For a city full of abundant culinary options, New York lacks in quantity in the BYOB department. Most NYC restaurants these days get their liquor licenses before they open, serving fine wines, beers, and specialty cocktails. Those on a budget, though, can save a good amount by bringing their own alcohol to the restaurants that allow it. Luckily, we've compiled a list of the ten best restaurants in the city with BYOB policies. You won't only save money, but you'll get some awesome food, too. Cheap and delicious: what more could you ask for?
All the restaurants in this article are cash only, and have no corkage fees, unless otherwise stated.
Established in 1976, Angelica Kitchen was going green long before it was in style. This vegan BYOB haven in the East Village serves completely organic and seasonal ingredients - that means no traces of preservatives, refined sugars, or animal products in any of their dishes. Meat-eaters might scoff at such an idea, but we know many a carnivore that has been dragged to the restaurant and ended up licking the plate. The food at Angelica is so fresh and tasty that you won't miss the meat at all. We love the rich, buttery Cashew Spread, the spicy Three-Bean Chili, and the sweet and fluffy Southern Style Cornbread. Stop at the Trader Joe's Wine Shop near Union Square for inexpensive, quality wine to go with your eco-friendly meal.
- Location: 300 E. 12th St. (at 2nd Ave.), New York, NY
- Subway Stop: L to 3rd Ave.-14th St.; 6 to Astor Pl.; R, W to 8th St.-Broadway
- Hours: Daily: 11:30am to 10:30pm
- Phone: 212-228-2909
- Website: www.angelicakitchen.com
This cozy spot in Queens offers cuisine from India, Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan. The latter three countries are not particularly well-represented in a city abundant with ethnic dining options, but the dishes at Himalayan Yak are a wonderful introduction to Himalayan cuisine. In fact, it's the oldest running and first-ever Nepali restaurant in the city, and has a loyal clientele that frequent the authentic spot (many of whom are from the Himalayan region themselves). We recommend the momos, doughy dumplings cooked the way you like them and served with your choice of meat or vegetables, and Aloo Tama, a spicy potato dish that comes with bamboo shoots, rice, and black-eyed peas. Be prepared for some adventurous eating: Himalayan food is spicy, and usually unfamiliar even to well-versed culinary New Yorkers. For the most adventurous amongst you, try the yak. True to its name, the restaurant recently put yak meat on its menu. Added ambiance bonus: Himalayan Yak has live music on Monday, Tuesday and weekend nights.
- Location: 72-20 Roosevelt Ave., Jackson Heights, Queens, NY
- Subway Stop: 7, E, F, V, G, R to 74th St.-Roosevelt Ave.
- Hours: Daily: Monday through Thursday: 12pm to 11pm; Friday through Sunday: 12pm to 12am, Accepts Credit Cards
- Phone: 718-779-1119
- Website: www.himalayanyakrestaurant.com
La Taza de Oro
You can get dinner for less than ten dollars at this Puerto Rican restaurant, an unheard-of statistic in upscale Chelsea. When you walk into La Taza de Oro, you won't feel like you're in a newly trendy neighborhood. Instead, you can get a sense of how the meat-packing district used to be: low-key, blue-collar and unpretentious. The restaurant surely hasn't changed its diner-style décor since it opened in the 1950s, with its fluorescent lighting, linoleum floors, and counter top, where almost every patron chooses to eat. From home-style rice and beans to roasted chicken thighs to spicy beef stew, you can imagine an old-world grandmother in the kitchen putting her heart and soul into every meal. The dishes are full of tradition and flavor, and the portions are huge. If you have room, the flan makes for a sweet and simple end to your meal.
- Location: 96 8th Ave. (between 14th and 15th Streets), New York, NY
- Subway Stop: A, C, E, L to 14th St.-8th Ave., 1, 2, 3 to 14th St.-7th Ave.
