Who Serves the Best Lunch in New York City?

August 3, 2015

Along with the State of Liberty, Empire State Building and all its other amazing sights, New York City is also home to some of the world's greatest restaurants that offer diverse menus.

Choosing what to eat for lunch can be quite challenging. Whether you're looking for delicious New York-style pizza, classic deli sandwiches like thinly-sliced pastrami piled high and served hot on toasted caraway-flaked rye bread, amazing hamburgers, sweet chili dogs, different dishes from around the world, or fine-dining that costs more but combines breathtaking views of the city with its menu, every kind of food imaginable can be found in the Big Apple.  Use these five favorite restaurant options to solve the age old question of “Who serves the best lunch in New York City?”

Thalassa Restaurant / Facebook

Named after the Greek word for sea, Thalassa is located in Lower Manhattan at 179 Franklin St. in the lovely Tribeca neighborhood bordered by Canal Street to the north and West Street to the east. This celebrated restaurant housed in a historical building once used as a warehouse for Greek olives and cheese, is renowned for its exquisite setting, beautiful décor, and outstanding service. It has proudly served authentic Greek food and Mediterranean dishes to locals, first-time visitors, and celebrities for decades. When you're there, you must choose from the seafood menu which includes an impressive range of fresh fish alongside a selection of the local day's catch. Try the seafood trio, a combination of tuna, shrimp and salmon kebabs served with grilled garden vegetables. The exotic salads are delicious and the restaurant also offers plenty of vegetarian options like a delicious organic veggie burger served with vine-ripened tomatoes and zucchini. Another specialty item to order: Spanakopita, individual spinach pie served in a crispy filo with feta cheese and mixed greens. You'll delight in the appetizers and desserts as well. If this is your first visit, ask questions and have your server guide you on selecting the best fresh seafood choices from the menu. There's plenty of seafood to choose from at reasonable prices, along with multiple kinds of other Greek dishes. Lunch is served from noon to 3 p.m.

Shake Shack

Shake Shack Burger and FriesShake Shack is one of the most popular places in New York City for a juicy top quality burger. A regional fast-food chain, it's located in the Theater District at 691 8th Ave. & 44th St. The 100% all natural Angus beef burger comes with your choice of lettuce, tomato, onion or pickle at a price that doesn't break the bank. You'll have to endure the long wait at lunchtime, but it's worth it! Not only does the restaurant excel in tasty hamburgers, the menu features a nice selection of Shack classics like the Smoke Shack cheeseburger, flat-top hot dogs, crinkle cut fries, frozen custard and creamy shakes. Try the soft-serve custard blended with a variety of toppings, or a delicious peanut butter shake. The restaurant is a short walk from Times Square—the vibrant, neon lit area in the heart of the Theater District—and all the leading Broadway shows. Shake Shack started out as a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park in Manhattan and steadily grew through the years to become a fabulous burger-focused restaurant that's also easy on your wallet. You can enjoy the classic Shack burger for less than five dollars. Vegetarian options are also available. I loved the Shroom Burger, a slow roasted Portobello mushroom overflowing with melted Muenster and cheddar cheeses, topped with lettuce, tomato and a special Shake Shack sauce. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to midnight. For the best views, I suggest sitting near the floor-to-ceiling windows.

Pier A Harbor House

Pier A Harbor House Patio on the HudsonFor a relaxing and thoroughly enjoyable experience, grab a bite at the beautifully renovated Pier A Harbor House in one of New York City's most unique locations at the southernmost tip of Manhattan. This 128-year-old landmark building at 22 Battery St. once housed the city's dock's department and later served as a command post for the city's fire boats. There's plenty of indoor seating and an abundance of picnic tables outdoors. overlooking the harbor. You'll love the absolutely gorgeous views that stretch from the tip of Governor's Island to the Statue of Liberty. Choose from the seafood menu, which serves raw bar specialties, fish and chips, and other seafood platters. There are some meat dishes like awesome Buffalo wings and the sweet potato fries are great. Lunch prices range from $11 to $30. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 4 a.m.

If you want to savor the flavors of authentic Thai food, head to Queens. SriPraPhai Thai Restaurant, located at 64-13 39th Ave. in Woodside is a long-time favorite of locals and visitors. It's the restaurant's commitment to excellent food that makes it so popular. Bring your appetite. Known for its variety of exotic dishes with the finest and freshest ingredients, it will be an unforgettable dining experience. I particularly like the papaya salad with seafood and dry shrimp, the salmon fillet soup, and sautéed mixed vegetables. Other entries include a string of chicken dishes like sautéed, fried or Barbeque chicken (all $9.00). SriPraPhai is an excellent dining experience, combining great food and attentive service with unique, historical surroundings. The restaurant is open from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., and closed Wednesdays. Lunch prices start at $6.00. Leave time to enjoy the garden.

close up of pepperoni and cheese pizza at Lombardi’s Pizzeria in NYC, New York, USALombardi'sIn New York City pizza spots dot the city's streets. You can pick up a slice any time of the day or late into the night. And if you love pizza, like me, you'll want to find the perfect pizza. Lombardi’s is a classic New York City pizzeria located at 32 Spring Street that serves coal-fired, thin crust Neapolitan pizza. Personally, their coal oven thin crust pizza is the best I’ve ever had, and the restaurant has also been a hit with any one I've ever brought there for lunch. Many of my friends love the white pizza with mozzarella, ricotta, Romano cheese, oregano, basil, black pepper, garlic infused oil and no sauce. This restaurant is really cozy with its old-style Italian atmosphere, checked tablecloths, and black and white pictures hanging on painted brick walls. Pizza prices start at $7.00. The restaurant is open from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

Stop in for lunch at any of these New York City restaurants to taste the best lunches in the city.

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