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Eat and Drink

The best lunch near Union Square

Picture this:

It's midday. You've been working hard for hours at your job, and all you want is a delicious lunch to reward yourself (or to help you nurse off your hangover!) But there's a problem: deciding what to eat for lunch can be hard! There are either too many options, too few options or uncertainty about the quality and taste of what you're getting. But we're here to help.

Here's our highly-curated list of lunch spots near Union Square.

Breads Bakery

Sandwiches, Baked Goods, 18 E. 16th St., 212-633-2253
Photo Credit: Breads Bakery

Sandwiches, Baked Goods, 18 E. 16th St., 212-633-2253

Breads Bakery arrived in New York City triumphantly two years ago, and has been wowing customers with delicious chocolate babka, challah and other baked goods since day 1. But Breads is more than just bread: visitors can also treat themselves to breakfast and lunch items. Sandwiches are delicious, and as this is a bakery, the bread is basically the best part.

Range: $5-14

Dos Toros

Tacos, 137 Fourth Ave., 212-677-7300 There are
Photo Credit: flickr/premshree

Tacos, 137 Fourth Ave., 212-677-7300

There are so many days when Chipotle just won’t cut it. Luckily, Dos Toros gives you some different taco and burrito options to soothe your tortilla craving. Organic beans, hot sauce and guac all help top off the loaded and meaty creations.

Range: $5-9

Souen

Macrobiotic, 28 East 13th St, 212-627-7150 Japanese
Photo Credit: Facebook/Souen-Noodle

Macrobiotic, 28 East 13th St, 212-627-7150

Japanese and Western cuisines both make up the menu at Souen, where the focus is healthy, natural eating. The lunch menu is full of healthy salads, topped with homemade dressings. The lunch set, from which you can pick fish or vegetable options, offers the best deal, with a choice of preparation and healthy sides.

Range: $8-14

Rainbow Falafel

Middle Eastern, 26 E 17th St., 212-691-8641
Photo Credit: flickr/mesohungry

Middle Eastern, 26 E 17th St., 212-691-8641

Consistently delicious and almost unbelievably cheap, you can’t go wrong with a lunch from Rainbow Falafel. Lentil soup, stuffed grape leaves and fried cauliflower are all great supplements to your crispy falafel sandwich, topped to the edge of the pita with hummus and veggies.

La Maison du Croque Monsieur

Sandwiches, 17 E 13th St., 212-675-2227 A
Photo Credit: LaMaisonDuCroqueMonsieur

Sandwiches, 17 E 13th St., 212-675-2227

A croque monsieur, or a grilled cheese with ham, is a pretty standard meal in France, but not as common in NYC. La Maison riffs on the classic croque with Cuban, Italian and several New York versions with ingredients like smoked salmon. In colder months, their rich Belgian hot chocolate is the perfect pick me up.

Range: $7-9

Murray's Bagels

Bagels, 500 6th Ave., 212-462-2830 Voted some
Photo Credit: Murray's Bagels

Bagels, 500 6th Ave., 212-462-2830

Voted some of the best bagels in NYC, Murray's serves massive sandwiches perfect for lunch. Meats are sliced fresh from the deli case, along with cheeses and veggies. Get a homemade soup on a cold day or opt for a creation from the salad bar. Of course, a bagel and cream cheese is never a bad meal either.

Range: $7-11

Taboonette

Middle Eastern, 30 E 13th St, (212)
Photo Credit: flickr/garrettziegler

Middle Eastern, 30 E 13th St, (212) 510-7881

Known for “pocket food” Taboonette is the place to go to fill your pita with salmon, steak, zucchini cakes, calamari, pulled pork and brisket! You can also opt for a Middle Eastern Laffa wrap or a rice or salad plate. Whatever you choose, enjoy a generous portions of labane, tzatziki and tahina sauces.

Range: $5-12

Glaze Teriyaki

Japanese, 139 4th Ave., 212-940-4200 Glaze is
Photo Credit: Facebook/GlazeTeriyaki

Japanese, 139 4th Ave., 212-940-4200

Glaze is all about teriyaki! Choose from proteins including all-natural chicken breasts, hanger steak, fresh salmon, pork loin or marinated vegetables. Salad plates and rice plates as well as combo plates are all options. Sides include dumplings, cold soba noodle salad and steamed edamame.

