For our last post on Diners and Dives, we compile three of our favorite hole-in-the-wall places in NYC. For us, a dive has to meet 3 criteria: lack of decor or ambiance, cheap prices, and, of course, great food. Here are our picks, with dishes starting at $2.50.
Mamoun's Falafel is a fixture in the West Village (so prominent in NYC culture that it was mentioned in a recent Gossip Girl episode). The food here is so good that fans include Top Chef's Padma Lakshmi (her other NYC favorites are Dosa Man and Shake Shack). We love the pita sandwiches, especially the fresh Falafel sandwich ($2.50) and Mamoun's proprietary (very hot) hot sauce.
There are so restaurants in Chinatown that it's often difficult to figure out which serve the best, non-touristy food. We love Sheng Wang for its homemade, handspun noodles. The soups were in the $4-$5.50 range and are simple yet satisfying and flavorful. With wonderfully savory broth and ingredients like duck, this hole-in-the-wall is well worth a visit.
We saved the best for last with our favorite hole-in-the-wall: Tehuitzingo is a grocery store with a counter at the back. Authentic tacos are about $2.50 each and come with a myriad of different ingredients.
We love the Sausage and Potatoes, Spicy Pork, Barbacoa (Goat), and even the Beef Tongue (it's meaty and tastes like pastrami) The tacos are always nicely balanced - hearty yet fresh (from the cilantro and onions). Or as our friend from Mexico always remarks - "It tastes like home."
Mamoun's Falafel is located at 119 MacDougal St (btwn 3rd St. and Minetta Ln).
Sheng Wang is located at 27 Eldridge St. (at Canal St.)
Tehuitzingo is located at 695 10th Ave (between 47th and 48th Sts)