Best (and Cheap) Places to Eat Around Campus

Let’s be honest, we all love food. And New York City is a great place to try new foods from different parts of the world and learn about new cultures. So, here are some of my favorite, and cheap, places to eat—for a quick stop or a proper sit-down meal—around campus.

The Washington Square Arch and fountain at sunset.

Eating Together Is a Great Way to Make Friends and Find Your Community!

The ritual of eating food together is an important one. It probably was for many of us growing up, and it will be in college. Sharing a meal with the roommates I just met, at the lounge or living room of the first-year residence hall I just moved into, stopping by a diner downstairs to get my morning bagel (like all real New Yorkers do), going to a cafe for Sunday brunch, or picnicking in the park after the Welcome Week marquee event is how I got to know my roommates, made my first friends, and found my community at NYU. 

Before I deep dive into some of my favorite places to eat around campus, I should say that in New York City, you will literally find everything and anything when it comes to food/places to eat. New York City is a metropolitan hub that prides itself on diversity in people, stories, and experiences. And the same applies to food, be it niche cafes or well-renowned fancy restaurants. As you can imagine, you can find authentic food from all corners of the world here. And that is the beauty of it. Food helps us find common ground. It connects us and bridges cultural and generational gaps. Oftentimes, sharing a meal together or trying a new cuisine is a great way to learn about one’s culture and make a new friend.

A map of places to eat around campus.

Here Is the List!

Places to Eat Around Washington Square Park

  • Top Thai
    • 2-minute walk from Washington Square Park (WSP)
    • A must if youʼre in New York City, if you ask me. Great (and cheap) food, lively music, nice personnel!
    • Offers 10 percent off the bill if you pay in cash
    • Vegetarian and vegan options available
  • Halal Cart at Astor Place (right outside CVS)
    • 10-minute walk from WSP
    • Simply the best halal food ever
    • Chicken gyro ($5) and chicken biryani are my favorites
    • Vegetarian and vegan options available
  • NYDosas
    • Located in the heart of WSP
    • A bucket list item for many New Yorkers!
    • Quality street food cooked by the “Dosa Man” (or Mr. Thiru Kumar) himself
    • Vegan
  • Happy Bowls
    • 13 minutes from WSP (near Astor Place)
    • Check it out for a perfect acai bowl!
    • The Earth Bowl is my favorite
    • Vegetarian and vegan options available
  • Tortaria
    • 5- to 7-minute walk from WSP (right by the School of Professional Studies)
    • Tacos, quesadillas, burritos, and everything in between!
    • Everything is $5 to $10 unless you want to get a combo
    • Vegetarian and vegan options available
  • Saigon Shack
    • 2-minute walk from WSP (MacDougal Street)
    • Vietnamese sandwiches and noodles
    • Before the pandemic, it used to be cash only (but an ATM is right near the entrance)
    • Vegetarian and vegan options available
  • Ippudo
    • 9-minute walk from WSP (near Astor Place)
    • Any ramen fans? This one is for you!
    • Vegetarian and vegan options available
  • Pommes Frites
    • 2-minute walk from WSP (MacDougal Street)
    • NYU-famous french fries (I feel like every NYU student has been there)
    • Well, fries are vegan/vegetarian, so you are all set!
  • Tim Ho Wan
    • 8-minute walk from WSP
    • Dim sum specialists from Hong Kong
    • Delicious and cost friendly!
    • Vegetarian and vegan options available
  • Literally any restaurant on MacDougal Street
    • 2-minute walk from WSP
    • Lots of niche cafes, great food, diverse range of cuisines, ice cream shops, coffee, acai, etc.
    • You will find everything and anything there!

A Bit Farther Away!

  • &Pizza
    • 23-minute walk from WSP, 10 minutes by subway (N, Q), or near Gramercy Green
    • Probably my favorite pizza place in the city!
    • $10 per pizza
    • Vegetarian and vegan options available
  • Veselka
    • 12-minute walk from WSP (right by Third North)
    • Ukrainian restaurant with great pierogies…*I am Russian so trust me on this one*
    • You cannot not go there…again, you will find many NYU students there
    • Vegetarian and vegan options available
  • Tompkins Square Bagels
    • 17-minute walk from WSP (close-ish to Third North)
    • Youʼre a New Yorker now, so here is a bagel place for you!
    • Very, very, very popular! They ship their bagels nationwide so it is that good!
    • Cash only (but ATM in the store)
    • Vegetarian and vegan options available
  • San Marzano
    • 11-minute walk from WSP (close to Third North)
    • Best $10 Italian pasta 🙂
    • Vegetarian and vegan options available
  • Kona Coffee & Tea
    • 10-minute walk from WSP (close to Third North)
    • Delicious coffee, tea, and matcha!
    • Free Wi-Fi, so it could become your favorite study spot!
    • Vegetarian and vegan options available
  • Pause Cafe
    • 22-minute walk from WSP
    • A Moroccan cafe with the best chai teas and the most comfortable sofas
    • Free Wi-Fi! Great vibes and music!
    • Vegetarian and vegan options available

Some More Recommendations from My Fellow Ambassadors!

  • 99 Favor Taste (shout-out to Andre)
    • “I love Korean BBQ.”—Andre
  • Rahi (shout-out to Deets)
    • “Very expensive, but so goooood.”—Deets
  • Pinto
    • Same as above
  • Ribalta (shout-out to Zach)
    • “When I get my paycheck, I treat myself to a nice dinner here.”

 

Also, check out this map that our Welcome Week team put together for some more recommendations!