Low to Mid Tier Eats in NYC

Continuing the discussion from Why has no one from NYC been posting on here?:

Great idea.

I’ll start.

In Midtown Manhattan and Flatiron (as I’m not all that familiar with the other Boroughs), and sticking to savory items:

  • Num Pang (pork belly sandwich for less than $10) Mayhem & Snout (partial to the pulled pork with blueberry chipotle sauce, again doable for less than $10)

  • Lali (terrific breakfast plates, esp. the fried salami)

  • Tehuitzingo (tacos, pref. lengua, and whatever is brewing that day behind the counter)

  • -Zoralie (mofongo and tres leches are outstanding)

  • New York Bakery (best fish tacos north of 23rd)

You may laugh but Jean Georges has a three course prix fixe (with multiple choices) for $38. Incredible food.


I don’t laugh. That’s solidly mid-range.

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I eat more Chinese food than any other kind, but also Thai and sometimes Ukrainian, etc.

Low end (<$25): Xi’an Famous Foods, Great NY Noodletown, Noodle Village, Cheung Wong Kitchen (Allen and Hester) for soy sauce chicken, soy sauce duck and roast pork (nothing else there is nearly as good), Sheng Wang for a plate of steamed pork dumplings, Larb Ubol, Yakitori Taisho (especially late at night, as they’re open late - get yakitori, avoid most other things but don’t hesitate to get some sake), Ukrainian East Village, Joe’s Pizza.

If you’re nearby late at night, the taco truck on 3rd St. (maybe it’s 2nd St. - I’m not completely sure) near Av. A is also good and better than the other ones I’ve tried in the East Village, let alone the one I used to like on 96th St. between Broadway and West End. Oh, and by the way, on the Upper West Side, Jerusalem Restaurant no longer has very interesting falafel, but their shawarma is as good as ever and it’s one of the better values in the area. El Malecon serves very good chicken, though the white meat can be dry, and Flor de Mayo is still going strong - try some of their Peruvian items, in addition to their pollo a la brasa. They’re also open late for the neighborhood. I’ll post some mid-range recommendations later.

[More editing:] Oh, I left out Taim, especially for the sabich, and Cafe Katja.

I’ve also been to Nish Nush 3 times now. The first 2 times, their falafel was great and I really enjoyed the triple falafel platter. The 3rd time, the saltiness and heaviness of the hummus bothered me. I don’t know if the food changed or if I had for some reason become more critical, but that falafel, at any rate, is great and well worth trying. And I want to try their sabich next time.

[Edit: By the way, Chowhound member Lau, author of the Lauhound website, is great with these kinds of recommendations.]

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Some mid-range (more or less >$25, <$75) recommendations: Momofuku Ssam Bar, Lavagna, Supper (a level down from Lavagna, but I went again yesterday with my girlfriend and had a very nice salad, though with less fennel and more arugula than before, a delicious strozzaprete and a very nice side of zucchini “fettucine” with slivered almonds, and it cost $48 including tax and tip since we shared it all and didn’t have wine), Bruno Pizza (on the strength of one visit), Yakitori Totto, Szechuan Gourmet (I’m a regular at their 56th St. location), Crispo, Salumeria Rosi (that’s a really interesting and worthwhile one).

Le Verdure at Eataly is very good and closer to the low-end category, but that depends on what you order and whether you have wine. The last time my girlfriend and I went to Congee Village, it was very good again. Definitely closer to a low-end place.

For Korean food, we’ve enjoyed Don’s Bogam and Madangsui, and now there’s Five Senses, which has really good galbi jjim.

If you notice a bias toward the East Village and environs and Midtown, it’s not an accident. I live in the East Village and my girlfriend lives in the West 50s.

[Edit:] I left out another place that straddles the line but is more nearly low-end: Zoma. Delicious Ethiopian food in Harlem, and very good tej, when they have it.

