Best Cheap Food in the East Village

Wallet-friendly options
March 6, 2017
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by Zagat Staff

The East Village is full of great cheap bite options, from hot dogs to dumplings to arepas. Here, we've rounded up some of the best in the 'hood.

Dumpling Man
Chinese · East Village · $
Food 4.1 · Decor 3.0 · Service 3.7

Steamed or seared, the “delicious” dumplings at this East Village Chinese make for a “super-cheap” , cash-only snack that's handmade “right in front of you” (a “show in itself” ); many prefer to “stuff themselves” on the run since the premises “aren't much to look at.”
Caracas Arepa Bar
Latin American · East Village · $$
Food 4.4 · Decor 3.5 · Service 3.7

Vending “real-deal” arepas with “piping-hot” fillings so “addictive” you’ll “want to try them all” , these “cheerful” Venezuelans “hit the spot” “for little money” ; if the East Village “shoebox” is a bit “squished” (nearby To Go is “great for takeaway” ), the patio-equipped Williamsburg site is “more low-key” and there’s always “watching the surf” in Rockaway.
Crif Dogs
Hot Dog · East Village · $
Food 4.0 · Decor 3.2 · Service 3.5

“Spunky” , “deep-fried” hot dogs are a “guilty pleasure” at these “gritty” joints famed for their “fun toppings” (like bacon, avocado and pineapple); they're a natural for “cheap” , “late-night munchies” , and the East Village original houses the famed “speakeasy” bar PDT, accessed through a phone booth.
Baohaus
East Village · $
Food 4.0 · Decor 2.9 · Service 3.2

The “savory” Taiwanese steamed buns are “tasty and surprisingly filling” at Eddie Huang’s East Villager, whose “fast-food vibe” gets a boost from “blaring hip-hop music” ; despite “teenage” service and “no decor to speak of” , “cheap” checks keep its “college” crowd content.
La Palapa
Mexican · East Village · $$
Food 4.3 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.0

The “authenticity shows” at this East Village cocina, where a chef-owner who “knows her stuff” prepares Mexican fare that’s “a cut above the usual” ; between the “accommodating” staff and “fabulous” margaritas, expect a “festive” scene.
Xi'an Famous Foods
Chinese · East Village · $
Food 4.1 · Decor 2.7 · Service 3.4

Fans of “banging” hand-pulled noodles discover “fiery” “nirvana” at this “burgeoning” Western Chinese chain also famed for cumin-lamb burgers so “insanely good” that they have their own “cult following” ; “zero decor” and “cramped” seating are offset by ultra- “cheap” tabs.
Veselka
Breakfast · East Village · $$
Food 4.0 · Decor 3.2 · Service 3.7

The “all-encompassing menu” of “hearty” , “fair-priced” Ukrainian staples (think “handmade pierogi” , “terrific borscht” ) at this 24/7 East Village “institution” draws everyone from “families” to the “post-party crowd” ; maybe there's “no decor” to speak of, but it's got “old-time atmosphere” to spare.
Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken
Southern American · East Village · $$
Food 4.0 · Decor 3.2 · Service 3.5

Offering over-the-counter access to the “super-tasty” , Southern-style fried chicken served at some of the Bromberg brothers’ other restaurants, this “functional” East Villager sells its “well-seasoned” poultry by the piece along with shakes and sides, plus beer and wine; it’s “a little pricey for fast food” , but late hours mean it's a good option “after your night out.”
Otto's Tacos
Mexican · East Village · $
Food 3.9 · Decor 3.2 · Service 3.5

“Tasty” LA-inspired tacos made with housemade tortillas ( “the key” ) are “on target” at these “popular” Mexican joints, offering “solid” , “nicely seasoned” eats on the “cheap” ; the settings are “no-frills” , but they’re “reliable” for a “quick bite” on the go.