Best Prix Fixe Lunches in NYC

Looking for a great prix fixe lunch in NYC? Here’s my list (and photos of every course) to find the best mid-day dining option.

Skip Ahead
Five Course Seafood Tasting Menu at Marea
Lunch Tasting Menu at Eleven Madison Park
Sushi Omakase Lunch at 15 East
Tasting Menu Lunch at Bouley
Tasting Menu Lunch at Jean-Georges
Lunch Platter Set at Sakagura
Soup and Sandwich Lunch Special at Gramercy Tavern
Lunch Set at EN Japanese Brasserie
Three Course Prix Fixe Lunch at Tocqueville
Lunch Special Donburi at Cha-An


 

Five Course Seafood Tasting Menu at Marea

I still can’t stop thinking about this five course seafood tasting menu lunch at Marea, a two star Michelin restaurant. So memorable, with every bite leaving me wanting more. Marea specializes in Italian and seafood and they have a delicious five-course tasting menu for $80.

marea lunch

Here is everything I ate:

marea lunch

1/ From the bread tray I started with a pumpkin seed focaccia. Then proceeded to have 2 more pieces of bread during the course of the meal to get the last bits of sauce.

marea lunch

2/ Assaggio di Tre, a tasting of three crudo of sliced raw fish and shellfish. The Sgombro, a jack mackerel, tomato, fennel, potato chip, and trout roe was especially amazing.

best lunch marea

3/ Astice: a Nova Scotia lobster with burrata, eggplant, and basil. Oh My God. I wanted to lick the plate.

best lunch marea

4/ Strozzapreti: crab, sea urchin, and basil. So creamy and the pasta was perfect.

prix fixe lunch marea

5/ Capesante was the final savory dish. Seared scallops, napa cabbage, chanterelles, lentils, and greens. I didn’t know scallops could taste so good.

marea nyc lunch

6/ I’m not a huge fan of panna cotta, and think it’s a cheap way for restaurants to cop out of a real dessert, but THIS changed my mind about that. Caramelized goat milk panna cotta with almonds, anise hyssop, and melon granita. Lovely and light.

marea nyc lunch

7/ Not a part of the tasting menu, but I ordered a green tea to end the meal. Loose leaf tea from Harney & Sons. Tea was served with thin, square cookies.

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8/ And the last bites were these colorful, fruity, and nutty nougats.

INFO: Marea | 240 Central Park South | New York, NY 10019 | 212.582.5100


 

Lunch Tasting Menu at Eleven Madison Park

Everyone I know that has gone to Eleven Madison Park has raved about it, so I was super excited when I finally made the reservation to go.

A confirmation email was sent to me by the Maitre D’ letting me know that the lunch would take about three hours, and to plan our day accordingly. The lunch ended up being THREE HOURS AND 45 MINUTES. No joke. Good thing we planned accordingly. File this meal under Ladies who Lunch.

Interestingly, the menu and the cost of $225 per person is the same for lunch and dinner.

No menu is handed out when you’re seated. Everything served is from an extended tasting menu where everyone pretty much gets the same thing.

No doubt, this was THE BEST MEAL I’VE EVER HAD. From the food, portion sizes, to the service, and the presentation, it was all AMAZING. ALL CAPS amazing.

Here’s what we had…

Tasting menu lunch

1/ Starting off with a blue bakery ribboned box with savory black and white cheddar cookies with apple. A nod to the class NY black and white cookie.

2/ Oyster with grape, bulgar wheat, and sorrel.

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3/ Marinated shrimp with sea surchin, foie gras, and chervil.

4, Part 1/ Sturgen sabayon with chive oil served in an egg.

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4, Part 2/ Continuation of the egg, sturgeon served smoked in a glass dome with everything bagel crumble, homemade pickles, and caviar.

Eleven Madison Park NYC

5/ Foie gras terrine with potato, greens, and black truffle. There was another option with this dish in that you could have gotten the foie gras seared instead.

…/ Bread with two types of butter. Bread was flaky, and more like a croissant than a roll.

Tasting menu

6/ Carrot tartare with rye bread, and condiments. They bring out a grinder, which they attach to your table and the carrot goes through the manual grinder in front of you. You mix all the little condiments with the carrot and have it on top of the toasted rye bread. Who knew carrots could taste so good?

Eleven Madison Park

7/ Poached lobster with brussels sprouts and guanciale.

8/ Roasted squash with cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and sourdough.

Eleven Madison Park

9/ Roasted duck with turnip and huckleberries. We had an option to get venison, but we went with the duck.

10/ The picnic course! They bring you a packed basket, and you get to unpack it for an indoor picnic. Inside, Greenward cheese, pretzel bread, mustard, and Champagne grapes.

Tasting menu EMP

11/ Egg cream with vanilla and seltzer served tableside from a bar cart. This kicks off the dessert courses.

12/ Apple sorbet with bay leaf crème brûlée and hibiscus. A candle for my bithday!

