After the hustle of getting to work on time and tackling the morning inbox, the first thing most of us start thinking about is that beautiful mid-day reprise called lunch. In the Financial District, the main offerings seem to be chains, like Pret-A-Manger and Chipotle. But if you look beyond your usual humdrum lunch suspects, there exists a wider range of options, for everything from a quick 20-minute bite, to sit-down and read a magazine (maybe even with a glass of wine), to that classic institution, the power lunch. In fact, along with Midtown, the Financial District is tops for power lunching. Read on for our recommendations of where to lunch now, in FiDi, whatever the circumstance.


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THAI SLIDERS & CO Come here for grab-and-go lunch specials ($8-10), either curry (varying spice levels) or noodles. For something to really make you salivate, go for the sliders ($4 each), stuffed with deliciousness like juicy beef, or a pork bun ($4) with a side of steamed dumplings ($6). For more elaborate lunches, there are stir-fries and curries ($11-14) served with rice, as well as special entrees like frog’s legs ($18) and Duck Yum ($22), which is marinated and deep fried duck, Thai style. Also, they have board games so you can entertain yourself (with something besides Instagram) while your order is being prepared.

108 John Street, 212-406-4773; website

(via Yelp)

DOMINIC'S ITALIAN SAUSAGE Every New York neighborhood has its cult fave lunch cart, and Dominic’s is the one in FiDi. Spicy or sweet Italian sausage is the star here, served with peppers, onions and mozzarella (if you ask) on a hero roll ($9.75 if you get a drink); there's also a half portion on hot dog bun if lunch coma is a concern. There is also a fairly good Philly cheese steak as well as hot dogs and knishes. Note that the truck is run by a guy named John, not Dominic, a true New York character who keeps the line moving quickly for the lunchtime rush.

The cart is typically parked on Whitehall Street between Bridge and Pearl Streets on Monday through Friday, though sometimes it is mysteriously absent.

Fast Casual

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PISILLO ITALIAN PANINI These paninis at Mayor de Blasio’s preferred Italian spot are way above and beyond the ones that sit behind the glass window at delis across Manhattan. Not only are they made fresh to-order, but Pisillo strives to use the absolute best ingredients available. The bread is delivered fresh each morning from a traditional bakery in Bensonhurst—in fact, Pisillo does not grill their paninis because it’s meant to be tasted completely fresh, which is how they serve panini in Italy. Excellent cold cuts and Mozzarella di Bufala imported from Italy enhance the panini experience here tenfold. De Blasio likes his panini with mortadella chock full of pistachio, mozzarella, tomatoes, arugula, and olive oil (the Sant’Agata, $12).

97 Nassau Street, 212-227-3104

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DIG INN SEASONAL MARKET This spot is a gem in every possible way: atmosphere, quality of ingredients, taste, pace of meal, and price point. Friendly staff serves up seasonal salads and sandwiches, made with locally sourced ingredients made as sustainably as possible (the meat is free-range, anti-biotic free). The real attraction is the “bed of greens” that you can pile high with a combination of vegetables and proteins; for example, wild sockeye salmon atop farro with butternut squash, accompanied by kale granola salad and a half avocado ($12.40). Delivery is also available if you're chained to your desk.

80 Pine Street, 212-785-1110; website

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RAMEN CO Whether you love or hate the idea of the ramen burger (yes, it’s a patty made from fried ramen, try it here and see what you think), it is definitely a thing. Keizo Shimamoto—who evolved from being a ramen blogger, to a ramen chef—created it because he wanted to fuse Japanese and American cultures. Although Shimamoto has moved on from Ramen Co, you can still sample his ramen burger ($9) or, if you’re in the mood to slurp some noodles, bowls of steaming soup for $12 and under. You can order the Brooklyn Blend ($12), with unctuous and creamy tonkotsu broth and black garlic oil, even though you’re in the Financial District. There are also bento boxes ($9), featuring your choice of rice or noodles and vegetable sides.

