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Cheap Ethnic lunch ideas?

lupaglupa Jul 7, 2009 07:29 AM

I'm making a rare foray to the City and want something great and unusual that doesn't cost me big. We'll be between the PA Bus Terminal and the Museum of the City of New York (5th and 103rd). Any ideas for a great place to grab lunch and or a quick dinner? We're fine at a counter and I'm open to vendor carts too! TIA

  1. l
    LBNJNY Jul 7, 2009 08:02 AM

    El Paso Taqueria at Lex and 104th is AWESOME.

    1 Reply
    1. re: LBNJNY
      big o Jul 7, 2009 12:42 PM

      I second this.

    2. s
      stephaniec25 Jul 7, 2009 08:38 AM

      Margon - 46th between 6th and broadway

      3 Replies
      1. re: stephaniec25
        KTinNYC Jul 7, 2009 09:01 AM

        Margon serves great food but I don't think they do dinner.

        1. re: KTinNYC
          stephaniec25 Jul 7, 2009 09:11 AM

          The OP also asked about lunch

          1. re: stephaniec25
            KTinNYC Jul 7, 2009 09:15 AM

            "Lunch or quick dinner" I just wanted to point out that dinner is not an option.

      2. f
        fredid Jul 7, 2009 11:51 AM

        Last trip to the city, I was thrilled to find more good cheap eats in Midtown, to indulge in between my many museum forays! My favorite new place: Sukhedia's, especially for their bhel puri chaat - This was a totally new dish for me, and lots of fun. Also stopped at Rincon del Sabor, fourth floor walk-up Ecuadorian place, in the Diamond District, for good ceviche. Taam Tov, posted about today - Uzbek food - is in the same area.

        Another possibilty for you is the ninth Avenue eateries in the 50s - you'll have to do a search - I've learned to go uptown on the trains on the West Side, and then use a (free) transfer to the bus east through the park, to go to the museums on Fifth Avenue.

        A third area for you to explore (on foot, or through Search on the board) would be East 116th St - for lots of excellent Latino food.

        I'll try to add links and addresses for all of the above when I find time!

        1. j
          Joepicurean Jul 7, 2009 12:19 PM

          Vendor cart on 54th Street & Park - fried tilapia with rice and salad for only $5. They also have chicken and shrimp.

          1. JungMann Jul 7, 2009 01:33 PM

            Is there anything in particular you would like? Within a reasonable route between your two points, you could encounter Ethiopian tartare, Mexican sandwiches, Afghan kebabs, Szechuanese pork belly, German sausages, Israeli falafel, Thai streetfood and Cuban sandwiches.

            9 Replies
            1. re: JungMann
              MWinston Jul 8, 2009 09:15 AM

              I'm curious about your Ethiopian recommendations. I have enjoyed Ethiopian in Philly, but have not seen any around NY yet.

              1. re: MWinston
                JungMann Jul 8, 2009 10:00 AM

                Meskerem and Queen of Sheba are your best bets in Midtown. I am not a fan of Awash and have been meaning to travel further uptown to try Zoma and Massawa.

                1. re: JungMann
                  MWinston Jul 8, 2009 10:21 AM

                  Funny, I just walked to Tulcingo Del Valle for lunch (which was great) and passed Meskerem in the process. I picked up a menu and come back here to find that it is one of your recommendations.

                  1. re: MWinston
                    LeahBaila Jul 10, 2009 05:37 AM

                    I lived in HK for 2 years and never got around to Meskerem...Been meaning to try it for the longest.


              2. re: JungMann
                lupaglupa Jul 9, 2009 02:18 PM

                I'll eat anything but the more unusual the better - I always like to try something new. I especially like to try "peasant" food - not the dressed up feasting cuisine of a place but the local every day specialities.

                1. re: lupaglupa
                  MWinston Jul 9, 2009 07:18 PM

                  A lunch at Margon never hurts. Delicious Dominican/Cuban food and always extremely filling.

                  136 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036

                  1. re: lupaglupa
                    JungMann Jul 10, 2009 05:34 AM

                    Margon is one of Midtown (if not Manhattan's) best Cuban options, however if you want Dominican, I would visit El Malecon, which should be on your way uptown according to Hopstop, as would its Argentine neighbor next door, La Rural, a destination for parillada. In the same direction as Margon, there is a Jamaican lunch cart called Jamaican Dutchy which is popular among workers in Midtown.

                    Closer to PA, I can recommend the soulful Pueblan cemitas or tortas and tacos at Tehuitzingo, various (and very often fusion) empanadas at Empanada Mama, great sausages and beer at Hallow Berlin, massive spanikopita, tiropita, kreatopita and baklava at Poseidon Bakery or gyros at Uncle Nick's, Druze cuisine at Gazala's Palace, falafel at Azuri cafe, meaty and spicy pork at Szechuan Gourmet and Thai at Wondee of Siam (or before people start flinging mieng kha na at me, the ever-popular Pam Real Thai).

                    1. re: JungMann
                      MWinston Jul 10, 2009 12:26 PM

                      You named like all of my regular places :) but one or two that I didn't know about.

                      Gazala's Palace is now on the todo list.

                      1. re: MWinston
                        big o Jul 10, 2009 09:17 PM

                        I thought Gazala Place was pretty awful.

                2. buttertart Jul 8, 2009 11:49 AM

                  Depends on what you mean by ethnic, but there's a very nice Greek place that opened recently just across from the PA on 42nd between 8th and 9th - Dafni - I posted about it a while ago. We have since returned and it was even better.

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