There are enough restaurants in New York City to last a lifetime of dinner dates, random Sunday brunches and happy hour meals. What restaurant-finding apps, like Yelp, won’t always show you are the (usually) small hole-in-the-wall eateries that are definitely steals.
Here goes five of the city’s best hidden gems that won’t break the bank and will have you coming back for more every time:
1. Prosperity Dumplings
Address: 46 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002
Hours of Operation: Sun-Sat 7:30 am-10 pm
Navigating Chinatown is an adventure itself, but among the hundreds of ethnic markets lies a tiny shoebox and dumpling mecca. At first glance, the ‘A’ rating seems questionable because of the tight, dark venue. Forget the atmosphere because the food at Prosperity Dumpling delivers.
Where else can you buy four savory chive and pork dumplings and other varieties for just $1 in NYC? The mixed variety of sesame pancakes and steaming wonton soups are just a few other options on the extensive menu all under $10.
There are even options for vegetarian—the boiled cabbage and vegetable dumplings are equally amazing.
Must try: Chive and Pork Fried Dumplings, Hot and Sour Soup, Sesame Pancake
2. Spot Dessert Bar
Address: 13 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003
Hours of Operation: Sun-Wed 12 pm-12 am; Thu-Sat 12 pm-1 am
If any place in the city deserves a “most photogenic/best presentation” award, it’s Spot. The original location in St. Marks Place of the East Village is easily missed by one distracted on the narrow and busy streets. Once you find it, you won’t miss it again.
The small two table, four seat dessert oasis is the product of what the cafe owners call a “sweet combine of Asian & American flavors,” all-in-one. The taste of the ice creams, crepes and tiny, colorful macarons are decadent, light and deliciously beautiful. And of course, all under the $10 budget.
They also have another venue in K-Town of Midtown West.
Must try: “The Harvest,” Chocolate Green Tea Lava Cake, “Honey Toast”
3. Frisson Espresso
Address: 326 W 47th St, New York, NY 10036
Hours of Operation: Mon-Fri 6:30 am-7 pm; Sat 9 am-7 pm; Sun 9 am-6 pm
The cosiness of this cafe hiding in Hell’s Kitchen is perfect for the city’s chilly winter and early spring months. The minimalist theme at Frisson shows through from the walls to the presentation of the rich, creamy, freshly brewed warm and cold drinks. Seating is typically limited, but it can still be intimate.
Frisson also offers an assortment of baked pastries like croissants and muffins freshly made daily and available for delivery. With friendly service, free-wifi, and the acceptance of credit/debit cards available to all new customers, this place should be your next coffee destination.
Must try: Vanilla Latte, Mocha Cappuccino, Green Tea Muffin, Signature Espresso
4. burger joint NYC
Address: Le Parker Meridien New York, 119 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019
Hours of Operation: Sun-Thu 11 am-11:30 pm; Fri-Sat 11 am-12 am
Behind the red curtain of Midtown’s Le Parker Meridien Hotel lies Shake Shack’s less well-known rival. During peak hours, a line trails out past the curtain–but with good reason.
The juiciness and tenderness of each individual burger is why this burger joint has already garnered quite a reputation, even though it’s still the neighborhood regulars’ best-kept secret. A traditional burger (or cheeseburger) with “the works” ($8) is the most popular item on the colorful hand-written cardboard menu.
Fries, shakes, and brownies are also worth a try. If you’re feeling just as swanky as is the hotel lobby just outside the joint, a burger can easily be made into a “double” for about $15. Not bad compared to room service prices, don’t you think?
Must try: Hamburger with “the works,” Cheeseburger with “the works,” and curly fries
5. Holey Cream
Address: 796 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019
Hours of Operation: Sun-Thu 12 pm-12:30 am; Fri-Sat 12 pm-1:30 am
Who says you can’t have your donut and your ice cream and eat it (together) too? Sure, Holey Cream has a counter full of delicious looking treats, but the donut sandwich will always be the keystone.
Three scoops of select ice creams (from pretzel to red velvet to raspberry cheesecake) inside a warm donut with your choice of vanilla, chocolate or strawberry icing and another topping to finish it off for under $8? Please and thank you.
You may want to share with a friend since one alone might be too much for even your sweet tooth to handle. The space inside is tiny, and so easy to walk right by. What you won’t miss are vibrant colors and “Build Your Dream Donut” sign on the inside that make this sweet trip to Hell’s Kitchen worth it.
Must try: Every Donut-Ice Cream combination possible
None of these tickle your fancy? This is just the beginning. Stick around for a Part II coming soon.
In the mean time, get in on a couple more secrets: