Scene and heard

Keeping a romantic relationship interesting is never an easy task. But this task is made even more difficult, if, like me, you don’t have a steady source of income with which to spoil your significant other.

In today’s age, most girls and guys usually split the bill when they date, or at least they do this after the first few dates. However, when neither of you have paying jobs, even splitting the bill may seem daunting.

Fortunately, there are many cheap, fun date options out there in Manhattan. And when it comes to dating, dinner is a pretty safe bet, since there are a number of places where you can satisfy your craving while not wiping out your banking account.

A great place to take a new guy is Pommes Frites, located at 123 2nd Avenue, right off of St. Mark’s Place in the East Village. This tiny hole-in-the-wall only serves French fries. While this might sound odd at first, once you try the fries, you’ll understand why there’s always a line out the door. These aren’t your ordinary fries.

The Belgian fries are fresh, crispy and fried to perfection. There are 25 different dipping sauces to choose from, the most popular being “Sweet Mango Chutney Mayo.” You might not be able to fathom the idea of placing something mango-flavored on your fries, but this sauce offers a surprisingly tangy contrast to the saltiness of the fries.

A small order costs $4.50; you get one free sauce and each additional sauce is $0.75. In addition to being able to share your food, the small, intimate interior makes Pommes Frites a notable date spot as well. There are only a handful of tiny wooden tables, making it inevitable that you and your cutie must sit close to each other.

For a more adventurous meal, dine at one of the four locations of The Hummus Place. One of the nicer locations is in the West Village, located at 71 7th Avenue South, at Bleeker Street. While there, each of you should get your own order of hummus, a popular Middle Eastern dip made from crushed chickpeas containing tahini, olive oil and various spices ($5.95 per order).

The order of hummus here is quite large and will definitely fill you up. You also get an order of toasted pita bread to dip in the hummus. Make sure to add a few side dishes to share, too. The falefel ($3.50), a spiced dish made from chickpeas, is definitely worth checking out.

If you’re still not full, all you have to do is look next door for dessert: L’arte del Gelato serves up some of the best ice cream in the city. The staff is super friendly and will let you sample any flavor before purchasing. You can also choose to have two flavors per order, so you and your date can each choose the flavor you want and share.

While these are only two cheap date options, there are many other places out there. But wherever you decide to dine, don’t be afraid to break out of your comfort zone. Not only will you get to try some delicious cuisine, you may just win the affections of your new sweetheart with your extensive culinary knowledge.