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Let's do lunch instead

Are there restaurants or types of cuisines that you'd much prefer to eat at for lunch than dinner?

For me, Middle Eastern/Levantine restaurants I greatly prefer for lunch than dinner. I really enjoy eating the various small mezze dishes, but main courses at such restaurants often revolve around grilled meat (either kebabs or whole cuts) and uninspiring side dishes. For lunch, I'm happy splitting the mezze and if I'm really hungry getting a kebab in a pita or a single kebab skewer - but avoiding the standard dinner entree options.

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  1. I prefer simple ethnic fare for lunch, couple of tacos, slice or two of pizza, chinese lunch special, Gyro etc. Burgers and sandwich too!

    1. When I go to an "all-you-can-eat" -- I go for lunch, never dinner.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Kholvaitar

        Me too, because it usually ends up covering both!

        1. re: Kholvaitar

          Absolutely +1- AYCE lunch = skipped dinner,

          1. re: EWSflash

            maybe a little dish of ice cream later...

          1. I'm more likely to enjoy a salad for lunch, or a bowl of soup, than I would for dinner. If eating on the go, pizza slices or packaged sushi. I don't have access to any ethnic restaurants.
            If I did, I'd head for ramen or pho!!

            1. Salad, sandwiches including burgers, Mexican are all lunch time faire at our house. Asian noodles/soup also, like pho. Fast food is also a lunch as are diners for the most part.

              Other ethnic cuisine is usually dinner: hibachi, sushi, anything continental with various courses, Italian, Indian, Lebanese, seafood.

              Thai is typically lunch at one place and dinner at another due to the crowds etc.

              Pizza out is usually lunch but pizza takeout is dinner.

              1. i typically eat my biggest meal at night. i do so because food bogs me down during the day - im not on my feet all the time and im typically sitting down writing, running code, on my computer.

                given this, i eat light - salads, soup, sandwiches. if i do end up eating a lot, i do a brunch.

                1. Most of what's been mentioned are interchangeable as lunch or dinner, for me. The more substantial meal simply becomes my main meal for the day, and I'll eat lighter for the other meal.

                  The only exception I can think of is in the OP: middle eastern food. I eat a lot more ME stuff for lunch than dinner. I'm thinking a platter of hummus, baba ghanoush, and tabbouleh with pita, or maybe just a gyro or schawarma. I think this is at least partially due to the fact that many gyro joints near me are only open through lunch, and I am generally unimpressed by the dinner options at many of the fancier ME restaurants near me.

                  1. Pizza, I usually am only interested in a few slices and as someone with a ginormous appetite just a few pieces of pizza is not going to hold me over through the night

                    1. Lunch is my main meal of the day (unless I've really overdone it for breakfast or have a rare dinner date) so I'm up for just about any cuisine. I do have to say though that the OP may be on to something about Middle Eastern cuisine, it does really seem to lend itself to lighter meals except perhaps for the Persian stews. Even though lunch is my main meal I still don't eat heavily and I don't like being overstuffed, so there have been some cuisines that I have thought would have been better experienced in the evening, such as Polish and Bosnian. That's partly a function of what's on the menu, though, not just the cuisine overall.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: brucesw

                        Completely agree that this is about restaurant options and not an entire cuisine. As someone who lives in the Middle East, I could do (and in fairness have done) whole rants about how the traditional Levantine food has a very limited restaurant culture. Not that the food culture itself is limited, but on the rare occasions where it's been required to eat lunch and dinner at Levantine (to differentiate from Persian or Gulf) restaurants in one day for work - talk about menu fatigue. There's just not a lot of menu diversity.

                        1. re: cresyd

                          Interesting about the menu fatigue. There certainly is a sameness to menus here, where most restaurants of the region just identify as 'Middle Eastern.' It does seem to be getting more common for some to identify by nationality. Of course, the Persian restaurants have always differentiated themselves (in my experience, anyway), but now you see more identifying as Lebanese, a handful of Iraqi, one Palestinian. The Israeli restaurants have always been identifiable also, because they identify as kosher. I have never heard the term Gulf cuisine here; the only places I'm likely to find dishes from there identified as such are at the Israeli restaurants, although I did see kabsa as a daily special at one place which made me think it might be Saudi but the name is M and M Grill, with the 2 M's standing for Mexican and Mediterranean!, so not even 'Middle Eastern.'

                          1. re: brucesw

                            From Saudi people I've known over the years, I know that there is a difference between food you'd find in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states compared to Lebanon - but I'm not really well versed enough to know the difference. Not sure if it is just along the lines of regional variation versus "similar but distinct" - as I would say about Persian food.

                            However, in Jerusalem there are a number of Yemenite places - which have largely filled a late night fast food niche. Perhaps healthier than late night pizza (maybe), but they don't have a very diverse range of offerings.

                            1. re: cresyd


                              This old thread discusses Saudi and Gulf cuisine, may be of interest to you.

                              1. re: luckyfatima

                                Thanks! Definitely sounds as though it as more in common with Persian food - but still clearly all part of the same family.

                      2. I prefer to have pho or other broth and noodle soups like seafood mi at lunch.

                        1. On Sundays we usually go out for dim sum around 11:00 or so. we eat a lot, and I'm done for the day except for maybe a light salad in the evening. I'd like to eat like that more, because I don't need to eat a big dinner at all.

                          1. When I want to try a restaurant in which dinner is at the upper end of my "affordability scale", I opt for lunch. I generally will consume less wine, and less food, at my (solo) mid-day meal, than at my (usually with a companion) evening meal.
                            Also, if I want to dine with a friend who has budget constraints, we will choose lunch, over dinner.

                            1. In addition to middle eastern, sandwiches for me. I just can't get into having a sandwich for dinner. Although I did make some good chicken sandwiches the other night, but that involved actually cooking the chicken. But something like Subway or Jimmy Johns? No. Also no salads for dinner unless it's a side.

                              1. I would almost always rather do lunch for anything. It's just naturally when I'm most hungry. And I've got the day to burn off a heavy meal.
                                But where I most prefer to do lunch instead is at Tex Mex places. It's a big favorite amongst my friends, and I can not eat a combo plate or whatever at 9 and have a good night's sleep.