Cheap Eats: Span the Globe

Great food at low prices...from all around the world.

Gypsy Grill in Jersey City
Photo by Laura Moss.

Alpine Deli (Ringwood)
At lunchtime, you can smell the German meatballs as soon as you step from your car. Walk past the German-language magazines to the counter and you’ll learn that what you’re smelling is properly called Fricadellen. Order it in a sandwich ($4) with a side of cucumber salad ($2.50). One of the few places left in the state for German home cooking, Alpine makes terrific spaetzle ($3.50), roast pork platters ($8.95), streuselkuchen (crumb cake, $2) and bienenstich (bee sting cake made with a touch of honey, $2.75). Five cozy booths are tucked in a corner. 1141 Greenwood Lake Tpke, 973-728-1646—BY

Ariana (Voorhees)
Owner Kadir Sultani and his family enjoy introducing visitors to Afghan culture through its food. The $14 Ariana Combination brings a green salad, a meat- or veggie-filled fried sambosa, a potato turnover and a scallion turnover, and steamed dumplings with scallions, spicy yogurt and meat sauce. For a beverage, try a doogh, a yogurt drink similar to an Indian lassi ($3.50, sweet or salty). Eagle Plaza, 700 Haddonfield-Berlin Rd, 856-784-1100,—TN

Beyti Kebab (Union City)
This sprawling Turkish hot spot specializes in succulent marinated meat. Pitas stuffed with charbroiled lamb, tender shavings of veal or juicy spiced chicken are $7-$8. For $21, pick four items (six for $25, eight for $33) from a list that includes tangy tabbouleh, garlicky hummus, eggplant in tomato sauce, spreads made of red caviar and fiery red pepper and a cooling walnut-studded yogurt dip. 4105 Park Ave, 201-865-6281,—CB

The British Chip Shop (Haddonfield)
Amid soccer, er, football jerseys and framed paintings of English fox hunts, people feast on three sizes of classic fish and chips ($9-$15), great with $3 sides of curry dip, mushy peas or Heinz beans. Finish with a slice of Eccles cake, whose recipe of currants and spices in puff pastry dates to 1795. 146 Kings Hwy E, 856-354-0204,—TN

Efes Mediterranean Grill (New Brunswick, Princeton)
Feast on authoritative Turkish kabobs (gyro, lamb, ground lamb, chicken, $8.50) and mezze such as hummus and baba ghanoush, spinach in ultra-rich labne (strained yogurt) and zucchini pancakes whose crunch gives way to ethereal creaminess ($5; $12 for six). 32 Easton Ave, New Brunswick, 732-249-4100; 235B Nassau St, Princeton, 609-683-1220;—PT

Gypsy Grill (Jersey City)
Born in Egypt, Moudy Razek spent years slinging falafels in Cairo and Amsterdam, moved to New York in 1981 and served as floor manager of the Rainbow Room before opening (and closing) a steakhouse in Sparta. Now he’s back. For $2.99 he stuffs a pita with lightly crunchy falafels and hummus. A trio of veggie appetizers such as tangy eggplant moussaka, chunky baba gannouj and herbed, bulgar-stuffed grape leaves costs $8.99. His tender, thin-sliced lamb shawarma ($10.99) could give a committed vegetarian pause. 187 Newark Ave, 201-839-5115,—CB

Honey Bakery (Jersey City)
From the café’s Facebook page: “The Uzbek man who came in today had traveled from Staten Island.” Little wonder. Siberian-born owner Arseny Popov, who used to bake chak-chak for Russian grocery stores in Brooklyn and Queens, now offers those gloriously sticky, fried honey cakes ($1 plain, $4 chocolate covered) here, along with creamy cottage cheese biscuits, sea salt shortbread and an oatmeal cookie studded with cherries and walnuts ($1-$2). Or have pillowy baked samosas filled with mashed pumpkin, ground lamb, chicken or asparagus and mushroom ($4) and smoked salmon asparagus quiche ($5) with buttery crust that nearly steals the show. 673 Bergen Ave, 201-984-0795—CB

Olympia (Vineland)
Sundays, Olympia offers 15 different entrées with soup or Greek salad ($10). The food is good, the portions huge. During the week, $15 gets you a souvlaki or gyro platter with pita and soup or salad. 739 South Delsea Dr, 856-691-6095—TN

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