There’s something about lunchtime in New York City that’s just so tough. I mean, the line at every salad bar within a 20-block radius is more painful than starving till dinner, and as much as we love our Sweetgreen, sometimes we just need a break from salad. Like, if Chrissy Teigen can eat fried cheese for lunch, we can have our raw kale hiatus. In the meantime, it can be tricky to find good lunch spots that are healthy and affordable, so we tried like, every restaurant in the city and found the best ones around. If you’re looking for a healthy lunch that won’t make you hate yourself, try out these spots:
Westville isn’t new or particularly trendy, but the menu is amazing and the ingredients are healthy, so we’re down to keep going back. However, they don’t take reservations, so you should probably go during an off hour to avoid waiting in line with a bunch of bloggers debating between the dijon brussels sprouts or the Asian bok choy. Either way, Westville has a ton of options for anyone, whether you’re hardcore dieting or literally just want a burger and fries. If you’re trying to be healthy but don’t want a salad, get their grilled chicken, salmon, or veggie burger, and their list of vegetable sides is longer than Caitlyn Jenner’s memoir. You won’t leave hungry.
Usually when someone suggests getting a poke bowl for lunch, it’s a hard no. I mean, I’d rather die than eat raw salmon out of a tin that looks like the clearance bin at Sephora. Luckily, we’ve found a gem that actually makes poke bowls classy, and that gem is Chikarashi. Unlike most poke places in the city, Chikarashi isn’t buffet style or gross, so you just order something off the menu and don’t have to waste your time choosing ingredients to go in your bowl. The genius behind this place is the former executive chef of Neta, Michael Jonh Lim, and there’s a reason for the long lunch line. Chikarashi even offers seared toro, which you won’t find at any other poke spot. Right now they’re only on Canal street, but apparently there’s a NoMad location on the way, and we’re pumped about it.
If you love the taste of curry but won’t admit it because Indian food is unhealthy AF, meet your new Indian bff, Inday. Inday is build-your-own bowl style, and all of their food is antibiotic-free, local, and organic. Their slogan is “Good Karma Served Daily,” and we’re totally on board. Inday is all about healthy food with good vibes. Their traditional Indian flavors will destroy the bland salad you’ve been eating everyday, and the food is legit healthy. Think cauliflower rice, coconut tahini, golden curry chicken, and herb quinoa. For dessert, get their dairy-free dark chocolate avocado cocoa bowl. Sounds funky, but don’t knock it till you try it.
Mulberry & Vine is one of those places that are perfect if you’re out to lunch with the healthiest friend you have, or the friend who would rather die than eat a salad. You basically make a plate or a bowl, and you can pick a protein and sides. They let you sample anything before you get it, which is a huge plus since we tend to have commitment issues. In terms of ordering, people love the chicken and salmon, but the tofu is also amazing if you’re vegetarian. Plus, the roasted sweet potatoes with coconut oil are low key crack. Like, better than sweet potato fries.
5. Beyond Sushi
If you’re vegan, vegetarian, or just need a break from your regular salmon avocado roll, Beyond Sushi offers amazing plant-based sushi rolls that are super healthy, obviously. First of all, they use black rice and six-grain rice instead of regular sushi rice, and their rolls are filled with roasted veggies, tofu, and really interesting combos. I mean, your lunch will literally look like a rainbow-colored sushi platter, so it may seem slightly extra, but the food is actually really good. They have a few locations in Union Square, Chelsea Market, Midtown West, and Herald Square, so there’s definitely one close to you.
Bluestone Lane is one of those West Village Instagrammable spots with Free People models and Australian food bloggers, but don’t let the crowd deter you. I mean, at least it’s not tourists, or even worse, families with small kids. We love Bluestone because the dishes are super simple and not boring at all. Like, I think they have a salad on the menu, but people only order that to add some color to their Instagram. The avocado smash is obviously a go-to, but if you’re feeling adventurous, go for the portobello mushroom toast with pesto or the Balthazar toast with ricotta and berry jam. You could also just order everything and convince your friends to split it with you.
When Union Fare first opened, everyone thought all they served was a croissant that looked like the result of a one night stand between the gay pride parade and a Funfetti cake. But after everyone finally got over the photogenic 5000-cal baked goods, people started realizing The Hall at Union Fare is actually pretty healthy without making you feel like you’re eating a bowl of rabbit food. If you’re into cute toasts, the avocado smash and banana berry toasts are really good, and if you want seafood, we recommend the tuna tataki or salmon skewers. The brussels sprout flatbread is amazing if you want to split with friends and pretend you didn’t realize it came with bacon on top.