Each meal swipe is equivalent to about $10, but the lackluster dining hall food is often not enough to satisfy students’ hungry stomachs or cravings for real cuisine. There are restaurants all around New York City, and it can get expensive to eat out every night. Here are some of the best cheap eats for you to enjoy on the days when you are particularly tired of Kimmel sushi or Upstein Chick-Fil-A, in no particular order.
The Taco Shop
166 W. Fourth St.
The Baja Fish tacos at this shop are some of the best tacos that Greenwich Village has to offer. The fish is soft inside a delicately fried batter that is crunchy, savory and dripping with fresh lemon juice. Tacos are all $4 each, soft shelled and about the size of your palm. They also offer tamales for $5 and quesadillas for $6.
132 Crosby St.
This 24/7 deli in SoHo serves traditional Indian and Pakistani food that packs a punch. Everything on the menu is under $10 and with no elbow room and quick service, it is the very essence of a grab-and-go restaurant. Enjoy their filling Basmati Brown Rice Meal ($6) or flavorful samosas with a kick ($6) under their flickering fluorescent lights, or — our recommended option — take it to go and enjoy it in Washington Square Park.
78 E. First St.
Cafe Himalaya is dedicated to serving traditional Tibetan and Nepali cuisine by combining the unique flavors from executive chef and owner Karma Dolma’s hometown in Darjeeling, India. They offer a lunch special with different Himalayan dumplings, noodles and curry dishes all for $8 from noon-4 p.m. on Tuesday-Friday. The Momo dumplings are particularly delicious, stuffed with seasonal vegetables and with the option to have them steamed or pan fried, for an extra crunch.
Go! Go! Curry
231 Thompson St.
At Go! Go! Curry, you get what you pay for plus a little extra. The restaurant stays true to its name, whipping the dishes out with lightning speed. There is limited seating, but it’s the kind of place where you sit down to eat your meal and go. You can customize the size of your dish with portions ranging from small to extra large, all under $10. Crunchy on the outside and juicy on the inside, the breaded pork katsu blends well with the salty curry sauce and steamed rice. They also offer other meat options like chicken or shrimp and plain curry over rice.
The Halal Kitchen
14th Street and University Place
When it comes to halal carts, not just any cart will do. The Halal Kitchen cart on the corner of 14th Street and University Place makes the street come alive as it is always bumping with reggaeton club music and flashing, blinking neon signs. They offer a selection of well-seasoned meats, ranging from chicken to fish, gyro or falafel for $6. Their tender chicken over a bed of fluffy rice hits the spot when you are looking for a hearty meal but don’t want to dole out the cash.
174 Second Ave.
LoveMama began as a food cart but turned into a brick and mortar shop thanks to the popularity of their Malasian, Vietnamese and Thai inspired food on the streets. They offer a variety of rice bowls with toppings like chicken, vegetables, tofu and steak. Most of the rice bowls are all under $10. The shrimp dumplings are also delicious, and for $6 you can get six pieces.
11 W. Eighth St.
This is a great place for those looking for something filling but also healthy. They have low-fat and low-calorie options of soups, sandwiches and smoothies. The egg and tomato wrap is a great way to load up on protein as it comes with five egg whites, tomato and cheddar cheese enveloped by a well-toasted whole wheat wrap ($8.25). If you want something on the lighter side, their fruit or vegetable smoothies can also serve as a meal replacement, ranging from $5.95 to $7.65.
28 E. 12th St.
This is a spot for those looking for a top quality sandwich on the cheaper side of all that New York City has to offer. The pulled pork sandwich at Num Pang is flavored with spiced honey, giving the sandwich a nice balance of sweet and salty for $9.50. Their vegetarian options include the organic tofu sandwich and roasted cauliflower sandwich, both healthy and under $10.
Niu Noodle House
15 Greenwich Ave.This noodle house doesn’t just serve noodles. It also offers a selection of authentic dumplings, rolls and wontons. Try the freshly made spicy wontons ($9.50) or the chicken dumplings made with minced chicken, carrots and ginger dipped in soy sauce ($7).
119 Macdougal St.
A list of cheap eats for NYU students would be incomplete without the reliable Mamoun’s Falafel. This cash only restaurant is a staple for all students. They have a variety of cheap eats including bright green falafel, kebabs and shawarma served with lightning-fast speed. Try their vegetarian sandwiches with roasted eggplant or hummus ($4) or the same fillings in the form of a plate, which is twice the serving of a sandwich but over a bed of lettuce and with pita bread on the side ($7).
Email Arin Garland at [email protected]