So, you’re eating lunch in Soho. Maybe it’s a Saturday and you’re trying to get something to eat in tourist central. Maybe you work on Broadway and simply want to avoid Dean & DeLuca. Whether you want a sandwich to go, or a sit-down lunch, here are our favorite places to eat lunch in Soho.
Are you in Soho looking for a designer bag, a store dedicated entirely to Crocs, or maybe even a fancy chocolate shop? You’re covered. But if you’re in Soho looking for a sandwich? That’s a little trickier, but only slightly. Thankfully, there’s Olive’s, a great takeout sandwich and salad option that’s been around since the early 90s. They recently moved a few blocks further west, but their excellent chicken sandwich (and everything else) is still intact.
New York’s best falafel exists at Taim, and it’s what you should absolutely start with here (we like the harissa version). But also don’t leave without trying the date, lime, and banana smoothie. It’s one of the absolute best things to drink in New York.
You’ve probably seen brick and mortar Calexico outposts all over the city, but Soho keeps it real with Calexico’s original taco cart. They’re parked at Prince and Wooster from 11:30 to 3:30 on weekdays, so don’t try to hit it on a Saturday. Make sure to add “crack sauce” (chipotle mayo, basically, but better somehow) to your burrito or taco.
If you aren’t spending your Soho lunch break walking over to this little Italian sandwich spot, you aren’t spending your Soho lunch break very well. The sandwiches here are simple and classic and very large, many of them featuring some combination of smoked chicken, prosciutto, mozzarella, and arugula. There are plenty of vegetarian options as well. This is mostly a takeout spot, but there are a few small tables.
The casual, sort of healthy crowd pleaser that is Westville has a location on the western edge of Soho. You’ll find all the usual market plate suspects here, plus plenty of outdoor seating.
Lure Fishbar could be accurately described at the S.S. Lunch Party. This underground seafood restaurant designed to vaguely look like a yacht is slammed throughout the daytime, and if there were a “power lunch” spot in Soho, this would be it. The seafood and sushi are both great, and they also serve one of the best burgers in the city.
If you’ve ever wanted to buy a sandwich, as well as some fancy olive oil, a bottle of wine, and a pound of jamon iberico, meet Despaña, a Spanish sandwich shop/grocery/wine store. Head to the back for the sandwiches, and for another option - you can also order some small tapas with a glass of wine or beer and sit at one of the tables.
From the outside, M&O looks like any other corner market, but inside, very good sandwiches are being made. There are rotating daily specials, and you can get all the deli classics every day.
Smile To Go
We once sat inside Smile To Go on a Sunday afternoon and watched Rihanna walk casually into a store across the street. We can’t promise you’ll have the same experience, but we can promise the people-watching here will be entertaining nonetheless. At the counter, a few sandwiches, several market sides, rotisserie chicken, and various pastries are always on offer, and all of them are excellent. There are several tables inside, but it’s mostly a takeout operation, and people tend to congregate on the stoops outside as well. As we said, prime people-watching.
If you’ve seen the lines at Sadelle’s on a Sunday afternoon, you may be scared away. But make a reservation - or better yet, just go during the week - for an awesome (albeit expensive) meal of smoked salmon, French toast, egg sandwiches, and more. You can also get a sandwich to go at the front counter.
Parm sandwiches are available all over the place these days - like at Yankee games and on the Upper West Side. We wouldn’t be surprised to see Parm turkey sandwiches and chicken parm subs at Duane Reade at some point. But Parm on Mulberry is the OG, and remains a really fun place to sit at the counter and hang out.
Jack's Wife Freda
Jack’s Wife is Nolita’s undisputed brunch capital, but we actually like it best on a weekday, when it’s a little less crowded. We love the Greek salad for lunch.
Our go-to spot for reliable delivery/extremely casual sushi - salmon avocado rolls and the like. The space isn’t much to speak of, but it’s comfortable nonetheless.
You may have noticed that Australian cafes are basically their own category of restaurant in New York right now, but Ruby’s was one of the first, having opened in 2003. It’s still going strong, with a great menu of eggs, salads, burgers, fish, and pasta.
If you’ve ever been stuck wandering Lafayette, thinking everything around you seems like it’ll take a little too long/be a little too crowded, pop into Bottega Falai. The coffee shop (which was formerly attached to a restaurant next door) serves various drinks and pastries, plus several different sandwiches.
You’ve probably heard about Rubirosa’s legendary pizza, but you possibly haven’t heard that Rubirosa actually sells slices of that pizza to go for a few bucks before 5pm.
A lot of New York restaurants are inspired by Balthazar, if they’re not complete copies of it. And for good reason: Balthazar is a great restaurant. The scene may lean a little touristy now, but it can still be a great location for a Soho lunch.
You know that little stand on the triangle-y block right above Houston, outside the Bleecker 6 stop? You should know that little stand actually makes a fantastic egg sandwich.
Pepe Rosso To Go
Pepe Rosso is a tiny, takeout-focused Italian restaurant with a great lunch special. For $9.95, you get a soup or salad, plus a sandwich or pasta. Simple, efficient, and tasty.
Lan Larb Soho
Lan Larb is an authentic, excellent Thai restaurant on Centre. Everything on the menu is great - we recommend the duck larb, the pad kee mao, and any of the sidewalk wok or curry options. Delivery is always fast, and the food shows up hot.
La Esquina Brasserie
You may think of La Esquina as the underground restaurant you had a really fun meal at in 2007. But you should also remember that the taqueria upstairs serves great tacos and salads for daytime eating.
Birdbath Neighborhood Green Bakery
Outposts of Birdbath Bakery are all over the city, but we like this one best (and feel that it deserves its own call-out) because it’s located in a cool old Italian bakery. Hit it up for a quick takeout sandwich or salad.
Habana is a classic, and the Cuban diner remains a top notch place for daytime eating, whether that means a sit-down meal or a takeout Cuban sandwich from the to-go shop on the side.