by Melissa Kravitz
|Chinese takeout specials are a bargain and usually come with heaping plates plus an egg roll or soup.|
While I prefer to pack a lunch for both nutritional and financial
reasons, sleeping in, excessively hot weather, and a lack of clean Tupperware prevents
me from doing so more often than not. NYC is home to endless fine-dining options for the foodies out there, but lack of money and enough time spent in various neighborhoods has led me to discover plenty of
midday meals for $5. (And no, it’s not a Five-Dollar Footlong. Well,
drop into your local takeout joint. Most lunch specials range between $4.50-$6.50 and include plates heaping
with fried rice, entrees, and perhaps an egg roll or soup. And, there’s usually plenty leftover for
a late afternoon snack. Similarly, most local bodegas and delis offer lunch
specials of sandwiches, wraps, melts, or salads.
around the $10 price point that definitely feed more than one. Buddy up with a friend, co-worker, or coffee shop
acquaintance and order a lunch special to split. Try Spice, Ghandi Café on Bleecker, or Benny’s Burritos. Any of these will offer larger dishes perfect for sharing.
I’ve made the rounds by both neighborhood and ethnicity, so I never grow tired of consuming the same plate or ingredients. Here’s what $5 can get you in Downtown Manhattan.
bag of chips or a banana, and a water bottle. The sandwiches are pre-made but definitely filling enough
for a meal. Plus, the three downtown
cafes provide free Wifi, oldies music, and a popular, comfortable workspace for
Down the street, Tompkins Square Bagels promotes its $5 lunch each
day on an illustrated chalkboard, with special bagels with spreads and a bowl
of soup. On a hot summer day, the chilled vegetable soups with a
buttered bagel are the perfect midday meal.
only $2.50. You can supplement
with another overstuffed pita or lentil soup.
|Mamoun’s falafel – I think it’s the best in the city.--via Mamoun’s|
flavorful sesame noodles with vegetables for only $3.50 and between 3-5pm you
can stop by for $3 dumpling happy hour.
Taiwanese flavor. The buns with
all natural pork belly, ($3.50) or fried tofu ($2.99) are a refreshing and
lunch, but sometimes the splurge for the $2+ slice with veggies can be a better
value and more filling (and healthy!) option. A $4.50 slice
at Artichoke Basille’s pizza, oozing with cheese and greens is more than
enough to satisfy your hunger.
supplemented with an apple or banana for the full meal.
Freshly prepared burritos, tacos, and quesadillas with much more variant
flavors than some popular chain restaurants allow you to choose proteins and
sauces, from grilled cactus to the signature avocado crema. Locations will vary.
|Cactus Tacos from the TriBeCa Taco Truck–-via Yelp|
creations starting at $3.50. Cucumber,
tomato, fresh fruit, and granola are just some of the options for this healthy,
rating serves generous and fresh portions of Chinese and Vietnamese dishes for
under $5 at any hour of the day.
$5 lunch truck in FiDi has recently upped its prices, there are still options
to buy your lunch with a single bill.
sit-down lunch in FiDi is pretty much impossible, but tasty food stands and
food trucks fill the void.
|Veronica’s Kitchen at work–via Yelp|
When it comes to lunch in NYC, there are endless options, but when you set a budget and desire to stick to it, saving money and having delicious food is still very possible.