restaurant interior in new york

Is Food Expensive in New York?


New York City (NYC) is the most progressive state in the US and paying a visit regardless of how long screams insanely high prices. Food prices in NYC are 35% higher than in other parts of the United States.

You have probably heard NYC’s famous “The Quintessential Grilled Cheese Sandwich” – a 214-dollar two-piece bread speckled with gold served in the iconic Serendipity 3 restaurant in NYC.

Just recently, the same restaurant again got a spot of serving the most expensive fries in the world, “Crème de la Crème Pomme Frites,” coated in 23-karat powdered gold. It costs $200.

Crème de la Crème Pomme Frites

Serendipity 3 also pioneered the most expensive burger and ice cream sundae globally, costing $295 and $1000, respectively. There are also many diners in the Big Apple serving foods that may not be specked with actual gold but still come at luxurious prices.

For tourists paying a visit, nothing swaps good food after a tiring stroll in the busy spots of NYC. But the challenge is, how can you make the most out of your Big Apple trip without breaking the bank that much?

The good news is, dining fancy even on a budget is still possible in the Big Apple. If you’ve already planned an itinerary or booked a hotel to stay in but left wondering where and what to eat when you get there, these tips and tricks might help you narrow your picks.

Aim for Happy Hours

Happy Hour in NYC traditionally starts from 4:30 pm to 7 pm when the working class gets off from work. Here, prices from bars and restaurants reduce to the usual price.

You can get fresh oysters for as low as $1, pizzas for $12, wines for $10, and beers for $6. Happy Hour is the ideal time of day to spend with friends, both for locals and tourists. Establishments pile up instantly during Happy Hour, so it is advisable to call for a reservation.

Here are a few favorite spots in NYC when it comes to Happy Hour.

The Mermaid Inn (East Village and Upper West Side)

Oysters at The Mermaid Inn in New York

This spot serves fresh plates of seafood and reduces drink and oyster prices during Happy Hour. You can get oysters for $1, while wines and cocktails range from $6 to $7 a glass.

Fort Washington Public House (Broadway)

Fort Washington Public House in New York City

This place Happy Hour not only from 4 pm-7 pm but the whole day on Fridays. It is notable for pineapple martinis, tacos, burgers, and a live DJ every 5 pm.

Zona Tribeca Mezcaleria (Greenwich Street)

Zona Tribeca Mezcaleria in New York city

This spot showcases the Mexican vibe serving pomegranate margaritas, fajitas, and heaps of other Mexican cuisines. The place has ample outdoor seating too if you are with some friends.

Villanelle (Union Square)

Villanelle in New York

Villanelle is a fancy spot in the Greenwich Village offering reduced prices for liquors from 5 pm to 6 pm. You can enjoy their wines, beers, and cocktails alongside Villanelle’s specialty that are farm to table.

Go for Bottomless Weekends

Buffet dining is also the best way to get the most out of your spending in NYC, plus you will not run out of restaurants in NYC offering unlimited food and drinks. It is available during the weekends and best after a tiring stroll in Central Park or watching a Broadway show. Most buffet dining will cost you around $35.

Here are amongst the NYC spots that offer affordable bottomless brunches.

Paula’s Soul Food Café (Bronx)

If soul food is what you are craving, you can visit this spot along 233 Street in the Bronx. It offers fried chicken, crisp filets, mac and cheese, and banana pudding, perfect for brunch.

Hou Yi Hot Pot (Elridge)

If you hunt for hot pots, Hou Yi Hot Pot is the place to go. This place is famous for its affordable buffet, where you can devour meats, veggies, noodles, and fish in a broth. It also offers complimentary beverages.

Hou Yi Hot Pot in New York City

Ulysses Folk House (Financial District)

This place is for those who are craving everything. They offer various meats like turkey and beef, blackened salmon sided with a cheese board, salads, French toast, and mac & cheese.

Watch for Food Trucks

Food trucks are also prevalent in NYC, and most meals can cost you as low as $5. It is usually in busy spots like Central Park, Midtown, and Financial District. About 10000 street vendors in NYC and food trucks are a huge part of the statistics.

Food trucks in New york City

Food trucks in NYC offer various foods to munch on, from hotdogs, pizzas to other countries’ cuisine, which is the best option for tourists missing home.

Seeing so many food trucks may be overwhelming, but these food trucks are among the best in NYC.

  • Birria-Landia (Queens)
  • Makina Café (Fort Greene Park)
  • The Halal Guys (Midtown)
  • Tacos El Bronco (Sunset Park)
  • Indian King Biryani House (Financial District)