In a time when people seem to be busier than ever, spending an hour plus to sit down to a lengthy lunch or dinner is a thing of the past. The name of the game now is “fast-casual” AKA a restaurant where you can get good food, quickly, and at a great price without all the ceremony of a meal out. Here are five fast-casual spots we think you should totally add to your weekly lunch rotation.
When you eat one of the delish salads or bowls at Cava Grill, you’d never guess it was a fast-casual spot. Cava Grill works kind of like a Chipotle, but swap Mediterranean grain bowls for Mexican burritos and you’re in business. Instead of carnitas or barbacoa, you get to pick from lighter, fresher flavors, with toppings like hummus, roasted peppers, Kalamata olives, and falafels. Try their Crazy Feta, it’s insanely good.
You already know that poké is all the rage right now, and if you’re new to the fish dish, The Poke Spot is the place for you. They have a super wide variety of options and toppings that make their poke bowls über customizable. With twenty-one toppings and mix-ins, and six fish or vegetarian options, there’s no way you can’t find or make your perfect poke bowl.
If you’re looking for truly authentic and affordable noodles, consider Xi’an Famous Foods your cheapest ticket to China. These Xi’an style noodles (usually denser than other Chinese noodles) are hand-pulled and rough-cut fresh each day, and they’re just perfectly chewy and tender. These super fresh noodles act like sponges for the complex, rich Chinese broths.
Best falafels we’ve had in the city? Taïm’s, hands down. Their falafel comes in three fabulous flavors: traditional (parsley, cilantro, & mint), harissa (mildly spicy), and olive (with Kalamata olives). Get yours in a soft pita or in a platter full of traditional Mediterranean mezze. What’s better is they’ve started doing monthly falafel collabs with chefs from around NYC and donating part of the money they earn from those sammies to charity!
The Bromberg Brothers signature fried chicken is brought to the next level at Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken, their quick-casual spot serving up high-quality chicken coated with matzoh meal and their secret blend of spices. Go for one of their seven mouthwatering fried chicken sandwiches or their inspired monthly special (and don’t forget fries with the works!) then, when they call your order, dig into the some of the juiciest, most flavorful chicken this city has seen.