504-8132

11. Tacos at Los Tacos No.1 ($5)

With five locations in Manhattan, you’re never too far from excellent, authentic, and cheap tacos. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but we’re fans of the carne asada (grilled steak) and adobada (marinated pork) tacos. They’re all less than $5 and far from skimpy, so two will probably fill you up as quick lunch or hearty afternoon snack.

Multiple locations in Manhattan;

12. Matzo Ball Soup at Veselka ($6)

It’s not easy to find a matzo ball soup recipe as good as your bubbe’s version, but Veselka’s comes very close. A cup of chicken soup with a fluffy matzo ball only costs $6. This Second Ave institution is open late—because you never know when that craving for comfort might strike.

144 2nd Ave., Manhattan;

13. Rice Roll at Joe’s Steam Rice Roll ($6)

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine sinking your teeth into a soft pocket of glutinous rice paper stuffed with shrimp or pork, pops of corn, punchy scallions and crunchy beansprouts. And to top it all off? Hoisin, peanut sauce and spicy chili oil. 

Three locations in Manhattan and Queens; @steamriceroll

14. Roast Pork Over Rice at Great NY Noodletown ($4.25)

Walking into this hole-in-the-wall on the Bowery can be an overwhelming experience the first time around. Do yourself a favor and order the heaping plate of crispy, juicy, sweet-and-tangy pork over rice (imagine the best boneless spare ribs you’ve ever had). The wonton noodle soup with or without duck and the seriously generous portions of lo mein never disappoint either. 

28 Bowery (at Bayard St.), Manhattan; 212-349-0923 or

15. New School Breakfast Sandwich at Southside Coffee ($9)

We're insanely jealous of anyone who lives within walking distance of Southside Coffee. The breakfast sandwiches literally haunt our dreams. It's impossible to pick a favorite, but the marriage of bacon, eggs, miso-tahini kale and hot sauce always delivers pure happiness.

654 6th Ave., Brooklyn; 347-599-2884 or

16. Black Pepper Mushroom Burger at Spring Cafe ($8.95)

A  juicy burger for cheap isn’t hard to find—unless, of course, you’re a vegan who isn’t a fan of those store-bought veg patties with a million indistinguishable ingredients that don’t sound very appetizing. Spring Cafe makes a saucy, filling mushroom burger that plant-based eaters and carnivores will both love.

153d Centre St., Manhattan; 212-226-9669

17. Roll-n-roaster Beef at Roll-n-Roaster ($5.95)

A south Brooklyn institution for nearly 40 years, Roll-n-Roaster serves roast-beef sandwiches that totally live up to the hype. Expect layers of thinly sliced meat folded and pressed between warm, toasted rolls. And with cheese fries ringing in at just $3.45, it’s a no-brainer to get both.

2901 Emmons Ave, Brooklyn; 718-769-6000 or

18. Pulled Pork Patacon at Patacon Pisao ($10)

For those who haven’t had the pleasure of tasting Venezuelan street food, you’re missing out on many insanely tasty dishes. Our go-to is an addictive duo of crispy smashed plantains stuffed with pulled roasted pork, fried queso blanco, green leaf lettuce, tomatoes, ketchup and salsa verde.

Three locations in Washington Heights, Lower East Side and Elmhurst, Queens; @pataconpisaonyc

19. Regular Fries at Pommes Frites ($8)

Belgian fries with gourmet condiments all sound very European, but the portions at this Greenwich Village spot are anything but demure. The generous servings of crispy, perfectly salted russet potatoes come in paper cones that make for a great walking around the city snack or meal. FYI one sauce is included in the price.

128 Macdougal St., Manhattan; 212-674-1234

20. Bacon, Egg and Cheese at Best Bagel & Coffee ($8.75)

You didn’t think we’d leave our go-to source of morning (and hungover) nourishment off this list, did you? This midtown standby makes hand-rolled bagels at a price that clocks in a little lower than some of its fellow heavyweights. 

225 W. 35th St. (at Seventh Ave.); 212-564-4409

21. Pizza at Alligator Lounge (Free)

OK, just hear us out: the free za at Alligator Lounge is pretty legit. And with drink specials ($4fireballshots isn’t just the Wi-Fi password), you’ll have plenty of money left for another round, the Skee-Ball machines and the photo booth.  

600 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn; 718-599-4440

purewow author


From 2016-2019 Carolyn Kuang-chen Stanley held the role of Editor covering food, travel and all things nyc.

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Freelance PureWow Editor

Lindsay Cohn is a travel writer and serial trip planner who has visited 46 countries across six continents (and counting). When not globetrotting, she’s most likely either doing...