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An overhead shot of tacos, noodle bowls, cheeseburgers, and other lunch fare from Urbanspace vendors.
The latest Urbanspace location is beefing up FiDi’s lunch options.
Liz Clayman/Urbanspace

The 17 Hottest Lunch Spots in NYC Right Now

A food hall in the Financial District, modern Caribbean fare in Jamaica, and more

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The latest Urbanspace location is beefing up FiDi’s lunch options.
| Liz Clayman/Urbanspace

As late-night dining has kicked into high-gear and more New Yorkers come back to the workplace, the city’s second favorite off-hours meal — lunch — is making a triumphant comeback of its own, whether enjoyed from an open office in Midtown or hidden inside a Queens mall. Included in this guide of newly opened restaurants are a new sandwich spot with San Francisco-style Dutch crunch bread, a Vietnamese establishment from Chinatown favorites, and a taco spot with a nod to Guadalajara.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Claudy's Kitchen

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After selling their flan at Zabar’s, Union Market, and elsewhere in the city for years, chef Claudia Berroa and husband Richard Berroa have opened this brick-and-mortar business in the Bronx. The menu showcases Peruvian specialties like lomo saltado and pollo a la brasa, but best of all are the empanadas. Made to order, and packed with chorizo, chicharron, and other fillings, critic Ryan Sutton found their golden crust to be “as light as a wonton wrapper.”

A customer holds a chorizo empanada upright; it’s filled with orange potatoes and red cubes of sausage
Chorizo empanada at Claudy’s Kitchen.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

Native Noodles

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First launched as a food stall at the Queens Night Market in 2019, chef Amy Pryke is now serving her popular Singaporean noodle dishes from a small restaurant in Washington Heights. New to the brick-and-mortar storefront is the roti john sandwich, a toasted baguette sandwich made from from cumin-spiced beef, caramelized onion, and egg. In Singapore, the dish is often eaten as breakfast, but here it makes for a comforting midday meal.

A beef and egg sandwiched placed on a wooden tray.
The roti john sandwich, made with beef, caramelized onion, and egg.
Native Noodles

The Migrant Kitchen

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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 causal daytime option.

A sandwich on French bread with a thick slice of lamb inside.
The lamb torta.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Before LumLum took over this Hell’s Kitchen space, it was the home of Pam Real Thai, an acclaimed restaurant that offered dishes beyond standard takeout pad Thai and curries. The current generation of Thai restaurants, including this one, have taken it a step further with a focus on regional cooking. At LumLum, seafood dishes with a northern Thai influence shine the most. Eater critic Robert Sietsema was an early fan of dishes ranging from the Crying Tiger rib-eye steaks to giant, grilled river prawns and a squid ink soup.

A dish with slices of steak, rice, and fried shallots with a dish of sauce on the side.
The Crying Tiger Steak at LumLum.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

When in Bangkok

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This bright, elegant and yet still cozy spot doles out $12 lunch specials. Take your pick of a spicy and creamy tom yum noodle soup loaded with roast pork, ground pork, fish balls, and bean sprouts or khao kha moo, stewed pork knuckle over rice with mushroom, Chinese broccoli, and boiled egg with garlic chili vinaigrette. Even the pad Thai delights with caramelized jumbo shrimp for $2 extra.

A bowl of tom yum noodle soup is loaded with ground pork, peanuts, cilantro, and lime.
Tom yum noodle soup with a choice of noodles at When in Bangkok.
When in Bangkok

Some of the items on the menu at this Rockefeller Center hotspot from Ignacio Mattos come with eye-popping prices. But with some careful navigation of the menu, Lodi may well be on its way to becoming one of Midtown’s best lunch spots. Items like the porchetta sandwich, a kale-and-egg tart, and a Dune-like ribbed croissant had Eater NY critic Ryan Sutton coming back for more.

A golden porchetta sandwich sits on a white plate, next to a plate of anchovies and red peppers and a kale tart
A selection of daytime options at Lodi.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

Burmese Bites

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As the boom of Burmese restaurants in the city continues on, Queens Night Market favorite Burmese Bites now has its own standalone brick-and-mortar 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. The team just debuted a once-a-week lunch delivery in Midtown, too.

A rectangular takeout container filled with cut-up pieces of keema palata and a small container of dip nearby.
Burmese Bites is located in the Queens Center Mall.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

Rowdy Rooster

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From the team behind the hit Dhamaka comes this flavor-packed sandwich spot that Eater critic Ryan Sutton called a “red-hot success.” While the menu is certainly centered on portable, Indian-leaning fried chicken sandwiches, there’s plenty for those who want a vegetarian option to love as well. Sutton recommends the chile cauliflower and the vada pao, an Indian street snack made up of a well-spiced potato patty with pao bread.

