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Where to Eat in NYC 2008? The Big Topic


Saltydog
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I'm not saying that every workday lunch spot is a worthy answer to CaliPoutine's question, but there MUST be a lot of places that people here would recommend for a lunch that will cost up to $15.  (OTOH, CaliPoutine should realize that what she's requesting aren't "destinations," so the answer to her question really depends on where she's going to be.)

Right! I'm not disputing that there's great street food. but I can't think of any that I would travel for when there's a roughly equivalent option close by. obviously there are people (and another site dedicated to them) which believe that there are cart arepas so much better than other arepas that they're worth traveling an hour for. I just don't buy it. if you ask me where should you get a bahn mi or falafel? I'm going to ask you where you are. there are a bunch of perfectly good sandwiches available throughout this city. IMHO, which one to get is determined purely by neighborhood.

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I said these places weren't unique to NY.  Now you agree.  to me, when I see the words "only in NY" I think food that in North America can only be found in NYC.

If you just mean a physical location.  well, yeah, the Olive Garden on Times Square is "only in NY".

Try not to put words in my mouth. I said they are unique to NY, because they are in NY. You cannot get the Shake Shack experience, or the DiPalo's experience, or the Veselka experience, or the Great NY Noodletown experience exactly because they are in NY. You for sure can get somewhat similar food in a lot of other places.

The Olive Garden reference is bullshit, because it's a chain. Nowhere did I mention any chain restaurants.

And in Chinatown, you can for sure get great food for under $15 a head. As you can by sharing a pizza and a number of verdure at Otto, as you can by having lunch specials at various Japanese restaurants or ramen, at say Rai Rai Ken, or by sharing a turkey sandwich, a knish and free pickles at Katz's...

1. that's a very banal definition of "only in NY". fine. Burritoville was "only in NY".

2. kind of wrong on Otto or the ramen. Otto: 1 pizza. $13. 2 verdure: $12. water to drink. 0$. tax: $3. tip: $5. total: $33. the staff glaring at you for that order: priceless.

ramen: two bowls of ramen: $28-30. before tax and tip.

the reality is that once you add in tax and tip, unless you're eating street food or sandwiches or lunch specials at Chinese restaurants, cheap lunches in NY are more around $20, especially if you're in touristy areas.

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2.  kind of wrong on Otto or the ramen.  Otto:  1 pizza.  $13.  2 verdure: $12.  water to drink. 0$.  tax: $3.  tip: $5.  total:  $33.  the staff glaring at you for that order:  priceless.

ramen:  two bowls of ramen: $28-30.  before tax and tip.

the reality is that once you add in tax and tip, unless you're eating street food or sandwiches or lunch specials at Chinese restaurants, cheap lunches in NY are more around $20, especially if you're in touristy areas.

Otto - close enough.

Ramen - Rai Rai Ken - Two bowls of ramen - $18. Two orders of various pickly things - $4. Water - $0. +tax and tip = $29 - $30.

Regular menu - Great NY Noodletown - soups, rice plates, etc. Nothing over $6. Roast suckling pig is $9. Tea and water - $0. Add it up.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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2.  kind of wrong on Otto or the ramen.  Otto:  1 pizza.  $13.  2 verdure: $12.  water to drink. 0$.  tax: $3.  tip: $5.  total:  $33.  the staff glaring at you for that order:  priceless.

ramen:  two bowls of ramen: $28-30.  before tax and tip.

the reality is that once you add in tax and tip, unless you're eating street food or sandwiches or lunch specials at Chinese restaurants, cheap lunches in NY are more around $20, especially if you're in touristy areas.

Otto - close enough.

Ramen - Rai Rai Ken - Two bowls of ramen - $18. Two orders of various pickly things - $4. Water - $0. +tax and tip = $29 - $30.

Regular menu - Great NY Noodletown - soups, rice plates, etc. Nothing over $6. Roast suckling pig is $9. Tea and water - $0. Add it up.

ok. so if they happen to be in the EV or Chinatown. but what if they have to cab? (I don't buy anyone eating at Otto for $15pp).

