Today, I’d like to talk about a topic that comes up a lot in the comments I receive: the meal budget in New York City. Regularly, some travelers are surprised by the prices charged in New York City’s restaurants. Let’s face it: Yes, eating out in NYC can be expensive! So, is it still possible today to eat cheap in this city?

In my opinion, yes! I still think it’s possible to eat well without spending too much money in New York. The important thing is to choose places with a good quality-price ratio. But also, not to compare prices if you have already traveled several times to New York in the last few years. Because the conclusion is clear: even the cheapest places in NYC are more expensive than a few years ago…

But let’s not be discouraged by this observation and let’s see now the places that remain interesting to eat without spending too much money in New York City 🙂

Delis : the way to eat cheap and healthy in NYC

Whole Foods Market buffet

If, like me, you come from a country where delis do not exist, let me introduce them! These places offer self-service buffets with a wide variety of cooked hot dishes, sandwiches, salads, and various plates, at very attractive prices. Each person chooses a box and fills it with what they want. At the end, you pay according to the weight of the box.

Be careful with the quantities: it is easy to have eyes bigger than your stomach and to serve yourself oversized portions. By taking a regular portion, we pay about 15$ (tax included). Another detail: not all delis allow you to eat on site. But it is also an opportunity to eat outside in a quiet environment (park) or more active depending on where you are.

10 delis to try during a trip to New York

So here is my selection of delis with a very good quality/price ratio in NYC:

➜ Whole Foods Market

Where? A dozen locations in New York (in Manhattan and Brooklyn)

If there was only one to try, it would be this one! It’s a very famous chain of organic supermarkets that offer also self-service buffets of hot or cold dishes to take away. Tested and approved many times during my trips! The good thing is that there are many Whole Foods in Manhattan and the quality is always there.

See the map of Whole Foods locations in New York City

➜ Smiler’s

Whole Foods Market Salad Bar

Where? 532 Madison Avenue (Midtown)

One of the most popular delis of the moment! Located in the heart of Midtown (between Rockefeller Center and Central Park), its prime location allows you to take a very satisfying break at low prices. Inside, a large choice of hot and cold dishes to enjoy while exploring NYC.

More info about Smiler’s

➜ Speedy’s

Where? 1271 Broadway (Midtown)

A wide choice of sweet and savory dishes for an energizing break not far from the Empire State building. Strategic location and possibility to eat on site.

More info about Speedy’s

➜ The Times Eatery

Where? 680 8th Avenue (Times Square)

One block from Times Square, a perfect place to eat quickly (and indoor). Soups, sandwiches, salads, brunches, pastries… Here is something to enjoy and probably come back again and again!

More info about the Times Eatery

➜ Fresh & co

Where? About ten locations in New York (mainly in Midtown)

A new trendy chain dedicated to healthy and organic food. Salads, quinoa-based dishes, meat/fish and vegetables, sandwiches and also a selection of vegan and gluten-free dishes. And of course some great American classics (pancakes, bacon, eggs…).

More info about Fresh & Co

➜Pisillo Italian Panini

Pisillo Italian Panini © Instagram

Where? 97 Nassau Street (Lower Manhattan)

Here is a real Lower Manhattan institution for good food to go. Not far from the Brooklyn Bridge access, you can find there a great variety of sandwiches very generously filled, with a good taste of freshness and Italy!

More info about Pisillo Italian Panini

➜ Morton Williams

Where? 3 locations in New York (Midtown, Midtown East, Upper East Side)

A small chain of mini-markets that offer large take-out buffets. Hot, cold, salty, sweet, there’s something for everyone!

More info about Morton Williams

➜ Wok to Walk

Where? 570 8th Avenue (Midtown)

Here, no deli but a place dedicated to woks. For Asian food lovers, there are different wok variants to be tasted in boxes of different sizes. Prices are very reasonable, portions are generous but be careful, the number of places to eat is often limited!

More info about Wok to Walk

➜ Jacob Soul Food Restaurant & Salad Bar

Where? 373 Malcolm X Boulvard (Harlem)

Here is a deli that will undoubtedly attract soul food lovers (and food lovers in general!). A varied and appetizing buffet of Southern, Caribbean, and Continental cuisines, perfect during a visit in Harlem. Open since 2009, this address is a real institution in NYC.

More info about Jacob Soul Food Restaurant

➜ Stage Door Deli

Enjoy your meal!

Where? 26 Vesey Street (Lower Manhattan / World Trade Center)

A very popular deli where you can enjoy delicious sandwiches (with pastrami, melted cheese…), bagels, pizzas (the slices are huge!), croques monsieur… And as a bonus, you can enjoy a large room to sit and eat!

More info about Stage Door Deli

That’s it! I hope these 10 cheap addresses will allow you to have great meals in New York while keeping as much money as possible for your activities! If you still have questions about food in NYC, please ask them in the comments 🙂

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I’m a french travel blogger, crazy about New York City! Since I discovered NYC in 2014, each trip is an opportunity to learn more about the secrets of this fantastic city. I wish you a pleasant visit on my blog, with I hope, a lot of beautiful discoveries!