Tortas Neza at Juan Bar

Corona
What you're getting: Torta Chivas, $8
Once prowling Roosevelt Ave in his truck, "Tortas" (as the owner is known) is now doing the best tortas in town at a little walk-up window at a bar in Corona, Queens. The chorizo and egg Torta Chivas is pretty much the best breakfast ever, and the carnitas are excellent, too, but if you're looking for a max stomach-filler, get the Pumas -- it's got essentially every meat from Tortas’ small kitchen piled high on a single sandwich, and won't do much extra damage to your wallet.
 

Crazy Crab 888

Flushing
What you're getting: Young ginger salad, $8.95
You know how you're always looking for a restaurant offering a mashup of Cajun, Yunan Chinese, Malaysian, Thai, and Burmese cuisines? Well, here it is. And while the Cajun-style seafood boils are good, they aren’t the only reason you should check this place out -- instead, it’s the Burmese fare, like young ginger salad, yellow tofu, and tea leaf salad that shine.

Usha Foods

Usha Foods & Usha Sweets

Floral Park
What you're getting: Paneer tikka sandwich $6.53
This spot, far from the bustle of Jackson Heights in Floral Park, Queens, near the Long Island border, offers a stunning array of Indian snacks (called chaat) and sweets. Don’t miss the deceptively simple, yet insane vegetarian paneer tikka sandwich, which is essentially an Indian grilled cheese (!!!) with a diversity of flavors and textures. Also check out the fermented chana dal (a type of ground lentil) or more esoteric Gujarati and Punjabi specialties.
 

Dhaulagiri Kitchen

Jackson Heights
What you're getting: Sandheko Wai Wai, $3.50
Dhaulagiri Kitchen is hardly even a kitchen. Sitting inside the already diminutive Tawa Food's roti bakery, this stall serves up a surprisingly expansive offering of Nepalese dishes (your favorite!). Go for the thali plates -- set meals with a variety of dishes that are easily the best deal. Also recommended is the sandheko Wai Wai -- crunched up instant noodles tossed with a ton of good stuff, including vegetables and chilis. Finish with a relaxing cup of chai and a take-home bag (two take-home bags?) of paranthas.

Flickr/Lulun & Kame

Uncle Zhou

Elmhurst 
What you're getting: Hand-pulled lamb noodle soup, $5.75
One of the best things on one of the best eating blocks in Queens, Uncle Zhou distinguishes itself among the top tier of Northern Chinese restaurants in the city. Hand-pulled lamb noodle soup from Henan is unbelievably good, as is the “big tray chicken”, diced rabbit, and the lambiest dumplings you’ll probably ever have.

Twitter/markkottler

Rokhat Kosher Bakery

Rego Park
What you're getting: ​Lamb chalokhoch, $8.50
Lamb Chalokhoch with its own bony handle at this Bukharan bakery is the major draw, but don’t miss excellent samsa and manti -- different versions of similar dumplings mixing meat and onions.

Flickr/Garrett Ziegler

Thelewala

Greenwich Village
What you're getting: Bhel puri, $5.50
This crowded Greenwich Village chaat joint serves an incredible mix of vegetarian and oh-thank-God-not-vegetarian stuff. Bhel puri is a classic Indian snack, but try the okra roll, too, which's still crunchy, just spicy enough, and wrapped in a fresh paratha.

James Boo

Coppelia

Chelsea
What you're getting: Pan con lechon, $9.95
This could be our favorite 24-hour restaurant in town. Coppelia manages to remain reasonably-priced despite its location. Cuban and pan-Latin specialties abound, and don’t sleep on the surprisingly cheap steak and eggs, one of the best under-the-radar burgers in the city, or the fantastic sandwiches -- like their pan con lechon. And you should 100,000,000,000% ask for their house-made habanero hot sauce.

Andrew Zimmer

Breads Bakery

Union Square
What you're getting: 1/2 dozen rugelach, $8
This Israeli-meets-European bakery has an amazing depth of offerings, including Israeli boureks, the croissant-meets-pretzel cretzel, and cheese sticks. The go-to move, though, is the rugelach or one of the killer babkas.

