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quit my crappy job, lunch near new job (41st/Mad)?

I'm still very new to the city and I've tried to do some research, but it's hard to figure out what is really nearby. I work near the Library by 41st and Madison.

Where are the good lunch time eats? Delis gross me out sometimes, as do those giant salad bars/bufffets. I'm happy with cheap eats, and I'll do carts (I'm a big fan of the Kwik cart) and I wouldn't mind a couple of suggestions for a sit-down lunchtime meal when I need a real break from the office.

Any tips for me?

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  1. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/507698 - some of these suggestions might be a bit far afield, but hopefully some won't.

    Searching for lunch and "Grand Central" might help as well.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MMRuth

      Oh - and if you like tamales, you might want to check out this cart:


    2. I can't offer recs on carts since I don't go to them but the one lunch place that I think is worth going to (I work on 40th and 5th) is Dishes on 45th between 5th and Madison. It has soups, salads, sandwiches and a hot/cold food bar but they do it in a much nicer way that the usual deli; it's a bit more expensive but it's totally worth it. On a rough day, or even a good day at work, their coconut crusted chicken fingers are really good. The place gets packed at prime lunch times and best described as zoo-like but it's worth going through the crowd to buy food there. They have tables to stay there but I've always taken food out.

      Otherwise there are a bunch of chain lunch places like Pret a Manger, Hale and Hearty, etc. on 42nd between 5th and 6th which are all about the same in terms of quality.

      If you need a nicer sit down meal, there is Pera on Madison and 41st which I think has very good Mediterranean food (pricey but good). There is also Naples 45 for pizza which I haven't tried yet but have heard very good things about. There is also Bryant Park Grille which up until recently I thought was pretty underwhelming but recently had a surprisingly good meal there (it was expensed so probably that helped lessen expectations).

      Hope this helps!

      1 Reply
      1. re: pellegrino31

        I second Dishes. Our office got sandwiches, salad, and cookies catered from there. Excellent! Especially the cookies, which were amazing. They had possibly the best oatmeal raisin cookies I've ever eaten, sweetened with fruit juice and pieces of fruit. I later found out that these are apparently diabetic-friendly, too. I'll have to pick up some of those for my father sometime.

        I didn't know they were expensive, though, as I've never walked down there. That's disappointing, but I'd say their food is worth it. Anyway, just about everything is expensive here in Midtown. I hate working here.

      2. Definitely hit up the "food court" in Grand Central, lower level.
        Everything and anything you could possibly want is there.
        Sit down, Naples 45..45th and Vanderbilt.

        1 Reply
        1. re: kcijones001

          Yes - and while I know the OP isn't a huge fan of Murray's, there's one in GC.

        2. You are literally right by Cafe Zaiya, one of my favorite places in Midtown for a cheap lunch. Love the spicy chicken sandwich. There are seats, but it's kind of hard to get them during lunch time. If you can't get a seat, you can take your lunch to Bryant Park and eat it there.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Miss Needle

            zaiya is seriously ridiculously perfect for what you need.

          2. There's also Madison and Vine for a sit down or Pershing Square.

            1. Yagura is one of my favorite japanese places. It is on 41st Street 5th bet. Mad. A hole in the wall, but cheap and good. Used to go all the time when I was in the area.

              1. you should take a look at midtownlunch.com. interesting stuff sometimes.

                szechuan gourmet is on 39th between 5th/6th if u like spicy.
                keen's on 36th between 5th/6th for a sitdown place.
                Chiyoda, next to Cafe Zaiya gives you more fish options than Zaiya does.
                If you have about an hour you can hop on the B/D and have lunch at the Chinatown places near the Grand St. station. I'm at 40th and 5th and do this 1-2x a week.

                1 Reply
                1. re: SomeRandomIdiot

                  I do this sometimes too. love the tuna sandwich from the dumpling place on eldridge (now called vanessa's)

                2. Another vote for Cafe Zaiya and Chioda. Lots of options, fresh food and good prices. Most always packed. The spicy tuna sandwich at Cafe Zaiya is great, as are many of their boxes. Chioda has some good take out sushi and salads (their shrimp salad, on a bed of greens, is great). Dishes is also very good, but priced on the high side. Bread and Olive, on East 45th, off of Fifth, has good Middle Eastern fare. Also, the take out window for the Oyster Bar, in Grand Central, is a good option.

                  1. thanks for all the ideas, people! I walked by cafe zaiya and it looks really interesting. glad to have some sit-down recommendations for when I'm feeling luxurious.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: MB fka MB

                      I just drove up Madison on our way home from USQ - maybe as you were posting(!) - and it occurred to me that the little cafe in the Morgan Library would be a nice lunch respite for you. I've only had tea there, but the food was good. Menu:


                      Not open Mondays.

                      1. re: MMRuth

                        thanks for the tip. from earlier posts it seems that you and I have similar tastes and so I will certainly check this out when I need a break.

                    2. midtownlunch.com!!!!

                      I love his recommendations.


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: likaluca

                        I read midtown lunch a lot, but for a NYC newbie like myself, it can be tough to figure out what's really within walking distance. also, his aim is $10 and under so it leaves out some of the pricier yet tasty possibilities.

                      2. oms/b for omusubi isn't too far away from you (between lex and 3rd on 45th). they have (crowded) tables for eat in. most ppl do take out.

                        on 45th between 5th and 6th, there's sukhadia's for decent chaat and good indian sweets. indus express three blocks up on 48th has even better chaat and a so-so, mostly n. indian food steam table (behind glass, not the kind where customers dribble one dish into the other and surreptitiously taste or anything yucky like that)

                        taam tov on 47th between 5th and 6th (kosher bukharan... better than it might sound) is still strong. http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/...

                        41 W 47th St, New York, NY 10036

                        156 E 45th St, New York, NY 10017

                        17 W 45th St, New York, NY 10036

                        Indus Express
                        48 W 48th St, New York, NY 10036

                        1. If you want to take a walk, Sapporo noodle place is good on 49th and 6th.