The 11 Best Places to Get Affordable (and Delicious!) Takeout in NYC
When New York’s restaurants shut down their dining rooms to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, we understood—but that didn’t prevent us from panicking a little. How many bland home-cooked meals can one New Yorker—once spoiled by thousands of dining options—possibly withstand? Thankfully, many restaurants offer delivery and takeout, which works for us, because we’re incredibly happy eating fried rice in our pajamas. Here are some options that are both affordable and delicious.
1. North Miznon
This Tel Aviv street food spinoff first landed in New York’s Chelsea Market before a second, larger location opened on the Upper West Side. The delivery menu is a bit more limited than the in-house one, but you can still find a selection of pita sandwiches stuffed with anything from tender rib eye steak and spicy peppers to falafel with pickles. Rest assured, the signature whole roasted baby cauliflower is available for delivery and will cost you only $10. As a bonus, you can order a bottle of Sancerre or Burgundy with your delivery, in case you didn’t get to the wine shop.
2. The Meatball Shop
Sure, you could make spaghetti and meatballs at home, or you could leave it to the people who do it best. The Meatball Shop is offering delivery from its several locations across Manhattan and Williamsburg. You can have a seriously filling and comforting meal for less than $20 with dishes like eggplant parm, chicken pesto pasta and heaping design-your-own bowls of pasta with classic, spicy pork or veggie meatballs. If you’re feeding a family, there are buckets of meatballs and lasagna platters. Want to enjoy your meal with a pomegranate Moscow mule or glass of sangria? You’re in luck, because they’re delivering cocktails, too.
There’s nothing like a personal pie of slightly charred, delightfully doughy pizza after a much-too-long day of social distancing, which brings us to Motorino. You can now get delivery from any of the three locations in the East Village, Williamsburg and the Upper West Side. There are about a dozen wood-fired saucy red and cheesy white-style pizzas to choose from, but we can never resist the soppressata super picante, which is topped with fresh mozzarella, dry salami and fresh chilis. Start your meal with a handful of great apps like meatballs braised in tomato sauce and a solid Caesar salad. The lunch special, which runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., is a bargain and comes with a pizza and individual salad for $15.
4. Black Seed Bagels
Real New Yorkers have a handful of collective fears: the suspension of the L train, rent increases and bad bagels. Thankfully, Black Seed Bagels can alleviate at least one of those fears. Black Seed’s locations are operating with limited hours from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., but you can still pick up or order in your favorite sandwich and schmear. We’re partial to the house beat lox, served on any kind of bagel with horseradish cream cheese, radish and herbs, but you can also get a classic bagel with smoked salmon; an OG bacon, egg and cheese; a tuna melt; or one of the many other sandwich combinations. Keep an eye out for Black Seed’s bagel of the month, a creative bagel collaboration with a fan-favorite local restaurant.
5. Mimi Cheng’s
Mimi Cheng’s has always been one of our go-to takeout spots for creative, juicy dumplings, so when we heard they were staying open for delivery, we breathed a sigh of relief. There are classic pot stickers filled with pork, cabbage, bok choy and scallions, along with vegetarian creations filled with tons of veggies. This month’s special–a pan-fried chicken parm dumpling—is a collaboration with L.A-based restaurant Jon & Vinny’s, and it’s pretty spectacular. While the dumplings get most of the glory here, Mimi Cheng’s also has some hearty soups on the menu, like a savory 12-hour chicken bone broth soup with meatballs and rice noodles.
6. Café Mogador
Once upon a time, we waited in line to snag a coveted table for the budget-friendly brunch at Café Mogador. Now, we’re thrilled about the option to order in from this Moroccan-inspired eatery with locations in the East Village and Williamsburg. Spice up your dinner routine with mezzes (think marinated beets, hummus and falafel), lamb or chicken shish kebab, or slow-roasted tagine over fluffy couscous, or keep things light with a Greek salad. At this point, we’re resigned to the fact that quarantine 15 is the new freshman 15, so go ahead and order the sweet-meets-savory walnut baklava. You definitely won’t regret it.
Even if you don’t know much about Malaysian food, you’ll probably be hooked after one meal at Kopitam. While you might not recognize any of the dishes by name, the flavors remind us of Indian, Thai and Vietnamese food all rolled into one. Best of all, most things on the menu are under $12. We’ve fallen hard for the nasi lemak, a dish made with coconut rice, fried anchovies, peanuts and a crispy fried egg. Kopitam is also offering $18 takeout bundles so you can make their famous kaya butter toast at home, and this thick milk bread topped with coconut egg jam and butter just might become your new favorite breakfast.
8. San Marzano
We used to always keep San Marzano in our back pocket for affordable group dinners, but now it’s become one of our go-to delivery spots for crave-worthy homemade pastas. You can create your own pastas starting at $11, which is sort of mind-blowing when you realize you’ve been paying about half that for cold brew every morning. Pick a noodle like rigatoni or pappardelle, choose a sauce from alla norma to Bolognese, and add any extras like broccoli rabe, chicken or sausage. And remember: No meal is complete without a side of balsamic Brussels sprouts with pancetta or creamy burrata.
Order it on Seamless
9. 12 Chairs
With locations in the East Village and Williamsburg, 12 Chairs is the perfect option when you’re looking for a semi-healthy meal that still feels satisfying. The menu is a mix of Israeli, Mediterranean and Eastern European dishes like super fresh salads, creamy dips and spreads, and heartier plates like stuffed cabbage and chicken schnitzel. Another perk: Breakfast is offered all day, so when you’re craving shakshuka or a loaded omelet for dinner, they’ve got you covered.
10. Lovely Day
It’s possible you’ve never heard of Lovely Day, a quirky and cozy Thai restaurant on Elizabeth Street. Lovely Day is an affordable outlier in the trendy neighborhood of Nolita, where avocado toast can easily run you $20. Everything on the menu tastes like it has been home cooked with love and care by a Thai grandmother, and now you can order it in to the comfort of your apartment. And let’s be honest, the decadent pad thai, thick drunken noodles and spicy curries are probably just what you need right now.
11. Superiority Burger
We’ll forgive you if you say you don’t get all that excited about the prospect of an all-vegetarian restaurant, but then you’ve probably never tried Superiority Burger. This closet-sized shop in the East Village serves some of our favorite meatless meals in the city, and most dishes are less than $10. You can’t go wrong with the namesake burger, a $6 creation served with griddled Muenster cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomato and pickles. Some other standouts are the burnt broccoli salad and the surprisingly filling Superiority wrap filled with brown rice, tofu and crunchy cabbage.