What to CookOn the Cheap

10 Restaurant Dishes to Recreate at Home

81 + Save

If you like it, save it!

Save and organize all of the stuff you love in one place.

Got it!

If you like something…

Click the heart, it's called favoriting. Favorite the stuff you like.

Got it!

Cooking on the cheap shouldn't mean minute rice and buttered pasta every night. With a little creativity and a little planning, Gabriella Paiella shows us how to make the most of a tight budget -- without sacrificing flavor or variety. 

Today: Recreate must-try restaurant dishes at home, for a fraction of the price.

One night, about a year after I had moved to New York, I was at a Mets Game. It wasn't terribly memorable, but I do remember that my date ordered chicken tenders; they were $11, and predictably not very good, but I immediately thought, "Damn, those are surprisingly cheap."

That was the moment that I realized that living in this city had permanently skewed my perceptions of what people should pay for food. Even though I'm incredibly frugal at the grocery store, I'm often lured into shelling out at every new restaurant that I have to try -- and there is always another one. 

Fortunately, working in food media means being surrounded by people creative and motivated enough to recreate some of the most acclaimed restaurants' recipes. I've pulled together a few of my favorites -- you'll save money, won't have to wait for a table, and can eat them in the privacy of your home (no pants!). Here's how to live the dream: 

Momofuku's Pork Buns 

Northern Spy's Kale Salad 

Brussels Sprouts Salad a la M. Wells 

Maialino's Olive Oil Cake 

Celery Salad and Cheese on Toast (Inspired by Prune)  

Carrot Avocado Salad (courtesy of ABC Kitchen

Le Bernadin's Crispy Skinned Fish 

Union Square Café's Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Poppy Seeds and Lemon 

Roberta's Parsley Cake 

The River Café's Strawberry Sorbet 

Tell us: What are your favorite restaurant dishes that you've adapted to your home kitchen? 

Tags: my broke kitchen, restaurant food, cheap dinners

💬 View Comments ()

Comments (11)


3 months ago Marci Schwartz Lutsky

I recreated quinoa quesadillas from one of my favorite local restaurants http://veggingattheshore...


4 months ago Tamara

Twenty five years ago, we had a restaurant in Chicago called Sole Mio. It was, at the time, the best Italian restaurant in the city. Very authentic northern Italian in cuisine and decor. The owner was definitely a man ahead of his time.

There was a dish on the menu, which I can't accurately recall at this time, but I recreated and tweaked it and it is now my signature dish. Marinated seared duck breast atop a bed of creamy polenta and finished with a port wine reduction. I am leaving a few of the ingredients out of the description because when one has a "signature dish", sharing isn't always an option. Someday, when I write my cookbook, I'll share it fully.


4 months ago Jan Oconnell

I have a pretty respectable version of Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana, delicious


about 1 year ago cagii49

Well, what is the very first dish? (the colorful salad)


over 1 year ago molly yeh

YAS! i can't wait to eat all of these in my no-pants-allowed kitchen.


over 1 year ago healthierkitchen

Everytime I eat the Piyaz at Zaytinya in DC I tinker with this a little more. I get close: http://food52.com/recipes....


over 1 year ago Beez Kneez

I tried the tomato at Zaytinya years ago - I made it my goal to replicate it at home!


over 1 year ago Beez Kneez

**Tomato jam


over 1 year ago Liz B. @ UMAMI LIFE

At home = more herbs and spices and healthy things, less butter! I'm all for this post!

http://thatumamilife.wordpress... - a clean eating bento blog. Japanese or Asian-inspired!


over 1 year ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

and can eat them in the privacy of your home (no pants!)
I am seriously LOL-ing
these: http://food52.com/recipes...


over 1 year ago Anita Yarrish

I have adapted and bettered the Boston Market Chicken Tortilla Soup. Does not sound terribly innovative or expensive, but, you have to understand that I absolutely could inhale everyday this soup. Mine is healthier and prettier and more filling.
(I leave the tortillas out)