Here are six wallet-friendly, sit-down Manhattan restaurants recommended by the FED Pros.
GREEK | Souvlaki GR
This small Greek restaurant will take you from the grittiness of the Lower East Side and right into Mykonos. With its whitewashed exterior, Aegean blue shutters and cobblestone floor, you'll feel like you've walked right onto a Hollywood set of a Greece gyro shop. The majority of the menu is under $10.
"Come here for their gyros. They capture Mykonos magic in a bottle.
FED Pro > Restaurateur James Malios of Amali, Amali Mou
116 Stanton Street, New York, NY 10002
T: 212.777.0116 | www.souvlakigr.com
JAPANESE | Rai Rai Ken
Rai Rai Ken used to be an itty bitty 15-seat ramen shop for over a decade, but they moved to bigger and brighter digs next door. The upgrade also includes new menu items, but nothing over $15. They have also opened a new outpost in Harlem.
"I've been eating here long before the ramen craze that is resulting in new shops opening everywhere. Whatever broth I choose - which can either be curry or soy - I always get extra Char Siu. While it may sound unusual, the corn one with a quarter stick of butter on top is seriously delicious. I guarantee you will love it."
FED Pro > Pastry Chef Pichet Ong
218 East 10th Street, New York, NY 10003 | T: 212.477.7030
467 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10027 | T: 917.639.3342
CHINESE | Vanessa’s Dumpling House
A bustling restaurant with house-made Beijing-style street food, including dumplings, rolls, and triangle sandwiches made on sesame pancake bread. The menu is mostly $5 and under.
"Their sesame flat bread is special. It’s so cool. It’s kind of like a Chinese focaccia. They make these wedge-like pizza-shaped sandwiches out of it. They’ll put either ground pork, chopped up pork, braised pork or a fried egg. I love this place.
FED Pro > Chef Jonathan Wu of Fung Tu
"I like their fried pork sesame sandwich. It’s sesame dough and they deep fry it in a huge wok and fill it with braised pork belly or braised pork shoulder and pickle. It’s really delicious and I think it’s $2.50 for the size of a slice at Joe’s pizza."
FED Pro > Chef John Wells of Fung Tu
118A Eldridge Street, New York, NY 10002
T: 212.625.8008 | vanessas.com
CUBAN & CHINESE | La Caridad 78
An Upper West Side institution that has been serving Cuban and Cantonese cuisines for decades. The Chinese ended up in Cuba in the 1850s as laborers and after the Cuban revolution in 1959, many left and set up restaurants in the United States, including this one. The majority of the menu is under $20.
"They have great Cuban food that is really fresh and authentic. Make sure to get the Mondongo and the Mangu de Chicharron... they are heavenly."
FED Pro > Chef Julian Medina of Toloache, Coppelia, Yerba Buena, Tacuba Cantina Mexicana
2199 Broadway, New York, NY 10024
CHINESE-AMERICAN | 69 Bayard Chinese Restaurant
It's the tiny, scruffy type of restaurant that you might walk by a million times before you are willing to go in. The walls are papered with dollar bills, the lighting is florescent, and the bonus is they stay open until 4am. Unless you order lobster, you won't be able to spend more than $10 or $15 on a dish.
"I come here at least once a week. It is a hole-in-the-wall and great for late night. I order the Salt & Pepper Fried Chicken Wings, a rice plate and a small wonton soup. It's like a Chinese-American diner that is open during the day and night.
FED Pro > Restaurateur Wilson Tang of Nom Wah Tea Parlor
69 Bayard Street, New York, NY 10013
LATIN AMERICAN | El Castillo de Jagua
This old school neighborhood cafe opens at 8am for breakfast and serves Dominican comfort food until midnight. It's got a diner feel with counter service, as well as tables and is a good sample of what the Lower East Side was like pre-hipster gentrification. The majority of the menu ranges from $3 to $20.
"It’s traditional Dominican cooking and has been here since I was a kid. You should always get the Camarones Enchilados (shrimp in hot sauce). The steak, rice and beans is just a go-to. It’s such a comforter. The Carne Guisada (beef stew) or the roast chicken. Or the king fish. I'm getting hungry!"
FED Pro > Chef Miguel Trinidad of Jeepney, Maharlika
113 Rivington Street, New York, NY 10002
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