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Suggestion for Lunch- Fifth Avenue 14-18th Streets

Is it possible to find something tasty, healthy yet inexpensive in this area that doesn't come from a deli table? Please advise.

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  1. Plenty in the area. City Bakery, Taralluci e Vino, and the Whole Foods cafe, just to name a few.

    1. Mesa Grill on 15th and 5th has an excellent lunch. BLT Fish Shack on 17th (near 6th Ave) is casual and yummy. Rosa Mexicano on 18th (near Broadway) is pretty solid too.

      1. Keep in the mind they key element is inexpensive :-)

        1 Reply
        1. re: Uptownflavor

          The Coffee Shop is right on Union Square. Lots of models work there so good people watching. Delicious reasonable food (more of a breakfast/brunch/lunch place), sometimes music on weekends. It gets really crowded so if you don't like to wait in line, it might not work. If it is nice weather you can sit outside. Union Square Cafe, Olives in the W Hotel - but that's NOT inexpensive.

        2. for take out
          5th Ave Epicure for soup
          Rainbow Falafel on 17th btw 5th and Broadway
          there's a Dean and Deluca on University, with an area to sit and eat, but that might be edging towards City Bakery in price

          1. VILLAGE YOGURT on 6th and 15th is your best healthy bargain. great veg lunch chow, make sure to get the dumplings with whatever you order. i like the special shake too.

            btw you can sit down in there to eat.

            1. Republic is a good place for lunch - asian noodles mostly. Meals are around $10 and their delivery awesome - super efficient. The chicken skewer app and the veggie dumplings are delicious.
              Ennu - 17th b/w 5th & Bwy is good too. Japanese.
              City Bakery is good too - but can get pricey.

              1 Reply
              1. re: FIFO22

                I was just about to recommend Republic as well. It's right on the west side of Union Square at the north end of the square.

                Also Tisserie has some great sandwiches and pizzas...and pastries. That's half a block up from Republic.

                1. I'm echoing Republic. Very tasty food; somewhat chaotic during lunch, but by no means unbearable. Consistently good.

                  1. chef & co as a good (inexpensive) sushi bar and some other great selections. it's on 18th btwn 5/6 (across from city bakery)

                    1. Thanks guys. This actually came in handy today when I was looking for places to order a working lunch.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Uptownflavor

                        Also, for really inexpensive with big portions, there is a decent small (non chain) Mexican place called Big Enchilada on 12th or 13th btw University and 5th.

                        And I second Republic - good noodle soups.

                        1. re: nyclibkat

                          I've been tempted to go into Big Enchilada. I'll have to give them a shot next time I am down on 12th Street.

                      2. for sandwiches and excellent homemade soups, try medina on east 17th street. also on that block is ennju, for quick japanese. their sushi sucks, but they have a great fresh salad bar and the cooked-to-order entrees (teriyaki, katsu, curries etc) are tasty, affordable, and ENORMOUS.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: wleatherette

                          How is the sushi there? I popped in one day thinking I'd have sushi for lunch, and walked out. Maybe I was being persnickety, but the sushi didn't look well made.

                          1. re: ballulah

                            like i said, the sushi sucks. i would totally avoid it. however, the salad bar and kitchen entrees are great.

                            1. re: wleatherette

                              Didn't see the part where you said it sucks. Read too fast. Haha.

                        2. Barocco on Union Sq. East at 16th. has delicious sandwiches, salads and coffee. It was recommended in Time Out's latest cheap eats. Very fresh and inexpensive.

                          1 Reply
                          1. OH! Even though you asked for no deli, I am a recent convert to the non-descript deli on 5th Ave and 19th Street. Everyone in my office was raving about their udon counter in the back, but when I ventured in to try the udon I was lured over to the Mongolian BBQ counter. They have such a vast array of fresh veggies (leeks, onions, scallions, baby bok choy, zucchini and yellow squash, 3 kinds of fresh mushrooms, 3 kinds of fresh peppers, julienned carrots), that I grabbed a metal bowl and assembled a huge portion of mostly veggies and gave it to the guys to cook. It's sort of like Lunch Theater. I'm a little wary of raw sliced meats and sea food from a salad bar, but I added some turkey slices (they had chicken, beef, scallops, shrimp, scallops...and tofu) and noodles. Be careful of the lure of the chili garlic sauce, I keep adding too much to my BBQ and ending up with insanely spicy food. But I've really enjoyed what I've had there, it seems relatively healthy (you add as much or as little oil as you want, you also control the saltiness), there's no denying it's fresh, and it's quite cheap.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: ballulah

                              good call. i forgot about that. i try to stay away from it, though, because i'm greedy and can't control myself and end up with like 3lbs of food and a huge bill!
                              another atypical deli option is pilly's, on the corner of 13th and 5th. if you go upstairs, you can get a tasty korean meal prepared by very nice korean mom-type lady. they've got all the standards - kalbi tang, sulleontang, chigaes, bi bim bap, jap chae, soon dobu, rice cakes, etc etc. it's cheaper than manna, which i like but find too much of a mob scene.

                              1. re: wleatherette

                                I haven't had lunch yet, I may have to take a walk! I'm a sucker for bi bim bap, and 32nd St is just a little too far.

                                My first Mongolian BBQ foray I was very restrained, and my bill was less than $7...last week. Yesterday it was $14. At least a ladle full of chili garlic sauce on $14 of veggies goes further than the same amount on $7. Haha. I'll have to strike a balance, me thinks. Ha.

                                1. re: wleatherette

                                  Okay I think that is place I got the sour pudding. I didn't know they prepared food upstairs.

                                  1. re: Uptownflavor

                                    yeah, they have a small kitchen for korean food and a kind of sad-looking sushi area.

                                2. re: ballulah

                                  Deli is fine. I think I may have wandered in there. On your recommendation I'll try them out. Thanks.