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Lunch options - lower EAST 20s area

Hey - I just started a new job. I work on 23rd between 2nd and 3rd Ave. Anyone have recommendations for good food for lunch around here? I'm willing to go from say 14th street to 29th Street, from 1st Ave to Park. I did discover Artichoke Basille pizza which is awesome. Any cuisine, nothing too expensive. Take out or casual dining preferred. Thanks!

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  1. Bao! Yum. 2nd Avenue between 23rd and 22nd
    Franks Trattoria has incredible pizza- 1st between 22nd and 21st.
    Bruno's ravioli for any kind of sandwich...
    Vanessa's dumplings on 14th between 2nd and third for fantastic dumplings
    Tossed for a good salad....park between 23rd and 21st

    1 Reply
    1. re: kcijones001

      There's a 'wichcraft somewhere around there too...

    2. You have tons of great Indian options: Tiffin Wallah (excellent buffet); Chennai Garden (thali lunch), Pongal immediately come to mind. Also check out La Petite Abeille, L'Annam and Grill 21.

      5 Replies
      1. re: JungMann

        I think the food at L'Annam is awful!

        1. re: RGR

          Oh no! What did you have? I had spring rolls and pho from the Greenwich Village location and thought it made for a great, cheap lunch.

          1. re: JungMann

            Our one visit to the 3rd Av. L'Annam was years ago, not long after they opened. Thus, I have no recollection of what we had. I usually like spring rolls, so that's a maybe. But I'm not a pho person, so definitely not that. I remember saying after we left, "Never again!" I guess I'm in the minority since it's still there.

            1. re: JungMann

              L'Annam used to be great for lunch specials but there's new people running the place and the quality has dropped.

        2. Right inside Madison Park you have Shake Shack! If you work close by and can go to lunch during off hour, then you can bypass long line and get the shack burger and frozen custard.

          1. How could I forget shake shack in madison park!

            1 Reply
            1. re: kcijones001

              Yeah, definitely the Shack- if you can get there between 11:00-11:15 the line should be alright.

              In Curry Hill there is also Saravaanas, of course (for thali), Roomali for Kati rolls, and I prefer the buffet at Chennai Garden to Tiffin Wallah even though it is a buck more.

              1. re: Lucia

                Def. Lamazou. The caprice sandwich is great. Also Posto on 18th and 2nd for the best thin crust pizza, JAS Mart on 23rd and Madison for Coconut Pocky and other good junk food. The Salmon burger at Organique isn't bad either. Bistangos for fried calamari and pasta but that might be too far north.
                Bao has a real good and spicy seafood fried rice, as well as green tea and black sesame ice cream.

                1. re: venezuelan

                  We tried Posto for the first time a few weeks ago. While I wouldn't say the thin crust pizza there is the best I've had, it is tasty.


                  If by Bao, you mean Bao Noodles, with the exception of the pho, I think the food has gone downhill.

              2. Molly's, on 3rd, b/t 22nd & 23rd. One of the best burgers around. Skip the fries in favor of the onion rings.

                Limon, on 24th, b/t 2nd & 3rd. Teensy "hidden gem" serving very good Turkish cuisine.


                Lantern Thai, on the corner of 2nd & 18th. A la carte menu + lunch special for $8.


                As mentioned, Lamazou, on 3rd, near 27th, does have excellent sandwiches. I found their soups too salty.


                If you feel like a splurge sometime, Bar Milano is on the corner of 3rd & 24th.


                1. Agree with many of the suggestions (although Bar Milano is a bit fancy/pricy for a regular during the week lunch). Would add:
                  Posto Pizza - 2nd Ave 18th st. - lunch specials are cheap and pizza is miraculously thin and tasty
                  La Tina's - haven't had the mexican food but their pollo asado sandwich is huge and very tasty, especially with toppings
                  Grill 21 - 21st between 1st and 2nd. Filipino Cuisine, great, cheap lunch specials. Try the bistek, shrimp scampi, and the tapsilog (fried beef slices marinated in vinegar & soy sauce, fried rice & egg)
                  Louise's Home Cooking - 2nd Ave 18/19, great breakfasts and all-day home cooking.

                  1. Tamarind -- east 22nd near Park -- has a little sandwich joint/tea shop next to the main restaurant. You can get excellent Indian-bread wraps at lunchtime.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: simkhele

                      I had no idea they had a lunch spot! That's excellent news! I think I'll give that a try for lunch today!

                    2. My top choices in that area:
                      1. Shake Shack! Barring that, the burger at Blue Smoke is also delicious and they do takeout. It's not a super-cheap lunch though.
                      2. The brand new kati roll cart outside of Tabla! It's great and very filling. Cilantro, chicken, mint chutney, and all wrapped in a piping hot egg washed wrapper. It puts my old favorite, Roomali, to shame. $8. And they have pomegranate limeade, and bhel puri, too. They even had little sample cups of the bhel puri last time I was there.
                      3. Lamazou's amazing sandwiches with great bread, nice quality ingredients, and very sweet service.
                      4. The secret take out menu at Pamplona. Cheapest deal around. $6 for a skirt steak and avocado sandwich? Sounds unreal but it's real. Served warm, made to order, and a lovely medium rare on the inside. Right on the edges of your walking range, but I think it might be worth the walk. Call ahead, it takes 10-15 minutes for them to prep your order, and by the time you get there, it'll be done. (Damn, now I want one right now.)

                        1. Some more quickie options which haven't been named yet:

                          Latin Thing has good latin pressed sandwiches for takeout (there's one chair to sit down).
                          RUB is a little hike, but the pulled pork or brisket sandwiches are about $9
                          New York Burger Co. on Park & 23rd saves you the line at Shake Shack

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: sugartoof

                            NY Burger Co is mediocre. They overcook the meat. The patties are dry and bland. They need more seasoning!

                            1. re: kathryn

                              I used to like the burgers at NY Burger Co a few years ago (I appreciated the blandness because I generally think food is too salty), as a much better alternative to something like McDonald's, I'd never put them in the same sentence with Shake Shack. I think they changed their recipes and perhaps their suppliers in the last year/year and a half, and the food has not improved as a result.

                              1. re: ballulah

                                I'd never put Shake Shack in the same sentence as a real burger but people do it all the time. It's all fast food at fast food quality. I've had burgers at Shake Shack that made me regret not just going to NY Burger Company. Quality control isn't the best there, but it's less of a hassle especially at lunch.

                          2. Call me a crackpot, but I love the food at Rodeo Bar (3rd Ave and 27th). It's actually really excellent Tex Mex, and the margaritas are fantastic...more of an after work kind of spot. Don't go in expecting Mex-Mexican, or Cal Mex (SoCal or NorCal), but honest to queso Tex Mex. The atmosphere can seem borderline frat-ish, but if you stay awhile, you'll realize it's mostly just festive. They used to have a reputation for booking some of the best of the best of the bands in the Alt Country scene (the booker moved to Taos to book some music festival out there, but I think he still has a hand in booking the music at Rodeo). It's the only place in NY I know of that serves "cowboy kisses" and they are evilly delicious: a shrimp, stuffed in a jalapeno, wrapped in bacon. Oh my.

                            And for some of the best inexpensive-ish sushi I've had in the city try Yama on 17th and Irving Place. Trouble is, that's an after work place too...or go in when you have a longer lunchbreak. They, unfortunately, don't deliver. If you manage to get there before the line stretches from the front door to the corner, you'll feel like the luckiest person alive. The fish is preternaturally fresh and well prepared...and best of all reasonably priced, not cheap, but priced fairly for the quality. The place isn't fancy or spacious or particularly atmospheric, but the food is great.