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Feb 27, 2008 08:24 AM


Babysitter watching toddler, husband and I want some inexpensive great lunch spots that have a lunch special menu in Queens that we can hit a couple times a week: Anywhere in Queens is game. Please elaborate any favorite menu items and why it's a good value. Also, indicate parking or travel tips if relevant. Wish Sripiphrai would create a lunch special menu, but they don't have one. Can't wait to hear your suggestions!!!! Thanks!

Let me start the list with 2 good ones:BEST BET IN QUEENS for food quality and value is hands down:

SPICY AND TASTY in FLUSHING (excellent Szechuan) $6 lunch specials
-great assortment on menu to choose from:
my favorites: shrimp or squid in spicy turnip sauce, squid with celery
-great stuff from the cold appetizer bar 1 order enough for 2 to share---as extras to order--my favorites: cold sesame noodles, or noodles in red chili sauce
-big portions
-comes with complimentary white rice, soup (which can sometimes be sort of the funky side--good for the adventurous), and a mini appetizer special--my favorites of the giveaways are the diced pickled stringbeans, spicy turnips, sauteed stringbeans, potato and hot pepper slivers
-fast service and convenient municipal parking lot 1 block away

Another pretty good value, is CORFU (Greek) in Forest Hills, although I think their quality and portions have slipped a bit in the past year. But regardless, it's $5.50 and you get a good choice of entrees, Favorites are the chicken kebab and Befteki, comes with greek salad, rice or lemon potato and a very good chicken soup. Good tzaziki and oiled pita. They put alot of olive oil on everything and sometimes this can be sort of one the heavy side---little place, sometimes the climate inside can be uncomfortable too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer. But, they try hard and owner is very nice and accomodating.

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  1. I'm so glad you posted since I only do lunches. I've been to both Corfu & Spicy & Tasty and both very good and bargains. Malagueta (Brazilian) is an outstanding restaurant in Astoria (25-35 36th Ave) and they have a fabulous Lunch Specials - Ex: Sauteed Pork Chop with thyme & garlic in white wine with rice, beans & veggies for $6.50. Valverde an excellent small Italian restaurant also a bargain for lunch. Ex: Soup or Salad with Pasta (large portion) for $7.95. Located at 36th & Steinway near PC Richards. Sapori D'Ischia expensive for dinner but a huge lunch bargain. Everything $10 or less and great atmosphere & service. They charge for water so order the great imported orange & lime drink for $1. In Woodside at 5515 37th Ave (easy parking). In the rear of the restaurant is a grocery store at bargain prices. They're also Food Importers. I love this place. No lunch specials but low prices is de Mole (superb Mexican Food) in Sunnyside (easy parking). If you like spinach try the sauteed garlich spinach Quesadilla for $4.75. Burrito's are huge and just $6 (shrimp $7.50). Excellent $2 taco's. If I'm near the Queens Mall, I lunch at Lao Bei Fang Dumplings and have a bowl of Hot & Sour or Wonton Soup ($1) plus 8 dumplings ($2) all this for $3 no tax or tip. 8608 Whitney Ave. Easy parking/no atmosphere. IHAWAN in Woodside doesn't have a lunch menu but low prices - ex:Pork or Chicken BBQ with rice is $4.50. Kare Kare oxtail with mixed veggies and rice is $6.00. Romanian Garden in Sunnyside doesn't have special lunch menu but low prices. Most main courses are $8.99. Recommend chicken stew with red garlic sauce with mashed potatoes. Interesting Old World atmosphere. Great desserts for just $3.50 including fried donuts with sour cream & jam or crepes with jam. Easy parking. So many inexpensive places to dine for lunch in Queens.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Mike V

      I'll second De Mole even though it's not a "lunch special" but add that they serve the breakfast dishes until 1 (I think), and you could certainly do worse for a filling lunch of eggs, rice and beans for under $5.

      1. re: catherine

        We love De Mole too - cheap and AWESOME! For lunch in Queens, though, we usually head to Jackson Heights, but we skip Jackson Diner (too touristy and packed with children) and head down the street a little farther to Indian Taj. Their lunch buffet is a little smaller, a couple of dollars cheaper, and MUCH tastier. They usually have this stuff called Tawa Chicken (which apparently just means skillet chicken) - it's housemade chicken sausage, peppers, onions and big chunks of tender dark meat chicken sauteed together in this spicy oil/paste. It's not saucy the way most buffet dishes are, and it is AMAZING. I've never seen it at any other buffet in JH. Sometimes they have chili chicken instead, which is good but not quite the same.

