Let’s be sincere: Times Square has by no means been an awesome place to eat, particularly on a price range. Real New Yorkers attempt to keep away from the realm altogether.
And for some curious purpose, vacationers visiting one of many world’s nice culinary locations appear content material packing into the identical outdated mediocre chain eating places they discover again house. Applebee’s and Olive Garden in Times Square have change into a punchline to locals.
But fortunately, issues are altering. Some fascinating and reasonably priced tastes are slowly pushing their means into the Theater District, the area centered round Times Square and bounded east to west by Sixth and Eighth avenues (roughly) and north to south by 57th to 40th streets.
More suggestions for visiting NYC on a budget:
• How to save on hotels in New York City
• The ultimate cheapo guide for visiting New York
• Cheap hotels in Times Square and the Theater District
So should you’ve already scored affordable tickets to a Broadway show, the place are you able to eat for low-cost? It all is determined by what you’re wanting for. Here are just a few strategies for low-cost eats in Times Square.
Burgers: Shake Shack
Renowned restaurateur, Danny Meyer, remodeled a sizzling canine cart into the primary Shake Shack just a few blocks downtown at Madison Square Park and by no means appeared again. Though it advanced into a sequence with greater than 250 places around the globe (and counting), this is likely one of the pioneering places. And it’s pretty much as good as ever.
For the document, I’m notably keen on Shake Shack. It’s common to discover me huddled over a ShackBurger, fries and house-made lemonade for breakfast at that unique location, which opens sooner than the Theater District Shack. Though their crispy rooster sandwiches and sizzling canines obtain acclaim, Shake Shack is all about burgers and their signature beef mix. The crinkle-cut fries could sound pedestrian, however they’re ready completely. The lemonade is recent and tart.
Shake Shack has a good variety of seats, however the strains get actually lengthy, winding by way of a brief maze indoors earlier than spilling onto Eighth Avenue. Things transfer pretty shortly, however that solely means you’ll taking part in musical chairs to seize a desk until you arrive quickly after opening or throughout a uncommon lull through the day.
And right here’s a fast tip: Shake Shack concretes — frozen custard blended with cookies or sweet — are nice, too. And if all you need are frozen custard, drinks, beer or wine, you may bounce into the shorter “C–Line” for faster service.
691 Eighth Ave. (at 44th St.)
Chinese: Xi’an Famous Foods
You can discover an awesome burger in most cities, however not recent, handmade noodles. And that’s what attracts New Yorkers to Xi’an Famous Foods. From its preliminary, hole-in-the-wall location in the basement of a Queens shopping mall, Xi’an’s fiery noodles leaped throughout the river to Manhattan’s Chinatown after which engulfed your complete island.
Head to one of many two close by places for “hand-ripped” noodles served in dishes and soups with combos of greens and meats. There’s additionally a choice of dumplings and what Xi’an calls “burgers” — shredded meat on a bun.
What you need is the Spicy Cumin Lamb Noodles — or, should you’ve obtained to eat and stroll, the Spicy Cumin Lamb Burger. (Xi’an warns that noodles are made to be eaten shortly, proper out of the kitchen.) But if lamb isn’t in your agenda, the Liang Pi Cold Skin Noodles, Stewed Pork Burger, and Spicy and Tingly Beef Noodles spherical out their high 5 sellers.
Now for some suggestions: Since the family-owned and operated eating places are surrounded by towering workplace buildings, all of them get slammed through the lunch and dinner rushes. Your wait will likely be shorter should you can go to between 2 and 6 pm or on weekends. Also, spicy means spicy. Xi’an Famous Foods attracts its identify and household recipes from a metropolis in northwestern China identified for dishes kindled with cumin, chili, and peppercorns, and that is the true deal. But every little thing is made to order; so, if you’d like a milder model, simply ask.
Xi’an Famous Foods
37 West 43rd St. (between fifth and sixth Ave.)
37 West 54th St. (between fifth and sixth Ave.)
Hot Dogs: Gray’s Papaya
New Yorkers are busy. And, so it seems, all the time operating late. Which makes sizzling canines the right, cheapo meals: a transportable meal you may eat on the run, and one yow will discover in all places.
Let’s begin by debunking one delusion: Food carts are usually not the dicey proposition many guests imagine. In truth, they’re a staple for many locals and a few even serve connoisseur specialties. So, you’re hardly ever greater than a block away from a reputable New York canine.
But there are just a few legendary variations, and one among them is Gray’s Papaya. What units it aside? It’s all the time open. It’s superb. And it’s low-cost. In truth, Gray’s Papaya is known for its “Recession Special,” two sizzling canines and a medium drink for about six bucks. In Midtown Manhattan, you may’t do higher than that.
It’s referred to as Gray’s Papaya as a result of papaya is one among their featured, non-alcoholic tropical drinks, however possibly not the perfect. I choose piña colada, although in addition they serve coconut and banana — together with pineapple juice, soda, espresso, tea and sizzling chocolate.
