How is it possible that one area can be so ridiculously packed, yet simultaneously so devoid of anything good?
When trying to eat healthy-ish in Midtown, take that rhetorical question and multiply it by a thousand. Actually, don’t. Math is hard, and if you find an answer it’ll make you want to punch something.
But with a little determination and a lot of intel, it can be done. You just have to know where to look - and that’s what this guide is for. Here are our go-to spots for healthy-ish lunches in Midtown.
Check out the rest of our Guide To Being A Little Healthier.
Unless you go crazy with the spicy mayo, poké is always going to be pretty good for you. Raw fish, rice, maybe some seaweed and sesame oil - there isn’t anything too wrong about that. And if you’re trying go even healthier, Pokéworks lets you sub out your rice for salad. Or maybe you want a poke burrito. Your friends might make fun of you, but these people will make you one. Prices here are also pretty reasonable and they even have tofu, shrimp, and chicken. The chicken is not raw.
Fields Good is a new fast-casual chain that specializes in chicken. That’s sort of their thing, and they’ll serve it to you one of three ways (although fried is not an option). You can get it in a bowl or on a salad or on a platter with a few vegetable sides. Throw some roasted broccoli and smoked beets in with your pulled BBQ chicken, and that sounds like a healthy-enough lunch. Although if it sounds too healthy, you can always add bacon.
If you’re pretty sure you want a healthy lunch, but you want a lot of different stuff to choose from, Treehaus is where you go. This is really just a nice, huge bodega that makes a lot of different food and even has a buffet station. Food by the pound can get a little expensive here, but that’s the price you needing to choose exactly how many green beans are on your plate . Get a salad or smoothie or a bunch of roasted vegetables. Also, if you want poke, there’s a little Japanese restaurant upstairs.
The concept at Between The Bread is nothing revolutionary: you pick your protein, you pick your sides. But the execution here is what makes this place stand out - the food itself tastes good and fresh, and actually feels like someone put some care into making it. There are also plenty of options, and the menu changes often so you’re not stuck eating the same grilled chicken-sauteed kale-roasted sweet potato combo over and over again.
We’re not going to sugar coat it: vegan sushi sounds bad. Really bad. So we were just as surprised as you to learn that Beyond Sushi is not only tasty, but actually quite satisfying. The rolls combine things like mango and avocado - not only does this remove the risk of questionable raw tuna run-ins, but it also means you’ll feel pretty great after eating it.
The Australian-owned coffee shop empire in New York City knows no bounds - it’s even extended into Midtown. Pop into Bluestone Lane for lunch and you’ll feel like you’ve escaped to a land of attractive people, flat whites, and healthy, pretty foods. The people working here also tend to be quite friendly - but don’t get swept up and call them mate. Take it from us, things get awkward fast.
The easiest way to explain Dill & Parsley would be to call it a Mediterranean Chipotle. But that association would do this place a disservice - for a fast casual spot, the food here is really great. You pick a bowl, a pita sandwich, or a wrap, and you fill it with your choice of vegetables, proteins, salads, toppings, and sauces, many of which are fully organic.
Put anything on top of brown rice and we’re going to be able to pretend it’s good for us. Chicken, steak, and salmon teriyaki might not be superfoods, but we do know that Glaze never makes us feel terrible after eating it. And if you’re really aiming for health? Skip the rice, order teriyaki tofu, and put it on a salad. And go forth towards the rest of your day knowing you’ve already made good choices.
Midtown isn’t in need of more coffee places. But it could use many more places like Gotan: a Coffee Shop Plus, serving fresh, interesting breakfast and lunch food (we love the scrambled egg sandwich on a biscuit & the tuna avocado salad), much of which is pretty healthy, and almost all of which is very good. The airy space is also quite pleasant, even when it’s packed at lunchtime - if you can swing it, eat at one of the tables in the skylight-lit back room.
Whether you’re looking for a kale juice, an acai bowl, or just a moderately healthy sandwich, the Scandinavian place Joe and The Juice has you covered. We appreciate the fact that in a world where you could easily pay $13 for a smoothie without a second thought, the prices here remain reasonable, and the setup is efficient - so you can take your ginger shot, grab your immunity smoothie, and be on your way before you can say “namaste.”
The Little Beet was one of the first places to figure out that healthy food would do well in Midtown, and they’ve reaped the rewards of being first in. There are now two locations in the area, but that doesn’t stop there from being long lines of people every day. The excellent food - ranging from proteins and sides to bowls to healthy burritos - is all worth the wait.
Another good coffee shop, more Australians running it. This one has particularly good salads and sandwiches. Just know that you might have to deal with a little mayhem to get them. Again, they’re worth it.
A name that’s fun to say, plus healthy Mediterranean food. Nanoosh has a big menu of protein plates, salads, and wraps, all of which are enjoyable. They also have plenty of vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, everything-free options.
If the idea of ordering menu items such as “The Hulk” and “Lean & Ripped” seriously offends you, maybe don’t come to or get delivery from Natureworks. Otherwise, if you’re training for a triathalon, or for some reason enjoy eating as though you are, Natureworks is here for your seriously healthy food needs.
Nothing mindblowing will happen to you or your mouth at Roast Kitchen. But if you’re looking for a big bowl of vegetables, grains, and proteins that tastes fresh and satisfying, this is a reliable option.
“What do you want for lunch?” might be the most frequently asked question in all of working America. And more often than not, the answer is something along the lines of “I don’t know...a salad? A sandwich maybe?” For those times, The Blue Dog is exactly what you need. It’s a little cafe with three locations in Midtown serving good salads, sandwiches, and smoothies.
Grabbing lunch with a group of coworkers and actually all have time to sit down? Ootoya is a great choice. It’s Japanese, and instead of specializing in one type of food, you can get everything from soba to sushi to hot pot to a nice piece of fish here. Everyone in your group will be satisfied, and you can get out on the healthy side of things.
Are you someone who’s very into “wellness”? Did you do the ten-session free trial of Headspace? Or do you simply seek out all forms of escapism from your Midtown workday? Then get yourself to Radiance Tea House, a Buddhist bookstore that serves light Asian food and inner peace.