Jewish Deli Classics: Eisenberg's
This quintessential Jewish-style deli in the heart of the Flatiron has been making over-stuffed sandwiches since the late 1920s. Their pastrami Reuben ($10) is flavorful and tender, well dosed with Swiss and Russian dressing. Other old-school favorites for lunch are the chicken salad ($7.25) and the creamy tuna melt ($7.50).
Mexican Sandwiches and Tacos: Choza Taqueria
We love the clean-flavored but hefty tortas at this taco spot. The carnitas ($8.04) sandwich is filled with a smear of refried beans, a healthy (ish) portion of guacamole, shredded iceberg, and the tender pork shoulder with a sweet and spicy tomatillo salsa. A Sunset Park-quality torta in one of Manhattan's busiest business districts.
Asian Sandwiches and Noodles: Num Pang
Num Pang has been expanding all over town, and thankfully they have opened up shop in the Flatiron area. For substantial noodle and rice bowls, Num Pang has nothing over $12.75, and they have plenty of vegetables and protein to match the carbs. If you're looking for a bit of a kick at lunch, try the Grilled Spicy Pork ($9.75) noodle or rice bowl. The spicy glaze on the pork can be washed down with one of their iced tea or blood orange lemonade.
Get Cheesy: Beecher's Handmade Cheese
Seattle-based Beecher's Handmade Cheese isn't just one of our favorite cheese shops in the city; it also sells some top-notch grilled cheese sandwiches with upstate New York dairy. The Fig and Cheese ($7) uses just the right amount fig jam: not so much that it feels like dessert.
Creative Heroes: No. 7 Sub
No. 7 Sub's heroes have a certain amount of shock value—broccoli with lychee, roast beef with jelly mayo and fried garlic—but more often than not they work especially well. These aren't dainty sandwiches either; though the prices on some climb into the double digits, they're plenty filling.
Quick Thai Wraps: Rhong-Tiam Express
In a rush for lunch? A Roti Wrap may do the trick. At $5.95 for one, $9.95 for two, these reasonably filling wraps put Thai fillings in buttery, stretchy roti packages. The crispy basil pork or coconut curry chicken will leave you satisfied for that quick fix you were looking for; yuca fries make a filling side order.
Premium Italian Meats: Eataly Rotisserie Counter
Though the prime rib panino is a bit pricier at $15, the foot-long sandwich is loaded with juicy porcini-rubbed prime rib, worth it for an occasional splurge. The crusty bread does well to soak up any meat juice.
Quick Bite: Focaccia at Eataly
Entering Eataly for a quick lunch can be daunting, but the by-the-slice focaccia counter in the back makes for one of the better value lunches in the neighborhood. For $4 apiece there are straightforward square slices with toppings like prosciutto cotto, olives, or chili-flecked broccoli rabe.
Spendy but Delicious Southern: Maysville
Maysville was one of our favorite openings of 2012, in no small part for their pricey but incredible lunch sandwiches. Our favorite: a gorgeously tender pulled pork with ribbons of kale and a tangy buttermilk dressing, served with thick freshly fried potato chips. It's $14, and yes, we think it's worth it.
Prix Fixe Fine Dining: Tamarind
Tamarind's three course "Executive Lunch Menu" ($24.07) is a standout fine dining lunch deal in the area, and the creative Indian menu (one of the better Indian spots in the city, by the way) includes naan, rise, vegetable sides, and amuses. The room is pleasant and comfortable in the daytime and a great choice for a sit-down lunch in the neighborhood.
Another Great Lunch Deal: Aldea
Burger: Shack Shack
The original location of the burger empire is still our favorite, and though lines can get long at peak hours, rainy, snowy, and generally bad weather days make for a short wait for one of our favorite burgers in the city. Plus sitting in Madison Park and eating a Shack Burger is how lunch was meant to be.
When the Shake Shack Line is Too Long: Schnipper's Quality Kitchen
If you're looking for that same fast-food type of meal and Shake Shack's line is just too damn long, Schnipper's has done a great job at fast food-style burgers (as low as $4.50) and dishing out crispy chicken sandwiches ($8.99). Their comfort food fare right by Madison Square Park is a great choice for a substantial lunch.
Easy Slice: Frank's Express Pizza
Need to grab a slice on the go? At this neighborhood pizzeria there is always a pie ready to be dished out. Try the square slices for an extra doughy bite with a thick layer of cheese covering the top.
Frank's Express Pizza: 127 East 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010 (map); 212-379-5469