17 e. 13th st btwn 5th and university
great, tiny french place run by japanese. exquisite french pastry, tarts, pain au chocolats, brioche; the best sandwiches served on fresh baguette
15 e. 12th btwn 5th and university
another cute french place with pastries, sandwiches, salads, soups, full lunch, brunch, dinner menus; can also just eat at the counter
Of all the salad places in New York City, one has risen to the top and is a real standout in my opinion in terms of ingredient quality and overall addictiveness - and that is Chop't. 17th street between 5th and Union Square East. Easily under $15, and portable to the benches of Union Square, this is a top destination for me when I'm in the area.
Other standouts that are cheap and tasty?
Medina on 17th between 5th and Union Square East. Wonderous soups. Good sandwiches.
Souen on 13th between 5th and University - for health food when you need to detox.
Six & Twelve on 12th Street @ 6th Avenue - Korean owned - Top notch western soups and sandwiches with killer korean style dumplings and bento box.