A fried chicken sandwich piled with white and green sauces plus diced onions against a white background.
Indian fried chicken is on the menu at Rowdy Rooster.
Paul McDonough/Rowdy Rooster

Kitchen Cô Ût

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This spinoff of the Vietnamese sandwich shop Banh Mi Cô Ût (named after the sandwich impresario behind the restaurant) opens at 11 a.m. for lunch seven days a week. The menu includes pho, bun, and rolls, fried and fresh — the latter served cold is particularly refreshing dipped in peanut sauce.

Five elongated jelly-like dumplings on a black plate.
Tapioca dumplings are one of Kitchen Cô Ût’s more unusual offerings.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Mott Street Eatery

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At this new Chinatown food court there at least 10 stalls, all under one roof, to choose from during lunch hours. Vendors like 89 Eatery serve up items like congee or roast duck, while Kwan’s Burger highlights unusual pie flavors like lobster pizza. With plenty of tables in the venue, you’ll have no problem finding a seat during peak hours.

A food court filled with white tables, about half occupied.
Inside the food court.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Mission Sandwich Social

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This newcomer to NYC’s stacked sandwich scene is all about the Dutch crunch bread, a flaky style of loaf popular in the Bay area, but rarely highlighted in NYC. Owner Brian Tsao, an alum of Beauty & Essex, uses the bread on sandwiches like Peking Turkey served with hoisin sauce. Be warned: these are some of the largest sandwiches in the city, with prices to match (options range from $17 to $26). Bring a friend or save some for a second meal. Another bonus: each sandwich comes with a Tootsie pop.

A hand with a gold bracelet holds up a layered turkey sandwich with an orange sauce.
A half of the Peking Turkey sandwich at Mission Sandwich Social is plenty for a weekday lunch.
Emma Orlow/Eater NY

T. Brasserie at the Tin Building

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Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s T. Brasserie — located inside the revamped Tin Building — is modeled after the quintessential lunch spots in Paris, where a meal might begin with French onion soup, dark and fragrant and awash in melted cheese, or a handful of snails in very green herb butter. Then on to the less traditional burger or seasonal tomato salad. The wine list is a by-the-glass joy. It’s only been open for a few days and is already packed.

A glass of straw colored wine stands in the foreground.
Lots of wines by the glass at T. Brasserie in the Tin Building.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Urbanspace

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The food hall fanatics at Urbanspace have opened a new location down in the Financial District. It’s a worthy pitstop for slow-roasted pork and tostones from Puerto Rican spot Que Chevere, stuffed baos and rice bowls from Urbanspace staple Bao by Kaya, and a slew of other lunch options that will power you through the rest of the day, including tacos, pita wraps, pizza, and smashburgers.

RyRy’s Kitchen

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A former caterer and chef at Caribbean spots Suede and Caribbean Social, Rayan Campbell is now indulging fans of his modern Caribbean dishes with his own permanent spot inside the food court at Jamaica Market. Find quick and compact lunches like kale salads topped with jerk chicken, curry shrimp, jerk salmon, as well as curry chicken or shrimp bowls with up to three sides like corn slaw and callaloo. Call ahead for faster pick-ups.

Saucy jerk chicken sits on top of kale salad.
Jerk chicken salad at RyRy’s Kitchen.
RyRy’s Kitchen

Cruz del Sur

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Torta ahogada, a staple in Guadalajara, finally get its due at this Prospect Heights establishment. The saucy sandwich, glossed in chile de arbol sauce, makes for a tasty, if not also messy, desk-side lunch where napkins should be handy. Whether a torta is ordered for dine-in or to-go, wash lunch down with a strawberry horchata. Cruz del Sur also has a lovely back patio perfect for an afternoon meeting or as co-working space.

Agi's Counter

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Though Agi’s also has a standout breakfast program filled with pastries and coffee, lunch may well be where this Crown Heights newcomer really thrives. During the week, there’s hearty tuna melts, open face sandwiches with jammy egg mousse, and nosh plates filled with pickles.

A trio of sanfwiches on white plates sit on a marble table next to a marigold flower in a vase.
A trio of sandwiches at Agi’s Counter.
Adam Friedlander/Eater NY

The Cradle

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Whether you’re headed to the Rockaways for a beach day or simply have a friend’s car to borrow for the afternoon, the Cradle is one of the city’s most nourishing lunch options right now. This shack, located near the beach, serves heaping portions of efo riro chicken stew with pounded yam, as well as smoothies with flavors like dragon fruit and pineapple.