      2. re: Mike V

        Great suggestions,,,,funny we just got home from a late dinner at DeMole, and yes their breakfasts are terrific and great value. Haven't had a chance to try Valverde yet, but it's on my list. Haven't been to Sapori in many years..and my husband got completely flipped out by their water not sure i can get him to go there again....Pio Pio used to have a lunch special and they got rid of it, but there's another Peruvian that just opened in an otherwise difficult area to find good food, on Jamaica and 110th st, in Richmond Hill, called Rico Pollo and their lunch specials are $5.50 for chicken, rice, avocado salad and a drink.--good portion and good hot sauce, but not as good as Pio Pio. Tu Casa in Kew Gardens, Columbian has a lunch special, chicken-rice and beans for $6. Their hot sauce is very good.

        1. re: janie

          Janie, I can understand not wanting to pay for water in the evening at Sapori when dinner could easily be $150 for two but you're doing yourself a disservice by avoiding the lunch bargain. I would never pay for water in a restaurant or supermarket. Try the imported Lemon or Orange drink which is so good and cheap. On Wednesdays, they have a $25 dinner special which is a bargain. Consider Valverde but not before 2PM since they have so few tables. This is when I go. Food is so good and cheap. Consider the soup rather than the salad. Ask for bread which is awesome. Another must go is Malagueta. Valverde is closed Tuesday, Malagueta on Monday. Pio Pio on Northern Blvd still has the lunch special as of 2 weeks ago but a $10 chicken lunch isn't for me. If you haven't been to lunch at Cabana on 70th Road, you should. Great atmosphere, service and bargain price. It's always crowded for lunch so go late. I believe they serve until 4PM. Entree includes soup or salad. A huge loss on 70th Road is Rouge French Bistro. Incredible lunch prices for the quality of the food. Oh, how I'll miss the Burger. The best I ever had including Donovan's. I don't drive and won't travel very far so places like Jamaica, Richmond Hill, Bayside are out of the question. A poster mentioned Jackson Diner for lunch and it is a bargain at $9.95. I take friends to this restaurant who love the place and it has nice atmosphere.

          1. re: Mike V

            Forgot to mention, Hapsigah Israeli in Kew Garden HIlls...
            very good. Nice atmosphere. Mellow in the daytime.

            I'll try to convince my husband to try Sapori again...:
            )Haven't made it to Valverde yet...what is good there? I looked at their menu but it didn't look that exciting for lunch...

            Never been to Malagueta, they make good shrimp, don't they?
            Had Pio Pio last night from Woodhaven Blvd..I think they are watering down their hot sauce, it's not nearly as good as it used to be. The JH location always seemed to be much better but it's so hard to park there.

            Been to Cabana many times for lunch, their garlic chicken is very good. Not really crazy about buffet's (don't like food that's just lying around like that)...and it's hard to find white meat chicken tikka, my husband will only eat this, and not the thigh.

            1. re: janie

              Janie, Cabana doesn't have a buffet or garlic chicken. Are you referring to Latin Cabana at 72-40 Austin St. Cabana is on 70th Road and is very upscale with a very large pleasant dining room. Lunches are $10 and under which includes soup or salad. Incredible value. Malagueta has an excellent Shrimp dish but I don't remember the name. It gets rave reviews. I've had all four pasta dishes at Valverde and they're all excellent and the portions large. A bargain at $7.95 which includes soup or salad. This restaurant is a must. Everyone who goes loves it. Thanks for the Hapsigah Israeli recommendation. It's on my list. And do get to Sapori for lunch. It's so quiet and relaxing at lunch with excellent service and so inexpensive plus easy parking. I haven't had the chicken at Pio Pio Northern Blvd in a while but do remember the sauce was always outstanding. Someone mentioned that they sell the sauce for $5 a container. Oh, and next to Cabana on 70th Road is a fairly new Thai Restaurant with lunch specials and always crowded. Very nice atmosphere.

              1. re: Mike V

                For buffet, I was actually referring to Jackson Diner, sorry for the confusion. Yes, I know Cabana and yes, that's the one I've been to many times...although not too recently. 5 Burro Cafe used to have a good lunch special also, but they recently raised their prices--and I much prefer the lighter food at De Mole. Just picked up breakfast there today, and a mexican hot choc to go today, and it was just so simply good. They had a nice crowd at about noon,and I noticed a table having sangria..where did they get that???

                1. re: janie

                  Regarding the sangria, they will make some drinks but you have to bring the alcohol. I think the charge for margarita's was something like $6/pitcher. Haven't done it myself, though, so check ahead to be sure.

