Where to Find Super Cheap Punjabi Eats in the East Village

The East Village has changed significantly over the years. Once a gritty bastion of the arts and music scene, it has, like so many other neighborhoods, become a symbol of gentrification. It's now filled with crowded bars, hip cocktail spots, and expensive restaurants, with only a few affordable options mixed into the fold. Punjabi Grocery & Deli (114 East 1st Street; 212-533-3356), however, is a piece of the old 'hood. The small storefront serves a selection of cheap vegetarian eats.

Since 1994, the spot has been a favorite among cabbies (who park just up the block) and the vegetarian set, as well as people looking to get some aromatic food on a dime. It's nothing fancy, just a counter (with only two stools), a deli case filled with Punjabi specialties, and an array of packaged goods.

Punjabi Deli's roti combo meal
Punjabi Deli's roti combo meal
All photos Sara Ventiera for the Village Voice

Numbered one to six, industrial-sized aluminum trays hold curried vegetables, daals, and saag paneer, and line the top of the glass-front fridge. Platters of shiny samosas ($1.50), rice, and pakora (fritters) sit underneath. Pick a combo; the staff dishes it onto styrofoam plates (or, for an extra 50 cents, an eco-friendly non-styrofoam alternative), then tosses it in the microwave.

Where to Find Super Cheap Punjabi Eats in the East Village

A small bowl of rice with any two vegetable items is just $4. A large plate with three items, $6. Throw in a roti, the chewy charred flatbread, for an extra dollar. Or, make your own sammie with one roti and choice of up to two vegetable items for $5; the platters come with fresh lettuce, cucumber, and red onion. If you really want to fill yourself up without spending money, samosas and aloo tikki (spiced potato patties) are just $1.50 each; get one with a heaping spoonful of chickpeas for $3.50. Top it off with the hot sauce that sits next to the register for a bit more spice.

The spot is open 24 hours a day, so it's the perfect stop on the way to the bar — or right before you pass out.

Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >