HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >


Best Pizza or lunch near Grand Central Station

  • k

Any suggestions? I'm a temp & on a budget

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Two Boots! there is a Two Boots pizza in the food court at Grand Central Station and I can never pass it up.

    For another cheap lunch, sit at the counter at the Oyster Bar and have some clam chowder or maybe the oyster po-boy sandwich.

    12 Replies
    1. re: lorelei

      BLECH! am I the only one that thinks two boots' pizza is inedible?

      1. re: sourpatch

        Any place that puts cornmeal on pizza sucks in my book.

        1. re: daniel

          Two boots has a tasty po'boy, tho'. They've got a pretty good catfish, but the lettuce & tomato they put on it is usually inedible.

          I'm pretty hesitant to eat in any place that's in a food court, myself.

          1. re: kwon

            the food court at Grand Central is not your typical food court... meaning it's not what you'll find at the Manhattan Mall. some of the many options include Cafe Spice for Indian, the Little Pie Company, Junior's.

            1. re: lorelei

              I've found Two Boots to be pretty good. You're right about it not being "Food Court"... since there are other Two Boots places around the city. But that person probably didn't know that.

              Also, the other replies haven't been very helpful... I thought the original poster was looking for Pizza around Grand Central... not complaints. Two Boots would be my recommendation too... but maybe there are others close by as well?

              1. re: Dimmy

                The original poster is looking for pizza OR other inexpensive lunch places near Grand Central.

                I recommended Menchanko-Tei. I'd avoid Two Boots - I think the crust is an abomination :-)

          2. re: daniel
            Chicago Mike

            I was wondering what those little flakes are on Two boots.... Cornmeal, huh ? It is strange.

            ANYWAY, I would definitely NOT recommend a Two Boots "regular slice" as it didn't even rate in our recent Manhattan pizza crawl.

            HOWEVER, I was struck by the variety of specialty pies that might actually be quite tasty. One poster here said the sausage Cleopatra was great and I'd be very willing to try that.

            HOWEVER AGAIN, it just seems to me that if a place doesn't have a great "regular slice" how great are their specialty slices going to be?

            1. re: Chicago Mike

              Two Boots is not a typical slice joint, it was one of the first "foodie" pizza places. It is to pizza what Comfort Diner is to diners.
              I think cornmeal is used to keep dough from being sticky; it's not actually part of the crust, but makes it easier to handle and move the pie. I don't much like it either, though I otherwise like their pies.

            1. re: sourpatch

              No you're not alone - I can't stand Two Boots' pizza.

              1. re: sourpatch

                people seem pretty divided on this one - some are diehard fans, lots of people hate it! i must say, i wasn't that crazy about Two Boots pizza til i fell in love with the Cleopatra Jones slice. the sausage & onion combo is delectable!

                1. re: lorelei

                  Based on the replies, I wouldn't even stretch it by stating that "people are pretty divided on this one". Almost everybody don't like Two Boots pizza.

                  I'll chime in and just settle for a Juniors sandwich and a slice of cheesecake.

            2. Menchanko-Tei, on 45th near Lex. Good, cheap noodle joint.

              1. The best pizza in the grand central area is probably the pizza truck that's usually parked on 47th and Vanderbilt. Little Italy pizza on 43rd between Madison and 5th is also not bad... a reluctant recommendation. Two Boots is merely OK, but is novel if you've never tried them before. The best cheap lunch in the Grand Central area is probably Yagura on 41st near Madison. The $3.50 lunch special is one of the best deals in town.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Eric Eto

                  I've always wondered about that pizza truck. I've never seen a pizza truck before. You recommend it?

                  1. re: Eric Eto

                    I really like Cafe Zaiya, just up 41st street towards 5th ave from Yagura. Sandwiches are around $3, rice bowls around $5 or $6, they have a made-to-order salad bar during the lunch hours, the onigiri are great and cheap, and they really shine in the Japanese baked goods department, with some of the most authentic stuff in NYC.
                    You also might want to check out Oms/b, a relatively new rice ball cafe at 156 e 45th St. It's a tiny place, but they do have a few tables. They are making the onigiri to order now, which should vanquish some early complaints about soggy nori. There are many traditional onigiri along with some more fusion-y types, and they have a nice-priced lunch set.
                    I'm not a big fan of the 45th St Menchanko-Tei, as another poster recommended.
                    A friend recommends Pershing Sq, the restaurant directly across the street from the front of Grand Central, but I haven't had any experience there myself. Maybe someone else?

