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Four bowls filled with chorizo and french fries, a roast chicken sandwich, quinoa salad, and a chicken rice mixture Chirp [Official Photo]

20 Standout Fast-Casual Restaurants of Midtown Manhattan

There’s no Chipotle or Just Salad on this list

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New York City is covered in restaurants, and yet, finding a decent lunch around Midtown offices is still harder than it should be. Sure, there are plenty locations of Hale & Hearty and easily more than eight Chipotles, but chain lunches can quickly get stale. Here are 20 options that rise above the rest.

Note: This is an updated version of a map originally published in 2017.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Bāng Bar

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David Chang’s grab-and-go breakfast and lunch stall on the third floor of the Columbus Circle mall has a short and simple menu, centered around Korean flatbread wraps (“bāng,” usually spelled ppang or bbang) filled with roasted meats, rolled and folded into a U-shape. But there’s also the “office bowl,” which serves either gochujang-marinated pork, yakitori-glazed chicken, or spicy eggplant with rice and pickles.

Disclosure: David Chang is producing shows for Hulu in partnership with Vox Media Studios, part of Eater’s parent company, Vox Media. No Eater staff member is involved in the production of those shows, and this does not impact coverage on Eater.

Bolivian Llama Party

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This Bolivian stall is the standout in the food hall in the subway underneath Columbus Circle. The savory pastries filled with meat stew known as salteñas are an ideal snack, and two make for a meal. Or opt for the garlic chicken and bacon sandwich paired with a cherimoya juice, a South American fruit know for its notes of pineapple and coconut.

Looking into a stall restaurant with a sign above that says “Bolivian Llama Party” Nick Solares/Eater

Indikitch

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Indikitch offers an assembly-line experience akin to Chipotle, but with Indian ingredients. The ordering process starts by picking a base between options like a “feast,” biryani bowl, kati roll, salad, and dosa. For each of the options, mains include chicken tikka, pulled pork vindaloo, paneer, lamb kofta, and grilled mushrooms. All can be served in either tikka masala, vindaloo, korma, kadai, or saag sauces. Sides like samosas and naan are extra.

A bowl filled with saag paneer and rice, with naan in the background Indikitch [Official Photo]

Burger Joint

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For those who have never been, it’s always a delight to walk through the Parker hotel’s dignified lobby into the crowded, casual scene at this burger destination. Prepare for long lines that lead to one of the city’s top fast burgers.

Diners feast on burgers at the crowded Burger Joint at the Parker hotel Nick Solares/Eater

Corner Slice

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One of NYC’s best slices sits inside Gotham Market on Eleventh Avenue. Slices are made from a blend of fresh-milled spelt and durum wheat, and options include plain, soppressata, mushroom, and more. But the real winner is the tomato slice, says Eater critic Ryan Sutton: “Most bites are pulpy and electrically acidic. Others — where the layering of the fruit is thinner than a coat of paint — are drier and more aromatic. The exceedingly light slice, about half the weight of a deck of cards, eats in about 30 seconds.” Three make a solid meal.

The Little Beet

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Franklin Becker was one of the first chefs to sprout open a fast-casual restaurant in NYC, making way for a sit-down successor, the Little Beet Table. At the Little Beet, visitors pick a plate base (between tofu, chicken, steak, and salmon among others) before adding seasonal sides like cauliflower, quinoa, or roasted beets. Almost everything on the menu is either vegetarian or gluten free.

Various vegetable sides The Little Beet [Official Photo]

Little Collins

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The Aussies running this Midtown shop have provided a getaway for a neighborhood otherwise filled with Starbucks and Le Pains. Alongside flat whites and pour overs, the shop serves sandwiches, salads, and a behemoth of toasted banana bread with ricotta, berries, honey, and almond brittle. Get the schnitzel sandwich or the always-solid avocado smash.

Avocado toast stopped with a poached egg and sunflower seeds Robert Sietsema/Eater

Chirping Chicken

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One of six NYC locations, this Hell’s Kitchen Mediterranean quick-service restaurant is a locals favorite. Juicy charcoal-broiled chicken comes in various forms, whether on its own with sides, in a pita, or on top of Greek salad. Other Greek specialties include gyro and souvlaki, and there are also American go-tos like a burger, chicken fingers, ribs, and mozzarella sticks.

Grilled chicken atop yellow rice alongside salad with stuffed grape leaves
Chicken souvlaki platter
Stefanie Tuder/Eater

Margon is an old-guard Times Square lunch counter with swirling stools and orange Formica tables — and one of the city’s best Cuban restaurants. The place presents Cuban classics on a weekly rotating basis, along with some Dominican fare. But always available are Cuban sandwiches, bright red fricassee chicken, octopus salad, and lechon asado (spice-rubbed roast pork).

Wedges of lime sit next to a plate of roast pork topped with pickled onions.
Pork roast and salad
Robert Sietsema

The Kati Roll Company

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This Indian street food restaurant began serving fast-casual way before it was a thing in New York. Now, 15 years after opening, Kati Roll and its stuffed paratha flatbreads are a go-to. Kati rolls are all under $8 and include options like beef tikka with eggs, a chicken tikka roll, and a roll stuffed with a lamb and lentil patty. Two will fill someone up.

