The City Hall neighborhood isn’t exactly a hot spot for workers searching for places to lunch. But look past the construction and the dash-in delis — and beyond the buffets of Amish Market and Whole Foods — and you’ll find some gems.
(Scale: $ = Under $10; $$ = $10-$15; $$$ = More than $15)
Sophie’s Cuban Cuisine $
96 Chambers St., 212-608-9000
This Cuban eatery serves heaping portions of meat — such as spicy grilled chicken or fried pork chunks — with beans and rice or plantains on the side, all for about $9. They also have daily specials such as oxtail stew ($11). The lunch rush is so busy that they don’t serve dinner, closing at 6 p.m.
Plein Sud $$$
85 W. Broadway, 212-204-5555
For a fancier luncheon, head to Plein Sud, which opened earlier this year on the first floor of the Smyth Hotel. At the helm are restaurateur Frederick Lesort and “Top Chef” contestant Ed Cotton, who are focusing on French cooking such as foie gras au torchon, served with brioche and seasonal preserves ($21) or a roasted leg of lamb sandwich ($16).
Carl’s Steaks $
79 Chambers St., 212-566-2828
Carl’s serves authentic Philly cheesesteaks complete with Cheez Whiz and grilled onions ($6.75). Steak lovers can substitute provolone or American cheese and order other extras, including mushrooms or hot peppers. Chicken cheesesteaks ($6.75) also are available for those feeling a bit less indulgent with calories and saturated fat.
City Hall $$$
131 Duane St., 212-227-7777
This story wouldn’t be complete without mentioning City Hall, the go-to power-lunching spot for top city officials. On the menu: oysters on the half shell; an Ahi ginger tuna burger ($17); a nice selection of entree salads ($14-$21); and classic surf-and-turf dishes.
Taj Tribeca $$
18 Murray St., 212-608-5555
Fast Indian food abounds in this neighborhood, but Taj Tribeca offers a more elegant, sit-down dining experience — plus a daily all-you-can-eat lunch buffet ($16) that goes until 3 p.m. The buffet includes a variety of meat and vegetarian dishes, as well as freshly baked naan. A prix-fixe lunch takeout menu starts at $11.95.
The Little Bigger Place $
61 Warren St., 212-528-3175
There’s something for everyone at this colorful, casual spot, which serves traditional Mexican dishes as well as American fare. Lunch combos include a soup and Oaxaca salad with grilled chicken, corn and cilantro ($8.50) or a soup and sandwich-of-the-day combo for $8.75. The spicy turkey burger ($9.25) and guacamole ($6.75) are other favorites.