A black takeout container holds a spinach-based stew, pictured next to a pink smoothie, and a clear plastic container holding a ball of pounded white yam.
The Cradle makes for an ideal beach day lunch.
Emma Orlow/Eater NY

Claudy's Kitchen

After selling their flan at Zabar’s, Union Market, and elsewhere in the city for years, chef Claudia Berroa and husband Richard Berroa have opened this brick-and-mortar business in the Bronx. The menu showcases Peruvian specialties like lomo saltado and pollo a la brasa, but best of all are the empanadas. Made to order, and packed with chorizo, chicharron, and other fillings, critic Ryan Sutton found their golden crust to be “as light as a wonton wrapper.”

A customer holds a chorizo empanada upright; it’s filled with orange potatoes and red cubes of sausage
Chorizo empanada at Claudy’s Kitchen.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

Native Noodles

First launched as a food stall at the Queens Night Market in 2019, chef Amy Pryke is now serving her popular Singaporean noodle dishes from a small restaurant in Washington Heights. New to the brick-and-mortar storefront is the roti john sandwich, a toasted baguette sandwich made from from cumin-spiced beef, caramelized onion, and egg. In Singapore, the dish is often eaten as breakfast, but here it makes for a comforting midday meal.

A beef and egg sandwiched placed on a wooden tray.
The roti john sandwich, made with beef, caramelized onion, and egg.
Native Noodles

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 causal daytime option.

A sandwich on French bread with a thick slice of lamb inside.
The lamb torta.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

LumLum

Before LumLum took over this Hell’s Kitchen space, it was the home of Pam Real Thai, an acclaimed restaurant that offered dishes beyond standard takeout pad Thai and curries. The current generation of Thai restaurants, including this one, have taken it a step further with a focus on regional cooking. At LumLum, seafood dishes with a northern Thai influence shine the most. Eater critic Robert Sietsema was an early fan of dishes ranging from the Crying Tiger rib-eye steaks to giant, grilled river prawns and a squid ink soup.

A dish with slices of steak, rice, and fried shallots with a dish of sauce on the side.
The Crying Tiger Steak at LumLum.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

When in Bangkok

This bright, elegant and yet still cozy spot doles out $12 lunch specials. Take your pick of a spicy and creamy tom yum noodle soup loaded with roast pork, ground pork, fish balls, and bean sprouts or khao kha moo, stewed pork knuckle over rice with mushroom, Chinese broccoli, and boiled egg with garlic chili vinaigrette. Even the pad Thai delights with caramelized jumbo shrimp for $2 extra.

A bowl of tom yum noodle soup is loaded with ground pork, peanuts, cilantro, and lime.
Tom yum noodle soup with a choice of noodles at When in Bangkok.
When in Bangkok

Lodi

Some of the items on the menu at this Rockefeller Center hotspot from Ignacio Mattos come with eye-popping prices. But with some careful navigation of the menu, Lodi may well be on its way to becoming one of Midtown’s best lunch spots. Items like the porchetta sandwich, a kale-and-egg tart, and a Dune-like ribbed croissant had Eater NY critic Ryan Sutton coming back for more.

A golden porchetta sandwich sits on a white plate, next to a plate of anchovies and red peppers and a kale tart
A selection of daytime options at Lodi.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

Burmese Bites

As the boom of Burmese restaurants in the city continues on, Queens Night Market favorite Burmese Bites now has its own standalone brick-and-mortar 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. The team just debuted a once-a-week lunch delivery in Midtown, too.

A rectangular takeout container filled with cut-up pieces of keema palata and a small container of dip nearby.
Burmese Bites is located in the Queens Center Mall.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

Rowdy Rooster

From the team behind the hit Dhamaka comes this flavor-packed sandwich spot that Eater critic Ryan Sutton called a “red-hot success.” While the menu is certainly centered on portable, Indian-leaning fried chicken sandwiches, there’s plenty for those who want a vegetarian option to love as well. Sutton recommends the chile cauliflower and the vada pao, an Indian street snack made up of a well-spiced potato patty with pao bread.

