Off-campus dining in New York is like a little adventure every day. There are tons of restaurant options to choose from with tons of menu options at varied prices. Where City is located, there's a wide variety of cheap Chinese and Dominican restaurants alongside a small selection of Italian, Greek, Latino, and fast food restaurants. Picante, a restaurant known for its cheap meals, is close to City. Amsterdam Avenue, also located close to City, has an assortment of cafés and small food shops, but for anything fancier, going below 125th Street would be a better option.
Below 125th, the options are exceptionally better and more diverse. Pret A Manger is an excellent place to go for fresh sandwiches, soups, and salads. This chain can be found throughout Manhattan, and the pricing is pretty reasonable. Guantanamera is a popular Cuban restaurant with an excellent menu, and you'll even get complementary hand-rolled cigars as gifts. Near Columbia University there are some neat places to dine, such as Le Monde, Max Caffé, and Massawa. Prices vary throughout the city, so it's a wise idea to have a budget beforehand, otherwise you may end up spending more than you want. Cafés, restaurants, and diners are always sprouting around the city, so don't head to the same spot every day. Go out looking for something new, rare, and delicious.