With the fall semester fully underway, Hoboken has welcomed a whole new batch of Stevens University students. There are so many things to look forward to in college life: long afternoons sitting in the quad with new friends, and the many nights exploring all that Hoboken has to offer. But we’ve all had days when we are too busy or lazy to cook, don’t feel like the normal Duck Dollar spots, and end up eating cup’o’noodles in the dorm. To help Stevens students venture out of their comfort zones of campus, we’ve rounded up a list of delicious and cheap eats in Hoboken vetted by locals. Read on to find where to get an appetizing, nourishing meal for less than $10 in Hoboken.
Ali Baba Restaurant | 912 Washington Street
This uptown restaurant makes a large variety of affordable and enticing Middle Eastern dishes. Almost all the mezzes – cheese pies, falafels, and all kinds of Middle Eastern spreads are under $8. The pita sandwiches are also inexpensive, as they are under $10. A popular option is beef gyro white sauce, which according to many locals, is the best gyro in the area.
Chango Kitchen | 301 Willow Avenue
The lively spot on Willow makes a variety of Latin classics and Latin-inspired American favorites. The appetizers and sandwiches are mostly under $10, and there are many protein-loaded options. The Cuban sandwich is a favorite. For an even more substantial meal, come during lunch hours, when the daily special deal offers a meat dish with rice for $8.
Choc O Pain | Multiple Locations in Hoboken
The bakery, known for its baguettes and viennoiseries, also makes rustic sandwiches, hearty soups, and buttery quiches for lunch-goers. The options change seasonally. Some long-standing favorites are quiche Lorraine ($5) and spicy tuna on ciabatta ($9.38). There are often several gluten-free options available.
Curry Up Now | 91 Washington Street
The concept here is Indian street food and Indian-inspired fusion dishes in a fast-casual setting. Some favorite appetizers are samosas, chaat, which are hard-shelled semolina puffs stuffed with lentils, potato chickpea mash, and chaat masala yogurt, and vada pav which is a mashed potato fritter sandwich with chutney cost no more than $9. And if you don’t mind splurging just a little, there are a large variety of curry dishes, bowls, made with a choice of protein and rice, and burritos, all under $15.
Empanadas Cafe | 123 Washington Street
This might be the ideal intersection of affordable and appealing: the empanada. An empanada is a puff pastry filled with whatever your heart desires. Some most common fillings are seasoned chicken or ground beef, beans, and cheese, or cooked vegetables. At Empanadas Cafe, the regular empanadas are all $3.19 and the gourmet empanadas are $3.59. There are both savory and sweet empanadas, such as banana and dulce de leche, and there are vegetarian options as well.
Hoboken Burrito | 209 4th Street
The no-fuss spot makes loaded tacos ($3.50+) and burritos ($10+), along with other Tex-Mex and Cali-Mex dishes. Frequent customers love the grilled chicken quesadillas ($10) and nachos with beans, cheese, and guacamole, $9. Vegetarians aren’t left out of the fun, as there is an entire section of the menu dedicated to vegetarian dishes.
Karma Cafe | 505 Washington Street
As the first Indian restaurant in town, Karma Cafe has long been popular for its variety of choices and large portions. It offers two lunch deals. The lunch boxes range from $9 to $12 and come with a vegetable, chicken, lamb, or fish dish served with rice and raita (yogurt). The lunch wraps — made with naan — are even cheaper, with choices of tandoori chicken, lamb seekh kebab, or kadai vegetables, which is a vegetable curry.
La Isla Downtown | 104 Washington Street
This Cuban spot is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and there are affordable options for each. For breakfast, the breakfast empanada will start the day off strong at $4.50 for an egg and spinach empanada, filled with eggs, spinach, maduro, and queso fresco. For lunch and dinner, there are different daily specials starting at $10, and a huge menu with soups for $6.00 to $7.50 depending on size and sandwiches ranging from $11 to $13. Meat-eaters and vegetarians alike will find plenty on the menu, from traditionally roast pork to a grilled portabello sandwich.
Mamoun’s Falafel | 300 Washington Street
The restaurant first became a phenomenon in the 1970s West Village as the first falafel joint in New York City and has since opened nine other locations on the East Coast, most in college towns. Both the food and prices are appealing to young people and everyone else too. An overloaded pita sandwich, which usually comes with a spread such as hummus or baba ganoush and a protein, such as falafel or shawarma, costs no more than $10 and is reliably tempting.
Mario’s Pizza | 742 Garden Street
This neighborhood favorite has been serving hungry Hobokenites since 1985. You can always pop in for a cheese-loaded New York slice, and prices range from $3.25 to $4.50 each. But besides pizza, the menu has more than 40 other options. There are plenty of wraps, salads, appetizers, and Italian-style hot dishes for under $10.
Mr Wraps | 741 Garden Street
The sandwich shop looks unassuming from the outside but locals love it for the fresh ingredients, generous portions, and quick service. You can build your own wrap for $9.95, or select from the restaurant’s large menu of sandwiches, salads, and comforting hot dishes, most under $11. Mr. Wraps has its own app, so busy students can order on the go.
Piccolos Famous Cheesesteaks | 92 Clinton Street
The restaurant has been open for over 60 years. The dishes on the small menu – soups and sandwiches – are made from family recipes, but the main draw is cheesesteaks. They are $10 each and do not skimp on the meat. Unlike the thinly sliced chip steaks in most cheesesteak recipes, the steaks here are cut into thick slabs. The cooked onion adds extra sweetness, and don’t forget to ask for hot peppers on top.
Prato Bakery | 201 Washington Street
The focaccia sandwiches are simply heavenly. The olive-oil soaked bread is airy and stretchy; the ingredients are high-quality and well-portioned. Try the “Bronte,” which comes with mortadella, buffalo mozzarella, and pistachio cream. Vegetarian options are also plenty. The prices are no more than $11 each.
Satay | 99 Washington Street
The downtown spot makes flavorful Malaysian dishes. The $9.50 lunch specials, available from 11:30AM to 4PM every day, come with a main dish. The choices consist of stir-fries, fried rice or noodles, or curry dishes – rice, and a soup. Vegetarian and healthy options are also plenty.
Too good to go | App
In an effort to reduce food waste and connect customers with affordable food, this app connects eaters with surplus food from local restaurants and grocery stores and sells products at a third of the list price. For as little as $4, users can sample dishes from any participating restaurants in the area. “I’ve tried so many places … because of this app and now am a lifelong customer of some,” a local user shared in a Reddit thread started by Hoboken Girl. “I don’t think I’ve cooked in three months,” another said.
Vito’s Deli | 806 Washington Street
This deli’s Food Network-featured mozzarella is shipped to restaurants around the country and even abroad, but there’s much more to explore here beyond fresh cheese. Locals swear by its heroes, gourmet salads, and hearty hot dishes. Come during the “happy hero hour” (Tuesday to Thursday from 2PM to close), when you can get a hero with mozzarella and cold cuts for $5.50.