A Cheap Eats Post – Taïm & Pio Pio

During the last week of May I ate with a budget on mind since I’m eating with friends who are on a budget. I mean, these two meals definitely went under $20 per person. Interested? Read on…

Our drinks
Our beverages

During the Friday afternoon when Drew and I met at Taïm for lunch. I think I’ve mentioned that it’s my favorite falafel spot? If not, well, now you know! He got himself a can of Aranciata and I got their pear mint lemon smoothie. The smoothie was refreshing despite the fact it sounds like an odd combination. The mint and lemon juices made it tastier beyond pear since I don’t like pear (the fruit itself) that much.

My Harissa Falafel Harissa Falafel

I ended up getting myself the harissa falafel sandwich (my favorite of the three types they have) since I persuaded Drew to try the sabich. I gave Drew one of my falafel balls to try from my sandwich and he said, “Whoa… It is dense and delicious.” These fried balls of chickpea mash were definitely tasty and a bit spicy from the harissa. The Israeli salad that stuffed in this sandwich was fresh and tasty. But man, my stomach felt full by the time I finished that entire thing.

The Sabich of tastiness The Glorious Sabich

By the time Drew got his sabich, he was amazed or shocked about this thing looks so beautiful…and it has an egg. When he actually took a hearty bite out of his sabich, I asked him, “What do you think?” He said, “It’s really good.” Then we went on to a conversation not food related, while we’re eating, and he started interrupting our conversation with his comment on the sabich saying, “Oh shit, this thing’s insane! What did they put in there?” I never thought anyone would say that out loud but uh, yeah…this sabich is something involved with divine intervention.

Fries with Saffron Aioli FRIES

To complete our meal, Drew and I split the fries with saffron aioli. Somehow, I’m addicted to their saffron aioli even though I still want their fries to be crisper. But still, Drew gobbled the majority of the bowl since he’s a starving guy and I’m getting stuffed by my falafel sandwich.

Then later on several days later, I met up with Helen, Seungmi, and Juhee for dinner at a Peruvian-style restaurant, Pio Pio, that specializes in chicken. Since we’re planning to attend the first showing of Hamlet in Theater in the Park, we planned to eat there since it’s relatively close to where I work and well, Helen loves chicken of any style.

For the past year, I’ve read Robyn‘s post on Gothamist on Pio Pio Salon about the Matador combo, I told everyone that we’re getting this and save some stomach space since it’s going to be a lot of food. And indeed, it was…

Chicken! CHICKEN

When all the food came out, the first thing that got Helen’s attention was the chicken. This juicy, slightly crisp skinned chicken was delicious. I just wish they used a little bit less salt. I was surprised that they give you one whole chicken. For the four of us, this was more than enough to go around.

Salchipapas and Fries
Rice and beans Salad The sides that went along with the chicken

The side dishes that came along with the chicken ranged from good to the range of “we don’t mind having more.” The salchipapas and fries were arguably one of the favorites since we do love fries and the hot dogs were pretty good. I just wished the fries were crisper but it tasted good with the hot dog juices mingling with fried potato goodness. The rice and beans was the least liked since Helen and Juhee doesn’t like these particular beans’ texture and the rice wasn’t really special to us. And finally, the salad was liked a lot since we’re getting a heavy dose of fat and meat. We craved fiber and vitamins. The first thing eaten from that was the avocado (no surprise, since we love it’s creamy but good for you fat).

For $30 (pre-tax and tip), it’s a cheap for a dinner in Manhattan. This amount food is possibly enough to satiate five people and you can go for dessert splurge somewhere else nearby (for example, Two Little Red Hens).


222 Waverly Pl
New York, NY 10014

Pio Pio
1746 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10128


I shoot, eat, and drink. My full time job is a hospital administrator. Moonlighting as a freelance photographer and food and travel writer.

  1. Robyn says:

    YEAAH you got the chicken splosion dinner! :D Isn’t it a scary amount of food for so little? And I only ate that with one friend. And we got an appetizer. And then we had half leftover. >_<


  2. thewanderingeater says:

    Robyn: Woohoo! :D It was scary! I really didn’t expect that much food for that price but that was awesome.


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