Going to college in NYC, I’ve had my fair share of inexpensive NYC late-night food at 4 am. Let me tell you, there’s nothing like the need to find food that isn’t IHOP at 12 am for a long night of studying.
Spoiler: Don’t go to IHOP in NYC. Tried that once. Never again.
I’m sharing my favorite post-midnight haunts, perfect whether you’re just visiting or a New York local. Trust me, all of these are much better than your regular 24-hour chain restaurant.
Several locations in NYC. I usually go to the one on 14th St. between 1st and 2nd Ave.
After living on the corner of 15th and 2nd, my friends have gotten into debates over Artichoke vs. Joe’s Pizza on more occasions than I think we’d all like to admit.
Artichoke is the winner for me (when I’m not craving a true New York slice) because their namesake pie, the Artichoke, is truly unique.
Inspired by artichoke dip, it’s creamy and all sorts of cheesy goodness. The crust is thick enough to handle the weight of the pizza, and the slices are so big that I normally only eat half and save the rest for later! If thick crust isn’t your thing, you’ll much prefer Joe’s.
Artichoke is open until 5 am on weekdays and 6 am on weekends. Yes, I’ve been to Artichoke at 5 am, and yes, I’ve ordered Artichoke on food delivery apps in NYC despite it being just around the corner from where I last lived.
Artichoke Pizza on 14th Street doesn’t have any seating, so plan to stand or take your slice to go.
Artichoke Pizza is cash only, but they’re on almost every food delivery service in NYC, allowing you to pay by card instead. I’ve found that on Postmates and Uber Eats, delivery is typically free.
Tip: Don’t go at 2 am on a weekend. The line will curve around the entire restaurant, and you’ll be waiting forever. Go earlier or wait about an hour and a half and miss the line!
Several locations across the city. I frequent the 14th St and 3rd Ave location.
Joe’s describes itself as “no-nonsense pizza,” which is exactly what it is.
Slices here are generously sized and the epitome of New York-style pizza: thin crust, cheese almost dripping off the sides. Joe’s is open until 4 am on weekdays and stays so busy that there’s almost a line out the door. Joe’s does have seating, giving you the option to dine in.
Unlike at Artichoke, at Joe’s you can pay with a credit card, so long as you meet their $5 minimum. A slice of pizza and a bottle of sparkling juice will get you just over it.
Pro tip: If you’re staying at one of the best hotels near Penn Station, Times Square, or other common areas for tourists in Midtown, Joe’s Pizza’s Times Square location is likely a quick walk away!
Three locations across Manhattan and Brooklyn. I go to the one at 220 E 14th St (14th between 2nd and 3rd Ave).
For dumplings in the city, Vanessa’s is almost as inexpensive as you can get. For example, vegetable dumplings are only $2.49 for four pieces pan-fried or $5.99 for eight pieces boiled.
Vanessa’s is open until 10:30 daily, closing earlier than other spots on this list, however, later than some of its low-cost dumpling house competitors, such as Di Di Dumpling, which only stays open until 9.
Several locations. My choice is 13th between 2nd and 3rd Ave.
After being featured in my New York Sweet Spots guide, it’s no secret that I love me some Momofuku Milk Bar.
Created in 2008 by chef Christina Tosi, Milk Bar is known for their unique take on birthday cake, their crack pies, and, of course, their cereal milk soft serve.
Milk Bar stays open until 12 am on weekdays and 1 am on weekends. Read more about Milk Bar in my guide here.
Seven locations in NYC. I prefer the 7th St and 2nd Ave location.
Another NYC Sweet Spots pick, Van Leeuwen is not only one of the top ice cream shops in New York City but THE late-night ice cream spot in the East Village.
I’ve been to Van Leeuwen at 11 pm, and there’s been a line spanning down the block on 7th St just for their ice cream. Why? Van Leeuwen is known for its experimental and different flavors, such as Passion Fruit Layer Cake and Earl Grey Tea.