Beyond Sushi

Vegetarian, 229 E 14th St., 646--861-2889 There’s
Photo Credit: Facebook/BeyondSushi

Vegetarian, 229 E 14th St., 646--861-2889

There’s no fish served at Beyond Sushi , but there are plenty of Japanese inspired vegetable options! The restaurants creates rolls from seasonal vegetables and various rices that pack in the flavor with their homemade sauces. Noodle bowls and other seasonal specialties are a highlight for regulars at this vegan hotspot.

Range: $6-10

Cevich

Ceviche, 21 E 15th St., 212-242-4976 This
Photo Credit: Facebook/CevichNY

Ceviche, 21 E 15th St., 212-242-4976

This grab-and-go ceviche eatery is totally unique to New York. Various seafood options as well as mushroom for vegetarians are available in global styles like Caribbean, Ecuadorian and Greek. You can enjoy your ceviche solo, in a bowl, or as a burrito or taco. Slow roasted pulled chicken is also on the menu, for those who prefer their proteins cooked.

Range: $9-14

Taste of Persia

Persian, 12 W 18th St., 917-592-3467 This
Photo Credit: Facebook/TasteofPersiaNYC

Persian, 12 W 18th St., 917-592-3467

This vegetarian Middle Eastern restaurant offers tons of flavor at a low price. Taste of Persia's menu includes unique items like Ash Reshteh, a vegetable and noodle stew-like dish that’s enjoyable even on hot days. Vegetarian chilli, salads, and sauteed eggplant are also great options along with seasonal specialties.

Paradis to Go

Cafe, 114 Fourth Ave, 646-416-6709 Simple, fresh
Photo Credit: Facebook/ParadistoGo

Cafe, 114 Fourth Ave, 646-416-6709

Simple, fresh food is what Paradis' quick-service restaurant is all about. Try the pea shoots and avocado sandwich with arugula pesto or do the $8 soup and half sandwich special for the best of both worlds. And don’t forget a warm cookie on your way out!

Range: $7-9

The City Bakery

Cafeteria, 2 W 18th St., 212-366-1414 In
Photo Credit: flickr/cfox74

Cafeteria, 2 W 18th St., 212-366-1414

In addition to being home to some of New Yorkers’ favorite hot chocolate, The City Bakery serves lunch cafeteria-style that keeps people returning each day for their rotating options. A salad station, sandwiches, flatbreads, fried chicken and mac and cheese all keep regulars on their feet, and it’s hard to not indulge in the giant cookies surreptitiously placed by the register.

Meatball Obsession

Meatball Window, 510 6th Avenue, 212.260.8646 This
Photo Credit: Facebook/MeatballObsession

Meatball Window, 510 6th Avenue, 212.260.8646

This “home of the original meatball in a cup” serves flavorful Italian grandma-style meatballs made with your choice of turkey, beef or pork and in a cup or on a sandwich. Top your Meatball Obsession with cheese, veggies or extra meat and carry your creation back to work or to Union Square park.

Ennju

Self Service Japanese, 20 E 17th St.,
Photo Credit: flickr/hamburger_helper

Self Service Japanese, 20 E 17th St., 646-336-7004

Dine in or out at Ennju, where you create your own meal of sushi, noodles, donburi and soup. The sushi combinations offer the best deal, with 9 rolls of various flavors at about $8. Because you’re not ordering with table service-- it’s easy to get more if you’re still hungry!

Range $5-10

BaoHaus

Taiwanese, 238 E 14th St, (646) 669-8889
Photo Credit: Facebook/BaohausNYC

Taiwanese, 238 E 14th St, (646) 669-8889

This neighborhood hot spot specializes in Asian buns and rice bowls from Chef Eddie Huang’s family kitchen. Creative options feature hormone-free meats and include the Birdhaus Bao with fried chicken and lemon-garlic aioli and the Uncle Jesse Bao with fried tofu. crushed peanuts, and Taiwanese red sugar. A side of taro fries completes the meal!

Range: $6-10

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