Chic and cheap don’t usually go together in the city. What’s more, finding a place for a lunch date that you and your BFF can both agree on, get to, and not have to wait an hour to get in can be nearly impossible during the madness that is the weekday lunchtime crowd.
Instead of heading all the way back to your apartment to cook up a mediocre frozen burrito, check out these top spots in New York City for a classy lunch date that won’t break the bank or take all day.
San Marzano (East Village)
This gem of a pasta place in the East Village is one of my favorite spots for lunch, brunch, dinner, and maybe even a hefty mid-afternoon snack. It’s particularly perfect for a lunch date, though, because it’s one of the classiest and tastiest places for an affordable, fast meal in the city.
San Marzano serves up a variety of mix-and-match handmade pastas and sauces…for $9 a plate. Yes, you read that right, $9 plates of homemade pasta. In lower Manhattan, no less! On top of that, if your boss is cool with a wet lunch (or if you’re super sneaky), they pour $5 glasses of wine and sangria. With prices like that, you can come every day of the week and try it all. Everything here is good. Literally everything.
Red Hook Lobster Pound (Midtown and Brooklyn)
Lunch here is a little on the pricey side in comparison to the rest of this list, but it’s worth its weight in rich, buttery, delicious lobster.
Red Hook Lobster serves up belt-busting lobster mac & cheese and 100% authentic lobster rolls all the way from Maine straight into your midtown Manhattan lunch break belly. They also have a location in Brooklyn now and a fabulous seasonal food truck that you can follow at @lobstertrucknyc.
Broadway Bites (Greely Square)
This is, hands down, my favorite lunch date spot in all of New York. Unfortunately, it’s only open from June 1st to July 14th and October 4th to November 10th, but mark your calendars now!
Broadway Bites is a coming together of NYC’s best food trucks and mobile restaurants all in one place – midtown Manhattan’s Greely Square. What it really is, though, is permission for you to sample paella, sushi, tacos, cheese fries, and an ice cream sandwich all in one meal. There is ample outdoor seating, and it’s perfect for both a lunch date and an after work drink.
Zabar’s Bagel and Nova Picnic in Central Park (Upper West Side)
As if this old school New York staple in the UWS couldn’t get any cuter, they now sell pre-packed lunches in Zabar’s tote bags for you to tote over to Central Park and have yourself a picnic more picturesque than a scene from Girls.
You’ve got a few options to choose from, but the most classic is obviously the Bagel and Nova Picnic, which includes a pumpernickel bagel sandwich with Nova Scotia Salmon and cream cheese, seltzer, fruit, and one of their famous black and white cookies. At just over $20, it’s one of the pricier options on the list, but the scenery makes it worth the splurge on a nice day.
Shake Shack (Multiple Locations)
A burger and fries might not sound like the classiest meal in town, but with Shake Shack, anything is possible. At their Madison Square Park location, my personal favorite, you can enjoy outdoor seating surrounded by greenery and lovely string lights while you sip on your Stumptown mocha milkshake.
Shake Shack is cheap and fast (even when the line wraps around 2 city blocks). And between buttermilk chicken sandwiches, the most perfect diner burgers, and seasonal frozen custard shakes, it’s also pretty dang delicious.
Chelsea Market (Chelsea)
Chelsea Market bills itself as an “enclosed urban food court”, but it’s so much more than that. Dozens of New York’s tastiest eateries are packed into this impeccably designed former warehouse building with great atmosphere, and most of them are pretty affordable.
From handmade noodles to vegan sushi to breweries and crepes, there’s something for everyone here. If you and your friends can’t agree on anything, know that you can at least agree on Chelsea Market.
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from Apartment Living Blog https://www.forrent.com/blog/food-entertaining/nyc-cheap-lunch-spots/