- Hours: Monday through Saturday: 6am to 10:30pm; Closed Sundays
- Phone: 212-243-9946
A Cafe and Wine Room
Known to regulars simply as 'A Café,' this fusion restaurant combines finely prepared French cuisine with the spicy and sweet flavors of the Caribbean. Nearby Columbia University students take full advantage of the BYO policy and the $25 prix fixe dinner menu which includes an appetizer and a main course. Many restaurants with similar, high-quality dishes to A Café would charge far more, making it all the more appealing to the student population. The dishes are experimental, but the flavor combinations are always on the mark. We love the roasted duck leg confit in jerk spices and the free range smoked chicken breast in a key lime and papaya purée. Cozy and intimate, A Café is a sweet and romantic spot, and quieter than its downtown sister restaurant, Ivo & Lulu. Be sure to finish your meal with one of the classically French desserts: you can't go wrong with the cr?me brulée.
- Location: 973 Columbus Ave. (at 108th St.), New York, NY
- Subway Stop: 1 to 110th St.-Broadway; B or C to 110th St.-Cathedral Parkway
- Hours: Tuesday through Saturday: 6pm to; Closed Sundays and Mondays
- Phone: 212-222-2033
- Website: www.acafeny.com
Have you ever tried Sri Lankan food? Neither had we before eating at Sigiri, a tiny restaurant that looks like every other Indian eatery in the East Village's Little India. Don't be mistaken, though: Sri Lanka is an independent country off the coast of India, and while some staples are similar to South Indian cuisine, many of the dishes at Sigiri taste quite different from most of the food you'll get in the neighborhood. Sigiri has a plethora of seafood, like a grilled cuttlefish rubbed in tangy Sri Lankan spices and the deceptively spicy fish curry. We recommend the hoppers, rice-flour pancakes layered with egg, coconut milk, your choice of additional meats and vegetables, and sambal chili sauce. We warn you now: the food at Sigiri is incredibly spicy. Order your items extra mild and they'll still come with a kick.
- Location: 91 1st Ave. (between E. 5th and 6th Streets), New York, NY
- Subway Stop: F, V to 2nd Ave.-Houston St.; 6 to Astor Place
- Hours: Daily: 12:30pm to 11:30pm (closed between 3:30 and 5:30 on Sundays)
- Phone: 212-614-9333
- Website: www.sigirinyc.com
Made from wonderfully fresh fish, many Japanese food aficionados consider the sushi and sashimi at Poke the best in the city. Poke doesn't take reservations, and the space is very small, hence the perpetual line outside this Upper East Side establishment. The clientele are generally young and hip locals who understand that Poke trumps the countless other sushi joints in New York. A crowd favorite is the Truffle Roll, which consists of spicy truffle sauce and salmon and is rolled in tempura flakes. For dessert, get the Mochi ice cream. We recommend green tea and red bean: wrapped in rice dough, it will change your perspective on how ice cream should taste. There is one major downside at Poke, though: due to its popularity, the restaurant has begun to charge expensive corkage fees for wine. The first bottle is free to open but a second costs a whopping twenty dollars. To beat the system, buy a magnum bottle of wine for your large party.
Note: There is a $20 corkage fee after the first bottle
- Location: 343 E. 85th St. (between 1st and 2nd Avenues), New York, NY
- Subway Stop: 4, 5, 6 to 86th St.
- Hours: Monday through Thursday: 5pm to 10:45pm; Friday and Saturday: 5pm to 11:15pm; Closed on Sundays.
- Phone: 212-249-0569
Lamb & Jaffy
In the heart of young, artsy Greenpoint lies this nouveau American bistro serving hearty but refined cuisine. Local artwork decks the walls of the intimate restaurant, diners eat by candle light, and during the warmer months they can move outside and enjoy their meals in the lovely garden. Lamb & Jaffy takes traditional dishes and experiments slightly while retaining trademark flavors. We like the Coriander-Crusted Salmon with Braised Lentils and the Lamb Burger. The signature appetizer, known as Devils on Horseback, consists of dates wrapped in bacon, and we love the combo of the sweet and sticky dates with the rich and savory bacon. L & J serves brunch on Sundays, too. The brunch menu has all sorts of hearty picks, like Steak and Eggs and Poached Eggs with Lump Crabmeat, which are just what the doctor ordered the morning after a long night out.