                    1. re: Peter Cuce

                      Pershing Square isn't bad, but it's definitely NOT cheap.

                  2. Naples 45 has some of the best pizza in the area if not the city. Located on the back-end of grand central/met-life building it has a take-out area and offers one of the best deals. Before noon and between 2 and 6 you can get a personal size margherita or marinara pie for $4.50.

                    They use the freshest ingrediants. I would suggest either the margherita or the pizza with eggplant, mushrooms, artichokes and prosciutto.

                    hopefully this helps.

                    1. Check 45th street between 3rd and lex....lots
                      of lunch options (to go) to counter the
                      McD's and Wendys around the corner.

                      1. In addition to Menchanko Tei, you really should try Oms/b, the new Japanese rice ball cafe on 45th St between Lex and 3rd (closer to 3rd, I think). Great traditional and 'fusiony' (e.g. pastrami) rice balls, most around $2 each. Prepared with great care--the perfect texture of the rice really raised my standards.

                        Nice green tea mousses, madeleines and stuff for dessert.

                        Link: http://meglioranza.com

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Tom Meg

                          I checked this place out and really wanted to like it but I found the quality to be no better than Go Sushi and patrami sushi just doesn't turn me on.

                          1. re: josh L

                            Where is Sushi Go?

                            My first visit to Oms/b was so so, as I went during off hours. My second was much better. They had new varieties: the standout being the bright purple "paper"(edible)wrapped shiso speckled rice ball, as well as some other variety wrapped with yellow "paper". They also do their shrimp well, for those who have become wary of the all to often texture-less and ammonia laden shrimp in restaurants high and low.

                            Oms/b's rice balls didn't overwhelm me perhaps because it's not in the nature of a rice ball to overwhelm. But, yesterday, when I picked up some rice balls from the JAS mart at 110 and B'way and found the rice too mushy by comparison(it had seem fine before), I realized that indeed oms/b has won me over with it's subtle goodness.

                            1. re: josh L

                              I don't really understand the reference to pastrami sushi. I guess you're saying that the fusion-style onigiri didn't do it for you. But how about the standard ones? The menu is roughly half traditional, half fusion-y.

                          2. One of my favorite lunches, especially during cold weather, is the counter of the Oyster Bar for clam chowder and a few yummy biscuits. But yesterday there were employees picketing outside who were concerned about losing their health benefits at the expense of the Oyster Bar expanding. Please DO NOT ENTER the Oyster Bar for any reason until the health benefits issue is settled in favor of the employees, some of whom have been with the company for 27 years.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Challi

                              Yeah, I actually went wandering down there yesterday and went somewhere else when I saw the picketers.

                            2. Can't believe no one has mentioned Dishes on 44th Street. For $7-12, you can get an excellent sandwich, made carefully and with quality ingredients, or try a variety of things from their hot and cold table. The only thing I don't care for there is the soup.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: AJ

                                They're also in Grand Central, in both the food court and the market. I like their Valhrona chocolate pudding for dessert.

                              2. yea two boots isn't all that - only about 2 or 3 of their pizza are pretty good - but not all that
                                i second the little italy motion...and here are all the top rated restaurants (some may b a lil pricey, but food is priceless ! ahaha :
                                and Cipriannis has good fod

                                1. Little Italy Pizza on Vanderbilt is really really good.

                                  1. Naya Express on 3rd Av & 43 has excellent inexpensive Middle Eastern food. Junior's is a favorite but not necessarily inexpensive.

                                    1. I'll second Naya Express, and definitely Naples 45. How about Chickpea on 45th also for decent falafel, pretty good hummus, sandwiches and platters.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: studentwife

                                        The OP was looking for pizza in 2003! I hope he/she is not still looking or will be really hungry :)