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11 Affordable Restaurants You Need to Check Out in New York

Updated on March 13, 2017

A delicious burger from Burger Joint, some fried chicken sandwich made by Chef David Chang and everything at Gotham ‘s market stalls. It is possible to eat well at affordable rates in the Big Apple.

Joan Didion, in his famous essay Goodbye To All That, wrote that New York was a city only for the very rich or the very poor. It was not his opinion; he was just expressing what he had often heard. Fifty years later, his quote is still very much alive: New York is expensive. Almost all big cities are, but that does not mean that to have a good time in the Big Apple you need to go into debt to the bank or settle for eating hot dogs in a public park every day. Those who enjoy good food have more choices of high quality at reasonable prices nowadays.

In recent years, the city has evolved, gastronomically speaking, and the line between fine dining and fast food is filled with dozens of affordable restaurants that do not sacrifice good design or good products. This sector is known as fast casual and has thrived in part by the lifestyle needs of New Yorkers and partly by simple economics. "All the chefs are speaking about the need to create culinary products at a low cost which can be replicated into different demographics, virtually redefining the fast food concept, " said chef David Chang in a recent GQ magazine interview. "It's a way to diversify and counteract the inefficiency of fancy restaurants, which are not profitable on their own." Chang, the creator of Momofuku, opened Fuku and Fuku+, two places where serving gourmet sandwiches, wine and beer has turned into a huge success.

These are some of the best places you shouldn’t miss on your next trip to New York:

Gotham West Market

Not long ago there were not many reasons to visit Midtown’s Western edge. This quiet area full of residential towers in now animated by Gotham’s West Market, were several famous chefs are attracting both New Yorkers and tourists to the forgotten 11th Avenue (at 600th). Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop, for example, serves excellent Japanese soups, and Blue Bottle, the well-known cafeteria from California, serves one of the best coffees in the Big Apple.

E. A. T.

Very close to the Metropolitan Museum on 1064 Madison Avenue is E.A.T., right on the Upper East Side. Here the specialties created by restaurateur Eli Zabar include the famous Tower of Bagel sandwich, with several layers of cream cheese, chives, and Norwegian salmon

If you’re in the mood for something sweet, try the lemon tart, a slice of carrot cake, or one of the delicious Eli’s Brownies

Quality Eats

New Yorkers have a weakness for steakhouses and monumental portions of juicy chops. The problem is that these steakhouses are usually expensive. Perhaps that is why the recent opening of Quality Eats in the West Village (19, Greenwich Avenue) was received with enthusiasm. This restaurant offers quality meats at a good price. You need to try the Flatiron, a delicious, tasty steak.

Burger Joint

This little place hidden in a corner of the Le Parker Meridien Hotel is no longer the well-kept secret only a few locals knew about. To try its famous cheeseburgers, you have to queue up to the counter and then cross your fingers hoping that a seat is soon available. Luckily, Burger Joint opened a second location in Greenwich Village (33 West 8th Street), much larger and with a better ambiance, with exposed brick walls and cozy wooden floors.

Oh, and their milkshakes are de-li-cious!

Fuku +

David Chang has given a boost to the Asian dining scene in the Big Apple. His first restaurant, Momofuku Ssäm Bar, where Chang created flavors that combined tradition and innovation, made people go nuts and led to a chain that now includes more than ten restaurants in several cities. One of the most recent is Fuku +, at 15 West 56th Street, just steps away from Fifth Avenue and Central Park. The main dish is fried chicken sandwich, made with extra-tender meat and soft, fluffy bread that you just can’t miss.

Russ & Daughters

Niki Russ Federman and Josh Russ Tupper are the proud owners of Russ & Daughters (179 E Houston St.), a Lower East Side shop where finding an available seat is almost impossible. Therefore, the recent opening of Russ & Daughters Cafe (127 Orchard Street) was more than welcome. Three blocks away from the original location, this restaurant offers the same Jewish specialties. If visiting with your family, try a platter. They are perfect for 3 or 4 people.

Pier A Harbor House

In just one year, Pier A Harbor House (22 Battery Place) has become a classic. With a prime location on the banks of the Hudson River, one of the few sectors of Downtown Manhattan (the lower part of the island) where you don’t feel so crowded, this gastronomic center offers typical American dishes for different occasions and budgets. Fried calamari, burgers and chicken wings at communal tables around a large bar are served on the spacious ground floor of the historic building (built in 1886). The first floor includes a more formal restaurant and a pub with fantastic views.

Parm

Parm was inaugurated in 2011 with a simple, bold concept: Italian - American classic recipes, dishes and snacks. They have received two stars from the New York Times, and Newsweek named them one of the 101 best places to eat in North America.

You can visit them at Mulberry Street, Battery Park City or at the Upper West Side. And if you’re going to the game, there is also one in the Yankee Stadium.

Sunday in Brooklyn

Taking a walk through the Williamsburg area in Brooklyn, home of the hipster world, it is almost mandatory. The main route - Bedford Avenue -, is quite nice and offers many options for dining and shopping, but it’s better to visit the backstreets, such as Berry and Wythe, where the essence of the neighborhood is better appreciated. The new Sunday In Brooklyn, at 348 Wythe Avenue, is a market and a restaurant with Scandinavian interiors ready for your Instagram shots. Everything is well thought out, from the fresh and affordable menu at lunchtime to the sophisticated dishes every evening.

You need to try a Juanny Appleseed: tequila, hot apple cider, cinnamon and brown butter

By Chloe

By Chloe, whose central location occupies one of the most charming corners of Greenwich Village (185 Bleecker Street), demonstrates that vegan food can be delicious. More than a carnivore has been captivated by the Guac Burger, a hamburger with black beans, quinoa, and sweet potatoes served with guacamole and spicy aioli. The place is attractive, decorated with vintage tiles, colorful chairs and lots of plants. The problem is getting a table, which has prompted the chef, Chloe Coscarelli, to open no less than four branches in the last few months.

Malaparte

A few blocks away from the Meatpacking District’s ruckus – home of the Whitney Museum, High Line park, two hotels and several luxury fashion boutiques-, Malaparte offers a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Since its opening five years ago, this Italian restaurant has become one of the favorite places for residents of the West Village, who gather there to share carafes of wine at sunset. With an old trattoria style, it offers an accessible menu that never fails: pizzas and homemade pasta.

Try their Ai Carciofi E Sfilacci Di Coppa pizza, made with halved artichoke hearts, Italian coppa, mozzarella & grana.

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