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Eat and Drink

Cheap new eats NYC: Leonelli Focacceria e Pasticceria, 886 and more

Explore the city and eat out — without breaking the bank.

Williamsburg has a new spot for affordable small

Williamsburg has a new spot for affordable small bites: RFTP. Photo Credit: RFTP

Whether you're bored with all your favorite dining spots, looking for a new neighborhood standby, or plotting to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to the next big dining trend, the city will always meet your needs with new restaurants.

We know from experience it’s hard to keep track of them all — and sort out the affordable options from the splurge-y ones.

Here's our guide to recent openings by borough, bound to mix up your diet and expand your palate without maxing out your wallet.

Manhattan

886

The classic hits of Taiwanese cuisine and street food get a modern, New York makeover at this 42-seat East Village restaurant from the founder of Chinese noodle bar The Tang and its general manager. They've named their new spot after Taiwan's telephone country code.

The food: Beyond the stir-fry classics, you'll find small bites like “Three Cup” glazed chicken wings, a Taiwanese interpretation of Buffalo wings, and house-made pork sausages served in a sticky rice bun with peanuts and cured duck yolk, a.k.a. the "Sausage Party." Rice and noodle dishes round out the menu.
The drinks: Wash it all down with beer, wine or sake, including picks from New York's first sake brewery, Brooklyn Kura.
The vibe: Purple neon light washes over the moodily-lit space with violet-colored walls. Wooden tables seat couples and groups of four.
The details: Appetizers average $10, main plates $14; open 5:30 p.m. to midnight Tuesday through Sunday at 26 Saint Marks Pl. starting July 11; more at eighteightsixnyc.com

Leonelli Focacceria e Pasticceri

From Jonathan Benno, the chef who helped Per Se earn its three Michelin stars, comes this Roman-inspired bakery and cafe. It's the second of three eateries Benno is set to launch at The Evelyn hotel in NoMad this year, the first a trattoria called Leonelli Taberna.

The food: House-baked focaccia and focaccia sandwiches take their cue from the fare found at traditional bakeries in Rome, while Leonelli's selection of Italian pastries, cookies and confections pays respect to the longtime pastry shops of Little Italy. 
The drinks: The all-day cafe has its very own line of drip coffee, crafted in partnership with La Colombe. Coffee drinks, teas, espresso and Italian sodas are also on the menu.
The vibe: Marble accents and dark wooden slats establish a modern look in the counter-serve area. On the second floor, a library and lounge area offers guests the chance to browse a collection of books while sipping their cappuccinos and noshing on biscotti. 
The details: Open every day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 7 E. 27th St. starting July 11; more at leonellirestaurants.com

Panorama Middle Eastern Grill

A by CHLOE alum is the culinary director at the pan-Middle East fast casual spot with ambitions to open 14 more locations in the greater New York area, so you know the food will be healthy-ish. Julien Iaconelli has built the menu around Lebanese, Turkish and Israeli staples.

The food: Build your own box or pita with chopped romaine, rice or freekeh (wheat that’s harvested while young and green, then roasted and cracked) as your base. Protein options include doner kebab and chicken shawarma, and toppings run the gamut from cabbage slaw to hummus to feta. If you’re pressed for time, grab a salad, like tabbouleh, to go. Try the halloumi fries for a Levantine take on poutine.
The drinks: The house signature beverage is the “Lebonade,” a sparkling rosewater and mint limonada. Cappuccinos and other coffee drinks offer a pick-me-up.
The vibe: Blonde wood and light colors dominate the space, giving it an airy feeling. In partnership with the restaurant’s next-door neighbor, an array of Strand books and historical photos are on display.
The details:  A meal averages $12; open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day at 820 Broadway since June 27; more at pnanyc.com

Brooklyn

RFTP

Williamsburg's newest rooftop bar and eatery keeps the focus on summer sips with a menu highlighting $14 "froze," rum punch and other specialty cocktails. But small bites, like meat and cheese plates, and unique eats, like literal garden veggie platters make it worth the stop. 

The food: Talk about healthy eating: RFTP offers a "Vegetable Garden" dish that comes with fresh raw vegetables sereved in a bucket of edible soil (made from quinoa and black olive powder) mixed with buttermilk ranch. Other healthy options include artichoke and hummus dips served with pita and chips, a meat and cheese board and select meat pies.
The drinks: Canned drinks start at $6, while red or white sangria go for $9. A wine list includes summer favorites, like rosé, Prosecco and sauvignon blanc, each $12 a glass. Summer cocktails dominate, with options like the RFTPunch (rum and citrus juice) and Brooklyn's Cooler (gin, lemonade, cucumber, mint and soda).
The vibe: The outdoor eatery is lined with booths to seat four, and greenery. An overhead awning covers the bar area for those cloudy days when a drink is a necessity. 
The details: Plates average $13; located above Pod Brooklyn Hotel at 247 Metropolitan Ave.; open 3 to 9 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays, 3 to 10 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, noon to 10 p.m. Saturdays, 3 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesdays, and noon to 9 p.m. Sundays.; more at thepodhotel.com.

