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Ten Amazing [and Amazingly Cheap] Meals in Brooklyn


A delicious meal doesn't have to cost a fortune, especially if you live in Brooklyn. These wallet-friendly dishes will please even the pickiest foodie--without breaking the bank.

1. Bánh Mì: The Ultimate Bargain

Photo © Angie Torres
For less than $5, a bánh mì will: a) fill you up, b) be delicious, and c) make you very, very happy.

A bánh mì (pronounced BAHN MEE in English) is a Vietnamese sub filled with pickled vegetables, grilled meat (pork or chicken and/or pâté), cilantro, mayo, and jalapeños, all sandwiched between two crispy, toasted-to-perfection baguette slices.

Vietnamese sandwich shops are scattered throughout Brooklyn. A few to try: Ba Xuyen (4222 Eighth Avenue), Hanco’s (85 Bergen Street), and Nicky's Vietnamese Sandwiches (311 Atlantic Avenue).

2. Christie's Jamaican Patties

Photo © Harris Graber
Flaky pastry, generous fillings, and low, low prices make Christie's Jamaican Patties (387 Flatbush Avenue) the go-to spot for Jamaican food in Brooklyn. At $2 a pop, these filling patties are a steal. Order two (I'm a fan of the veggie and the jerk chicken options), and take some coconut bread for the road.

3. The Polish Plate at Krolewskie Jadlo

Photo © micky isolato
The name of this Polish eatery translates to "King's Feast," and at Krolewskie Jadlo (694 Manhattan Avenue), feast you will. The Polish plate, which comes with fantastic pierogis, stuffed cabbage, kielbasa, potato pancakes, potatoes or rice, and a choice of vegetables, will only cost you $7.75. This is a plate, my friends, with enough food on it to easily feed two hungry people.

4. Panelle Special at Ferdinando's

Chickpeas should be cheap, and at Ferdinando's (151 Union Street), the panelle special (a piping hot chickpea fritter served on a roll with creamy ricotta cheese) doesn't disappoint, in price ($5) or in flavor (delicious). Not in the mood for panelle? This historic Italian restaurant serves up plenty of hearty Sicilian specialties (rice balls and pasta, for instance) for a steal. Bon appetito!

5. South American Treats at the Red Hook Ballfields

Photo © alex.lines
The Red Hook Ballfields (corner of Clinton Street and Bay Street) have in the past few years become a famous spot for scoring fresh ceviche, hot chicken tamales, cheesy quesadillas, corn on the cob, pupusas, and a variety of other tempting South American treats. Vendors sell their straight-off-the-grill street food from carts scattered around an outdoor baseball field. Sounds delicious, doesn't it? It is. Cheap, too.

6. Roasted Chicken Platter at Peter's Since 1969

Photo courtesy Peter's Since 1969
There is a time for salad, and there is a time for comfort food. When you're in need of the latter, head to Peter's Since 1969 (168 Bedford Avenue) for fare that's cheap, hearty, and lip-smacking good. At Peter's, a not-so-whopping $10.95 will get you a 1/2 rotisserie chicken meal, complete with two heaping servings of buttery sides (I opt for the sauteed spinach and mashed potatoes, but there are plenty of other options). Lunch specials here are even cheaper, and a quiet back garden is the perfect spot to enjoy your bargain feast.

7. Brunch at Apartment 138

Head to Apartment 138 (138 Smith Street) for brunch only if you're hungry. Your meal, a bargain prix fixe of $14, comes with a just-baked muffin, coffee, a mimosa or bloody mary, and a hearty entree that'll keep you full for hours. Enjoy it all on the restaurant's lovely back patio, and you'll agree with me: It's a lot of bang for your buck.

8. $1.25 Tacos at Matomoros

Photo © 536
Craving authentic Mexican food? Need to fill up for less than $5? Get yourself to Tacos Matamoros (4508 Fifth Avenue), a BYOB joint in Sunset Park that dishes out some of the tastiest tacos in the borough. Choose from spicy pulled pork, steak, tripe, veggie, and various other tempting taco concoctions, or order from the restaurant's extensive menu of goods ranging from fresh guacamole to enchiladas and cheesy chilaquiles. Prices are staggeringly low, and the food is staggeringly delicious.

9. An Appetizer Feast at Tanoreen

Rawia Bishara's Middle Eastern cooking has been celebrated for years, and just a taste of one of her garlicky, spice-filled dishes will tell you why Tanoreen (7523 Third Avenue) is consistently referred to as one of New York City's best cheap eats. Make a meal out of savory appetizers: Eggplant fried to perfection and topped with tomato and basil ($6.50), creamy hummus ($5.50), grape leaves stuffed with lamb and seasonings ($5.50), and fantastic spinach, feta, or meat pies ($4.50) will fill you and a friend up for less than $15 each. The restaurant is BYOB, so bring a bottle of wine to round out your meal.
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