Dining on a budget

SELF-CATERING Eating cheap is not difficult in New York, providing you avoid Midtown. Self-catering has become far easier with the addition of salad bars at many delis. Supermarkets can be a bit tricky, but buying larger sizes of products (such as co... more

SELF-CATERING Eating cheap is not difficult in New York, providing you avoid Midtown. Self-catering has become far easier with the addition of salad bars at many delis. Supermarkets can be a bit tricky, but buying larger sizes of products (such as cola and orange juice) is an American money-saving sport. Frequently a two-liter bottle costs the same as a half-liter bottle! Buy a large coffee at Starbucks and share it. The huge Whole Foods Market on 14th Street overlooking Union Square Park has a great variety of self-service food stalls, and all second-story seating has views of the park. Weekly farmers markets, also called greenmarkets, offer plentiful reasonably-priced locally-grown food and are a great way to meet people. Chinatown, Flushing and Jackson Heights have dozens of cheap restaurants, and if you are on a tight budget, bear in mind that ordering take away saves you a 15% tip. Make sure to visit our restaurants section for a great selection of cheap eats! TIPPING Saving money is fine, but just remember that in the USA tipping is pretty much mandatory, as restaurant and bar staff make most of their salary from tips. Except when service is awful, it is considered rude to... more

SELF-CATERING Eating cheap is not difficult in New York, providing you avoid Midtown. Self-catering has become far easier with the addition of salad bars at many delis. Supermarkets can be a bit tricky, but buying larger sizes of products (such as cola and orange juice) is an American money-saving sport. Frequently a two-liter bottle costs the same as a half-liter bottle! Buy a large coffee at Starbucks and share it. The huge Whole Foods Market on 14th Street overlooking Union Square Park has a great variety of self-service food stalls, and all second-story seating has views of the park. Weekly farmers markets, also called greenmarkets, offer plentiful reasonably-priced locally-grown food and are a great way to meet people. Chinatown, Flushing and Jackson Heights have dozens of cheap restaurants, and if you are on a tight budget, bear in mind that ordering take away saves you a 15% tip. Make sure to visit our restaurants section for a great selection of cheap eats!

TIPPING Saving money is fine, but just remember that in the USA tipping is pretty much mandatory, as restaurant and bar staff make most of their salary from tips. Except when service is awful, it is considered rude to tip less than 15%. New Yorkers frequently tip 20% for good service. Expect that a restaurant will automatically add the tip to your bill if your group is six people or more. If you are too cheap to tip, then stick to the self-service cafes and restaurants.

WHERE TO GO? Check out our restaurant guide, where you'll find virtually every type of cuisine under the sun. A hint: tasty, filling and cheap fixed-price lunches can be had all over Chinatown. Search by cuisine, search by price, search by location, search by special feature...you will absolutely find something that suits your fancy at a price you can afford.


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