275 Madison Ave., Midtown
Dig Inn’s philosophy is “farm to counter,” which means that they serve sustainably sourced, usually local food in a casual setting and in a price range that makes it a reasonable option for everyday lunch. The salads and the market plates are easy to take back to the office (or home for dinner), and the menu changes with the seasons, so you won't ever be bored with the offerings. There are locations in Morningside Heights, Union Square, Tribeca, and in Midtown on 52nd, Madison, and 55th, in Lower Manhattan on Pine, Liberty, and Broad St., in Nomad, and off Madison Square Park.
Rockefeller Center, 45 W. 50th St., Midtown
The classic art deco décor here pays homage to the legendary French designer the café is named for—inside, you'll find dark mahogany furniture and wall paneling, red velvet window treatments, and a patterned tile floor. The classic French brasserie menu isn't exactly life changing, but the energetic atmosphere and the convenient location in Rockefeller Plaza are more than enough reason to come for lunch.
212 W. 57th St., Midtown
Considering the neon-covered exterior and old-school name, the atmosphere inside Brooklyn Diner is surprisingly fancy—after all, it's helmed by the award-winning Chef de Oliveira. That said, classic meals are definitely the standouts: The chicken soup, macaroni & cheese, and giant lunch salads are reliably great, and you’ll have to arrive early in the day if you want to have the chicken pot pie (they almost always run out). Expect a short wait if you forget to make a reservation. There are two locations in Midtown, on 57th and 43rd.
24 W. 56th St., Midtown
The Joe's Shanghai flagship in Chinatown is the stuff of legend, which means there's invariably a line snaking out the door. The Midtown location has the same famous soup dumplings (they're hot, round, and come in a sweet bamboo basket) without the associated wait.
A Voce (Closed)
10 Columbus Circle, Midtown
A Voce's location on the third floor of the Time Warner Center offers sweeping views of Central Park and Columbus Circle, and its location makes it an easy spot for a working lunch or easy dinner. The cuisine is casual Italian, but the plating and the décor are both distinctly modern. There’s also a location on Madison Avenue in Flatiron.
The Monkey Bar
Hotel Elysée, 60 E. 54th St., Midtown
This bar inside Hotel Elysée is admittedly a love-it-or-hate-it kind of place; typically filled with suits, it's definitely reminiscent of a very specific '90s New York experience. But regardless of your feelings about the scene, the uncomplicated menu and skillful bartenders make it a reliable standby. Good to know: they offer a pre-theatre fixed menu, which makes for an easy dinner if you’re going to a show with a big group.
Shun Lee Palace
155 E. 55th St., Midtown
This go-to Chinese takeout spot remains virtually unchanged since it first opened in 1971; it has a die-hard following (particularly on Christmas), as they excel at all of the classic dishes, like Peking duck, beef with broccoli, and egg rolls.
The 21 Club
21 W. 52nd St., Midtown
While there are several dining areas at the 21 Club, the most energetic by far is the Bar Room, where the ceiling is famously covered in toys donated by the club's famous regulars (they've hosted every president since FDR). But even in the bar, men have to comply with the dress code, which was only recently adjusted to allow men without neckties at lunch—you'll still need a jacket any time of day. The menu is classically American (the burger is actually really good), but it's much more about the atmosphere than the food.
The Regency Bar & Grill
540 Park Ave., Midtown
The Regency's Bar was traditionally known as a breakfast option, but after an extensive remodel and re-staffing of the kitchen last year, it's become a solid option for lunch and dinner as well. The menu is pretty all-American so you can't go wrong with anything, but the grilled squid is gorgeously presented (on a bed of quinoa—a surprisingly good combination) and the dry-aged rib-eye, which is meant for two people, is perfectly cooked.
The Shop at the Andaz
485 Fifth Ave., Midtown
The Shop on the first floor of the Andaz in Midtown is actually divided into two spaces—a tiny shop in the front, and a cozy 38-seat, sit-down restaurant in the back, where you'll find a great lunch and dinner, with a seasonal menu that leans heavily on produce sourced in New York State. The adorable spot up front serves Blue Bottle coffee and Dough Doughnuts (which are otherwise only available at Dough's outpost in Brooklyn).
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