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Here’s a relevant thread I started on Chowhound: Branching out in the East Village: Chowhound

More that I left out:

Low-end: Patsy’s East Harlem, for plain, margherita or fresh mozzarella pizza. I went there within the last few months and also had some apps, which were actually quite good.


I’ve been to Awadh once so far, and had the best Indian meal I’ve had in a few years.

I’ve also liked Anjappar in the past but haven’t been there for some time.

Ditto on Aria Wine Bar in the far west Village.

Ooh, Harlem? We love Amy Ruth’s for chicken and waffles.

I like Amy Ruth’s but haven’t been for a few years. I don’t get to that part of Harlem enough.

I got some very good chicken at Marcus Samuelsson’s restaurant on 116th and 8th about a month and a half ago. I don’t remember the name of the place. Very slow though pretty nice service, but most of the food was quite good. I seem to remember sending something back for tasting overly weird, but they were fine with giving me something else, and I would go back except that Zoma is 3 blocks to its south. :slight_smile:

I can’t add another post for 18 hours, since this is my first day on FTC, so catholiver, I’ll just reply to your last post this way: Lest we provoke an acrimonious debate, I’ll just say that regardless of the fact that I’m a white man myself, I sure understand where you’re coming from. And now, as I can post no more replies, I’ll see you tomorrow.

We recommend it. When we’re in NYC we’re at our friend’s place at CPW and 101st so easy to get there. I hope this isn’t inappropriate but I think the only problem is that over the years there are too many damn white people there.


I’ve been to Awadh once so far, and had the best Indian meal I’ve had in a few years.


Regarding Awadh, their 11.95 lunch special is also pretty incredible. I haven’t made it yet for dinner, but I’ll report back when I do.

Well, if we’re talking Harlem, then Lee Lee’s rugelach for sure.

Worth the $20+ taxi ride from midtown.

Taxi ride? Not close to subway or bus?

I was at Adwah when it first opened, and found the dinner to be good, although with some unevenness.

Sorry, c. But I dunno, as I rarely take the subway in NYC. And never the bus.

A few of the places I’ve been enjoying in the environs of the Upper West Side and up…

Koko Wings on 106th is pretty damn good for Korean style wings.

La Savane–116th in Harlem. Very good pan-Western African with an emphasis, I think, on Ivorian. The whole-grilled tilapia was truly wonderful and it was served with one of the better vegetarian sides I’ve had in a while. I forget the name of it, but it was basically like a vegetarian ceviche, absolutely delicious. Also there ginger juice is worth stocking up on.

Bono Trattoria–This is way up there on 151st and Broadway, but for the prices, it’s stunningly good. Very good Neapolitan pizzas. And they do a pretty inspired Strozzapretti all Norcina for 13 dollars. I can’t imagine a better priced pasta dish in the city.

Cachapas y Mas-- No idea what Venezuelan food is supposed to taste like, but I sure as hell enjoyed a pork cachapas the other day up in Inwood.

Oh yeah. Easy peasy. Our friend’s apt. is at CPW and 101st St. We take the subway up to ??? and then walk a few blocks east. But we’re old SF folks so are into public transpo.

Most everything in Manhattan is accessible by subway or bus.

Some places I left out:

Low-end Korean: BCD Tofu House is very dependable.

Tonight, though, they closed for construction, so I found the reestablished Gammeeok and had some nice kkakdugi (I had to look that name for radish kimchi up) as a banchan and soothing eel soup, plus a bottle of soju. The soju cost as much as the meal, so it wasn’t that cheap, but without drinking, it would have been just a bit over $20 including tip. Gammeeok did have a short menu, but that’s probably because I went there late at night.

I think I didn’t mention Spicy Village, either. That’s the former He Nan Taste, on Forsyth between Hester and Grand. Their special chicken dish is the really great thing there, and it really helps to bring at least one friend, because it’s a huge portion. Their side dishes are pleasant but not the real draw.