Monday, January 2, 2012

New York: Eat your way in NYC on a budget

'It is sweeter the second time around' - it may sound like a cliche but it is indeed really sweeter the second time around. 

I'm back in the concrete jungle and I made a promise during my first time here when I was contained in eating chinese food - foodtrip ala NYC . The Big Apple has a lot to offer when it comes to gustatory choices from Zagat rated restaurants to hole in the wall. The choices are limitless but funds are limited. New York is an expensive city but it is actually possible to enjoy eating your way in NYC though you are on a budget.

Shake Shack 

Don't be fooled by the name they don't just serve shakes but mean burgers & fries and the gooeeyy chocolate pudding. Most of the Shake Shack locations are outside seating which can be a problem during the cold months but they have seats with outdoor heating which can take care of it so make sure to come in early during the cold nights so you can get yourself a heated seat. Shackburger is $4.50 while a Cheeseburger is $4. 

Location: Madison Square Park near Flatiron building (other locations also available)
Budget (minimum): $4-7 per person; no tipping (self-service restaurant)

Lombardi's Pizza

Whenever you go to NYC and asked what is the best pizza in town, you would probably get this answer from 8 out of 10 people. Interestingly a trip to this pizza haven is not heavy on the pocket but definitely heavy on the tummy. The only problem will be the crowd, try to go off the usual lunch or dinner hour or maybe when it's really pouring there's a big probability you'll get a seat quicker than you can say 'Pepperoni'. The original 14" pizza (6 slices) is $16.50 and toppings goes for $3 each and the 14" can probably serve 2-3 people. 

To get the best of both worlds you can request to have 1/2 original pizza and 1/2 white pizza.  They serve water so if you are really crunched with the greens you can skip the drinks or just order a pizza to go and enjoy it in your apartment or hotel room sans the tipping.

Location: 32 Spring st. 
Budget (minimum): $7-10 per person (tip not included); requires tipping if dining in

Tritip Grill 

If you want to have your steak wihout hurting your pocket, visit Tritip grill when you are in Rockefeller center.

Grilled steaks usually costs around $15 while a sandwich will be around $7-10. They have daily specials which you can check out for a better bargain.

This place is more of value for money so don't expect a lot from them, it's not something like melt in your mouth steak but it's not bad for the budget conscious.

The setup is like fastfood which means they serve them up in disposable plates and utensils but who is complaining for less than $20 steak

Location: Rockefeller center near Top of the Rock ticketing 
Budget (minimum): $7-18 per person ; no tipping (self service)

MET cafeteria
The next time you found yourself in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and with a growling stomach after drooling over Degas and Van Gogh, try the museum cafeteria. The setup is very much like a school cafeteria where you will get a tray and your utensils and there are different stations like salad, main course, pasta etc. Food in the buffet setup are priced by the pound. Once you finished selecting your food you just head out to the cashier and pay for it.

Location: inside The Museum of Art
Budget: varies depends on the food selection. Example: Mac and Cheese, some chicken slices are $6 (priced per pound)

Whole foods
Just when I thought that this just an organic grocery, I found out that they also serve ready made food , soups, wraps and sandwiches. The one I went to is the Whole foods right in front the Union station and they have a sitting area/hall but it is usually crowded during the usual lunch and dinner time. But since you are already in Union station why don't you grab a nice sandwich and a juice then eat it in the park and watch New York city pass you by.

Location: several
Budget: varies depends on the food selection. Example: Egg and Cheese sandwich is $6


For the cupcake monster in you, Crumbs has a vast selection of yummy and gooey cupcakes all begging for a big bite. Cupcakes are priced at around $3.75 (I tried the milkshake cupcake) and a nice hot of cuppa is around $1.75 (Hazelnut coffee). It's a hit or miss to get a seat inside the store there will be times when it is really full and times when there are a lot of available seats.

 Location: 420 Lexington Avenue (other branches also available)
Budget: average $3.75 for a cupcake and $1.75 for a coffee ; no tipping but make sure to return your plate to the cashier and clear your table

Foodcart vendors

No NYC visit will be complete without trying the foodcart vendors that abound in each streets and avenues. The most popular choice will be the hotdog but another nice treat will be the chicken kebab (BBQ chicken) which is about $5 per stick. The next time you got lost in the concrete grids of NYC, take a break and grab a bite from one of the foodcarts

Location: everywhere in Manhattan

Next time you find yourself in NYC, try to eat to your heart's a content but within your budget. Happy eating in the Big Apple!


  1. New York!!! I hope to visit this place too and try all of these mouth-watering food. Inggit ako! Wondering when will I find myself in NYC..

  2. aba..aba..look who dropped a El Nido guru hahahaha...Naki transient lang ako sa friend ko kaya na-afford :) But it's really true...NYC has a certain vibe that you can't quite figure out what and that vibe charms anyone who steps on this concrete jungle :D madami pa ako kwento tamad pa lang magsulat o.O"