How Much Should You Expect To Pay For Food While Traveling In NYC?

It's definitely worth eating your way through New York City. Like everything else in New York, there's something for everyone in terms of culinary delights. Street food? Check. Diners? You know it. Hot dogs? Duh. Pizza slices? Galore! And if your proclivity is ultra-glam dining, just know that New York is home to some of the most exclusive restaurants in the world. Each of the five boroughs offers a range of flavors for the hungry tourist, with neighborhoods in all of them that offer sumptuous dishes. Don't forget about Little Italy in Manhattan. Prospect Heights in Brooklyn houses no end of wonderful options including Persian ice cream sandwiches at Sofreh. Forest Hills in Queens features Eddie's, a century-old ice cream parlor — the oldest in New York — that's worth a visit. 

The best part about New York is that you can tour — and eat — at any point during the year. While spring and summer are popular times for visits, a holiday visit can give you an experience of New York in all its winter glory. Unfortunately, no matter what season you visit, New York is famously expensive. However, with some clever planning and a willingness to explore, you can eat in New York somewhat affordably, or go ultra-swanky, depending on what you're after. 

The scope of breakfast options in New York City

There's a range of breakfast options in New York City. If you want a fine dining experience, with white tablecloths and freshly squeezed juice, you should look at restaurants like Joseph Leonard or Sarabeth's. Juice is around $12 a glass and breakfast is around $25, so with tip, it's over $40 per person. However, there are plenty of other options. One thing New York is famous for is its boozy brunches. The Harlem Tavern offers breakfast and a cocktail for $18.95 all in. You can get a coffee or nonalcoholic beverage too, if that's your preference. Other restaurants, like Poco NYC have bottomless brunches, where you get 1.5 hours of endless drinks with a breakfast entrée for $49 per person.

If you want to do breakfast on the cheap, you have an abundance of options. New York City is famous for its diners, and you don't have to look far for a classic neighborhood spot. Three Decker Diner is a great Brooklyn hang in Greenpoint that offers comfort food for cheap. Two eggs on a roll and a cup of coffee will cost you $4. Tasty's Diner in Astoria, Queens has two eggs served in any style for $12.50. New York's bagels are unprecedented, so you can grab a bagel with cream cheese and a cup of coffee for under $10 virtually anywhere in the five boroughs. Keep an eye out for sidewalk breakfast carts and neighborhood bodegas, which offer breakfast sandwiches and coffees for under $10 as well.

The endless affordable lunch options in New York

New York City has a ton of fantastic options for lunches. Chinatown in Manhattan has a plethora of amazing places to get cheap eats. Wonton Noodle Garden on Mott Street has soup for $9, while Shu Jiao Fu Zhou on Grand Street is another home run for a lunch under $10. Don't forget that New York has pizzerias galore and the quality is exceptional. Louie & Ernie's Pizza, where you can get a slice of pizza for $3.50, in the Bronx is a classic. Mama's Too! is another beloved spot on the north end of the Upper West Side that offers an affordable lunch choice with unique flavors.

Another great option for lunches in New York is the sushi lunch special. At Mura in Brooklyn, a Bento combo box is $12.95. Amura Japanese Cuisine in Manhattan is another great way to get a lunch special for anywhere from $10-$15. Land Thai Kitchen on the Upper West Side has a lunch special for $13.50. There's also no shortage of delicious and affordable taco spots in New York. Taqueria St. Marks Place sells tacos for $6 each. If you want a quick sandwich, spots like Lenwich and Potbelly are located all over the city and sandwiches range from $12-$15. There are of course ways to go ultra glam in New York if you want something extra special for lunch. Le Rock at Rockefeller Plaza offers a Prix Fixe lunch for $70 per person.

Expect to spend more on dinner in New York

Dinners in New York can run anywhere from the $10 range to hundreds of dollars. If you want to be budget conscious for dinner, New York can satisfy you on a dime. Check out Blue Sky Deli in East Harlem for the famous $8 chopped cheese sandwich, which is open 24 hours a day. Another hit is Bánh Mì Saigon, a Vietnamese shop located in Little Italy that sells banh mi sandwiches for $8. There's also a jewelry counter in the shop, so it's a unique space that's worth checking out.

If you want something that's more expensive, and that offers a sit-down experience, neighborhoods like the West Village or Harlem in Manhattan, or Williamsburg in Brooklyn offer unique spots. Be sure to book a reservation ahead of time, and expect to shell out a little more for these experiences. For example, the Left Bank in the West Village offers entrees around $30 each. With a drink and dessert, expect to spend at least $75 per person. Keens Steakhouse in Midtown Manhattan is another cult classic, but expect to spend about $100-$200 per person.

If you want to go all out in New York, that's very possible. Some of the most famous (and expensive) restaurants in the world are in the city. There's Nusr-Et, the famous "Salt Bae" restaurant, where a meal for two can cost anywhere from $500 to several thousand dollars, depending on the wine and alcohol ordered with the meal.