There is something just so charming about a restaurant that lets you bring your own beer or wine. Not only is does it cut back tremendously on the bill, but it also feels more personal because you get to choose exactly the kind of tipple you know and love. As an ode to their affordable charm, I thought I would share five of my local favorites, discovered in over a decade of living in New York. If you find yourself in the city, look up one of these places—I can't promise that they won't be crowded as they're all local favorites, but I can promise a satisfying meal and an equally satisfying feeling when you pay the bill.
This pocket-size French bistro is as charming as they come. Guests line up outside for affordable French fare that tastes all the sweeter because you know you're not going to be paying a restaurant-mark-up for the wine in your glass.
West Village, 253 W. 11th St, 212-229-2611
A has an almost cult-like following of folks who keep coming back for French-Caribbean cuisine that is at once creative and comforting (grilled avocado topped with spinach mousse, for example).
Upper West Side, 973 Columbus Ave., 212-222-2033, entrees from $14
Tea & Sympathy
Entering Tea & Sympathy feels like walking straight into Great Britain—the walls are decorated with British paraphernalia, the staff have accents, and they even deliver their supplies in an old-timey British car. Best of all, the English comfort food served here can be enjoyed with a cup of tea—or any bottle of wine you want to bring.
Chelsea, 108 Greenwich Ave., Teaandsympathynewyork.com, entrees from $10
This Asian-inspired vegan restaurant focuses on fresh, local ingredients, which means that the menu changes according to what's in season. One thing you'll always find on offer is their three bean chili—a satisfying mix of kidney, pinto beans and lentils simmered with sun-dried tomatoes and chiles.
East Village, 300 E. 12th St., Angelicakitchen.com, entrees from $9
One word: Pizza (some might even say the best in all of Brooklyn). The thin-crust, brick-oven pizzas are the reason why there is always (and I do mean always) a line outside of this popular restaurant. Plan to arrive right when they open at 6pm to put in your name or you might not get in as they fill up fast.
Brooklyn, 575 Henry St., 718-858-4086
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