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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Pylos is a longtime Greek restaurant in the East Village, and it's a perfect back-pocket spot.
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.
Caracas Arepa Bar
Caracas takes pride in serving the most authentic Venezuelan food in the city. Who are we to disagree? This is by far and away the best Venezuelan restaurant we’ve been to. It’s also the only Venezuelan place we’ve been to.
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Miss Ada is a small, comfortable spot in Fort Greene with great Israeli food and an outdoor garden in the back.
Extra Virgin in the West Village is an excellent date spot and is as consistent as they come.
Gato, Bobby Flay’s Mediterranean spot in Noho, isn’t quite as good as it was when it opened, but it’s still a useful option in certain situations.
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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