Easily a dozen restaurants in New York do fantastic lunch deals, but it's hard to take advantage of them when they're not offered on weekends and you can't leave the office for more than twenty minutes. So take advantage of a day off! There's the $29 lunch at Del Posto, Ciano's $20 three-courser... and take a look at all the lunch deals Nick Solares has covered in the past. (Call ahead, as such specials change often.)
Better at Breakfast
Sometimes, the slice of pizza you want is the one that's nearest you. But with a whole day to kill, pizza exploring is (we think!) a perfectly sensible way to spend a few hours—whether, to you, that means Joe & Pat's in Staten Island, Sal & Carmine's on the Upper West Side, L&B Spumoni Gardens in Bensonhurst... (Note: Di Fara is closed on Mondays.)
Great Happy Hours
There are some excellent happy hours in New York that I, personally, rarely have a chance to hit up—because they end early, and I'm never out of the office in time for drinks before 7pm. So on a weekday at loose ends? Perhaps Terroir, where between 5pm and 6pm, you can get excellent wines for $6/glass and a glass of sherry for free; Emporio, where complimentary bar snacks include warm, substantial polenta cakes and pizza sliced into tiny slivers; or The Vanderbilt, where beers are $4 and plates of wings or Brussels sprouts are too; or Maialino, with snackable plates during the afternoon. (Specifics of Maialino's menu have changed since article linked.)
Chinatown Food Adventuring...
Or Head Out To Flushing
New York Classics
Always-Crowded Restaurants When They Open
I always have restaurants on my list that I want to go to, but decide against when I realize I'm in for a two-hour wait. So on days off, I love an early dinner (or, more likely, really late "lunch") right around 5pm, when I can get a table without incident and relax as the room fills up around me. Perhaps The Dutch, perhaps Talde, perhaps Pulqueria...