191 Pearl Street, 646-490-8456; website


Crispy Pork Belly Sliders (via Facebook)

THE DEAD RABBIT The world’s best cocktail bar—as The Dead Rabbit was recently named at the annual event Tales of the Cocktail—also serves a solid weekday lunch that emphasizes seafood and reflects the bar owners’ Irish heritage. Start with some East Coast oysters ($3.50 each) and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc ($11), then try a Scotch egg made with Cumberland sausage ($11) or a plate of mini crab cakes ($19). The all-beef burger ($16) is topped with bacon, Irish cheddar, and wild mushrooms. Star main dishes include the beer-battered fish and chips with mushy peas ($18), and the curried lamb shepherd’s pie ($17), both of which practically beg to be washed-down with a beer. On the lighter side, there are a few nice salad options ($12-15).

30 Water Street, 646-422-7906; website

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DA CLAUDIO For a relaxed lunch that recalls the seaside in Sicily or the hills of Piedmont, head to Da Claudio for locally-sourced, seasonal Italian. The restaurant serves up simple, fresh, and flavorful starters, pasta dishes (gluten-free options are available), and meats. Pasta lovers will want to try the trofie with lamb ragu ($21), or the spaghetti with baby octopus and preserved lemon ($26). If you're lucky, the house-made burrata might also be on the menu. Enjoy a wide selection of premium Italian wines by the glass or the bottle and let thoughts of TPS reports slip from your mind.

21 Ann Street, 347-947-6451; website

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ISE You’ll find reasonably-priced, authentic Japanese food at ISE, which offers everything from sushi ($3.25 per roll, and up) to yakitori ($15), teriyaki ($18 and up) to tempura ($14 and up) and udon noodle soups ($12 and up) for windy FiDi afternoons. Casual and quick enough to dine within an hour, ISE is a good bet for a lunch meeting or just a personal treat. Try the sushi and sashimi combo ($26) for a meal that will keep you full and content for the rest of your long work day. Don’t miss the monkfish liver dish, with scallions, ponzu, and grated radishes, a special that many diners rave about.

56 Pine Street, 212-785-1600; website

Power Lunch

(via Vintry)

VINTRY WINE & WHISKEY If your lunch plan involves more drinking than eating, then Vintry has all the high-class liquids you desire: excellent cocktails featuring artisanal spirits, a fantastic wine selection showcasing the world’s top wine regions, craft beers, and yes, whiskey. As for food, it’s expertly prepared tapas-style plates with a seasonal flair and an Old World style. Start with a plate of handcrafted charcuterie ($11-14 per selection) then go for the tuna tartare with caviar ($15), the truffle mushroom cavatelli ($16, when in season), or the duck confit ($17). Finish with panna cotta ($9) and a dessert cocktail ($11-14). The set-up here is communal dining, so come for a relaxed lunch rather than to discuss business details that you wouldn’t want overheard.

57 Stone Street, 212-480-9800; website

BOBBY VAN'S STEAKHOUSE Inside a former bank vault: is there a more perfect setting for a power lunch? Seal the deal here over juicy, thick, 28-day dry-aged steaks and red wine, either in the more formal dining room at the Steakhouse or the slightly more casual Vault Grill. Aside from steak heaven, there are other excellent proteins, like the Colorado lamb ($46), and a meatloaf recalling your mother’s best ($18), both at the Grill. There are impressive seafood options on the Steakhouse menu as well, like Chilean sea bass ($38) and crab cakes ($38).

25 Broad Street, 212-344-8463; website

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DELMONICO'S A stellar raw bar, various fresh and creative New American dishes, delicious Hudson Valley foie gras ($24), and a vintage all-natural boneless rib-eye ($51) are all keeping the legendary Delmonico’s, a fine dining restaurant open since 1837, totally current. Delmonico’s is not just impressive in a culinary sense; it also tells a story about New York and its history, which your international clients will appreciate. At the Grill, you can opt for more casual options like steak frites ($29), sea trout with seasonal accouterments ($26), sandwiches ($17-21), or a burger that at $17 is one of the best-priced around (feel free to add foie gras butter for a luxurious addition, at $14 extra). Finish with the signature dessert, the Baked Alaska ($13), which Delmonico’s is actually credited with inventing—along with Eggs Benedict. Alternately, end your meal with coffee and a cigar. Delmonico’s is open until 5 p.m. for lunch, so you can take your time here. Reservations recommended.

56 Beaver Street, 212-509-1144; website

Rachel Signer is a food and wine journalist based in Brooklyn. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.