Edited by Nathan (log)
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I'm not saying that every workday lunch spot is a worthy answer to CaliPoutine's question, but there MUST be a lot of places that people here would recommend for a lunch that will cost up to $15.  (OTOH, CaliPoutine should realize that what she's requesting aren't "destinations," so the answer to her question really depends on where she's going to be.)

Right! I'm not disputing that there's great street food. but I can't think of any that I would travel for when there's a roughly equivalent option close by. obviously there are people (and another site dedicated to them) which believe that there are cart arepas so much better than other arepas that they're worth traveling an hour for. I just don't buy it. if you ask me where should you get a bahn mi or falafel? I'm going to ask you where you are. there are a bunch of perfectly good sandwiches available throughout this city. IMHO, which one to get is determined purely by neighborhood.

I'm almost sorry I posted my inquiry. I dont plan on traveling to a specific neighborhood to eat at said place. But, if I'm in the general area, then at least I have an idea of where to eat. I only have 6 meals to eat in NYC and I dont want to waste one on really crappy food( or a chain).

Edited by CaliPoutine (log)
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Further to my request. I'm sure we'll be doing all the touristy thing.... Liberty, Empire State Building, Ground Zero, etc. If I had a list of places for various neighborhoods, I'd know where to go.

Now, back to dinner. Dare I tell you I'd like $50.00 places for that. ( and yes, that would be for both of us w/ no booze ).

Mexican, Chinese or our number #1 choice Italian.

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Many of the same places hold, at least sit-down restaurant-wise. In the Italian world, you might, might, might be able to do Lupa, and I'm talking one veg ($6), one pasta ($15), one main ($20). That's more of a snack, but doable. That brings you to about $53. But, seriously, I might consider trying to spend less on cabs and subways and save that $10-$20/day and put it toward meals. While keeping to a budget often is a necessity, you'd get a better feel for the restaurant in you're at if you can spend just a little more.

I'd also recommend Terroir for simple Italian-ish food, but then you're kind of pressured into ordering wine and that will blow your budget. Another option would be somewhere like Bar Stuzzichini, or however you spell. You'll trade off quantity for being able to try more things. In the same vein, go like Boqueria or something and do the Spanish thing. I don't think they've got much of that in the Great White North.

As for Mexican, go to Chicago, or Durham, or California, or Texas. NYC is not a Mexican town.

And while C-town is great and has some of the best dining values in the city, it can be intimidating for the uninitiated. It's confusing to get around if you don't have a Blackberry or iPhone, the menus can be a bit daunting, and you're kind of away from the touristy "stuff" (besides Canal St., I suppose).

And there's always 123 BurgerShotBeer. I'm kidding, sort of.

Edited by BryanZ (log)
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This thread seems to be devoted to "high end" dining.  I'd like some recomendations for casual, inexpensive( about 30 bucks for both) places.  Robin and I are coming at the end of October for 3 days during the week.  Since it was a spur of the moment trip and I've taken oh, about 4 other trips this year, I promised I'd make this budget friendly.

I'm also not a big " hot lunch" fan.  I really love a good sandwich.  Also, of course Pizza and we love Italian.  We plan on a LES self-led walking tour, so please no suggestions over there.  I also dont drink so that frees up a lot of $$.  Thanks!!

Nowhere better to start than here:

http://streetvendor.org/vendys/finalists

Find a park nearby, and you're all set with a nice view, a cheap lunch and some good people watching taboot.

I'd also suggest checking out the following "NY Only" (and located in Manhattan) spots that I can think of off the top of my mind:

- Katz (definitely on the high end, but super super worth it - knish for the veggie?)

- H&H Bagels - three onion bagels, a tub of schmear, a couple of blocks over to the park and you're in heaven

- Any pizza place really (Johns on Bleeker, Joe's on 6th/Bleeker, most corner pizza places that look good)

- Shopsins (also potentially on the high end, but talk about only in NY...)

- Most places in Chinatown, just walk around. Bahn Mi might be a good find. The Bakeries will also fill you up real good for very cheap, for value and flavor they can't be beat.