Noah Arenstein

Los Tacos No.1

Chelsea
What you're getting: Tacos adobada, $3
Seek out this excellent taco stand in crowded Chelsea Market for its stunning version of tacos adobada -- spit-roasted pork sliced and piled into your choice of flour or corn tortillas. Add allllllllll the salsas and then find somewhere to sit do--oh, they're already gone. So maybe... skip that last part?

Flickr/Derek Lo

Cheeky Sandwiches

LES
What you're getting: The chicken biscuit, $6.50
This recently renovated Lower East Side gem serves some of the best New Orleans-inspired sandwiches in town. The chicken biscuit, topped with gravy, is unmatched, the oyster (or shrimp) po’ boy is an excellent and classic option, and don’t skip the horseradish-spiked beef sandwich, either. Basically, we’re saying get three sandwiches.
 

Lomznyianka

Greenpoint
What you're getting: White borscht, $3.75
Bedford Ave dead-ends almost directly in front of this classic Greenpoint Polish restaurant. They’ve got fabulous white borscht, red borscht, and pierogies. The Hungarian Pie, though, is also an amazing move -- it’s a crisp potato pancake folded over a pile of beef goulash and topped with sour cream. Best of all, "Lomy", as most people call it, is BYOB.
 

Peppa’s Jerk Chicken

Prospect Lefferts Gardens
What you're getting: Jerk chicken, $6
Practically a Flatbush institution, Peppa’s is mostly a takeout operation with one of the best jerk chickens in Brooklyn. Make sure to get your order piled high (no dude, higher than that) with rice and beans. Ask for them to be topped with whatever gravy is on hand that day and you won’t be disappointed.
 

David's Brisket House

David’s Brisket House

Bed Stuy
What you're getting: Pastrami sandwich, $8
If you’re looking for one of the best reasonably priced pastrami, corned beef, or brisket sandwiches in Brooklyn, David’s should be your first choice. Passed down from the original David to its current Yemeni Muslim owners, they’re keeping the institution alive and as strong as ever.

Berikoni - Brick Oven Bread

Berikoni - Brick Oven Bread

Brighton Beach
What you're getting: Cheese khachapuri, $6
Georgian bakeries are rare, even amongst the plethora of Eastern European eateries in Brighton Beach. Here, the most decadent order is the cheese khachapuri, essentially a stuffed cheese pizza (where the cheese tastes like a combination of mozzarella and feta) pulled right from the oven. It also wouldn’t hurt to take home a shotis puri -- the Georgian version of a baguette.

James Boo

Nargis Cafe

Sheepshead Bay
What you're getting: Samsas, $2.75
This Uzbek neighborhood favorite has long served excellent samsas -- cousins of boureks and some other, excellent flaky, stuffed pastries. But make sure you also take down some plov, an Uzbeki classic similar to pilaf or biryani. Oh, and also some skewered kebabs.

Carnitas El Atoradero

Carnitas El Atoradero

Prospect Heights
What you're getting: Tacos, $2.50, or one of the daily specials
No doubt in the conversation for the best Mexican restaurants in city, you can order exemplary forms of the standard tacos, tortas, and cemitas, but it’s the daily specials that are absolutely incredible. Watch for mole poblano, braised ribs, quail egg-stuffed meatballs, or beguilingly orange pipian sauce with pork.

 James Boo

Neerob

Kingsbridge
What you're getting: Bharta sampler, $3.99
At the center of the fledgling Bronx Bangladeshi community sits Neerob. Recently expanded to accommodate more people who want the bharta sampler, Neerob is ready for you to go for the... bharta sampler! It's a mixed mash of vegetables ranging from potatoes, to eggplant and okra -- all laced with fiery mustard oil and bits of chilis.

Lakruwana

Lakruwana

Stapleton
What you're getting: Lamprais, $10.50 (we'll loan you the 50 cents [but not really])
This fantastic Staten Island restaurant services the growing Sri Lankan community (or something) looking for familiar foods from the homeland. Try the Dutch-inspired lamprais ($10.50), a combination of basmati rice, cashews, onions, eggplant, tuna, potato, and beef, all steamed together in a banana leaf. Hoppers(basket-shaped rice flour crepes) are another solid choice -- or, better yet, eat everything at the weekend buffet.
 

Pier 76

St. George
What you're getting: Vodka slice, $3
Incredible Staten Island-style pizza can be had only a short walk from the ferry. Go for the vodka slice, or go nontraditional with the actually excellent Buffalo chicken pizza.

