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Grab a Bite to Eat at These Budget-Friendly Restaurants in Albany, NY

Discover Some of the City's Best Cheap Eats

Albany, NY is nothing if not diverse, complex, historic, engaging, and yes, full of fantastic restaurants and eateries that capture the city's vibe. What's especially appealing about the local restaurant scene is that there are so many great places where you won't break the bank. Whether you're in the mood for sweet or spicy, comfort food, or something new, these budget-friendly restaurants can satisfy your craving.

McGeary's Irish Pub


Located at 4 Clinton Square in Albany, McGeary's Irish Pub is your home away from away, and a place where you can eat delicious tavern fare. The kitchen serves up all your favorites while the bar provides over 26 beers on tap. Don't miss out on their famous crispy fried chicken wings, specialty burgers, or hearty shepherd's pie. Their menu is full of affordable dishes, and happy hour takes place every day from 3:00pm-7:30pm.

Lark St. Poke Bar

a poke bowl

Recognized as Albany's first poke bar, Lark Street Poke Bar is a fast casual restaurant specializing in traditional Hawaiian poke bowls, which feature fresh raw fish and vegetables. You can customize your own poke bowl, or order one of their unique house creations. Some of their other snacks and offerings include crab rangoon, mochi ice cream, and fried ice cream. Many of their main dishes range in price from $10-$11, and there are always weekly specials.

Taiwan Noodle

wonton soup

A popular Taiwanese cafe and restaurant, Taiwan Noodle on Central Ave. plays nicely into a current hot trend for dumplings, soup noodles and other Taiwanese specialties. The reviews are generally stellar for many dishes here, including fans who can't stop ordering the spicy minced pork or hot and sour dumplings. This Albany restaurant is a local favorite with a big, loyal following, and you can order in or take out.

LaZeez Restaurant

tikka bowl

For a taste of traditional Indian and Pakistani cuisine, try LaZeez Restaurant! This longstanding favorite on Central Ave. has been pleasing return customers and newcomers for years. Their menu features delicious coconut soup, beef curry, chicken tikka masala, lamb korma, and more.

Not only are many of their offerings tasty and affordable, but LaZeez uses fresh ingredients, cooked using a Clay Oven (Tandoor) and Indian Wok, which is called a karhai. There's a buffet for those who like to survey an array of dishes, or you can order off the menu - a bonus for diners who prefer to customize spice factor up or down.

Uncommon Grounds

uncommon grounds bagel

This coffee spot opened in 1997 and has been like an old friend to thousands of customers ever since. What makes this popular Albany cafe continue to keep its mojo is that they keep things fresh. That includes ingredients, coffee-roasting passion, and menu items. Specializing in house-made bagels, custom-made chopped salads, and, of course, freshly roasted coffee, Uncommon Grounds has been a tried-and-true go-to for satisfying breakfast or lunch or snack-time sustenance.

Madison's Pizza


Some joints just set out to make a good pizza, and then there are those that try and elevate pizza-making to art. Madison's takes pizza to another level with the right ratio of sauce to cheese, plus gourmet pies like the Madison Special Cajun Chicken Pizza. Madison's also specializes in calzones, subs, and gyros, and their salads get two thumbs up from customers, too.

La Empanada Llama


After selling their delicious and authentic empanadas as an outdoor and festival vendor for 20 years, the Lloyd family expanded their menu and opened their first brick and mortar shop on Delaware Ave. in 2013. Since then, La Empanada Llama's signature dish may still be the empanada, but their culinary magic has brought a Peruvian twist to many classics.

From Arroz con Pollo to Aji de Gallina, there are a variety of dishes to try. For over two decades, La Empanada Llama has stuck with what they do best while adapting to new food trends with their array of healthy, gluten-free, and vegan options.

The Fountain Restaurant


You know those times when you and your family or friends are hungry but you can't come to a consensus about where to go because everyone wants something different? Well, you go here. The Fountain's diverse menu guarantees that everyone will find something to tickle the taste buds and fill the belly: Chicken wings, salads, nachos, cold roast beef sandwiches, bacon cheddar burgers, pizza, Italian dinner mainstays like eggplant or chicken parmigiana. You name it, they're going to have it.

The Excelsior Pub

sliced meat on a bun with chips

In a world full of pubs, it's amazing how a few of them really stand out with that perfect mix of neighborhood local atmosphere, endless beer taps, and inventive menu items. The Excelsior ranks up there thanks, in part, to their nod to native New York State fare with some inspired names: Beef on Weck and the famous Garbage Plate.

Sovrana Pizza

delicious eclairs

For a mouthwatering pizza, sub, or hero, stop by Sovrana! This hot spot has been a favorite for college students and locals since 1985. In fact, many loyal customers are happy that not everyone knows just incredibly good the baked goods are at Sovrana's, especially the creamy eclairs. Enjoy exceptional food at affordable prices!

Ted's Fish Fry

fish fry

With locations throughout the Capital Region, there's a reason why Ted's Fish Fry charts high scores for local diners hankering for fish and chips. Of course, what helps boost Ted's appeal is that the menu goes beyond fried fish with all kinds of seafood options, plus hot dogs, burgers, steak sandwiches and a kids' menu. And you're never too old or full to add a milkshake to an All-American meal like the kind Ted's delivers in abundance. Get your seafood fix without breaking the bank.

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