On top of that, Van Leeuwen also has a range of vegan ice cream in just as interesting flavors. The East Village location is open until midnight daily.
Address: 7th St and 2nd Ave
I can’t say enough good things about this East Village spot. San Marzano’s $9 fresh pasta is better than a lot of the pasta I’ve had at higher-end Italian restaurants in the city (the ever-so-Instagrammable Pietro Nolita, I’m looking at you).
Plan strategically when visiting. San Marzano’s pasta secret is out in the city, and wait times can be up to 1.5 hours for dinner on the weekends.
Reservations are accepted, but only for parties of six or more. When I was living in the East Village, I called ahead and grabbed takeaway on more than one occasion. San Marzano is open until 11 pm on weekdays and 12 am on weekends.
Several locations (and carts) in NYC. I’m referencing 14th St. between 1st and 2nd Ave.
The Halal Guys started out as a cart on 53rd and 6th Ave but has grown into a NYC staple in terms of Halal food.
The Halal Guys refer to themselves as the “pioneers of American Halal food.” I don’t know if I’d go that far, but I will say that they’re the one street food cart I’d actually trust to buy food from.
The 14th St location isn’t a cart but a storefront and stays open until 4 am on weekdays and 5 am on weekends.
Three Manhattan locations, I prefer 30 St. Marks Place (St. Marks between 2nd and 3rd Ave).
Mamoun’s and the Halal Guys are similar, but I prefer Mamoun’s. In my opinion, Mamoun’s menu for vegetarian options is much stronger compared to the Halal Guys.
Just like Joe’s and Artichoke, my friends and I have also gotten into debates on Mamoun’s vs. Halal Guys, every time ending in a draw between the two.
If you’re going to Mamoun’s get the fries, you’ll thank me later. Mamoun’s is open until 12 am on Sundays, 1 am on weekdays, 3 am on Thursdays, and 4 am on weekends in the East Village. Their MacDougal Street location remains open until 5 am.
Several locations. My favorite is 9th St and 3rd Ave.
The Bean is a late night coffee shop, and the go-to spot for NYU and New School students alike. One of my favorite chai tea lattes in the City, and made even better given that the Bean is open until 12 am daily. You can find me and every other college student in NYC here during finals, studying away. Unlike your local Starbucks, the Bean has comparatively good food options, serving everything from peanut butter blondies to açai bowls. Read more about The Bean in this post.
Address: 177 Spring St
Is Famous Ben’s my favorite pizza in NYC? No, but it still makes the list for their notable baked ziti pizza. As a pasta connoisseur and ziti lover, stumbling upon this SoHo spot was the best possible scenario.
That’s right, actual ziti pasta on top of a pizza. Famous Ben’s is also the location where Lil Yachty hosted “Yachty’s Pizzeria” last year for the hip-hop fans out there. Famous Ben’s is open until 11:30 pm.
Address: 238 E 14th St (14th St between 2nd and 3rd)
Baohaus is one of my favorite restaurant discoveries in the East Village.
For anyone who’s watched the show Fresh Off the Boat on ABC, you’re more familiar with Baohaus than you may think. Fresh Off the Boat is based on the life of chef Eddie Huang, who happens to be the same Eddie Huang who created Baohaus.
All of the flavors in these small buns are savory and perfectly balanced and taste much more expensive than they cost. Baohaus has a bit of a 90’s hip-hop throwback vibe to it, making it trendy, funky, and a little edgy.
There’s limited seating, so like most of Baohaus’ customers, I typically take my order to go. If you’re there, try the Ai Yu Jelly Lemonade in addition to your bao order. Baohaus is open until 11:30 on weekdays and 3:30 on weekends.
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Eva Phan is the founder of Eva Darling, a travel and style website aiming to empower women to see the world solo while sharing on-trend, luxury feminine style inspiration. Featured in publications including Forbes, Thrillist, and Yahoo News, Eva has combined her education from Parsons School of Design with her incurable case of the travel bug to create a global destination that encourages others to romanticize their everyday.