      3. Cinco de Mayo on Bell Blvd. in Bayside has a good $6 lunch special. There's even a vegetarian trio (I believe it's enchiladas/burritos) offered that is not on the regular menu (although, I wish it was!). The main course comes with a side of lettuce, tomato, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, rice and beans. Parking is possible on the residential streets, or you just pay the muni-meter.

        And don't forget the all-you-can-eat lunch buffet offered at Jackson Diner in Jackson Heights for $9.95 (options are varied and sometimes include dosas made to order). Parking is tight on the residential streets, but doable. Much easier to take the subway, if that's an option.

        1. $8 all u can eat buffet at 5 star Punjabi Diner. Nan is included and comes from the oven too hot to eat. There are plenty of posts on here about it. I go once a week and usually leave uncomfortably full. I don't know so much about Indian food but this is the best I know of citywide.

          Thanks for the de Mole tip, I'll be there tomorrow.

          Anything else you guys got around there (south of Qns Blvd) would be greatly appreciated.

          I also go to Tropical 2 on Greenpoint at the LIE exit. I usually opt for the Shrimp in hot sauce which is $12 w/ rice beans or tostones. They have a lunch special which always comes with a beef soup but I can't remember the other stuff, but that seems to be what everyone else has. I love love love this place. It's Ecuadorian btw.

          the end

          2 Replies
          1. re: 2slices

            Is that the place that used to have a sign that said, "typical Ecudorian food"??? and then they changed it recently to authentic, I think..anyway, I used to crack up when I saw that sign. ---wondering how they got that translation when they must have wanted to say, genuine or authentic, instead of ordinary or the usual. Good to know that it's worth checking out.

            Never been, but there is a place not far from that's been mentioned for pretty good chinese for takeout, lots of freshness described, think it was called Ten Full, 48th and greenpoint.

            Further West, Closer to Laguardia College on Van Dam and 47 is the Van Dam diner which makes great homefries, and they're super cheap and big portion in case you have a greasy diner craving. They close early, though.

            1. re: janie

              I think the "typical" was probably a translation of the oft-seen "comida tipica" which always means some downhome, authentic, it-is-what-it-is food which, in the case of many of these latin places, is actually a great thing.

              with that said, are there ANY good ecuadorian restaurants? been to a couple (hornado, some of the carts) and always . . . disappointed somehow. looking for a sublime ceviche, maybe a bandeja platter with the works.

              oh, seems there is a thread with some answers:


          2. You have been talking about the best lunch deals in Queens and you don't even mention Deshi Biryani? As of now Deshi Biryani's $5.99 Goat Curry and $8.99 Rohu Fish Curry aren't just unbeatable lunch deals in Queens but they are two of the very best lunch values in all of New York City!

            Here's the link to the post I wrote after my lunch at Deshi Biryani less than a week ago;


            But those of you here who like and frequent Indian lunch buffets, well you might not want to read that post. To put it politely, I am not fond of the purveyors of Indian buffets. I believe buffets have almost irreparably harmed the cause of Indian food.

            4 Replies
            1. re: MostSalmonForYourRupee

              I don't eat off buffets either, don't like food that just sits there. It's not hygenic, nor is it ever kept at right temp, so bacteria is high in all kinds of buffets. Besides all of that, I like my food brought hot and just made. I don't like anything reheated, I can always taste it right away.

              The problem though that I have with Deshi Biryani, is that my husband and I don't eat dark meat chicken, and we don't eat pork or goat, or other strange parts (innards, brain, etc) either. I know it's not very chowhoundy, but whatever...anyway, we do love shrimp, and we like veggies, etc and WE LOVE SPICY...and we really love chicken tikka when it's with white meat chicken. I actually called Deshi to ask them if they could make something with breast chicken and they said no. I know that most people prefer dark, or prefer the thigh for, unless they have some outrageously good shrimp dishes, or knockout veggie dishes, I don't think we'll be heading there too soon....

              1. re: janie

                they're not on the lunch special menu, but deshi does indeed have knockout veggie dishes. the alu varta, the paneer dishes and the cabbage dish are my favorites. the fish curry is also excellent.

                1. re: david sprague

                  their apps, the Pani Puri-esque Fuksa, the vegetable pakora and the thing that was potatoes surrounding a hard-boiled egg were all amazing, I actually preferred them to the entrees. The pakora especially, I was just expecting a few random vegetable bits encased in batter, but it was more like a bhaji, a bunch of different veggies shredded up and smashed together in a delicious and not to heavy batter. All of those are veggie and great.

              2. re: MostSalmonForYourRupee

                How does this place compare to 5 star Punjabi. I go there once a week and then skip dinner.