Diamond District lunch places
I just started a new job around 46th/5th and am in search of reasonably priced and solid lunch places with vegetarian options. So far I've tried and liked: Bread & Olive, the falafel cart on 46th/6th, 'wichcraft (too pricey for everyday), and Dishes (ditto).
I probably have no business posting this, as I haven't actually visited any of the places I'm going to mention...however, in doing some research for an upcoming trip to NYC, I have run across these place:
Berger's Deli - 47th Street between 5th and 6th. The concesus seems to be that its no Katz's or 2nd Avenue Deli, but its pretty good.
Margon - 46th between 6th and 7th. A Cuban "hole in the wall" type place that seems to get pretty good reviews on here.
Kosher Delight - 46th between 5th and 6th. I've only seen it mentioned in passing...haven't seen any detailed posts on it.
If you do a search on Chowhound for thses places you'll find lots of posts. Maybe some others can say more about them, based on personal knowledge?
Berger's, unfortunately, closed its doors a couple of months ago after a 50-year run. it'll be missed.
Kosher Delight is mediocre at best -- Lenny's on 48th is a better bet for a quick, decent sandwich. i like the fact that they use real turkey on their sandwiches and have a flair for good (not outstanding) corned beef. the pastrami, not so much.
Margon is a great, great option. the cuban sandwiches are the big fave, but just about all their plates -- chicken, pork -- with rice and beans are the ticket for me.
for carryout, options include:
House of Pita, on 48th between 5/6: their salads (baba, hummus, tabouleh, etc) are great. felafel sometimes a bit heavy and mushy. you can choose 4 items frmo an array of about two dozen for a $6.50 platter. can't eat there, though, since it's a stall in an arcade, not a restaurant as such.
hing won on the same block. looks like a mediocre chinese takeaway, but the second line -- further back -- allows you to order from a menu with some unusual items (wide variety of noodle soups, roast meats over rice, fish done several ways) at good prices. they also do congee and chinese breakfast until 10 or so.
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some other options:
18 3. 41st st btwn 5th and madison
it's a japanese cafe/bakery that has bento boxes to go, rice bowls, baked goods, sandwiches, seaweed wraps, sushi, etc.
608 5th ave at 49th st
it's not a restaurant, but you can get some great red bean paste buns which would make a great lunch. there are so many wagashi (japanese pastries) to choose from, not all sweet. so it'd be a nice spot for a light lunch.
I checked out that Minamoto Kitchoan the other day, and found it totally frightening. The people didn't seem to want me in there either, nor did they ask me if i needed help. If you are novice to Japanese pastry, it helps to know exactly what you are looking for before you go in... didn't seem like anything there would constitute a "lunch" either.
Cafe Zaiya on the other hand is the greatest place ever! :-)
I also find it very strange. I found the staff rather too eager to help. Everything they have to offer has detailed descriptions - you just need to take your time to look around and figure out which description goes with what (some items are double displayed as a single item or in a box). They also have a royalty card.
Back when I worked in the area I loved the Halal Food cart on 43rd & 6th (now on the SE corner, I think.)
halal food carts are the staple for quality/price ratio in that area. However, check out Rangole on 46th bet 5th and 6th for what I find to be the best Indian buffet I've ever had outside of London. Around 10 dollars w/ a make your own Chaat bar!