Tasting menu EMP

…/ High Mountain, Ali Shan oolong ordered off a separate tea menu. This was $10 extra.

13/ Sweet potato cheesecake with honey and chestnut.

Eleven Madison Park lunch

14/ A card trick is a huge part of this course. The server shuffles playing cards with different flavors on each card. I got to split the deck, and move some cards around, and eventually, two cards were selected, and placed face up.

You open up the box, and inside, the flavor illustrations on the playing cards match the flavors of the chocolate inside. No idea how it was done, but it was pretty fun. One was passion fruit, and the other, mint.

Eleven Madison Park lunch

15/ Chocolate covered pretzel with sea salt.

16/ To bring things full circle, black and white cookies, but this time, sweet with cinnamon.

At the end of the meal, homemade granola in a glass jars were brought out for us to take home, along with a menu to take home, listing everything we ate.

So memorable; I’m so going back.

INFO: Eleven Madison Park | 11 Madison Avenue | New YorkNY 10010 | 212.889.0905


 

Sushi Omakase Lunch at 15 East

15 East has one Michelin star and it’s my go-to sushi restaurant — it never disappoints. I always request the sushi bar, never the dining room.

At the sushi bar, each piece is made as you eat, not all at once and plated like it is if you sit in the dining room. The rice is usually packed looser and therefore just falls apart in your mouth.

The $65 sushi omakase is a 10 piece sushi chef’s choice.

Once seated at the sushi bar, a nice hot hand towel is presented to get you ready to start eating with your fingers. No need for chopsticks (unless it’s to pick up the pickled ginger), especially with the loose rice! The little white folded upright piece of wet napkin is used to wipe your fingers between each piece of sushi.
15 east lunch
No need for soy sauce or wasabi (they don’t even have them out at the bar) since everything is perfectly flavored and seasoned before it gets to you. Oh, another thing, every piece is eaten in one bite.

I always get a cup of water and a hot cup of green tea, which goes perfectly with the sushi.

Here we go…

15 east lunch

1/ Striped Jack – With the first piece, my eyes usually roll to the back of my head and I make noises I didn’t even know I could make. It melts in my mouth. SO SO SO GOOD.

15 east lunch

2/ King Yellowtail – More with the eye rolling back and the gutteral noise.

sushi lunch

3/ Lean Bluefin Tuna – The chef informed us that tuna from Boston was brought in the day earlier and showed us on a picture which part of the tuna this piece came from.

15 East sushi lunch

4/ Medium Fatty Tuna – Another part of the same tuna. Tasted completely different from the previous piece.

15 East sushi lunch

5/ Seared Fatty Tuna – Lovely smoky flavor on this one.

15 East Omakase lunch

6/ Spotted Prawn

15 East Omakase lunch

7/ Scallop – Citrus garnishes gave this piece a nice tart finish.

Omakase lunch nyc

8/ Salmon Roe – Bright orange mountain of salty goodness.

Omakase lunch nyc

9/ Sea Urchin (Uni) from California – What’s better than uni? NOTHING.

15 East sushi

10/ Sea Eel – It was mentioned this was their signature piece. The eel is poached and…say it with me…melts in your mouth.

15 East sushi

11/ Complimentary Ice Cream Dessert – Sometimes you get dessert with the omakase, sometimes you don’t, with a 90% success rate at the sushi bar. A refreshing end to a perfect lunch.

When making reservations online, those seats are only for the dining room so you must call to get a seat at the sushi bar.

INFO: 15 East | 15 East 15th Street | New York, NY 10003 | 212.647.0015


 

Tasting Menu Lunch at Bouley

Bouley is a one star Michelin star restaurant and they have a five course tasting menu lunch for $55.

Bouley tasting menu lunch

1/ Starting off with warm bread! Both the mini baguette and roll were excellent and made even better with the bottomless silver pot of butter.

Bouley tasting menu lunch

2/ Amuse bouche of salmon and mustard. Light and flavorful.

Bouley lunch

3/ There were four options for the first course and I went with the Malibu Sea Urchin with green apple and Oscetra caviar which had a $13 supplement.

Bouley bread cart

4/ Behold the bread cart! More than 10 breads to choose from.

Bouley tasting menu nyc

5/ Four options to choose from the second course and I got the Organic Connecticut Farm Egg with Serrano ham, steamed polenta, artichoke, sunchoke, and coconut garlic broth.

Bouley tasting menu nyc

6/ Third course had six options. This is the Organic Long Island Duck cooked perfectly to medium rare. Delicious.

Bouley tasting menu

7/ Fourth course. Choice of two soups and this is the Spiced Clementine Soup with Elderflower sorbet. There was a tiny misstep with service when the plates were placed on the table without an explanation what it was.

Bouley tasting menu

8/ Tea before the last course. Green tea with a two-tiered stand with a selection of sugars.

