New York City has so much to offer food lovers from all around the world, on any budget. Forget fine dining, even those on the tightest of budgets don’t have to miss out on the best cuisine. We explore the best cheap eats in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg.
Crif Dogs is a happening hot dog joint in deep Williamsburg. The menu features sixteen ‘signature dogs.’ Vegetarians need not fret as veggie dogs are also on offer. If none of the ‘signature dogs’ meet your fancy you can choose from 28 topping choices to customize your dog. Order at the counter and have a seat in the small but welcoming restaurant. A popular late night order is the ‘Crif Pack’, which includes a ‘biblical’ amount of food: eight dogs and two sides to be exact. If you missed your morning bagel, the ‘John John Deragon’ is made with cream cheese, scallions, bagel seeds and bacon. The hot dogs are the main attraction here but the tater tots are a tasty bonus.
An easy way to cut down the cost of any meal is to hit up your local neighborhood BYOB restaurant, and Amarin Café is one of the best Thai spots in Williamsburg. You wouldn’t expect this level of quality and speed for such reasonable prices, but prepare to be amazed. Entrées range from $9 to $10 offering everything from curry to noodles and rice in large portions. The menu also offers several appetizers to start your meal off right. Similar to Indian samosas, the fried wontons are deliciously crispy. There is ample seating available, but Amarin is always buzzing.
The Meatball Shop is a popular dining spot with six locations around the city. Open until 3am, it may quickly become your late night favorite. The vibe is cool, laid back and fun, the waitress may even convince you to order a Jell-O shot. Meatball flavors change regularly so you won’t tire trying a new offering with every trip back. For $8 you will get four huge meatballs and your choice of sauce and beans, daily risotto specials, polenta, mash potatoes or pasta. Specials change daily and are always exciting combinations.
You will struggle to find a better deal than Vanessa’s Dumpling House. Offering Beijing-style street food to the bearded masses, menu items range from dumplings to noodle soups and sesame pancake sandwiches. Order at the counter and take a seat; the food comes quickly so you won’t be hungry for long. $1.25 will get you four large dumplings. Pork and chive are a local favorite for their delectable, juicy filling, served steaming hot. For a mere $5 you can also order a hearty scallion pancake and a beer with your dumplings.
Alligator Lounge is a neighborhood staple. Order yourself a $4 beer and the bartender will hand you a ticket. You won’t have trouble finding the huge pizza oven in the back of the bar calling you with its warm glow. If you are interested in ordering $1 pizza toppings, be sure to mention so at the bar so you get additional tickets. Don’t be shocked when you get your very own personal pizza or when you decide to stop buying groceries because a beer and pizza at Alligator is a better deal any day of the week.
Mama Pho is a tasty Vietnamese restaurant serving up Bahn Mi sandwiches, Pho and salads daily. For $5 to $6 you have your pick between seven different sandwiches featuring chicken, pork, tofu and even catfish. The sandwiches are hearty so you won’t be hungry when you walk out. The ‘Pho Bahn Mi’ has ribeye and brisket creating the perfect fat balance, filled to the brim with fresh, crunchy veggies. Served warm to your table. If you’re curious about bubble tea, grab one to enjoy while you wait for your food.
A popular spot every day of the week, the atmosphere at House of Small Wonder is light and airy with plants hanging all around. Small and cozy, the skylight ceiling opens the space up a considerable amount. Sandwiches are only $4.50 making this an easy lunch option with a $3 corn soup on the side, served steaming hot and brimming with fresh corn flavor. They also offer fresh pastries and a large coffee drinks menu. The brie, apple and fig sandwich is served on a crunchy baguette.
Snacky is a dim sum favorite that is sure to delight, and with these prices you won’t be disappointed. The menu is as interesting as the décor in this divey, kitschy spot. Offerings include eel rice bowls, scallion egg pancakes, kimchee hot dogs and the ever popular mini cheeseburgers. The sake cocktail menu features many interesting and tasty items like the lychee sake martini. The service is quick, the food is tasty and the prices cheap, what more could you ask for?
The interior of Cheers Thai is unique with various objects hanging from the ceiling; mannequins with lampshade hats, lamps at varied heights on the walls around the seating area and a lounge area stuck sideways hanging high above. If the food wasn’t enough of a talking point you won’t run out of things to discuss with the wild décor in here. The Thai food is well presented and deliciously cooked. Service is attentive and quick. The lunch specials here are a big hit; for $8 you get soup or salad, fried spring rolls and an entrée. The noodle curries are incredibly flavorful and rice dishes include many fresh vegetables to add that extra crunch.