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Mar 27, 2008 12:28 PM

My lunches near Carnegie Hall

I have been working on 56th and 7th for a couple of years and I have some interesting places I get lunch but I would love to hear what others do. I usually go and pick something up and bring it back to my office and eat with my colleagues. However, once I realized how expenses and limited the neighborhood was, I started to bring my lunch with me over 50% of the time (leftovers, a homemade sandwich, etc.) But the other days I have some favorites- here they are...

The cart on 56th st. and 7th ave. (John)- This is the busy greek street cart on the NE corner. He usually has a big crowd and lots of smoke so he is tough to miss. I really enjoy his chicken platter and shish kabob platter- good rice, tasty Tsatsiki and moist meat. I also like his cheeseburger. Not to mention, nothing is over 6 bucks. If I am craving a halal cart, I got to the guy on the SE corner of 55th and 6th ave.

Philip's- This is a little coffee place on 56th btw 6th and 7th that sells a small selection of hale and hearty soups. However, it is cheaper than hale and hearty and they also give you a mediocre bagel. It's nothing to scream and shout about but is incredibly convenient to my office.

Korean/Bagel Place- I don't know what it is actually called, but there is a place on 56th just east 6th ave that has Korean food and also sells bagels. The Korean fare is pretty good. I really like the Bimbimbop and the spicy pork. The Noodle Soups also look good but I haven't tried them yet. A meal there usually runs me btw $8-$11.

FIKA- This Swedish espresso bar has pretty good, but expensive, options for lunch. I particularly enjoy the meatballs that come with a good serving of meatballs, a green salad and a potatoes salad with lingonberry sauce. This is a bit pricy and cost around $12.

Mariella's- It is my favorite neighborhood pizza joint- 8th ave btw 56th and 57th. Solid slice - I also really like the white slice.

burger joint at the Parker Meridien- If you haven't had one, you should try it. If you have, you know that they are delicious- unfortunately the line can be a pain.

These are some of my favorites, but I would love some other suggestions. I am up for all different kinds of cuisines- just as long as it is not another generic panini, pick your own salad, pasta bar, etc. place that seems to exclusively populate the midtown lunch scene.

What are your favorite hidden gems.

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  1. I work a couple blocks to the south and frequent some of your spots (burger joint, mariella's, that korean place - which is supringly good).

    Some other things i'll work in is La bonne soupe on 56th for bistro stuff, always crowded but can always get a seat too.

    started going to angelo's on 57th more recently - good italian style pizza instead of NY style if you feel like a change. 14 bucks for a pizza which i feel is generally splitable between two people.

    I really like menchanko Tei on 55th for ramen. it's a little pricey for luch (12 dollars or so) but i think it's worth it.

    I'll go to East for cheap lunch special type sushi on 56th (i think) between 7th and broadway.

    I go to baluchi's occasionally for cheap indian. it's only okay but their lunch is pretty cheap.

    the cuban place called TIna's on 56th i's reaaaally good. their cuban sandwiches are great and all their prepared foods are good too. i always jsut get stuff to go since i'm too cheap to sit down and pay for a tip there.

    I'll also schlep over to 9th ave when i'm not that busy for lunch b/c its a little cheaper. my fav place there for lunch is Q2 which is thai and has a 6.95 lunch set. its a pretty good value per quality.

    Hope this helps broaden your lunch time horizons.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Renguin

      Between the Bread on W 55th between 6th/7th. It's a catering place but they also sell some food, maybe the extra from their catering affairs? It's not incredible variety but I think the food and prep is high quality. Typically it's salmon and boneless chicken prepared fairly simply and your choice of two sides. I think it comes to about $11 or $12 so a little pricey for lunch maybe but for me it's enough for two meals : )

      1. re: uwsgrazer

        my only qualm with that place is their sandwiches are all pre-made (aren't they). i've never actually tried it for this reason, however the premade sandwiches DID look good. when things are premade i just don't like not knowing how long it's been sitting around like that, things can get a bit mushy.

    2. I work on 57th & 8th and usually bring my lunch or eat in the "cafe" in my building, but sometimes when I'm out in that direction, I get a salad at Printon 56, on 56th just east of 6th. I know you said not another salad place, but I do think that it's little better than most in the area.

      1. Max, what a great post and a great thread! Have you seen ? It's hilarious and informative blog all about lunch in -- you guessed it -- midtown Manhattan.

        Places I love that are near you: the Hallo Berlin cart on 54th between 5th and 6th, but closer to 5th and the Jamaican Dutchy cart on 51st and 7th or 8th (but only for the jerk chicken... don't think anything else is nearly as good).

        Places that I like that are further from you: Sukhadia's (Gujarati chaat and sweets; 45th between 5th and 6th), Sapporo (ramen; 49th between 6th and 7th), OmsB (rice balls; 45th between Lex and 3rd), Taam Tov (Buharian; 47th between 5th and 6th, I think).

        1 Reply
        1. re: cimui

          I'm at 57th and 8th. Anyone know of a good, nearby (2 or 3 blocks) Falafel?

        2. two places for japanese soup and noodles, one right next door to you bagel place on 56 stg, the other, on 55 btwn 5-6 ave north side of 55 st

          4 Replies
          1. re: intrepid

            I think the one on 55th that you're talking about is Menchanko Tei (which Renguin mentioned) or Onigashima (which is right above Menchanko Tei).

            1. re: cimui

              Thanks for the all of the responses and suggestions everyone! Of course, the genius that I am, I posted this right before I went on vacation.

              I have been meaning to try the Jamaican Dutchy place as i have heard good things. Also, I have tried the both ramen places and enjoyed them- however, i should revisit them before the summer arrives. I have been to Between the Bread before as one of my colleagues really likes it. I thought it was good, but also found it reminiscent of catering hall food- I guess they are caterers, so that makes sense.

              Thanks again!

              1. re: max

                I work right there as well (55th and 6th) but we order out daily, so I'm not up on the takeout places. Our standards are Tuscany, Joe's Shanghai, NY Thai Grill and Sushi Bar, Carnegie Deli, Tang Pavilion and Lucky's Famous for burgers. I am going to keep track of all these suggestions, though, in case I start wandering out when the weather improves!

                1. re: biondanonima

                  Yup, I have to admit the last time I got food from Between the Bread I was more lukewarm on things. I guess the novelty has worn off a bit for me. I still find it reasonably high quality and healthy food that tastes good. But it's not food I would want to eat everyday by any stretch.

          2. You've gotta order from Tuscany, an Italian catering/pizza joint on 55th between 6th and 5th. It's a little hole in the wall that you can't eat at, but they have really great pastas, sandwiches, salad, and pizza. My favorite is the penne all vodka with prosciutto.

            2 Replies
            1. re: m00ncakes

              Wow, this sounds great. I must have walked by a zillion times without knowing it even existed. Can you call in advance to have them prepare your order so it's waiting when you arrive?

              1. re: m00ncakes

                Yum! I just got take-out from Tuscany today - penne with eggplant. Very tasty and fresh, and so reasonably priced. Seven bucks for a plentiful serving.

                I also love penne a la vodka but I just wasn't in the mood for that today. But I definitely will return and try it another time. Thanks for the recommendation!