As late-night dining kicks back into high gear and more New Yorkers return to their workplaces, the city’s second favorite off-hours meal, lunch, is making a triumphant comeback, whether enjoyed from an open office in Midtown or a takeout counter in Ridgewood. Included in this guide to daytime eating are a swanky Midtown spot, a new Soho luncheonette, a Downtown French power lunch spot, a Hong Kong-style diner, a bigger location for a wildly popular pizzeria, and a Seaport location with a view.Read More
The 15 Hottest Lunch Spots in NYC Right Now
A fancy Midtown spot, a new luncheonette, a cha chaan teng, and more new-ish places to eat during the day
The Migrant Kitchen
Arab and Latin flavors combine at the Migrant Kitchen’s first uptown location. Eater NY critic Robert Sietsema recommends chefs Dan Dorado and Nasser Jaber’s lamb torta: a Mexican-style sandwich served with a lamb roast seasoned with sumac and Oaxacan cheese. Elsewhere on the menu, there are bowls, salads, and more that make for a perfect fast casual daytime option.
Le Rock is our pick of the litter for lunch at the revamped Rockefeller Center, where millions of dollars were poured into turning the tired Midtown development into a citywide dining destination. Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson, of Tribeca’s famed French bistro Frenchette, opened at the center last summer in a high-ceilinged space that makes it easy to forget you’re sitting less than a hundred yards from an ice skating rink. A la carte lunch is served Tuesday to Saturday, with prix fixe menus. The terrace has recently opened with its own abbreviated menu. Open for lunch starting at noon Tuesday through Saturday.
Chef Alex Stupak’s American menu with global influences in Midtown has opened. Look for the much discussed $29 hot dog as well as the gai lan Caesar, Roumanian steak, and a stellar collection of desserts from the chef who earned his reputation first as a pastry chef.
Chilaquiles, most commonly eaten for breakfast in Mexico, are perfectly fine for lunch, too. Here, they come stuffed into sandwiches, burritos (an off-menu special), and on their own in big compostable bowls that might remind you of Sweetgreen. Between salsa, meat, and egg options, there are around two dozen different ways to order them; the chorizo and chicharron prensado are good places to start. Round out lunch with cups of cafe de olla (coffee with cinnamon and piloncillo, unrefined cane sugar) and lattes sweetened with condensed milk.
There may be no better daytime restaurant than S&P, a Flatiron lunch counter that opened in the former home of Eisenberg’s last year. Pull up a seat at the 40-foot counter and order from a menu that lists sandwiches topped with chopped olives and cream cheese, tuna salad and cranberry sauce, and peanut butter and bacon. (This is a restaurant from Court Street Grocers, after all.) More standard lunch fare, including burgers and matzoh ball soup, is also on offer.
Les Trois Chevaux
Les Trois Chevaux seems to have been built for the power lunch: There’s a full, and busy bar where the bartender is shaking up martinis. And the entire concept pays homage to restaurants such as Lutèce and La Côte Basque, hubs of clout back in the day, with a luxurious menu that features caviar service; white asparagus with bechamel; spring garlic and black truffle soup en croute; and steak haché topped with a decadent slab of duck foie gras.
As the boom of Burmese restaurants in the city continues on, Queens Night Market favorite Burmese Bites now has its own standalone venue located inside the Queens Center Mall food court. Owner Myo Lin Thway is cooking up chicken curry with flaky palata bread (there’s also a vegan version), shan kaukswe (rice noodles with chicken curry and pickled mustard greens), and nan gyi thoke (a rice noodle salad), as well as daily-changing specials — all available for dine-in or takeout.
Revelie Luncheonette is from the team behind Raoul’s, a neighborhood stalwart known for, among other things, its beloved burgers served in short supply per night. Revelie serves a much easier-to-get burger version, with an option to add green chile. In true luncheonette fashion, wash it down with a pistachio float.
Scarr’s Pizza opened its new location in June across from his original slice shop, which closed.
Scarr’s is owned by Scarr Pimentel, one of the city’s few Black pizza makers, churning out what has routinely been described as the standard bearer for the perfect slice. The New York Times recently named the establishment one of 100 top restaurants in New York. It first opened in 2016, known for its New York-style slices, and “low-key milling its own grains.” Even though the new location is bigger than its humble beginnings at 750-square feet, customers can still snake down the block; lunch might be a faster option than dinner.
Mabu Cafe NYC
Mabu Cafe is the first United States location of a small chain of Chinese and Taiwanese restaurants based in Toronto, Canada. The restaurant is an ode to Hong Kong’s casual diners, cha chaan tengs. The massive menu advertises more than 80 items, not including drinks. While versions of lava toast and baked spaghetti can be found at other Hong Kong-style cafes in the city, none serve them in as wide a selection with as many twists as Mabu Cafe.
Down the street from Mission Sandwich Social, a San Fransisco-style sandwich shop and another great option for lunch, is the new location of Super Burrito, which found a following in Rockaway Beach before expanding to Williamsburg this year. Its Mission-style burritos pay homage to the Bay Area and come stuffed with al pastor, carne asada, grilled shrimp, and more. Make one “super” by adding avocado and sour cream for two more dollars, or order a side cup of queso for dunking.
Tin Building by Jean-Georges
Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s food hall in the former Fulton Fish Market offers breakfast and lunch options to go or to stay, with stellar views from inside seating or outside facing the water. Whether it’s sushi from Shikku, or a late morning BEC from Double Yolk, crepes and dosas from a stand of the same name, Taquito taqueria, Fulton Fish Co., or T Brasserie, there’s lots to choose from, whether you’re after a bite or a feast.
Mama Yoshi Mini Mart
Whether you’d prefer katsu made of cauliflower or chicken, spicy or regular, presented in squishy potato buns, or in a rice bowl, Mama Yoshi Mini Mart has you covered. This counter service spot in Ridgewood has a few seats indoors, but it's mainly in the game of fast-casual. Pick-up snacks like onigiri or karaage served in Greek coffee cups, along with drinks, pantry staples, and more sold from this spot that doubles as a provisions shop.
Baby's Buns & Buckets
Following a stop at Trader Joe’s on your lunch break, head to Baby’s Buns & Buckets in the Dekalb Market, which has a stall that looks like a diner out of Saved by the Bell. Thai American fast food is served in the form of sandwiches and rice buckets so big you’ll have leftovers for dinner, with fried mushrooms, honey pork, fried chicken, or fried shrimp.
Bobbi’s Italian Beef
This Cobble Hill sandwich shop is the latest in a string of spots to focus on foods from Chicago (see also: Emmett’s on Grove, Dog Day Afternoon, and H&H Reserve). The Chicago dogs are good and true to form — loaded with neon green relish, sport peppers, a pickle spear, and so on — as is the Italian beef, a common sandwich in the Windy City that’s dunked in meat juices prior to serving. Sandwiches are available in half or whole portions.
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