The Tastiest Restaurants in New York City That You Can Actually Afford

By Stephanie Yoder,

There are so many amazing reasons to visit New York, but one major drawback keeps visitors unhappy: the hefty price tag associated with a New York vaycay. In particular, eating out can be a real problem in a city seeming overrun with extremely overpriced, subpar food. Luckily, there is always a delicious cheap meal around the corner, if you know where to look.

Here are some extremely tasty and extremely affordable chain restaurants in New York where you probably won’t need a reservation nor an platinum level credit card.

Australian: Throw a meat pie on the barbie

Pie Face New York City

Savory Australian Meat Pie. Photo by David McLeish

Pie Face– 1691 Broadway at W. 53rd St. and 6 other locations
The Australians don’t have a lot of culinary achievements to boast about, but they have truly perfected the warm meat pie. This chain from Down Under offers a huge variety of individual sized savory pies, a full meal at $6 each.

What’s Tasty?

  • The classic is the Chunky Steak Pie,
  • or you can go nontraditional with the Philly Cheesesteak Pie.
  • Pie Face also serves a variety of fruit flavored dessert pies at $3 each.

Chinese: Anthony Bourdain’s Beloved Noodles

Xian Famous Foods Anthony Bourdain NYC

A Xian burger. Photo by Wally Gobetz 

Xi’an Famous Foods– 67 Bayard St and 7 other locations
If you’re not familiar with the hearty, spicy food of middle China, this restaurant is a great place to start. Truly famous now, thanks to Anthony Bourdain, these guys often have a line out the door. Yet, they’ve kept their prices low; a rarity for Gotham.

What’s Tasty?

  • The Liang-Pi cold skin noodles ($5) are their signature dish,
  • but if cold noodles don’t sound appealing, the Spicy Cumin Hand Ripped Noodles ($8) are amazing as well.

Middle-Eastern: The 3 A.M line-up at the food cart

Gyros food cart New York City

The Halal Guys at 53rd & 6th. Photo by M01229

The Halal Guys– 53rd St & 6th Ave and 4 other locations
These guys are the original New York food cart. They open at 7 .p.m. (other locations open for lunch), stay open until 4 a.m. and are easy to spot thanks to the long line of people gathered for a taste. Don’t let the crowd scare you — the line moves quickly.

What’s Tasty?

  • Giant plates of chicken or meat with rice and pita bread for just $6.

Japanese: That will curry your favor

Go Go Curry New York City

The delicious Deep Fried Pork Curry. Photo by Guilhem Vellut

Go! Go! Curry– 231 Thompson St. at W. 3rd St and 3 other locations
When you think of curry, Japan might not be the first country to come to mind, but this Japanese chain will change your mind. They offer heaping plates of savory curry and rice topped with deep fried pork, chicken katsu or shrimp tempura. Nearly everything on the menu, even triple portions, is under $10.

What’s Tasty?

  • Savory curry and rice topped with deep fried pork, chicken katsu or shrimp tempura

American: The classic Burger and Shake

Shake Shack Burgers

Extremely popular Shake Shack. Photo by A.Strakey

Shake Shack– Southeast corner of Madison Square Park and 11 other locations
If Shake Shack hasn’t made it to your hometown yet, it is absolutely worth waiting in line to try one of New York’s most popular burgers. At up to $7 a burger, it’s a step above fast food but still a great deal in a city where $15 burgers are standard. A simple Shackburger allows you to really appreciate the flavors of the grass-fed meat. Save room for a shake of course, they are thick, rich and creamy.

What’s Tasty?

  • Burgers and Shakes

NYC Pizza: The Iconic Slice

Classic Pizza

Photo by Robyn Lee

Sal and Carmine– 2671 Broadway at W. 102nd StP
No trip to New York is complete without some New York style pizza. Luckily this is one type of food where cheaper doesn’t mean worse. Try Sal and Carmine’s on the Upper West Side for a taste of real New York City pizza at just $2.50 for a plain slice. A chewy crust, light sauce and quality mozzarella make it one of the simplest and best meals New York has to offer.

What’s Tasty?

  • Pizza with sweet tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella

Italian: You’ll always have room for Gelato

Photo by Stu Spivack

L’Arte del Gelato- 75 Ninth Avenue and 2 other locations
When it’s time for dessert, try some quality gelato that doesn’t break the bank. This Italian-style gelateria in Chelsea Market is the perfect place to escape the heat and enjoy a heaping cup of fluffy gelato made with all fresh ingredients. You can go for a classic like creamy pistachio, or try one of their constantly evolving seasonal flavors.

What’s Tasty?

  • Creamy pistachio gelato