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Favorite midtown east lunch spots?

I work in the Culinary Wasteland that is midtown east (specifically, 42nd between 2nd and 3rd). Any suggestions for good, affordable lunches around here?

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  1. Fresco By Scotto, Avra, WOllensky Grill,

    1. I just started working here, too (42nd and Park), and I haven't figured out anything! Pershing Square Cafe was okay but expensive, and beyond that, I'm stumped.

      1. If you can walk down to 34th, Ali Baba. If you can walk up to 49th between 3rd & Lex., both Ise and Caffe Linda. For takeout, I find the salad or noodle bowls at Boi to Go better than the banh mi. Blarney Stone on 3rd between 44th & 45th. Fagiolini is OK. I work on 55th & 3rd, so I'm more familiar with north of 50th. 53rd between 2nd & 3rd has a number of good choices: Ariyoshi, Marrakesh & Tadka. Wu Liang Ye on Lexington & 39th isn't as good as their other branches, but might be worth a try. Juan Valdez Cafe at 480 Lexington if you want great coffee and either sweet arepas or pan de bono (cheese bread).


        1 Reply
        1. re: Peter Cherches

          COMPLETELY agree with the Ali Baba and Caffe Linda recs. Would also add "Dishes" on 45th btw 5th and Madison.


        2. Thanks for the recommendations!

          A couple of other places I've found around the area: Crisp, which makes good falafel with homemade pita (corner of 3rd and 43rd), and Sophie's Cuban (Lex between 41st and 42nd) - love the goat stew, chicken soup, baccala, and plantains. Both are reasonably priced.

          I will definitely try the coffee at Juan Valdez Cafe - I've passed by a few times but didn't know what to make of the place.

          1 Reply
          1. re: smartpalate77

            I used to like Delectica when I worked in the area. 3rd Avenue and 38th Street.

          2. Is Cipriani's to go spot still around? I always enjoyed their lunches.

            2 Replies
            1. re: stephaniec25

              Yup, still open affordable and delicious.

              Hatsuhana has good sushi. Wollensky's is great. Tacos from Pampano are amazing. Koshi the Japanese skewer place. Ali Baba. There are some good places around just get out there.

              1. re: Charlie OC

                Thanks Charlie - I tend to go there often over the summer since its a pretty good walk from my office. I will certainly head over there soon now that the weather is nice again!

            2. There are a few places on E. 45th, within walking distance, that I like:

              Oms/b (for omusubi)
              Aburiya Kinnosuke (decent set lunches, but a bit weak on the unagi)
              Bayan Cafe (Filipino)

              And Peter's suggestion of Boi to Go is a good one.

              Aburiya Kinnosuke
              213 E 45th St, New York, NY 10017

              156 E 45th St, New York, NY 10017

              2 Replies
              1. re: cimui

                Aburiya Kinnosuke: excellent, but somewhat pricey.

                1. re: Peter Cherches

                  Ah, right, good to mention. Set lunches run from something like $10 to $20, so it's not the cheapest lunch on the block. But "affordable" is a pretty subjective term.

              2. If you like Japanese, there are three to choose from on 40th from Mad to 5th. My favorite is Yagura, closest to Mad. Ave. Cheap and good. They have hot foods and pre-wrapped sushi rolls.

                Also there's a good gyro place on 39th & 38th on 3rd. They also have chicken. Sorry I can't remember the name but it is on the West side of the Street. Haven't worked in that nabe in a while.

                2 Replies
                1. re: G3B

                  i think you mean 41st between madison and 5th, if you're talking about the block that has cafe zaiya and chiyoda on it.

                  1. re: SomeRandomIdiot

                    yes you are right, sorry for the misdirect. i always forget if it is on the same block as the library or one over.