- Craftwich (if you are into the celebrity chef thing)

- Chikalicious for dessert (Thurs -> Sun I think)

- Treats Truck/Dessert Truck

- Mamouns Falafel

- Pinkberry (well, not NY only...)

- Dumplings at TKettle on 8th St.

- Mandoo's from Mandoo Bar on 32th St.

- Various burger places (BRGR, Stand, BLT Burger, Shake Shack - they all have veggie options)

- Crif Dogs (has a veggie dog option)

If you are in midtown, check out the map that is available at:

http://midtownlunch.com/blog/restaurant-index/

and find something that is near you - everything listed is under $10.

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Many of the same places hold, at least sit-down restaurant-wise.  In the Italian world, you might, might, might be able to do Lupa, and I'm talking one veg ($6), one pasta ($15), one main ($20).  That's more of a snack, but doable.  That brings you to about $53.  But, seriously, I might consider trying to spend less on cabs and subways and save that $10-$20/day and put it toward meals.  While keeping to a budget often is a necessity, you'd get a better feel for the restaurant in you're at if you can spend just a little more.

I'd also recommend Terroir for simple Italian-ish food, but then you're kind of pressured into ordering wine and that will blow your budget.  Another option would be somewhere like Bar Stuzzichini, or however you spell.  You'll trade off quantity for being able to try more things.  In the same vein, go like Boqueria or something and do the Spanish thing.  I don't think they've got much of that in the Great White North.

As for Mexican, go to Chicago, or Durham, or California, or Texas.  NYC is not a Mexican town.

And while C-town is great and has some of the best dining values in the city, it can be intimidating for the uninitiated.  It's confusing to get around if you don't have a Blackberry or iPhone, the menus can be a bit daunting, and you're kind of away from the touristy "stuff" (besides Canal St., I suppose).

And there's always 123 BurgerShotBeer.  I'm kidding, sort of.

Re: The Lupa you mention above. That might be more of a snack for you, but I just can't consume huge amounts of food( for reasons I stated upthread having to do with medication).

I'm never pressured into ordering wine. I dont drink, PERIOD.

We'll be buying a transit pass and I do have a GPS that I'll bring.

There is no good Mexican in NYC? How about Cuban?

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This thread seems to be devoted to "high end" dining.  I'd like some recomendations for casual, inexpensive( about 30 bucks for both) places.  Robin and I are coming at the end of October for 3 days during the week.   Since it was a spur of the moment trip and I've taken oh, about 4 other trips this year, I promised I'd make this budget friendly.

I'm also not a big " hot lunch" fan.  I really love a good sandwich.  Also, of course Pizza and we love Italian.  We plan on a LES self-led walking tour, so please no suggestions over there.  I also dont drink so that frees up a lot of $$.  Thanks!!

Nowhere better to start than here:

http://streetvendor.org/vendys/finalists

Find a park nearby, and you're all set with a nice view, a cheap lunch and some good people watching taboot.

I'd also suggest checking out the following "NY Only" (and located in Manhattan) spots that I can think of off the top of my mind:

- Katz (definitely on the high end, but super super worth it - knish for the veggie?)

- H&H Bagels - three onion bagels, a tub of schmear, a couple of blocks over to the park and you're in heaven

- Any pizza place really (Johns on Bleeker, Joe's on 6th/Bleeker, most corner pizza places that look good)

- Shopsins (also potentially on the high end, but talk about only in NY...)

- Most places in Chinatown, just walk around. Bahn Mi might be a good find. The Bakeries will also fill you up real good for very cheap, for value and flavor they can't be beat.

- Craftwich (if you are into the celebrity chef thing)

- Chikalicious for dessert (Thurs -> Sun I think)

- Treats Truck/Dessert Truck

- Mamouns Falafel

- Pinkberry (well, not NY only...)

- Dumplings at TKettle on 8th St.

- Mandoo's from Mandoo Bar on 32th St.

