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New York's Best Cheap Eats

Illustration by Nazario Graziano  

The thing about eating out in New York is that it’s so tempting, once you find your very favorite places, to stick with them. Not that there’s anything wrong with that—we could happily subsist on a diet of Sripraphai’s jungle curry and Franny’s pizza, with an occasional Shackburger chaser. But even better than being a well-fed regular is making a great new discovery, stumbling upon an unheralded slice or a breathtaking, sweat-inducing Sichuan feast. Nowhere is that easier or more rewarding than here, where the realm of cheap (and moderately priced) eats is ever expanding, thrillingly eclectic, and, we’d argue, much more satisfying than what you’d find at the upper end of the price spectrum. In this issue, we provide a handy guide to the best inexpensive spots to have opened over the past year. We analyze the barbecue boom and the advent of Korean fried chicken, both welcome additions to the culinary landscape, and christen our favorite new burgers. In a seasonally inspired, cost-crunching cooking contest, we crown New York’s first top Cheapavore. Finally, Adam Platt weighs in with his strategies for eating “cheap” in an haute cuisine world—proof that even elite chefs and sommeliers harbor their own secret downscale desires.

The Cheap List
Our annual list of the best new, inexpensive spots.
The Year in Burgers
The city's best new beef.
The Great Cheapavore Challenge
Three 'locavore' chefs compete to make the cheapest locally grown grub.
Barbecue, the New Deli? Who Knew?
Three new BBQ joints that cut the mustard.
Birds of a Feather
Korean fried chicken takes wing.
Relative Bargains
Adam Platt's picks for the best cheap expensive food in town.
Chef's Choice
Top cooks' favorite cheap eats.