Best places to eat in New York on a budget

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It can get expensive to eat out in New York and that could really cost you your budget. However, we want you to enjoy your meal and not have to worry about the price. This is why we have picked the best places to eat in New York on a budget. 

In some places in New York, you could be looking at a meal costing in excess of $50.00 in a high-end restaurant. Although the food will be out of this world, if you are anything like us and can’t afford these types of places to eat, then you’ll definitely want to eat somewhere that is cheap in New York. 

Celebrating or want to take your loved one for a romantic meal, we have included a couple of mid-range and expensive places to eat.  

Best places to eat in New York on a budget 

We have selected the best places to eat in New York that’s budget friendly and kind on your wallet. 


If you want to eat cheap food in New York, then this fast-food outlet beats McDonalds any day.  

Their burgers and fries are far better in our opinion than McDonalds and prepare fresh burgers not pre-made. 

With 11 branches in New York, you are sure to come across a Wendy’s at some point during your holidays in New York. 

Enjoy a breakfast combo meal, with the classic eggs, bacon and sausages in a muffin, or croissant, the healthier option of porridge is available, with a hot or cold drink. 

Our recommendations, would definitely be a burger, fries and a drink combo meal.  

Don’t worry if you don’t eat beef, as their menu mainly consists of chicken, with two beef burger options, and one vegetarian option.  

Americans don’t cut back on the portion sizes, especially with a double or triple burger available. 

Wendy’s burger and fries, will definitely fill you up, after a long day sightseeing in New York.  

Convenience food at its best.  

Burger, fries and a drink combo from Wendys
Burger, fries and a drink combo from Wendys

Dunkin Doughnuts 

There are nearly 550 Dunkin Doughnut branches in New York City alone, so you will only need to go around the corner until you find another branch. 

When it’s time for a cup of tea or coffee, then Dunkin Doughnuts is the place to indulge, with different flavours and coloured doughnuts.  

Choose between a Boston Crème, Crème Brulee, Apple Crumble and many more flavours to tantalise your taste buds. 

The doughnuts are definitely full of flavour. A soft dough for the doughnut, with a nice sweet and sticky topping and a flavourful filling. You can’t go wrong at Dunkin Doughnuts. 

Coffee lovers will enjoy a cappuccino, espresso, cortado, flat white or whatever you coffee fancy is.  

If you don’t like coffee (we don’t), then they do serve tea, and a selection of cold drinks, such as frappe, shaken ice tea, shaken lemonade and a cold brew, just to name a few. 

A sweet snack in New York is a must.  

Related post: Things to do in New York

Kottu House 

A Sri Lankan Street food, that is not normally found outside of Sri Lanka. Try something completely different, that isn’t your normal run of the mill American, Chinese, or Indian cuisine.  

Be taken on a journey to Sri Lanka and learn more about kottu. 

Made from chopped roti mixed with a chicken or lamb curry, to make the delicious Sri Lankan dish that is known as kottu. 

If you’re on a tight budget, then this will be an ideal spot for either lunch or dinner. 

There is a small sit in area, with pictures of the top tourist spots in Sri Lanka.  

With only one branch located on Broome Street in Lower East Side, you’ll have to make a special visit to Kottu House, but it’s well worth it. 

Shake Shack 

Another great burgers and fries joint, but you can never have too many while on holiday. 

If you like the cheap burger and fries you get at McDonalds, then Shake Shack will change all that for you.  

Their budget friendly meals, that are flavourful and definitely taste better than their rival. 

So, what could you order?  

We would recommend one of their signature burgers and their crinkle cut fries. 

We can’t wait to try the hot honey chicken burger, that just sounds mouth-wateringly good.  

Vegetarians will be happy with the shroom burger, and vegans can dive right into the crispy shallot burger. 

If you fancy a sweet treat after your burger and fries, then enjoy a tasty Shake Shack concretes. 

What are concretes? 

A cold custard, made with different flavours, choose the branches special or enjoy the Union Shack or the sticky toffee concretes. 


Related post: USA Travel Guide

Mid-range places to eat in New York 

Happy to spend a little bit more money on a meal, then you’ll want to check out these places to eat in New York City. 

Applebee’s Grill and Bar 

Wanting to steer clear of the fast food’s such as McDonalds, KFC, Wendy’s and Shake Shack, then Applebee’s Grill and Bar is the place to go for good food in New York. 

Good quality dishes from pizza and burgers, to steak with fries and vegetables. And the portion sizes are Huuuuuuuge.  

What we love about Applebee’s Grill and Bar, is that the food comes with a side of vegetable. Plus, you can order more veg too. Think about your 5 a day, when ordering your meals. 

Choose from runner beans, corn on the cob, broccoli etc.  

While this might be more expensive, it is actually reasonably priced for the amount of food served.  

To stay on a budget, why not order one dish and share it between two. We did this and we were full after sharing one meal. 

Sit back in the large bright restaurants and get waited on by their friendly and helpful staff. We have always loved the hospitality and food, which is what draws us back each time we visit New York.  

Related post: One Week in New York Itinerary


An Italian marketplace, with cafes, restaurants, hot food counters and a cooking school, in the heart of New York City.  

For something on the go, then order something delicious from the hot food counter, before finding a good seat in store or in a lovely park nearby in the summer. 

Have a bit of extra cash, then sit back in their elegant restaurant and enjoy a 2-3 course Italian meal, accompanied with a lovely wine.  

Take up one of their cooking classes, to learn how to cook authentic Italian food. Bring back memories when you cook the dish on your return from your holiday. 

A great choice to eat, as you travel in New York.  

Food from the hot counter in Eately
Food from the hot counter in Eately


Food glorious food and these places to eat in New York is definitely delicious. 

Fast food places, are by far the cheapest place to eat, but is nice to have it on occasions, not daily. To have a balance diet while on holiday, we have included some mid-range places to eat. While they are more expensive, your health will thank you for it. 

We just can’t wait to get back to try out some new place to eat in New York and find those cheap places to eat. 

Feeling hungry, go get yourself some delicious food.  

Where did you eat in New York? Is there somewhere you went that we haven’t mentioned? Maybe you haven’t been, but can’t wait to try one or all of the places to eat in New York? Leave us your feedback in the comments below. 

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Best Places to eat in New York City on a budget
Best Places to eat in New York City on a budget