Affordable Yale: Top Cheap New Haven Eateries

New Haven Skyline

I grew up in a small town in rural Texas. Before coming to Yale, I’d become accustomed to two of the best foods in the world: Southern food and Tex Mex. New Haven, though lacking in Southern cuisine, has many other gems within its treasure trove of restaurants lining all the downtown streets. 

Given that I’m a low-income student at Yale, I’ve sought out New Haven’s affordable eating options. Here’s a list of cheap places you won’t want to miss.

1. Donut Crazy

By far my favorite food joint at Yale. I’m a fiend for these donuts and chocolate milk (which is locally sourced and served on tap SO GOOD). I recommend downloading the snackpass app to order. After 40 purchases (trust me it is so easy to get there especially when your friends send you points), you get a free half dozen box of donuts. Donut Crazy is a gift that keeps on giving. Donuts are $2 to $3. 

two girls smile holding donuts in front of their mouths
My friend, Nickolina, and I pose with our latest haul of donuts. 

2. Basil 

Having grown up in the South, I wasn’t exposed to many food options, which meant I’d never had good Asian food. Basil is definitely one of my go-tos. I went here when I visited Yale and began my addiction. Basil’s Thai Iced Tea is phenomenal, and their chicken curry soup always warms me up on New Haven’s blistery days. Basil is also on snackpass, but I love eating in their small little restaurant on Howe Street. A full meal here is under $10. 

3. Arethusa Ice Cream

This place serves some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had. The ice cream is made locally in Connecticut (this place supplies Donut Crazy with their chocolate milk so it all makes sense). The store also makes fresh waffle cones every day. The portions are also ginormous, so definitely stick with one scoop in a cup or cone. (Pro-tip:  even though you are only buying one scoop, you can request TWO flavors. Sweet cream and butter pecan are not to be ignored). A scoop from Arethusa will run you about $3. 

two cups of ice cream held under the arethusa farm dairy sign
A friend and I show off the heaping servings of a SINGLE scoop of Arethusa!

4. Gheav Sandwich

A Yale classic is going to Good Nature Market on Broadway at 2 AM and ordering a sausage, egg and cheese sandwich. Whether you’ve been studying or “studying” all night, the sandwich is a welcome pick-me-up. Though Gheav (what all the students call Good Nature Market, after the store’s previous name) is pretty expensive on just about anything else, their made-to-order sandwiches only cost $4. Gheav is also on Snackpass (this app really changes the game).


New Haven has its own style of pizza so you cannot go wrong with grabbing a slice or a whole pie here. The pizza joint who started it all is Pepe’s Pizza on Wooster Street. Sally’s is right next door and just as good. These pizzas cost about $20 or so a pop, so definitely split it with a group of friends to make it affordable.

a pizza in front of two smiling friends
Pizza is best eaten with friends!