When I wrote my last blog post about where to eat in Times Square, I had no idea what a cult phenomenon My Belly’s Playlist would become around the New Victory offices. I will definitely not take sole credit for its popularity, but even a slice of it will do plenty for my ego. So, it only made sense to do another round-up of some more of the spots I’ve fallen for in my first year of working on 42nd Street. Whether you’re looking for a lunch spot, a quick dinner before a show, or a bite while you stroll through the theater district one weekend, these are all some choices I think you’ll love!
Num Pang Sandwich Shop
There’s a juice store near my apartment on the Upper West Side, and right outside the juice store there are ads for the juice store that say things like “a little bit of downtown while you’re uptown.” That totally plays to my insecurities, having lived on the uncool Upper West Side for the past seven years, minus a couple of summers in Brooklyn, where I (painfully) didn’t fit in. Num Pang in Midtown West gives me that same “so this is what the kids are doin’” feeling and I love it. My favorite menu item is probably the coconut tiger shrimp sandwich– fresh and filling.
The best ramen! And on the weekends, the line for dinner is crazy. So I like Ippudo for an awkwardly-timed weekend brunch (say, 2PM) or a long lunch away from the office. Beware, though– a big bowl of tasty noodles might have you feeling pretty tubby and sluggish for the rest of the workday. Try to get a seat around the bar if you can; the bustle of the restaurant around you is super fun from this spot.
This is primarily a grilled cheese spot, but the patty melt is my new favorite burger in NYC. Heavy, but hits the spot.
Cafe Grumpy, Culture Espresso and Intelligentsia Coffee
There’s been this bizarre, but awesome, coffee renaissance happening in Midtown. In a neighborhood where for a long time your only options were the fifteen different Starbucks on your block, there are now a handful of really great coffee shops to try. I also like Gregory’s and Fika, but the above three offer a really special (and, again, downtown-y) cup of joe.
A restaurant re-imagining Korean small plates in fun and exciting ways. This is definitely more of a trendy dinner spot than a takeout lunch place, but perfect for a cool scene before a show in the theater district. It often pains me to see the prices on Korean restaurant menus, especially when I’ve experienced how inexpensive it is to make huge batches of Korean dishes at home, but this atmosphere and new look at the cuisine helps to justify the price. Order lots of things to try, but make sure you’re with a group who likes to share!
I really am a sucker for John’s. The interior feels impersonal and airy in a weird, church-y way (I’m pretty sure the building actually used to be a chapel), but the pizza is right up there with some of the best in NYC. And if we’re talking Times Square pizza spots, it can’t be beat. I also like Merilu and really want to try Don Antonio.
Mooncake Foods is my #1 go-to when lunchtime hunger strikes and I need something hearty and filling, but still nutritious. I lived off of their soy glazed salmon for a week this spring, but I also love their chicken, which has a slightly sticky honey marinade. Both dishes come with a chili sauce that is very spicy, but compliments the sweet glaze on both in an incredible way. I’m not even sure what the flavor is in that condiment, but my mouth is watering just thinking about it!
I’d love to hear your thoughts or read your recommendations! Leave them in the comments, or tweet them at me @hillreeves.