Summertime is FINALLY here, and for many college students, this means it’s time to begin your summer internship. Once you begin working, you slowly realize that your limited paycheck is not nearly enough to pay for your monthly Metro card ($116.50), your nights out with friends, AND lunch out every day. Working in the greatest city in the world definitely has its perks, but paying on average $15 a day for lunch is definitely not one of them.
Here are 10 lunch spots that you must check out if you want to eat like a true New Yorker without emptying your wallet.
Deciding whether to try their famous dumplings or their scrumptious sesame pancakes? No need to make that decision — just get both! For $2, you can get four dumplings (my personal favorites: cabbage & pork and the vegetable dumplings). Then, for $2.49, I would recommend the sesame pancake served with an egg on the top.
For only $4.50, you get a slice almost twice as large as a normal slice. Artichoke is like nothing you’ve ever had before. Francis Garcia and Sal Basille, the two best friends that opened the first restaurant in 2008, decided to use a creamy sauce that tastes like spinach and artichoke dip instead of traditional tomato sauce, which is now a huge hit. They are also open until 6 am on most days, so after a long night out, this is the perfect place to satisfy your hunger.
Want to travel to New Orleans, but don’t have the money to buy a plane ticket? No worries, just head downtown to Cheeky Sandwiches and indulge in some NOLA-inspired sandwiches. Nothing beats a chicken and biscuits sandwich with homemade gravy. Although the restaurant is very small, the atmosphere is absolutely impeccable.
This tiny restaurant in Chinatown is an interesting one. I heard about it on Yelp and it had great reviews, so decided to check it out. After taking my first bite, I totally understood what the excitement was all about. The service was great, and the fish tacos were absolutely amazing. They had big pieces of avocado in them, and the fish was cooked just right. If you’re not into Mexican food, they also have great burgers and the classic Breakroom fries, which comes with seasoned fries, tater tots, a sunny side egg, bacon, onions, cheese, jalapeños and pork belly.
5. Mimi’s Hummus in Urbanspace Vanderbilt Marketplace
Calling all foodies! This indoor marketplace is the perfect place to go with your co-workers because there is something for everybody. Food options range from lobster rolls, to burgers, to Japanese Tacos, to Sushi Burritos to Dough Donuts. However, if you’re really looking for a great deal, check out Mimi’s Hummus. Their falafel pita pocket is served with a delicious lemon ginger sauce, and is under $9.
#SpoonTip: The marketplace will most likely be very crowded, so make sure you continue walking while admiring the beauty (or angry businessmen may give you a little nudge to move out of their way).
An inexpensive, quality Indian restaurant with plenty of Vegetarian options. The restaurant has a very cool vibe to it, and the staff members are vey helpful with recommendations. They have plenty of different rolls to choose from. My personal favorite is the Achari Paneer roll, which has Paneer cheese, grilled peppers, tomatoes, and a creamy sauce mixed with different spices. For $5.50, you can’t get much better than this.
Looking for a healthy, delicious and filling sandwich? Then you have to indulge in the Popeye sandwich from Toasties, which features grilled chicken breast, melted fresh mozzarella cheese, spinach, alfalfa sprouts, roasted red peppers, shredded red cabbage, romaine and honey mustard. The grilled chicken is nice and juicy, and the sandwiches are filling, but just the right size. The restaurant is always crowded, which is what made me check it out in the first place. However, the workers move very quickly, and you can’t beat their great prices.
If you are in NYC for the summer and don’t visit Los Tacos at Chelsea Market, you are seriously missing out. Their tacos are all about $3, and are absolutely fantastic. They even have a grilled cactus taco. If I had to compare it to something, it’s sort of like eggplant. It’s one of the cheapest places in Chelsea Market, yet always has the longest line. However, the line moves quickly and it is SO worth the wait.
9. Lunch Box
Tired of the traditional turkey sandwich on white bread that you bring from home? Then definitely check out the Lunch Box in Hell’s Kitchen for a quick on-the-go sandwich that will leave you feeling energized for the rest of the day. My personal favorite is the #6, which has smoked turkey, avocado, sprouts, sun dried tomato, and mayo on 7-grain bread.
10. Nish Nush
For a fast, fresh and fantastic Mediterranean meal, swing by Nish Nush in Tribeca. I came here with one of my co-workers and we ordered the Falafel Trio platter to share, and it was a great idea. If you are very hungry, this plate may be enough for one. However, for a regular lunch, I would definitely recommend sharing this with a friend. It was $13 so we only wound up paying $6.50 each. It comes with three different falafel flavors, hummus, Israeli salad, white and red cabbage, romaine lettuce, olives, pickles, tahini and shug (a Middle Eastern hot sauce). They also have many different sandwiches to choose from, which range in price from $6 to $9.
Leave the office, get some sun, and enjoy your lunch like a real New Yorker.