- Various burger places (BRGR, Stand, BLT Burger, Shake Shack - they all have veggie options)

- Crif Dogs (has a veggie dog option)

If you are in midtown, check out the map that is available at:

http://midtownlunch.com/blog/restaurant-index/

and find something that is near you - everything listed is under $10.

Thanks, these look good. One of the days is devoted to a LES self-led walking tour. We'll be hitting Katz, Russ and Daughters, etc.

I did forget about Pinkberry, thanks for reminding me of that. I think they moved into California after I left.

For the record, I'm not a vegetarian. I just dont eat BEEF.

Edited by CaliPoutine (log)
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And while C-town is great and has some of the best dining values in the city, it can be intimidating for the uninitiated.  It's confusing to get around if you don't have a Blackberry or iPhone, the menus can be a bit daunting, and you're kind of away from the touristy "stuff" (besides Canal St., I suppose).

Jeez, I know - I can't imagine how people even figured out where C-town was before the blackberry and i-phone. Ummm, maybe they had manners and were actually able to ask nicely for directions. Or, maybe they used, what was it called, a map?

Please, give me a break.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I'd adjust a few of those recommendations, but they're mostly solid. I think 'wichcraft is a lot better than Bryan Z makes it sound. It's not just a celebrity venue (in fact, you'd be hard pressed to ever catch sight of Tom Colicchio at any location), but a really tasty sandwich shop with quality ingredients. For Cuban sandwiches and delicacies, try Margon on 46 btw 6 and 7- delicious and cheap. For dumplings, I like Dumpling House (I think they're technically called Vanessa's Dumplings now) on Eldridge btw Grand and Broome. If you can spend $30 there, I'd be rather impressed (5 dumplings for $1). If you must do frozen yogurt, I'd skip pinkberry in favor of yolato, which can be found on 14th Street. You could also try Kati Roll on MacDougal Street, Mei Lai Wah for roast pork buns and coffee on Bayard Street (grab some ice cream from Chinatown Ice Cream Factory across the street after), Supertaste on Eldridge for hand-pulled noodles in delicious soup (though the beef broth is my favorite), Bouchon Bakery in Columbus circle for their amazing chicken soup with dumplings for $12 (close to your budget but not over it- they have great bread and butter for every table and also a great hearts of romaine salad if you don't want soup), Grand Sichuan House on St. Marks for Chinese (try the baby lamb with cut fresh pepper, kung pao anything, guizhou chicken, etc). There are other locations for Grand Sichuan House that have different specialties, so ask if you want one in a particular neighborhood. Tehuitzingo Grocery on 10th btw 47 and 48 has very good tacos.

If you're willing to travel outside of Manhattan, there are a myriad of amazing choices including most obviously DiFara for pizza, Sripraphai for thai, Spicy and Tasty or Little Pepper for Sichuan, S'Agapo for Greek, etc.

Honestly, people, your hostility and unhelpfulness is totally uncalled for and obnoxious. It seems obvious to me that CaliPoutine is simply looking to have a series of meals that are a hit, not necessarily to eat things that can't be procured anywhere else. With a number of exceptions to be found on the lower east side and a couple of foods we can argue about for days, there's not much that's actually only found in New York.

CaliP, feel free to PM me if you have questions.

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Honestly, people, your hostility and unhelpfulness is totally uncalled for and obnoxious.  It seems obvious to me that CaliPoutine is simply looking to have a series of meals that are a hit, not necessarily to eat things that can't be procured anywhere else.  With a number of exceptions to be found on the lower east side and a couple of foods we can argue about for days, there's not much that's actually only found in New York. 

Every time I read back through this thread I want to scream. If you don't get mired in this bullshit, you'll see that plenty of people, myself included, gave thoughtful recommendations (and resources) that are responsive to the request.

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And while C-town is great and has some of the best dining values in the city, it can be intimidating for the uninitiated.  It's confusing to get around if you don't have a Blackberry or iPhone, the menus can be a bit daunting, and you're kind of away from the touristy "stuff" (besides Canal St., I suppose).

