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Visiting NYC on a Student Budget: Food
March 4, 2011
<em>This is part two in a series of three guest posts written by Amelia Germain. Amelia was a classmate of ours at Michigan State University and a fellow Spartan Marching Band member. She is currently a senior at MSU and has visited New York City several times during her college years. Follow more of her adventures on Twitter (@ameliagermain).
If you’re really trying to stick to a budget for a weekend trip, sometimes it’s a great idea to eat a simple, cheap breakfast and/or lunch. My roommate and I typically go to the Walgreens around the corner from the hostel to buy cereal bars for breakfast and a case of water to cover our breakfast for the entire weekend. We’d also settle for Subway or even McDonald’s or other fast food restaurants, which were great for really cheap lunches. Sitting in a cute café with a bagel and coffee is also a fun thing to add into the budget, these are just some suggestions for easy ways to save money.
Dining on the Cheap
Amici II Restaurant—I’m always looking for a good Italian restaurant anytime I travel. My roommate and I decided to head to Little Italy during our last trip to cure our midday hunger pangs. We were on our last day of travel and almost out of money. Luckily, we found Amici II that had a lunch special for $7.95. This place had the best olive oil to dip the bread into! It was filled with a delicious garlic flavor and held me over until my plate of Chicken Parmesan came out. It was the perfect amount of food and kept us from emptying our wallets before returning home. There are a lot places like this in that area, so feel free to try anything that looks delicious or suits Italian food fancy.
New York City is known for having some really great places to eat. I can’t say that I’ve been to them all, but I have a few recommendations based on the experiences I’ve had. I would encourage anyone to step outside of their comfort zone and try a non-chain restaurant or ‘mom and pop shop’ place over any Olive Garden or PF Chang’s. Here are some NYC goodies that I suggest you try if you’re in the neighborhood:
Lunch or dinner:
Murphy & Gonzalez Pub & Cocina—I came here with my mom after my NYU college visit and we had a great lunch. I think the specials change from time-to-time as I was unable to find what I had for lunch on the menu. If it happens to pop up again, my mom and I had the tuna wrap and the corn chowder soup. It was fresh, reasonably priced and delicious. They’re known for their margaritas!
Cozy Soup n’ Burger—I also came here with my mom for a late lunch. It’s a famous burger joint in Manhattan that is always filled to the brim with people from New York natives to tourists just like you and me. The food was amazing and there are so many options. The atmosphere is lively and a great place if you’re really in that Empire State of Mind and looking for an original place to satisfy your hunger for a really good burger.
Junior’s—This is a deli located near Times Square that has amazing corned beef, pastrami, other deli meats and amazing cheesecake. My cousins and I came here for lunch during my last trip and had amazing service along with a delicious meal. The restaurant is another place well-known for its celebrity sightings before and after Broadway shows. A must-try if you’re in Times Square!
Café Lalo—Have you ever seen ‘You’ve Got Mail’? It’s one of my all-time favorite movies! Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks plan to meet and this famous NYC café is the feature location. They have amazing desserts, coffees and the wait staff serves the customers well. This place is well-worth the splurge and I recommend the mocha and a slice of Snickers cheesecake. The atmosphere is close-knit and the music adds to the overall romantic ambiance. Tip: this place accepts cash only, so make sure you stop at an ATM before heading there for some post-dinner treats!
Ferrara Cafe—Another Little Italy favorite of mine. My roommate and I actually stopped here after our trip to Amici II, per the recommendation of a friend. I had the most delicious chocolate chip cannoli and a mocha latte. I was full from lunch, but there was plenty of room for this amazing dessert. The price of the goods is well-worth the product they serve.