Practically every New Yorker knows what it’s like to live on a tight budget in a city that’s notorious for being uber-expensive. But surprisingly, by the same token it’s the best place to live when you’re just scraping by. When your digging for coins in your pocket, food becomes the focus. If you are wondering how to satiate your stomach on a dime, use this guide to navigate Cobble Hill’s cheap eats of far-reaching cuisines. You will have a full tummy and an extra chunk of change to spend on the indulgence of your choice.
If you have a Thai craving, you don’t have to catch a lunch special to catch a deal. Here no dish is priced higher than $8.95, so you can enjoy the glassy noodles of chicken Pad Woon Sen any time of the day. Try the Kang Moo sliced pork green curry with eggplant and bamboo shoots, or the beef and broccoli sauteed in oyster sauce. You can even pair your Tom Ka Gai coconut soup ($3.50) or shrimp summer rolls ($3.95) with a spicy squid salad ($5.95) or glazed spare ribs ($5.50) and you can walk feeling good about a meal that was less than $10. 215 Court St (718-22-3484)
Who doesn’t love a good falafel? This Mediterranean fast-food is known for its full and affordable factors, and here, you don’t even have to take it to go. Darna offers this classic as a salad with vegetables and tzatziki dressing ($6), as a stand-alone side of five balls ($3), or as a sandwich complete with tomatoes, cucumbers, tahini dressing and a side salad to boot, for only $5. Most of their filling sandwiches average $7.50, and if you opt for a lighter choice, cheap items like their meat kebab skewers ($2.50) and the hummus and pita plate ($4.50) are a perfect fit. 200 Court St (347-799-1673)
You don’t need to be drunk to crave a satisfying Mexican taco. Oaxaca takes a no frills approach to their traditional fresh cuisine - and the price reflects that. With everything made from scratch, you can nab a meaty weekday lunch special (11-3pm) of two tacos with rice and beans ($6.95) or a quesadilla with soup or salad ($6.50). Or swing by their small eat-in space anytime to munch on a single taco (steak, chicken, pork, beans, fish, or the special) boasting pickled onion, cotija cheese, salsa and avocado for just $3.25. If you can’t get enough, mix and match three tacos with rice and beans for $9.95. Mexican classics like enchiladas ($2.95), torta sandwiches ($7.95-$8.95), and chile-sprinkled corn ears ($3) are also affordabley offered. 251 Smith St (oaxacatacos.com; 718-643-9630)
El Nuevo Portal
You can always count on good quality Hispanic food at a steal, and this place is no different. In casual cafeteria style, you can wake up with a breakfast pastelito ($1.25) and a refreshing papaya smoothie ($3), or a complete combo of two eggs with homefries, toast and steaming coffee ($4) without even breaking a five-dollar bill. You can also bank on pressed sandwiches like the pork chop or beef steak ($5.50), and platters of baked spare ribs and chicken that come with two sides, or a classic arroz con pollo for only $8.50. And you can certainly count on leaving with leftovers. 217 Smith St (718-246-1416)
It’s a well-known fact that a Vietnamese sandwich shop will be fast, cheap, and delicious. At this small chain, the small menu is varied enough for what your craving and all the French baguette-stuffed sandwiches have the same $5.75 price tag. Go for the Classic with roasted ground pork, Vietnamese ham, pate, cucumber, pickled carrots and daikon, or get wild with pickings like the tomato-sauced Sardine or the Vegetarian Chicken. If you have room, luckily you can afford to pair your bread with milky bubble tea ($4), sweet Thai iced tea ($3.25), or strong Vietnamese coffee ($2.50). 85 Bergen St (hancosny.com; 718-858-6818)
Article as seen on CityPath by Rebecca Kritzer