Jeez, I know - I can't imagine how people even figured out where C-town was before the blackberry and i-phone. Ummm, maybe they had manners and were actually able to ask nicely for directions. Or, maybe they used, what was it called, a map?

Please, give me a break.

Ha, when I first wrote my post I had a very snarky line about a piece of primitive technology I'd heard of before called a paper map. So, fine, touche. You are of course correct and my post was meant to be taken with a grain of salt.

I maintain, however, that Chinatown is much more difficult to get around than any other part of the island. And not that CaliPoutine is so easily daunted, but I have friends who live in the city who are afraid of C-town and never go that far downtown. Then again, they find the area below 14th intimidating. Naturally, they kind of suck.

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And while C-town is great and has some of the best dining values in the city, it can be intimidating for the uninitiated.  It's confusing to get around if you don't have a Blackberry or iPhone, the menus can be a bit daunting, and you're kind of away from the touristy "stuff" (besides Canal St., I suppose).

Jeez, I know - I can't imagine how people even figured out where C-town was before the blackberry and i-phone. Ummm, maybe they had manners and were actually able to ask nicely for directions. Or, maybe they used, what was it called, a map?

Please, give me a break.

Ha, when I first wrote my post I had a very snarky line about a piece of primitive technology I'd heard of before called a paper map. So, fine, touche. You are of course correct and my post was meant to be taken with a grain of salt.

I maintain, however, that Chinatown is much more difficult to get around than any other part of the island. And not that CaliPoutine is so easily daunted, but I have friends who live in the city who are afraid of C-town and never go that far downtown. Then again, they find the area below 14th intimidating. Naturally, they kind of suck.

I have my own personal human GPS system called Robin( I also have a Garmin Nuvi). Robin can and has led me everywhere. I know the NYC C-Town is much bigger than say Toronto's or SF's, but we've been to those numerous times. I'm not too concerned about getting lost there.

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Honestly, people, your hostility and unhelpfulness is totally uncalled for and obnoxious.  It seems obvious to me that CaliPoutine is simply looking to have a series of meals that are a hit, not necessarily to eat things that can't be procured anywhere else.  With a number of exceptions to be found on the lower east side and a couple of foods we can argue about for days, there's not much that's actually only found in New York. 

Every time I read back through this thread I want to scream. If you don't get mired in this bullshit, you'll see that plenty of people, myself included, gave thoughtful recommendations (and resources) that are responsive to the request.

Oh, of course. I wasn't speaking to YOU of course, just to the people who refused to answer the question or turned this into a debate about whether getting lunch for $30 is possible (obviously and it is ridiculous to suggest otherwise). I don't think its necessary for people to feel like they can't ask such questions here or that the members aren't interested in having these discussions.

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I have friends who live in the city who are afraid of C-town and never go that far downtown.

Your friends are wimps.

CaliPoutine should know that the (very good) Kati Roll has other locations throughout the City (or at least one other location in Midtown). I'd recommend doing a web search to find them: it's a good cheap lunch.

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With regard to the helpful thing, while I would, for instance, encourage someone to visit Shake Shack without question--even if it is a carbon copy of some Midwestern burger joint--I don't think many people would argue with me in saying that NYC isn't so much a Mexican town. I don't think steering someone away from a cuisine that NYC doesn't do particularly well in favor of one it does is paternalistic, obnoxious, or unhelpful. Obviously, when you get to extremes then it does, but I simply couldn't recommend a Mexican or, say, Ethiopian restaurant in NYC to a visitor who is willing to try other cuisines.

And thinking about the budget debate that I tangentially entered into, I want clarify something. CaliPoutine, I hope that my advice from above didn't come across like some other posts that suggest that your budget is entirely unrealistic and needs to be increased across the board. I just think that you'd extract a lot of marginal value from $10 more dollars spent on food that you save from somewhere else. I want to stress the NYC is a fantastic walking city and you can get almost anywhere if you just take the time to walk. Also, say you're planning on going to a big, expensive museum like the MoMA; just go to the cheaper (and cooler) New Museum instead. Stuff like that.