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Real Cheap Eats is an insider’s guide to dining out on a budget in New York. Reported, written, and photographed entirely by food writers and food explorers whose culinary expertise know only the bounds of a good deal.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. Tortas Neza at Juan Bar 11103 Roosevelt Ave, New York, NY 11368 (Queens)

The best tortas in town can be found from a little walk-up window at a bar in Corona, Queens. The chorizo and egg “Torta Chivas” is pretty much the best breakfast ever, and the carnitas are excellent, so be sure to make the trip up there.

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2. Crazy Crab 888 40-42 College Point Blvd, Flushing, NY 11354 (Flushing)

Imagine a restaurant that's a mashup of Cajun, Yunan Chinese, Malaysian, Thai, and Burmese cuisines. If that sounds good, head over to Crazy Crab 888.

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3. Usha Foods & Usha Sweets 255-03 Hillside Ave, Floral Park, NY 11004

This spot in Floral Park, Queens, offers a stunning array of Indian snacks (called chaat) and sweets. Don’t miss the deceptively simple, yet insane vegetarian paneer tikka sandwich, which is essentially a grilled cheese with a diversity of flavors and textures.

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4. Dhaulagiri Kitchen 37-38 72nd St, Jackson Heights, NY 11372 (Queens)

Inside a shack-like Jackson Heights storefront whose sign reads "Tawa Food" is Dhaulagiri Kitchen, a two-table Nepalese restaurant that shares a kitchen with an Indian chapati bakery. The tiny kitchen is a cheap eats gem, where for less than $10 you can get a traditional Tibetan thali, or set meal of consisting of variations of rice, daal, chickpeas, and curry. Chances are you won't recognize much on the menu but if you like curry and dumplings, you'll be fine.

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5. Uncle Zhou 83-29 Broadway, Elmhurst, NY 11373 (Queens)

Owner Steven Zhou draws from his roots to serve up traditional Henan-style eats at this pint-sized Elmhurst restaurant. All of Zhou's specialties are spicy, savory, complex and far from the run-of-the-mill Americanized Chinese dishes. The regional da pan ji (big tray of chicken), a stew-like dish with bone-in chunks and potatoes doused in chile, star anise, and peppercorn seasoned sauce, is a must-try. Note: Uncle Zhou's is cash-only.

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6. Rokhat Kosher Bakery 65-43 Austin St, Rego Park, NY 11374 (Queens)

This Rego Park bakery produces some of the tastiest Bukharan breads you'll find in the city, including special varieties like bukhara, rikistan, and chaat chaat.

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7. Thelewala 112 Macdougal St, New York, NY 10012 (Greenwich Village)

You could easily miss this shoebox-sized Indian spot tucked into MacDougal Street, but that’d be a shame because Thelewala’s street food-style bites are some of the best late-night eats in the city (it’s open ‘til 5 AM on Friday and Saturday). There’s limited seating but the counter-serve sandwiches, like the grilled paneer cheese lime roll and the house chicken wrap, are wrapped in foil and made to eat on the go.

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8. Coppelia 207 W 14th St, New York, NY 10011 (Chelsea)

Named for a Havana ice cream shop, this 24/7 "traditional Cuban luncheonette" from the Yerba Buena chef is outfitted Caribbean-style, with a large marble bar sporting spinning stools, and a beautiful stained glass window near the kitchen. The eats are designed for the post-Meatpacking group, with Cuban classics like ceviche, fried cheese balls, and empanadas ready to satisfy even the most aggressive of 4am appetites.

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9. Breads Bakery 18 E 16th St, New York, NY 10003 (Union Square)

Right off of Union Square (and with a second location on the Upper West Side), Breads bakes sweet and savory bread, pastries, and cakes on-site. The bakery is most known for its braided chocolate babka loaves that burst with ribbons of chocolate-hazelnut spread. Breads is also a good option for a grab-and-go midday meal -- the lunch menu features cheese and smoked fish sandwiches, plus soup and salad.

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10. Los Tacos No.1 75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011 (Chelsea)

Located in Chelsea Market, Los Tacos No.1 is the brainchild of three friends, collectively from Mexico and California, who wanted to bring authentic Mexican food to the East Coast. You can expect affordable prices, fresh ingredients, and family recipes.

