Cava is a fast-casual chain from the D.C. area, and this is the first location in New York. At lunchtime, people line up here for bowls of fresh Mediterranean food that they order at counter, Chipotle-style. Start with some greens, or some grains (or both), and move on to toppings and sauces. Additional veggies are free of charge, and you can essentially be as healthy as you want here. Go for some lentils and super greens or do double portions of meat and have them lather on Sriracha dressing if you want to fall asleep at your desk.
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Rai Rai Ken
There’s plenty of ramen in the East Village these days, and no shortage of opinions on where to go. We happen to believe that Rai Rai Ken sits near the top of the heap, mostly because that shoyu ramen is so good, but also because it’s inexpensive and simple.
Here’s the good news: If you like the idea of eating various pig parts in some sort of spicy chili sauce, you’re going to love this joint. Jeepney is Maharlika’s second East Village restaurant, and this one is a take on a Filipino gastropub.
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Ponyboy is a restaurant/bar in Greenpoint, and it’s where you go when it’s after 10pm and you’re looking for a place to dance.
Vella is a Mediterranean restaurant on the Upper East Side with outdoor seating and oyster Happy Hour.
Ultimately, we are sure that Boulud Sud is some kind of Mediterranean culinary stroke of genius, just like the critics say that it is. But this is the kind of restaurant best suited for people who still keep an actual Zagat guide in their house.
Suggested by our writers
Glaze Teriyaki Grill
Glaze Teriyaki is a reliable and seemingly somewhat healthy option for cheap Midtown lunch. Midtown could use more of those.
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