Kati rolls in a row The Kati Roll Company [Official Photo]

Falafel powerhouse Taïm is the definite move at Urbanspace’s location on Lexington. The vegetarian menu of falafel platters and sandwiches, hummus, and salads is also mainly vegan, making it an ideal stop for anyone — and meat-eaters will still be satisfied by the high flavor of owner Einat Admony’s food.

Xi'an Famous Foods

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The original location of this full-on empire opened in Flushing, and now branches are all over the city, including in Midtown. Go for any of the hand-pulled noodles — the cold-skin ones in particular make for a spicy and hearty midday meal. One word of warning: Midtown outposts get very busy, so expect lines.

Hand-pulled spicy cumin lamb noodles being lifted with chopsticks Nick Solares/Eater

Junzi Kitchen

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The newest location of this fast-casual restaurant mini-chain from Eater Young Gun Lucas Sin serves the same northern Chinese bing wraps, noodle bowls, and salads, as well as a few sweets made with seasonal ingredients. The wraps, made of thin flour-pressed dough, have a build-your-own option with a selection of braised meats, pickled and stir-fried vegetables, sauces, and different spice levels. There are also two types of noodles to choose from: wide, wavy, rippled knife noodles (which have a variety of textures and thickness), and thin, chewy spring noodles.

Three noodle bowls topped with various proteins Kunning Huang for Junzi Kitchen [Official Photo]

Breads Bakery

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This small outpost of Israeli bakery Breads has plenty of Jewish pastries and its namesake bread, but for lunch, opt for the revelatory tuna sandwich. As Eater critic Ryan Sutton posits, it’s “nearly unparalleled ... The components are simple: dark tuna — as rich and oily as mackerel — hard boiled eggs, boiled potatoes, black olives, sliced tomatoes, and confit lemon on soft focaccia slicked with a crimson harissa ... The Tunisian sandwich at Breads is nothing revolutionary, it’s just perfect.”

A tuna sandwich Nick Solares/Eater

Two Forks

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Two Forks is a health-focused casual restaurant steps away from Bryant Park. The menu offers signature bowls with cutesy names like Noah’s Arc (pulled beef, chicken, pork, lamb, cabbage, carrot slaw), as well as sandwiches like the Big Fat Greek with pulled lamb, cucumber, tomato, and olive slaw. There’s also a build-your-own option, but as is the case with a lot of fast-casual restaurants riddled with options, it’s often best to stick to the signatures here.

Dos Toros Taqueria

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California-Mexican restaurant Dos Toros has set up shop in various New York neighborhoods and even has several others just in Midtown. Each location tends to dominate wherever it opens, offering similar fare as Chipotle. There are burritos, plates, quesadillas, and tacos with filling options like pollo asado, carnitas, and carne asada.

A burrito bowl with chicken and guacamole Dos Toros [Official Photo]

Chirp near Penn Station specializes in making juicy and subtly smoky rotisserie chicken, flavored by a marinade of traditional Peruvian spices. The bird is served either whole, or in half and quarter cuts, with sides such as rice, fried plantains, fried sweet plantains, pinto beans, or fried yuca. It also comes in chicken sandwich form, with sweet plantain, lettuce, tomato, honey mustard, and Chirp’s green sauce. Other options at this fast-casual rotisserie include various salads, sandwiches, and stir-fry.

Four bowls filled with chorizo and french fries, a roast chicken sandwich, quinoa salad, and a chicken rice mixture Chirp [Official Photo]

Roti Modern Mediterranean

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Bright Mediterranean flavors go into bowls, wraps, and salads, with protein options such as lamb meatballs, salmon kabob, and falafel and sides like couscous with currants or red cabbage slaw. The wraps, using stretchy laffa as the bread, are especially well-balanced.

Chicken wrap Roti [Official Photo]

Sophie's Cuban Cuisine

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Simple, authentic Cuban food is the name of the game at Sophie’s, where options include a Cuban sandwich, a roast pork sandwich, and sides like maduros (fried sweet plantains), tostones (fried plantains), and fried yucca. There’s also a curious number of larger chicken entrees like baked chicken, breaded chicken, grilled chicken, and spicy grilled chicken.

A Cuban sandwich on a white plate Sophie’s [Official Photo]

Sons of Thunder

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Sons of Thunder was among the first to debut ahead of the massive wave of the popular Hawaiian fish salad, and it’s a favorite for Eater critic Robert Sietsema. Its prime Murray Hill location means it’s crowded from open to close with, well, that quintessential Murray Hill dweller. The poke here is unfussy, with options like tobiko, seaweed salad, ahi tuna, and salmon. Other options include hot dogs like a Chicago-style dog with tomato, onion, pickle, and dill relish.

A tuna poke bowl Sons of Thunder [Official Photo]

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Bāng Bar

David Chang’s grab-and-go breakfast and lunch stall on the third floor of the Columbus Circle mall has a short and simple menu, centered around Korean flatbread wraps (“bāng,” usually spelled ppang or bbang) filled with roasted meats, rolled and folded into a U-shape. But there’s also the “office bowl,” which serves either gochujang-marinated pork, yakitori-glazed chicken, or spicy eggplant with rice and pickles.

