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Guide to the Top 5 Budget Restaurants in New York

23 April 2012 No Comment

One of the best things about eating out in New York is that there is such a huge variety. Quite frankly, if you can’t find it in New York, then it probably doesn’t exist! The huge choice, however, can also be a little bewildering, as all the menus look so good that choosing just one can be difficult.

Try narrowing it down by deciding how much you want to spend and also what type of food you want. Noodles, Sandwiches, Seafood, Italian, it’s all here, it’s all totally delicious and if you know where to look, all completely affordable.

Below, we look at 5 of the best budget restaurants to try for those visiting New York on holiday:

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

One of the most famous and exciting budget restaurants and ‘must do’ places in New York at the moment is Bubba Gumps. Bubba Gump Shrimp Co (which was inspired by the 1994 film Forrest Gump) has a number of restaurants throughout America, with the New York branch illustriously located at 1501 Broadway, putting it right in the heart of Times Square. The restaurant offers a casual and friendly environment with amazing views and a fabulous menu.

Bubba Gumps is easy to get to, as Times Square station is served by N, Q, R, S, 1, 2, 3 and 7 trains. It is also easily walkable from Grand Central. The first restaurant opened in 1996 and has become a global phenomenon, with restaurants worldwide whose menus vary from one location to the next.

Shrimp is the order of the day, but if you have a non-shrimp eater in your party, no problem, as there are a number of alternatives on the menu, including vegetarian options. Prices and portions are excellent and most appetizer dishes are for 2 to share, with prices starting at $8.99. There are a number of signature dishes, but try the Dumb Luck Coconut Shrimp or “I’m Stuffed Shrimp”, both for under $20.00.

The Brooklyn Star

If you fancy somewhere a littler quieter, then a step across the bridge will take you to The Brooklyn Star. This restaurant was originally opened by chef Joaquin Baca in 2009, but has since gained a couple of business partners to ensure equal excellence in both bar provision and service.

On the corner of Lorimer and Conselyea and just a few minutes from the Lorimer L Train stop, The Brooklyn Star is a breeze to get to. One of the great things about the restaurant is the frequently changing menu and you can expect to pay around $20.00 per person.

Red Rooster

For food that celebrates the cultural diversity of New York, check out the very popular Red Rooster, Harlem. Based at 310 Lennox Avenue, between 125th and 126th Street, you can get there on the 2 and 3 trains into 125th and Lennox Avenue, which is just a few steps away. The A, B, C and D trains stop at 125th and St Nicholas Avenue, which is just 3 blocks away.

Award winning Chef and owner Marcus Samuelsson’s menu reflects the diverse community and supports local farmers and artisan suppliers. Also in the kitchen is Executive Chef Michael Garret, who has been with Red Rooster since the start. The restaurant is a real part of the community whose ethos is history, cuisine, art and culture.

The menu is diverse and exciting, with local delicacies such as Coconut Rice and Peas, Dutch Bass and Grits and Fried Maya Shrimp. With mains starting at around $20, Red Rooster Harlem is a real, yet affordable treat. You can even reserve a table online.

Wilfie and Nell

Located in the West Village at 228 West 4th Street, between 7th Avenue and West 10th Street, is Wilfie and Nell. Specialising in serving excellent, locally sourced food and drink, this restaurant is casual and informal. Tables are on a first come, first served basis and are communal, i.e., find a space and join in!

The menu is traditional and casual with a strong Irish/English theme. Guinness Lamb Shepherd’s Pie is just $11.00 or if you are watching your weight, an Irish Salad comes in at just $8.00. The restaurant is open Monday through Friday from 4pm until late and weekends for brunch from 12pm.

Owners Mark and Simon Gibson named the restaurant/bar after their Grandparents and had help with their menu from Joaquin Baca of Brooklyn Star fame. Wilfie and Nell has received rave reviews, it is incredibly popular and gets very busy. You cannot book so if you want a table, get there early.


With the exception of Italy itself, one of the best places to experience an authentic Italian meal is in New York. Located on the Lower East side, at 98 Rivington Street, on the corner of Ludlow and Rivington, is Inoteca, a rustically charming and authentic New York Italian wine bar/restaurant.

The menu, which is in Italian, is extensive and exciting and with mains starting at around $7.00, amazingly affordable. Owners Jason Denton, Eric Kleinmen (Chef) and Ethan Richardson are understandably proud of their establishment, which has become known as one of New York’s best wine bars.

New York has so many great places to eat and if by chance you can’t get a table at any of the above then you will certainly not go hungry. Many of the smaller restaurants and diners you find on every street will offer authentic New York style food and often at very affordable prices.

As well as the amazing food on offer, there are plenty of other reasons to visit New York. There are plenty of great deals on New York flights and hotels available so why not book your trip now!

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