A fried chicken sandwich piled with white and green sauces plus diced onions against a white background.
Indian fried chicken is on the menu at Rowdy Rooster.
Paul McDonough/Rowdy Rooster

Kitchen Cô Ût

This spinoff of the Vietnamese sandwich shop Banh Mi Cô Ût (named after the sandwich impresario behind the restaurant) opens at 11 a.m. for lunch seven days a week. The menu includes pho, bun, and rolls, fried and fresh — the latter served cold is particularly refreshing dipped in peanut sauce.

Five elongated jelly-like dumplings on a black plate.
Tapioca dumplings are one of Kitchen Cô Ût’s more unusual offerings.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Mott Street Eatery

At this new Chinatown food court there at least 10 stalls, all under one roof, to choose from during lunch hours. Vendors like 89 Eatery serve up items like congee or roast duck, while Kwan’s Burger highlights unusual pie flavors like lobster pizza. With plenty of tables in the venue, you’ll have no problem finding a seat during peak hours.

A food court filled with white tables, about half occupied.
Inside the food court.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Mission Sandwich Social

This newcomer to NYC’s stacked sandwich scene is all about the Dutch crunch bread, a flaky style of loaf popular in the Bay area, but rarely highlighted in NYC. Owner Brian Tsao, an alum of Beauty & Essex, uses the bread on sandwiches like Peking Turkey served with hoisin sauce. Be warned: these are some of the largest sandwiches in the city, with prices to match (options range from $17 to $26). Bring a friend or save some for a second meal. Another bonus: each sandwich comes with a Tootsie pop.

A hand with a gold bracelet holds up a layered turkey sandwich with an orange sauce.
A half of the Peking Turkey sandwich at Mission Sandwich Social is plenty for a weekday lunch.
Emma Orlow/Eater NY

T. Brasserie at the Tin Building

Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s T. Brasserie — located inside the revamped Tin Building — is modeled after the quintessential lunch spots in Paris, where a meal might begin with French onion soup, dark and fragrant and awash in melted cheese, or a handful of snails in very green herb butter. Then on to the less traditional burger or seasonal tomato salad. The wine list is a by-the-glass joy. It’s only been open for a few days and is already packed.

A glass of straw colored wine stands in the foreground.
Lots of wines by the glass at T. Brasserie in the Tin Building.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Urbanspace

The food hall fanatics at Urbanspace have opened a new location down in the Financial District. It’s a worthy pitstop for slow-roasted pork and tostones from Puerto Rican spot Que Chevere, stuffed baos and rice bowls from Urbanspace staple Bao by Kaya, and a slew of other lunch options that will power you through the rest of the day, including tacos, pita wraps, pizza, and smashburgers.

RyRy’s Kitchen

A former caterer and chef at Caribbean spots Suede and Caribbean Social, Rayan Campbell is now indulging fans of his modern Caribbean dishes with his own permanent spot inside the food court at Jamaica Market. Find quick and compact lunches like kale salads topped with jerk chicken, curry shrimp, jerk salmon, as well as curry chicken or shrimp bowls with up to three sides like corn slaw and callaloo. Call ahead for faster pick-ups.

Saucy jerk chicken sits on top of kale salad.
Jerk chicken salad at RyRy’s Kitchen.
RyRy’s Kitchen

Cruz del Sur

Torta ahogada, a staple in Guadalajara, finally get its due at this Prospect Heights establishment. The saucy sandwich, glossed in chile de arbol sauce, makes for a tasty, if not also messy, desk-side lunch where napkins should be handy. Whether a torta is ordered for dine-in or to-go, wash lunch down with a strawberry horchata. Cruz del Sur also has a lovely back patio perfect for an afternoon meeting or as co-working space.

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Agi's Counter

Though Agi’s also has a standout breakfast program filled with pastries and coffee, lunch may well be where this Crown Heights newcomer really thrives. During the week, there’s hearty tuna melts, open face sandwiches with jammy egg mousse, and nosh plates filled with pickles.

A trio of sanfwiches on white plates sit on a marble table next to a marigold flower in a vase.
A trio of sandwiches at Agi’s Counter.
Adam Friedlander/Eater NY

The Cradle

Whether you’re headed to the Rockaways for a beach day or simply have a friend’s car to borrow for the afternoon, the Cradle is one of the city’s most nourishing lunch options right now. This shack, located near the beach, serves heaping portions of efo riro chicken stew with pounded yam, as well as smoothies with flavors like dragon fruit and pineapple.

A black takeout container holds a spinach-based stew, pictured next to a pink smoothie, and a clear plastic container holding a ball of pounded white yam.
The Cradle makes for an ideal beach day lunch.
Emma Orlow/Eater NY

Related Maps