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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).

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  1. 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?

    8 Replies
    1. re: carolinadawg

      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.

      1. re: david sprague

        Are the cuban sandwiches at Margon really the big fave, as you say? I really don't find them that appealing and think the other stuff is more praiseworthy.

        1. re: Peter Cuce

          I second the Cuban Sandwich thing. If you like authentic Cuban Sandwiches, Margon makes a totally authentic and delicious Cuban (with the pickles mustard pork and everything).

          My blog might be helpful to you as well: http://www.midtownlunch.com

          1. re: zGustibus

            Another vote for Margon - but I'm afraid not too many vegetarian options there. Minar next door has good Indian food cheap.

          2. re: Peter Cuce

            in saying the sandwiches are "the big fave," i was referring to them as the draw for most visitors. i tend to get one of the platters -- or even just an order of rice and beans -- when i go.

          3. re: david sprague

            The chicken sandwich at Margon is better than the cubanos there. I think I remember saying this about 1974 days ago, and 1704 days ago too, come to think of it.

            1. re: david sprague

              Actually, Berger's has just moved. It is now located on 39th between 5th and Madison.

          4. some other options:

            cafe zaiya
            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.

            minamoto kitchoan
            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.

            4 Replies
            1. re: calypsogirl

              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! :-)


              1. re: zGustibus

                wow, that's so strange! sorry you had a frightening experience there. i've always encountered friendly staff who explain things. hopefully yours was just a random experience.

                the buns are delicious! maybe they don't have them every day.

                1. re: zGustibus

                  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.

                  1. re: welle

                    Maybe I'm just really strange looking! :-)

              2. Back when I worked in the area I loved the Halal Food cart on 43rd & 6th (now on the SE corner, I think.)

                1. 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!

                    1. Bread and Olive is fail-safe and delicious. Also try Manhattan Cafe on 45th between 5th and 6th about mid-block. They have a great selection of boxed lunches, tasty udon soups, and lots of prepared foods a la Dishes at much more reasonabe prices. For a tasty Indian buffet, try Jewel of India on 44th between 5th and 6th. Makes my mouth water just thinking of it.

                      1. Some more places:

                        Sukhadia on 45 or 46th, between 5th and 6th has great chaat and Indian sweets. (I am pretty sure that it is on same block as Bread and Olive.)

                        Little Italy pizza, on W. 45 is. surprisingly, very good for a mini chain and has good regular pizza and a nice assortment of fancier stuff.

                        Moishe's felafel, on northeast corner of 6th and 46th I think, has very ample, very cheap felafel. Not the best in the city, but great value.

                        On same block as Margon is Kati Roll Company. Warning: rolls are very tasty, but the line can move excruciatingly slow at peak times.

                        1. What about Diamond Dairy?!? It's an institution. Used to occupy the entire space of what is now sort of a diamond bazzar, with Diamond Dairy in the 2nd Floor Mezz.

                          Get the potato pancakes, noddles+cabbage, and blintzes.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                            I second Diamond Dairy. Great hidden gem!

                          2. The Times ran an article about a year ago on restaurants on 47 Street which, while open to the public, are hard to find since they are on upstairs floors. One was Uzbeki (Jewish, I think), another was a Jewish dairy restaurant (I dont think it was Diamond Dairy but it might have been), one was Dominican. I can't find the article though.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Brian S

                              Taam-Tov might be the Uzbeki you are thinking of. It's a third floor place. Excellent Rice Pilaf dish, authentic decor and experience, but the other food is hit or miss.

                                1. re: Brian S

                                  taam tov is the uzbeki place, i get food from there sometimes, be advised its only open mon-fri closes early like 5 and closes even early on friday. The bread is awesome (get the whole loaf b/c its fresher, they bake their own bread), the plov is good and the kebabs are good, the meat pie things are pretty good as well

                                  the other jewish dairy restaurant is diamond dairy...never eaten there

                                2. I tried Bread & Olive for lunch today, based on the positive reviews on this thread. I was so very disappointed! To begin with, although this is sort of to be expected, the man serving the food was rather cold and on the rude side. Fine -- but the big problem was I ordered the beef shawarma sandwich and it came out cold. I don't mean kind of warm, I mean it was at most room-temperature (which I can't understand because it was on the spit in the heat). The pita was also rather on the cold side, somehow it was cooler than the beef. The sandwich seemed to lack balance, I barely tasted the meat, and other seasonings, and mostly tasted the pickles. I think that might have been due to the temperature, though. Perhaps it was just a very off day for bread and olive...

                                  On the plus side, the falafel did look pretty good, I saw them frying a batch on my way out. Although, I think I will stick with Moshe's falafel cart for my falafel.

                                  Moshe's Falafel
                                  442 W 45th St, New York, NY 10036

                                  Bread & Olive
                                  24 W 45th St, New York, NY 10036