Disclosure: David Chang is producing shows for Hulu in partnership with Vox Media Studios, part of Eater’s parent company, Vox Media. No Eater staff member is involved in the production of those shows, and this does not impact coverage on Eater.

Bolivian Llama Party

Looking into a stall restaurant with a sign above that says “Bolivian Llama Party” Nick Solares/Eater

This Bolivian stall is the standout in the food hall in the subway underneath Columbus Circle. The savory pastries filled with meat stew known as salteñas are an ideal snack, and two make for a meal. Or opt for the garlic chicken and bacon sandwich paired with a cherimoya juice, a South American fruit know for its notes of pineapple and coconut.

Looking into a stall restaurant with a sign above that says “Bolivian Llama Party” Nick Solares/Eater

Indikitch

A bowl filled with saag paneer and rice, with naan in the background Indikitch [Official Photo]

Indikitch offers an assembly-line experience akin to Chipotle, but with Indian ingredients. The ordering process starts by picking a base between options like a “feast,” biryani bowl, kati roll, salad, and dosa. For each of the options, mains include chicken tikka, pulled pork vindaloo, paneer, lamb kofta, and grilled mushrooms. All can be served in either tikka masala, vindaloo, korma, kadai, or saag sauces. Sides like samosas and naan are extra.

A bowl filled with saag paneer and rice, with naan in the background Indikitch [Official Photo]

Burger Joint

Diners feast on burgers at the crowded Burger Joint at the Parker hotel Nick Solares/Eater

For those who have never been, it’s always a delight to walk through the Parker hotel’s dignified lobby into the crowded, casual scene at this burger destination. Prepare for long lines that lead to one of the city’s top fast burgers.

Diners feast on burgers at the crowded Burger Joint at the Parker hotel Nick Solares/Eater

Corner Slice

One of NYC’s best slices sits inside Gotham Market on Eleventh Avenue. Slices are made from a blend of fresh-milled spelt and durum wheat, and options include plain, soppressata, mushroom, and more. But the real winner is the tomato slice, says Eater critic Ryan Sutton: “Most bites are pulpy and electrically acidic. Others — where the layering of the fruit is thinner than a coat of paint — are drier and more aromatic. The exceedingly light slice, about half the weight of a deck of cards, eats in about 30 seconds.” Three make a solid meal.

The Little Beet

Various vegetable sides The Little Beet [Official Photo]

Franklin Becker was one of the first chefs to sprout open a fast-casual restaurant in NYC, making way for a sit-down successor, the Little Beet Table. At the Little Beet, visitors pick a plate base (between tofu, chicken, steak, and salmon among others) before adding seasonal sides like cauliflower, quinoa, or roasted beets. Almost everything on the menu is either vegetarian or gluten free.

Various vegetable sides The Little Beet [Official Photo]

Little Collins

Avocado toast stopped with a poached egg and sunflower seeds Robert Sietsema/Eater

The Aussies running this Midtown shop have provided a getaway for a neighborhood otherwise filled with Starbucks and Le Pains. Alongside flat whites and pour overs, the shop serves sandwiches, salads, and a behemoth of toasted banana bread with ricotta, berries, honey, and almond brittle. Get the schnitzel sandwich or the always-solid avocado smash.

Avocado toast stopped with a poached egg and sunflower seeds Robert Sietsema/Eater

Chirping Chicken

Grilled chicken atop yellow rice alongside salad with stuffed grape leaves
Chicken souvlaki platter
Stefanie Tuder/Eater

One of six NYC locations, this Hell’s Kitchen Mediterranean quick-service restaurant is a locals favorite. Juicy charcoal-broiled chicken comes in various forms, whether on its own with sides, in a pita, or on top of Greek salad. Other Greek specialties include gyro and souvlaki, and there are also American go-tos like a burger, chicken fingers, ribs, and mozzarella sticks.

Grilled chicken atop yellow rice alongside salad with stuffed grape leaves
Chicken souvlaki platter
Stefanie Tuder/Eater

Margon

Wedges of lime sit next to a plate of roast pork topped with pickled onions.
Pork roast and salad
Robert Sietsema

Margon is an old-guard Times Square lunch counter with swirling stools and orange Formica tables — and one of the city’s best Cuban restaurants. The place presents Cuban classics on a weekly rotating basis, along with some Dominican fare. But always available are Cuban sandwiches, bright red fricassee chicken, octopus salad, and lechon asado (spice-rubbed roast pork).

Wedges of lime sit next to a plate of roast pork topped with pickled onions.
Pork roast and salad
Robert Sietsema

The Kati Roll Company

Kati rolls in a row The Kati Roll Company [Official Photo]

This Indian street food restaurant began serving fast-casual way before it was a thing in New York. Now, 15 years after opening, Kati Roll and its stuffed paratha flatbreads are a go-to. Kati rolls are all under $8 and include options like beef tikka with eggs, a chicken tikka roll, and a roll stuffed with a lamb and lentil patty. Two will fill someone up.