Note: There is a $5 corkage fee
- Location: 1073 Manhattan Ave. (between Eagle and Dupont Streets), Greenpoint Brooklyn, NY
- Subway Stop: G to Greenpoint Ave.
- Hours: Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday: 5pm to 10pm; Friday and Saturday: 5pm to 11pm; Sunday Brunch: 10am to 3pm; Closed Mondays and Tuesdays
- Phone: 718-389-3638
- Website: www.lambandjaffy.com
For 'real' Thai food in New York City, look no further than Wondee Siam. Once a hidden gem in Hell's Kitchen, the restaurant has expanded to four locations on the West Side. Spicy and wonderfully flavorful, many Manhattanites insist that Wondee Siam offers the most authentic Thai food in the borough. Combine this with its amazingly low prices and BYO policy, and you get one of the city's best deals in ethnic food. For dinner entrees, we recommend the sweet and savory Ped Panang, a crispy duck dish with curry, coconut milk and pineapple. Vegetarians will love the Pad See-Ew, flat rice noodles with egg, Chinese broccoli, and a home-made soy sauce. During the week, Wondee Siam has a lunch special for the unheard of price of $6.95. It also delivers free.
- Location: 792 9th Ave. (between 52nd and 53rd Streets), New York, NY
- Subway Stop: C, E to 50th St; A, B, C, D, 1 to 59th St-Columbus Circle; N, Q, R, W to 57th St.-7th Ave.
- Hours: Monday through Saturday: 11am to 11pm; Sunday: 11am to 10:30pm; Lunch Special: Monday through Friday: 11:30am to 3:30pm
- Phone: 212-582-0355
It's hard to find reasonably priced and delicious French food in New York, but that is exactly what you'll get at West Village's Tartine. The restaurant is famous for its prix fixe brunch menu which, for $14.95, offers delectable dishes like Eggs Norvegienne, Croque Monsieur, and the Apple Pancake Omelette. All the brunch entrees come with crispy breakfast potatoes, a choice of coffee or tea, and an orange juice, which can easily be turned into a mimosa with your own bottle of champagne. Even if you're there in the morning, you should order dessert. We recommend the tartes, of course, all of which are wonderfully light and buttery. Chocoholics must try the Chocolate Maccaron a La Mode, a giant chocolate meringue filled with a dark, rich chocolate ganache. Tartine is a small, cozy spot, and there is often a wait, but a worthwhile one considering the meal it precedes. On a nice day, try to sweet talk the hostess into giving you a table on the street, and enjoy your mimosa outside in one of Manhattan's most vibrant neighborhoods.
- Location: 253 W. 11th St. (between 4th St. and Waverly Place), New York, NY
- Subway Stop: 1 to Christopher St.; A, C, E, L to 14th St.
- Hours: Monday through Saturday: 9am to 10:30pm; Sunday: 9am to 10pm
- Phone: 212-229-2611
Tucked away in the family-friendly Brooklyn neighborhood of Carroll Gardens, Lucali happens to sell some of the most sought-after pizza pies in the city. Rustic and cozy, an open kitchen and its old-fashioned wood-burning stove sit in the corner of the restaurant, while happy customers sip red wine at their candlelit tables and chomp away at slice after thin-crust slice. The owner originally purchased the space because it served as his favorite candy shop as a child, and he has since turned it into a far more successful business venture. What makes the pizza at Lucali so delicious? A crispy, slightly charred crust, rich melted mozzarella, and the star of the pie, a wonderfully balanced, secret-ingredient tomato sauce. Everything tastes unbelievably fresh, especially the herbs and vegetables you can opt to get on your pie, like basil, onions, and peppers, which taste as if they were grown in a garden behind the restaurant. Any topping combination will be divine, but we recommend the margherita with basil and the white pizza. All the pies are made to order, so no single takeaway slices here. It's not like you'll be able to stop at one slice, anyway.
Note: There is a $4 corkage fee
- Location: 575 Henry St. (near 1st Place), Carroll Gardens Brooklyn, NY
- Subway Stop: F, G to Carroll St.
- Hours: Monday, Wednesday through Sunday: 6pm to 10pm
- Phone: 718-858-4086