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11. Cheeky Sandwiches 35 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

Cheeky Sandwiches bring the best flavors from New Orleans to the Lower East Side, offering a heavenly variety of po' boys as well as sweet and savory sides. The secret behind the sandwiches is the bread, shipped directly from John Gendusa Bakery in New Orleans. The Creole and Cajun spot wouldn't be complete without its Big Shot soda, Zapp’s potato chips, beignets, Chicory coffee, and other NOLA natives and staples. The small snack shop is full of charm and warmth, decorated with a white picket fence in front, brightly painted shutters, and red bar stools to match.

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12. Lomzynianka 646 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222

Although Greenpoint is well-known for its fine array of Polish restos, Lomzynianka stands out with its outstanding takes on traditional foods pierogies, borscht, and cabbage dishes.

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13. Peppa's Jerk Chicken 738 Flatbush Ave, New York, NY 11226

Practically a Flatbush institution, Peppa’s is mostly a takeout operation with one of the best jerk chickens in Brooklyn. Make sure to get your order piled high (no dude, higher than that) with rice and beans. Ask for them to be topped with whatever gravy is on hand that day and you won’t be disappointed.

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14. David's Brisket House 533 Nostrand Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11216 (Bed Stuy)

This Bed-Stuy counter-serve is something of a metaphor for New York City. David's is an authentic Jewish deli that's passed through various owners until falling into the hands of its current one, a Yemenite Muslim. Religions and cultures come together at the kiosk, which is known for its moist slices of pastrami served on mustard-spread slices of rye bread. You can also order the sandwich with corned beef or explore other options like a breakfast plate of brisket and eggs, but pastrami is David's true pride and joy.

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15. Berikoni - Brick Oven Bread 125 Brighton Beach Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11235

Georgian bakeries are rare, even amongst the plethora of Eastern European eateries in Brighton Beach. Here, the most decadent order is the cheese khachapuri, essentially a stuffed cheese pizza (where the cheese tastes like a combination of mozzarella and feta) pulled right from the oven. It also wouldn’t hurt to take home a shotis puri -- the Georgian version of a baguette.

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16. Nargis Cafe 2818 Coney Island Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11235

This Uzbek neighborhood favorite has long served excellent samsas -- cousins of boureks and some other, excellent flaky, stuffed pastries. But make sure you also take down some plov, an Uzbeki classic similar to pilaf or biryani. Oh, and also some skewered kebabs.

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17. El Atoradero Brooklyn 708 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

El Atoradero evolved out of a bodega next door to its original (now closed) Bronx location, where proprietress Denisse Lina Chavez became known for her renowned carnitas that she served out of a gargantuan cauldron in the middle of the store. Now, she has a proper sit-down restaurant in Prospect Heights serving a roster of homey Mexican fare. Alongside exemplary forms of the standard tacos, tortas, and cemitas, El Atoradero also offers incredible daily specials, like mole poblano, braised ribs, and quail egg-stuffed meatballs.

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18. Neerob 2109 Starling Ave, Bronx, NY 10462 (Bronx)

Neerob is a Bangladeshi restaurant in the Bronx that serves traditional food heavy on seafood and spices like turmeric and cumin. Opt for a variety of bhartas, or mashes laced with sinus-clearing mustard oil and chilies. Most are only $3 a pop, so try a few, then grab a milky chai to soothe the subsequent fire in your mouth. Everything is served on styrofoam plates and the space is no-frills and casual. Everyone seems to know each other, so it's a great place to sit down and stay a while.

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19. Lakruwana 668 Bay St, Staten Island, NY 10304 (Staten Island)

This fantastic Staten Island restaurant services the Sri Lankan community looking for familiar foods from the homeland. Try the Dutch-inspired lamprais, a combination of basmati rice, cashews, onions, eggplant, tuna, potato, and beef, all steamed together in a banana leaf. Hoppers(basket-shaped rice flour crepes) are another solid choice -- or, better yet, eat everything at the weekend buffet.

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20. Pier 76 Staten Island 76 Bay St, Staten Island, NY 10301 (Staten Island)

Incredible Staten Island-style pizza can be had only a short walk from the ferry. Go for the vodka slice, or go nontraditional with the actually excellent Buffalo chicken pizza.