58th St.

  • B'twn 5th & 6th
    • Fika: Light swedish faire. Some bar-style seating, but you should take out and eat in central park.

56th St.

  • B'twn 5th & 6th Ave
    • Men Kui Tei: Solid, lunch-priced Ramen. Not as fancy/chic as Ippudo, but also less expensive.
    • Má Pêche Awesome Asian dishes from a michelin starred chef. Not within the typical midtown lunch budget, but worth listing anyway.
    • Tina's Cuban: Great Cubano sandwiches and a solid steam-table platter showing too. Try the dessert empanada!
    • Joe's Shanghai: Shanghai style Chinese food. The main attraction is soup dumplings.

55th St.

  • B'twn 5th & 6th Ave
    • Dig Inn Seasonal Market: Good healthy platters of “meat, carb, veg”.
    • Certé: Certé does most of their business through catering but they have a really good selection of gourmet pizzas, sandwiches, quiches, etc at their up-front counter. I hear their seating area in the back is no longer available though. Try the offensively named “chubby chinese girl” or “suckling pig pannini” sandwiches ;-)
    • Katsu-Hama: Delicious Japanese Pork Katsu with choice of which type of Pork cut you want. Also has some Ramen from their [now closed] sister restaurant Men Chanko Tei.
  • 8th Avenue
    • Indikitch (b'twn 55th & 56th) Recommended top Indian lunch

54th St.

  • Hallo Berlin Cart @ 5th Ave (northwest corner): German sausage cart. Get the democracy or dictator special. Choice of 4+ kinds of wurst.

53rd St.

  • The Halal Guys (chicken and rice) @ 6th Ave (southeast corner by day, southwest corner by night): The reference model, most famous chicken over rice. Get it with the red & white sauces.

51st St.

  • Pure Thai (9th Ave b'twn 51st & 52nd) Unique and modern thai food. Not just the usual traditional dishes. High quality. It's usually a bit crowded if you don't arrive early.
  • Cafe Duke (B'twn 6th & 7th Ave): Large cafeteria-style cafe. Mostly recommended for their Korean counter in the back (try the spicy pork!)
  • Ippudo (B'twn 8th & 9th Ave): Upscale, really good Ramen that's still affordable enough for the occasional lunch.

50th St.

  • Cart Roulette - An assortment of food trucks and carts including Greek, Indian (Dosas + General), Empanadas, Falafel and various other rotating vendors

49th St.

  • Pam Real Thai (b'twn 9th & 10th): Don't expect ambience or polish. We refer to this restaurant as “pet store Thai” due to the odd smell presumably from their profuse use of fish sauce. But what the place lacks in charm (or, frankly, service) is more than made up for by their unique and really good Thai dishes at an affordable price. Don't bother with Pad Thai here; go outside your usual order and get something interesting.

47th St.

  • El Rincon del Sabor Latino (b'twn 5th & 6th): Hidden gem on the 4th floor of a small, non-descript diamond district building. Lots of novel and traditional Ecuadorian food. You need to look for a little (like 2'x2') poster sign next to the front door to spot the building. It's close to 6th Avenue on the South side of the street.

46th St.

  • Biryani Cart @ 6th Ave (Southwest corner): the name says it all
  • Minar B'twn 6th & 7th Ave (south side of street): Steam table Indian food
  • Margon Cuban B'twn 6th & 7th Ave (south side of street): Get the Cubano sandwich or steam table prepared food

45th St.

  • Xi'an Famous Foods B'twn 5th Ave & 6th Ave: Amazing hand-pulled noodles from a region of China with Muslim influence.

39th St.