Tacocina

Danny Meyer heads south of the border with his first taco stand. The laid-back counter-service joint offers grub and outdoor seating for folks checking out Williamsburg’s new waterfront park on the grounds of the historic Domino Sugar Refinery.

The food: The Tacocina team is pressing its own tortillas to order, so you can count on your taco being fresh. Get yours with a classic filling like chicken adobo or something a little more traditional, like shrimp with a chayote tartar sauce. An order of tortilla chips with salsa and/or guac is a good idea for big groups.The drinks: Cool down with a Mexican beer or a michelada. For nondrinkers, refreshments include Mexican sodas.
The vibe: Half the reason to visit is the view overlooking the East River. White picnic tables and colorful chairs and tables provide seating and red-and-white umbrellas offer shade on sunny days.
The details: Snacks average $6, tacos $4.25, alcoholic drinks $6; open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday at 25 River St. since late June; more at heytacocina.com

Millie’s Cuban Cafe

Brooklyn restaurateur Danny Teran’s five-month-old pop-up has a new brick-and-mortar home, serving up the same kind of eats as the Cuban food truck that launched his hospitality company in Manhattan years ago. Teran family recipes dominate the menu at this all-day cafe named after the owner’s mother.

The food: Highlights here include the Cubano sandwich (roasted pork, ham, Swiss and pickles with mustard, served on pressed Cuban bread with a side of shoestring potato sticks), the ropa vieja (braised shredded beef in a Creole tomato sauce) and the Impossible picadillo, made with the meat-substitute burger patties. For sides, it wouldn’t be a Cuban place without rice and beans, and all kinds of plantains. Wrap up your meal with an order of flan or tres leches.
The drinks: Go the authentic route and get yourself an espresso prepared with Cafe Bustelo. If you’re looking for something more refreshing, choose a can of Jupina, a Cuban pineapple soda.
The vibe: A palm tree and wicker chairs greet you at the door, sending you straight to the Caribbean. Inside, yellow walls set a sunny mood, as do the red metal chairs and old-school photos of Cuba.
The details: Main courses average $12, dessert $4, coffee drinks $3.50; open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday at 151 Wilson Ave. since late June; more at milliescubancafe.com

Court Street Grocers’ Lunch

In the old Saltie storefront (RIP), the fancy sandwich specialists at Court Street Grocers have set up a fourth outpost. Come to this one for the breakfast tacos.

The food: Egg tacos aside, there are all kinds of sammies on rolls and slices from Caputo’s in Carroll Gardens, Sullivan Street in Chelsea and other notable bakeries. The much-loved Reuben comes with house-corned short ribs or turkey with “comeback sauce” on Orwasher’s rye. For those with a carb aversion, three salads offer bread alternatives.
The drinks: You’ll find Grocers’ original sodas here, including the original, which is flavored with coriander, juniper, and sage.
The vibe: You'll probably want to take your sandwich on the road, but white stools and wooden tables offer a perch for those who want to eat in. The menu decorating the wall to the right of the counter is decorated in a colorful, patchwork menu. 
The details: Sandwiches average $12; open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday at 378 Metropoiltan Ave. since June 12;  more at courtstreetgrocers.com

Staten Island 

Millie’s

Staten Island natives, brothers and business partners Vince and Brandon Carrabba return to their original stomping grounds with a second location of their New Jersey pizzeria, named for their grandmother Millie. You know the pies must be good because the Carrabbas won third place at the International Pizza Expo in 2011.

The food: You’ll find both coal-fired and Neapolitan-style wood-fired pizza on the menu here, because apparently the brothers prefer different crusts. Try the meatballs made from Millie’s family recipe, with the house-made mozzarella.
The drinks: Craft cocktails like the Fresh Kill (a tequila drink with cassis and ginger beer) and the SI Ferry (coconut rum, pineapple and lime juice) add some pizzazz to a list of 20 beers and five wines on tap.
The vibe: Don’t let the strip-mall exterior scare you away. Our favorite feature of the 4,000-square-foot space is the custom-created bar made of blackened steel and illuminated glass stone resembling coal embers. You can also watch your pizza being made at a 45-foot pizza bar with a built-in wine fridge.
The details: Meatballs average $12, coal-fired pies start at $13; open 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday at 185 Bricktown Way since June 25; more at milliesoldworld.com.

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