612 eighth Ave. (between 39th and 40th St.)
Middle Eastern: The Halal Guys
One instance of the upscale meals cart development is The Halal Guys, which started as a single cart in the Theater District and rode demand from Muslim taxi drivers to change into a global restaurant phenomenon. Their unique providing can also be their hottest — a combo platter of rooster and beef gyro over rice. They serve each kinds of meat and a reasonably good falafel in platters and as sandwiches on pita, with a alternative of toppings.
Then there are the sauces. Unless you get pleasure from taking part in with hearth, ease into the new sauce, which registers 115,000 on the Scoville spicy-heat scale. (Most jalapeños come in properly below 10,000.) And their tangy white sauce is so in style it has its personal following.
With loads of hardcore followers in a busy part of town, the carts alongside 53rd Street are usually not arduous to discover: Just look for a protracted line of New Yorkers from each ethnicity, background, and tradition. But don’t be scared off by the gang. Hop proper in and meet some new pals. Things transfer fairly shortly.
The Halal Guys
West 53rd St. and sixth Ave.
West 53rd St. and seventh Ave.
Latin American: Empanada Mama
Granted, this cheapo favourite is formally in Hell’s Kitchen, a block past the Theater District’s official boundaries, however this small gem is shut to some Broadway venues and well worth the quick stroll.
Touting “big flavors in small packages,” Empanada Mama options, properly, empanadas — stuffed pastries, most fried, some baked, which are staples in many Latin American areas. There are about 40 empanadas on the principle menu, below $four every, with each conventional and not-so-traditional tastes.
In the temper for one thing conventional? Try Brasil, with floor beef, olives, sautéed onion, and potato, or Desayuno Colombiano, with Colombian pork sausage, cheddar cheese, eggs and Spanish onion. Prefer fusion? Consider El Ruben, with shredded beef, sauerkraut, Russian dressing and Swiss cheese, or Pepperoni Pizza, with pepperoni, tomato sauce, and cheese. The selection is spectacular and spills over to a small dessert menu with empanadas full of fruit, cheese, and chocolate.
Like many New York eating places, Empanada Mama has a compact — no, make that tiny — eating room, so be prepared to wait should you arrive at prime time.
765 Ninth Ave. (between 51st and 52nd St.)
Pizza: Here’s Where It Gets Tricky
Pizza is the long-lasting NYC low-cost eat. And there’s no scarcity of storefronts peddling crust topped with tomato sauce and cheese. You can most likely discover a type of on each block. Maybe two. Or three.
What you gained’t discover in the Theater District is the sort of nice slice joints scattered in neighborhoods across the metropolis. Why? I dunno. Send me your theories. But I think it has to do with rents and that complete “tourists-content-at-Olive Garden” factor.
If you need pizza instantly earlier than or after a present, your finest wager is John’s of Times Square, a notable restaurant making ready conventional New York pies (no slices) in an 800-degree, coal-fired oven — together with a full menu of pasta, sandwiches, and dessert. But it might be identified higher for its setting in an deserted church, full with a surprising stained glass ceiling, which, to be sincere, is fairly cool.
But I choose to enterprise 9 blocks outdoors the Theater District to NY Pizza Suprema, praised by many and rated by the “Slice Harvester” website as New York City’s finest slice. Their common cheese pizza is memorable. So are the Margherita and white slices. My recommendation? Go with no matter seems to be good — it will likely be — however be prepared to order when it’s your flip and hold issues transferring.
John’s of Times Square
260 West 44th St. (between seventh and eighth Ave.)
NY Pizza Suprema
413 eighth Ave. (between 31st and 30th St.)
If you may’t resolve: City Kitchen
If your group’s already arguing about the place to eat — or maybe you’re arguing with your self! — your finest wager is City Kitchen, situated on the Row NYC Hotel. When you enter what’s billed as “A Times Square Food Market” you’ll discover a busy room ringed by upscale meals stalls.
I’ve a few favorites. Whitmans, one outpost of a preferred burger-and-fries joint based in New York’s East Village, serves a pared-down menu starring their Upstate Burger, a signature beef quick rib mix, and an oddly satisfying model topped with peanut butter and applewood smoked bacon. Luke’s Lobster, one other East Village import, serves their signature lobster rolls and a extra cheapo-friendly shrimp roll to aficionados at virtually 40 places worldwide. But there’s extra: Azuki sushi, Ilili Box Mediterranean delicacies, Gabriela’s Taqueria and Kuro-Obi ramen.
Whatever you select, don’t miss Dough, an outpost for one of many metropolis’s nice doughnut outlets. Their rotating menu consists of sudden flavors like hibiscus and fervour fruit. A few my favorites — Nutella and dulce de leche — are additionally usually accessible.
700 eighth Ave. (at 44th St.)
Your suggestions for Times Square
Where do you want to eat for low-cost once you’re in Times Square? Let us know in the feedback!