Arepas from Arepas Cafe (33-07 36th Avenue, Queens, 718-937-3835), $3.75-$7.75
These destination-worthy arepas come stuffed with enough juice-drooling meat to put the heft of this usually snack-sized pocket on par with many of this city’s sandwiches.
During our first trip to this two-roomed Long Island City eatery, we made the mistake of ordering two arepas. We’re used to thinking them like tacos, see, and we pondered whether a duo or trio would give us our fill. The waiter backed us off to two, and we wish he would have told us what we were getting ourselves into. As hefty as many sandwiches in the city, a single order would have been enough. We like our cornmeal pockets stuffed with succulent strands of spicy stewed beef, pork with avocado and a dusting of salty cheese, or shrimp, which is clearly a house favorite. You can also have yours filled with shark, ham and cheese, or mushrooms. Don’t miss the squeeze bottles of sauce on the table — the red provides a swift kick of heat, the green a soothing, herbal boost. With a little stretching here, by the way, you’ll likely have money left over for beer — or at least a Venezuelan chocolate shake. And be forewarned that service can be slow, and the wait can be long for Long Island City — but the place is immensely friendly.
Hungry for more? See the Cheap Eat of the Day archives.
Restaurants open at a dizzying pace in New York City, and keeping up with what’s hot takes some serious cash. If you — like us — need the occasional reprieve from a food-forward spending spree, you’re likely always on the lookout for cheap eats of high quality. In this space each day, we’ll highlight a tasty dish that rings in for less than $10, spotlighting places worth checking out when you’d like to get full while giving your wallet a break. Know of a great affordable bite? Email us.