Jesikka makes a good point in reminding us that it seems like you're looking for a bunch of solid meals rather than destinations. With that said, with a bit of the creative ordering I think you can do a bit of both.

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With regard to the helpful thing, while I would, for instance, encourage someone to visit Shake Shack without question--even if it is a carbon copy of some Midwestern burger joint--I don't think many people would argue with me in saying that NYC isn't so much a Mexican town.  I don't think steering someone away from a cuisine that NYC doesn't do particularly well in favor of one it does is paternalistic, obnoxious, or unhelpful.  Obviously, when you get to extremes then it does, but I simply couldn't recommend a Mexican or, say, Ethiopian restaurant in NYC to a visitor who is willing to try other cuisines.

And thinking about the budget debate that I tangentially entered into, I want clarify something.  CaliPoutine, I hope that my advice from above didn't come across like some other posts that suggest that your budget is entirely unrealistic and needs to be increased across the board.  I just think that you'd extract a lot of marginal value from $10 more dollars spent on food that you save from somewhere else.  I want to stress the NYC is a fantastic walking city and you can get almost anywhere if you just take the time to walk.  Also, say you're planning on going to a big, expensive museum like the MoMA; just go to the cheaper (and cooler) New Museum instead.  Stuff like that.

Jesikka makes a good point in reminding us that it seems like you're looking for a bunch of solid meals rather than destinations.  With that said, with a bit of the creative ordering I think you can do a bit of both.

Tehuitzingo is excellent, and I'm as picky as absolutely anyone about Mexican. My point is that a lot of people simply posted that this was difficult or impossible to do, which is utterly unhelpful. I think it is patently absurd to suggest that someone who has very little access to New York City museums skip the MoMA in favor of the New Museum to save money to eat a $40 lunch. Are you being facetious? The MoMA is clearly one of the best modern art museums in the world- virtually everything in a textbook is hanging on the walls of the top floor. I like the New Museum also, but that's because I'm spoiled enough to have access to both all the time. Regardless, Calipoutine asked for suggestions with certain criteria. It is simply not appropriate for us to suggest that she SHOULD have other goals or desires. Is it not possible for this board to be of actual assistance to someone??

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I'd adjust a few of those recommendations, but they're mostly solid.  I think 'wichcraft is a lot better than Bryan Z makes it sound.  It's not just a celebrity venue (in fact, you'd be hard pressed to ever catch sight of Tom Colicchio at any location), but a really tasty sandwich shop with quality ingredients.  For Cuban sandwiches and delicacies, try Margon on 46 btw 6 and 7- delicious and cheap.  For dumplings, I like Dumpling House (I think they're technically called Vanessa's Dumplings now) on Eldridge btw Grand and Broome.  If you can spend $30 there, I'd be rather impressed (5 dumplings for $1).  If you must do frozen yogurt, I'd skip pinkberry in favor of yolato, which can be found on 14th Street.  You could also try Kati Roll on MacDougal Street, Mei Lai Wah for roast pork buns and coffee on Bayard Street (grab some ice cream from Chinatown Ice Cream Factory across the street after), Supertaste on Eldridge for hand-pulled noodles in delicious soup (though the beef broth is my favorite), Bouchon Bakery in Columbus circle for their amazing chicken soup with dumplings for $12 (close to your budget but not over it- they have great bread and butter for every table and also a great hearts of romaine salad if you don't want soup), Grand Sichuan House on St. Marks for Chinese (try the baby lamb with cut fresh pepper, kung pao anything, guizhou chicken, etc).  There are other locations for Grand Sichuan House that have different specialties, so ask if you want one in a particular neighborhood.  Tehuitzingo Grocery on 10th btw 47 and 48 has very good tacos. 

If you're willing to travel outside of Manhattan, there are a myriad of amazing choices including most obviously DiFara for pizza, Sripraphai for thai, Spicy and Tasty or Little Pepper for Sichuan, S'Agapo for Greek, etc. 

Honestly, people, your hostility and unhelpfulness is totally uncalled for and obnoxious.  It seems obvious to me that CaliPoutine is simply looking to have a series of meals that are a hit, not necessarily to eat things that can't be procured anywhere else.  With a number of exceptions to be found on the lower east side and a couple of foods we can argue about for days, there's not much that's actually only found in New York. 

CaliP, feel free to PM me if you have questions.

Bouchon is a great suggestion, although I'd have to add the grilled cheese and tomato soup to that :-)

Margon is definitely great as well, there are also a few "Sophies" around where you can grab a huge lunch plate for $10 or under.

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I'm not saying that every workday lunch spot is a worthy answer to CaliPoutine's question, but there MUST be a lot of places that people here would recommend for a lunch that will cost up to $15.  (OTOH, CaliPoutine should realize that what she's requesting aren't "destinations," so the answer to her question really depends on where she's going to be.)

Right! I'm not disputing that there's great street food. but I can't think of any that I would travel for when there's a roughly equivalent option close by. obviously there are people (and another site dedicated to them) which believe that there are cart arepas so much better than other arepas that they're worth traveling an hour for. I just don't buy it. if you ask me where should you get a bahn mi or falafel? I'm going to ask you where you are. there are a bunch of perfectly good sandwiches available throughout this city. IMHO, which one to get is determined purely by neighborhood.

I'm almost sorry I posted my inquiry. I dont plan on traveling to a specific neighborhood to eat at said place. But, if I'm in the general area, then at least I have an idea of where to eat. I only have 6 meals to eat in NYC and I dont want to waste one on really crappy food( or a chain).

I would recommend checking out www.menupages.com. . It has a way to sort by food type, area,price range or by rating(with reviews). Each restuarant has a menu with prices listed so you can judge for yourself if it is affordable.

tom

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I have friends who live in the city who are afraid of C-town and never go that far downtown.

Back in Mitch's day, he got around Chinatown with nothing more than a scrap of old vellum with entire sections designated "there be dragons here", a sextant and dead reckoning!

--

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With regard to the helpful thing, while I would, for instance, encourage someone to visit Shake Shack without question--even if it is a carbon copy of some Midwestern burger joint--I don't think many people would argue with me in saying that NYC isn't so much a Mexican town.  I don't think steering someone away from a cuisine that NYC doesn't do particularly well in favor of one it does is paternalistic, obnoxious, or unhelpful.  Obviously, when you get to extremes then it does, but I simply couldn't recommend a Mexican or, say, Ethiopian restaurant in NYC to a visitor who is willing to try other cuisines.

And thinking about the budget debate that I tangentially entered into, I want clarify something.  CaliPoutine, I hope that my advice from above didn't come across like some other posts that suggest that your budget is entirely unrealistic and needs to be increased across the board.  I just think that you'd extract a lot of marginal value from $10 more dollars spent on food that you save from somewhere else.  I want to stress the NYC is a fantastic walking city and you can get almost anywhere if you just take the time to walk.  Also, say you're planning on going to a big, expensive museum like the MoMA; just go to the cheaper (and cooler) New Museum instead.  Stuff like that.

Jesikka makes a good point in reminding us that it seems like you're looking for a bunch of solid meals rather than destinations.  With that said, with a bit of the creative ordering I think you can do a bit of both.

Tehuitzingo is excellent, and I'm as picky as absolutely anyone about Mexican. My point is that a lot of people simply posted that this was difficult or impossible to do, which is utterly unhelpful. I think it is patently absurd to suggest that someone who has very little access to New York City museums skip the MoMA in favor of the New Museum to save money to eat a $40 lunch. Are you being facetious? The MoMA is clearly one of the best modern art museums in the world- virtually everything in a textbook is hanging on the walls of the top floor. I like the New Museum also, but that's because I'm spoiled enough to have access to both all the time. Regardless, Calipoutine asked for suggestions with certain criteria. It is simply not appropriate for us to suggest that she SHOULD have other goals or desires. Is it not possible for this board to be of actual assistance to someone??

In addition to which, the large Charcuterie platter from the 2nd floor probably qualifies under the rules and is a delicious meal for two, as are many other menu items there. Cured pork and the best modern art around = win/win.

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