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In New York City, you can find a slice of pizza for under a dollar. That’s not always a good thing: Most $.99 slices are nothing more than pieces of cardboard barely covered with cheese and tomato sauce. But there are plenty of affordable—and delicious—lunch options in New York, even in some of the city’s top tourist spots. No matter what’s on your NYC travel itinerary, these affordable restaurants will ensure you’ll get a top-notch meal without breaking the bank.

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Saigon Shack

You might find a line at this Greenwich Village eatery, but the phenomenal pho served here is worth the wait. The classic beef pho ($9) is a popular menu item, but if it’s a hot summer day and you’re not in the mood for soup, the bahn mi selection ($7–$9) is excellent, too. Grab a savory sandwich and head to nearby Washington Square Park for an impromptu picnic.

Cheeky Sandwiches

Speaking of sandwiches, this Lower East Side shop specializes in the kind you’d typically find down South. The fried chicken sandwich ($6.50), which is smothered in gravy and served on a buttery biscuit, is a standout, but the other wallet-friendly selections (like the shrimp po’ boy, $8.50) are good, too. And if you’re worried about having such a decadent meal in the middle of the day, skip the taxi and walk off those calories on the streets of Manhattan.

Manousheh

It’s easy to work up an appetite shopping and strolling the charming streets of the West Village. So when you’re ready to take a break from the boutiques, Manousheh is a great lunch spot. The restaurant focuses on Lebanese street food, specifically flaky, rolled flatbreads. The avocado and zaatar ($9) option features those ingredients, as well as cherry tomatoes, mint, Lebanese olives and cucumbers drizzled with olive oil and sumac. A simpler yet equally satisfying option is the Labneh ($5), which features a traditional, thick and creamy yogurt spread on fresh flatbread. Manousheh also offers mouth-watering sweet versions of the menu item, including one smothered with Nutella ($6).

Sticky’s Finger Joint

Just a couple of blocks west of the Theater District is this comfort food haven, where you can get a small basket of chicken fingers and fries for just under $10. This NYC mini chain is known for its signature sauces, including the wasabi aioli, buttermilk baby ranch and sassy BBQ options, which will give your gourmet chicken strips an extra kick. It’s a great spot for a pre-matinee meal before heading over to Broadway.

Make Sandwich

This newer Union Square eatery (it opened in January 2017) takes sammies to an elevated level. The menu is full of gourmet lunch options, including one made with roasted artichokes, spinach and a parmigiano cream on a baguette ($9.95) and a spicy pork and Asian pickles number served on ciabatta ($9.95). And if nothing on the menu tickles your fancy, you can always choose to make your own sandwich for $10.95.

Crif Dogs

After a morning of wandering around the East Village and maybe checking out art institutions like the New Museum and the International Center of Photography Museum, take a lunch break at this hip NYC hot dog institution. The hot dog shop (which also has an outpost in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood) offers up inventive takes on the classic American dish, including the Chihuahua Dog ($6.50), a bacon-wrapped hot dog covered with avocados and sour cream, and the Philly Tubesteak Dog ($6.50), which is—you guessed—a frank covered with the same fixings you’d find on a Philly cheese steak.

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Vanessa’s Dumplings

New Yorkers on a budget flock to this dumpling house because it offers serious deals without sacrificing taste or quality. While you’re exploring downtown Manhattan, head to Chinatown and stop by the no-frills counter spot to order a handful of dumplings (a cabbage and pork dumpling costs just $1.50) and a sesame pancake sandwich ($1–$3.50). You’ll walk away full, but your wallet won’t feel empty.

38 Yummy Kitchen

Another reliable no-frills spot in Chinatown is 38 Yummy Kitchen. When you put “yummy” in the name of your restaurant, you’re setting a high expectation—and luckily, this place doesn’t disappoint. The focus here is on delicious, slightly greasy Chinese comfort food (think chicken over rice, honey-glazed wings and beef with pickled veggies over rice) that come in big portions but still cost under ten bucks. Chinatown isn’t far from Soho, so this is a good post-shopping lunch break.

Photo courtesy of Goa Taco

Goa Taco

Chances are you’ve never had a taco quite like this Located on the Lower East Side, this counter-service spot makes large tacos using a flaky Indian bread that’s filled with a variety of gourmet ingredients. There’s the house-made chicken chorizo topped with brussels sprout slaw and fontina cheese ($7.35); the tofu option also includes a shiitake mushroom pate, crunchy vegetables and peanuts ($6.43). Order a couple of these bad boys and you’ll be full for the rest of the day.

Fuku

It’s easy to do a little damage to your wallet at many of David Chang’s restaurants—but not at Fuku in the Financial District. The buzzy NYC chef (he’s the guy behind Momofuku, Ma Peche, etc) opened this fast-casual restaurant a few years ago, and New Yorkers can’t seem to get enough of the spicy fried chicken sandwich ($8) served in a potato roll with pickles and house-made butter. In fact, it’s become Fuku’s signature menu item. Pair it with a side of perfectly-crisp fries ($3) and you’ll have a very satisfying lunch before heading to downtown destinations like the Freedom Tower, 9/11 Museum and the new Oculus mall.

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Tagged: Cheap Tips, City, Destinations, Food & drink, New York City, Top 10 list, Types of Travel

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