When it comes to lunch, you might not have time for a lengthy, drawn-out meal. Time constraints shouldn’t make you skimp on your midday nourishment, though, because NYC is full of places where you can sit down to a quick and tasty bite. In fact, these restaurants are so good, they make even the most extreme workaholics step away from their desks and make time to eat. When you’re craving a hearty sandwich, fresh salad, or juicy burger, here’s a list of six great lunch restaurants in NYC.
Dimes, 49 Canal St
Dimes serves healthy California-style dishes with a downtown attitude. Owners Alissa Wagner and Sabrina De Sousa have created a distinct aesthetic in their restaurant, sensed in everything from the minimal, naturally lit interior to the simple, yet satiating menu items. Avoid a late afternoon crash with nutrient-dense dishes like the Indian winter soup made with red lentils, curry, coconut milk, and kale or quinoa with kimchi kale, black sesame sweet potato, cabbage slaw, and Nori Shiso Pesto. It’s not just greens and grains here, meat options include Amish chicken thigh and NY grass-fed flank steak.
Friedman’s Restaurant, 75 9th Ave
Cut through the Chelsea Market lunch crowd and head straight to Friedman’s. Named after economist Milton Freidman who invented the phrase “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch,” this family run establishment specializes in gluten-free, locally sourced fare. A top-notch sandwich menu features the Friedman’s club, garden veggie, and buttermilk fried chicken. The Market Sides deserve mention and include rosemary herbed fries, spicy string beans, and mac ‘n’ cheese made with white cheddar and goat cheese.
Udon West, 150 E 46th St
When the craving for a warm bowl of fluffy noodles hits, head to Udon West for lunch. This straightforward udon house serves Japanese noodle soup customized to your liking. Hearty and budget friendly (many udon items hover between $7 and $9.50), favorites include classics like shrimp tempura and marinated beef along with specialty combinations such as chicken teriyaki curry rice and udon.
Luke’s Lobster, 242 E 81st St
Luke’s Lobster on the Upper East Side was the restaurant’s second location to open in NYC (the original shack is in the East Village). The atmosphere has a rustic maritime vibe while the seafood is delivered fresh from Maine. The star feature is Luke’s lobster roll – ¼ lb of chilled meat served in a spit-top toasted bun with butter, a swipe of mayo, and secret seasoning. For the true New England culinary experience, we recommend rounding out your meal with a side of poppy seed coleslaw or creamy clam chowder. Be sure to check out Luke’s other shacks around town.
Peacefood Café, 41 E 11 St
When you want a midday meal served with a side of good aura, head to Peacefood. This vegan, environmentally conscious restaurant offers delectable food that will satisfy even the most staunch meat eaters. Fill up on inventive dishes such as the roasted Japanese pumpkin sandwich topped with caramelized onions, walnuts, cashew cheese, and greens, or a raw sushi roll with walnut pate and seasonal vegetables. Save room for dessert, we recommend the grasshopper cookie sandwich with mint filling and raw key lime pie with coconut, cashew, avocado lime filling in an almond Brazil nut crust.
Burger Joint at Le Parker Meriden Hotel, 119 W 56th St
Indulge your carnivorous craving at the Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien Hotel. This no-frills, cash-only eatery can be found behind a curtain in the luxury hotel’s atrium. In his quest to perfect the American classic, Steven Parker teamed up with Le Parker Meridien Hotel’s French executive chef Emile Castillo. After testing 25 to 30 recipes, the duo arrived at what they describe as “a quintessentially great burger.” Nothing fancy, but incredibly delicious. You can look forward to a 5-ounce beef on a toasted bun with cheese (white cheddar or Colby), standard vegetable toppings, Heinz ketchup, Grey Poupon Dijon mustard, and Hellman’s mayonnaise.