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Launceston...
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Food in NYC

Hi everyone

This is my first post here, I would like to start by saying thank you to everyone who has contributed to the forum as there is such a fantastic wealth of knowledge here. I have just started planning our trip to America and Canada for December 2013 and already have learnt so much from the forum.

Myself and my husband are planning a 4 week trip, we will be staying in NYC for 9 nights from 24 Dec - 2 Jan. At the moment we are looking at accommodation and are trying to weigh up whether we should pay extra for a room with a kitchen. From the hotels we are considering it is around $30-40 extra per night for the kitchen. I am wondering whether this extra cost will be worth it - ie. would we save this much in food every day by using the kitchen?

I know this is a bit of a vague question and depends on lots of variables. We are very light eaters, and we will both eat pretty much everything. If we did have a kitchen we would probably eat most breakfasts in the hotel room and maybe prepare dinner some nights. I am thinking we will be out and about during the day so wouldn't be at the hotel to make lunch. I guess what I'm trying to work out is whether we can buy food from a supermarket/grocer in NYC cheaper than what we would buy food from cafes/food carts etc?

If the room with kitchen was only $10-20 more per night I would definitely go for it, but I just don't know whether the $40 extra is really worth it. Thanks in advance for any advice offered!

Sterling, VA
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1. Re: Food in NYC

You can eat cheaply in NYC --- grab a light breakfast at a sandwich shop/deli/convenience store --- get your lunch from a food cart or fast food place, etc.

As for having a kitchenette in your hotel room --- For me, vacation is a time to not have to do any cooking. That said, I realize that others don't mind that. I like to have a small fridge in my hotel room for cold drinks. In your case, a small fridge would be good for also storing some yogurt, fruit and juices for breakfast.

Some hotels offer up either a free continental breakfast or a free full breakfast. That way, it's one less meal a day you would need to buy.

Launceston...
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2. Re: Food in NYC

Thanks for your reply SueFee, I feel a little like that about being on holidays as well - would I really want to be cooking! I guess a small fridge would be enough to store things for breakfast and all of the hotels we are looking at seem to have mini fridges in them.

Many of the hotels in NYC don't seem to offer free breakfast but if I find one that does at a reasonable rate I'd definitely be going for that option.

So excited about eating from the food carts!

Brooklyn, NY
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3. Re: Food in NYC

You can get something like a bagel/egg/cheese/tomato for appr $4.30 in diners all over the city. Eating in NYC doesn't have to be super expensive.

Food carts are great. There is one on 59th/Lex on the side of Bloomingdales across from H&M. Good stuff......

Edited: 9:54 pm, April 15, 2013
Melbourne, Australia
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4. Re: Food in NYC

Eating out in New York is alot cheaper than here in Australia ,I can undersatnd why so many Australian think they need to get an apartment rental for the need of the kitchen because of the cost of eating out all the time can be very expensive here in Aust, but that is not the case in New York and there is so much more to choose from ,

A main meal for my family that would have normaly cost over $100 here in a local Restaurant, was about $50 in New York ( with tax and tip !), The street carts are found far and wide and offer a variety for food from the fast food hot dog to the best kababs, main meals to deserts, you name it can be found in the carts, if you don't like what is on offer on one corner just go the next .

My advice is save your money on the apartment hotel kitchenette cost and grocery costs, as well as your time cooking and get out and explore the city, if you are at one of the city you aren't going to travel all the way back to your hotel just to cook dinner ,

Edited: 10:28 pm, April 15, 2013
new orleans,la
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5. Re: Food in NYC

A really yummy & sinful food cart is Waffles & Dinges......they offer a regular waffle loaded with anything you want....could easily be split or they offer minis....I think they're $7 or $8.....would keep you full for a while. Check out their website. They have a yummy topping called Speculous. And if you get a place with a microwave you could easily warm up leftovers that you will probalby accumulate on your trip. Also check out Chelsea Market...packed with places that sell prepared dishes as well as supplies to cook.

Launceston...
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6. Re: Food in NYC

Thank you everyone for the replies, it's very helpful!

ree-nyc you are correct - here in Aus we would be budgeting around $100 per day for both of us to eat 3 meals out which is why I was considering the kitchen. I have only travelled to Asian countries outside of Australia and food is so cheap there - I had no idea what types of food and prices to expect in New York.

nolabeachbum I have just had a look at the Waffles & Dinges website.. yum! I didn't even know you could get savoury waffles, I have only had sweet ones before! I've added them to the must do list.

Also while you've mentioned the leftovers thing, is this something that most restaurants/cafes offer if you leave food on your plate? It isn't really the done thing here and don't know that I would feel comfortable asking for the leftovers to take home, but if they offered I'd say yes!

Mississauga, ON
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7. Re: Food in NYC

Definitely ask to take any leftovers you want with you. Will not be a problem.

Enjoy!

Dallas, Texas...
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8. Re: Food in NYC

Hotel pricing isn't always substantially different for hotels with kitchenettes. There are so many other variables to consider, like overall size of the room (some rooms are teeny tiny). I'm not sure that your estimate of the $40 cost increase for a kitchen is entirely accurate. Look at all of the features of the hotels under consideration.

I agree that it's common to take food home. Many restaurant portions are huge. Sometimes the server will offer to wrap it for you. In more casual places, they'll just give you the box and you can do it yourself. Sometimes servers will ask, but it's fine for you to ask as well. It's not considered rude.

Also keep in mind that a restaurant meal will require a 15-20% tip, and also meal tax. Limiting yourself to just food vendors and self service places will mean that you miss out on a lot of wonderful NYC food. There's also tons of interesting stuff that you could buy to eat at home.

BTW, you'll also need to tip for drinks at a bar (having drinks at home with a little cheese is a great way to unwind after a long day of running around).

Lastly, difficult weather is a possibility during your trip. There may be some nights where you really would rather not head out into the frigid cold (or wind driven sleet) for dinner after having been out in it all day.

Launceston...
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9. Re: Food in NYC

Hi Christnp2

You are correct, the pricing isn't always substantially different, that's just the average different for the hotels we are considering, which we have shortlisted due to other reasons - for example location.

Thanks for reminding me about tips and tax, in Australia tax is included and tipping isn't very common so I forget about those extra costs! Now I'm not sure what to do.. one of the hotels we are considering is the Comfort Inn Manhattan, which has great reviews here on TA and seems to be in a good location. Breakfast is included (continental) and you can request a room with microwave and fridge. I can find a room for around $310 per night online - is this worth it for the location? It doesn't look like the most modern hotel ever but our budget is upto about $350 a night if we can manage it, and I'm thinking for the location $310 is pretty good. Any thoughts?

Sterling, VA
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10. Re: Food in NYC

Moggy---That Comfort Inn is in a good location. For the time of year you'll be traveling, IMO, the rates look good to me. If you haven't already, read the reviews here on that Comfort Inn. Then, if you like what you see, go ahead and book. I would suggest when you book, go for a cancellable reservation. That way, if you see something cheaper, you have the option of going for the cheaper place.