Bouley lunch

Bouley nyc


9/ Two options for dessert and I got the Hot Caramelized Anjou Pear served with Huckleberry and Tahitian vanilla ice cream.

Bouley nyc

10/ A tower of small dessert bites! (This multi-tiered tray reminded me of the dessert course at the Mandarin Oriental Paris afternoon tea.)

INFO: Bouley | 163 Duane Street | New York, NY 10013 | 212.964.2525


 

Tasting Menu Lunch at Jean-Georges

Jean-Georges is a three star Michelin restaurant and the lunch tasting menu did not disappoint. (Well, there was one thing…)

Here’s everything I ate during the three hour lunch:

1/ First, a Cherry-Yuzu soda. Refreshing!

2/ A trio of amuse-bouches. The pickled radish sushi reminded me of the beet sushi at L’Arpege in Paris. A great, tasty way to start the lunch.

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3/ Caviar, Meyer Lemon Gelée and Crème Fraîche. What’s not to love? Rich and light at the same time.

4/ Yellowfin Tuna Ribbons, Avocado and Spicy Radish, Ginger Marinade. Tuna melted in my mouth and it was fun slurping the tuna like spaghetti. Thankfully, I didn’t wear white.

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5/ Goat Cheese Royale, Roasted Beer Marmalade and Toasted Crushed Pistachios. Mixed together to get everything in each bite.

6/ Slowly Cooked Cod, Lettuce Puree, Herbal-Lime Vinaigrette. I loved the crunchy bits with the super soft cod, all swimming in the lovely green broth.

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7/  Suckling Pig with Baby Beets, Ginger Vinaigrette. The last savory course and the richest.

8/ Now for dessert! The running ingredient was rhubarb through all four sweets on the plate. These were afternoon-tea mini sizes, so of course I loved it.

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9/ A tea break. Highly disappointing since the tea were teabags (not the highest quality of tea). Really, Jean-Georges? I expected more.

10/ A trio of chocolates, jellies, and nougat.

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11/ And drum roll please… what I’ve been waiting for. Super fluffy, melt-in-you-mouth marshmallow cubes. One per person and cut in front of you, tableside. OMG. SO GOOD. If you can imagine what it’s like to eat a cloud, this would be it.

Service was excellent, as always, and we all thoroughly enjoyed our meal.

INFO: Jean-Georges | 1 Central Park West | New York, NY 10023


 

Lunch Platter Set at Sakagura

I have a slight obsession with secret or hidden places, so it’s not surprising that I love Sakagura, a Japanese sake bar/restaurant. It’s one of those places that someone has to take you first to know it exists.

Be sure to make a reservation for lunch (and dinner). There’s usually a wait if you’re a walk-in. The place fills up quick.
Sakagura lunch

Outside the building, look for a small sign that gives you a hint of what’s inside.

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Head inside to the lobby and walk down this creepy staircase. At this point, a lot of people question where I’m taking them.

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And we’re right outside the entrance…almost there.

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Finally! Inside! It’s like being transported to Japan.

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My friend and I order off the Lunch Platter Set “Soba Gozen.” The entire multiple page menu is made up of lunch sets of varying prices and combinations of Japanese food. Don’t expect to find a ton of sushi. This place specializes in a tapas sized cooked Japanese food.

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I ordered the Yakizakana Gozen which comes with a grilled fish (salmon), assortment of appetizers, a bowl of rice, soba noodles, and dessert. It seems like a lot of food, but because of the portion size, it’s totally manageable.

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The thick cut of salmon was good, but got to be a little dry in the middle.

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Side dishes, which I had with the rice.

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And then, dessert. I got the green tea ice cream which was a perfect way to end the meal.

INFO: Sakagura | 211 East 43rd Street B1F btw 2nd & 3rd Ave. | New York, NY 10017


 

Soup and Sandwich Lunch Special at Gramercy Tavern

I knew about the secret (not on the menu) lunch special you can order at the tavern section of Gramercy Tavern, and I finally went in to get it last week.

$16 gets you a soup and a sandwich, which changes daily. Check out Gramercy Tavern’s twitter feed to find out what the soup and sandwich are for that day.

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My friend and I sat at the bar and ordered the soup and sandwich special, not asking what kind of sandwich and soup was being served that day.

Bread and butter came out first, then the lunch special arrived.

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First the sandwich: House-made Pastrami with Reading Cheese, Sauerkraut and Smoked Onion Aioli on Caraway Rye Bread, served nice and warm. With that, Celery Root and Apple Soup with Brussels Sprouts and Bulgur. Delicious and filling. Best lunch deal ever!

INFO: Gramercy Tavern | 42 East 20th Street btw Park Avenue South & Broadway | New York, NY 10003 | 212.477.0777


 

Lunch Set at EN Japanese Brasserie

During the workweek, EN Japanese Brasserie in the West Village does a lunch set ranging from $15 – $25.

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EN Japanese Brasserie is a spacious restaurant with a modern look.

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I was there during Restaurant Week, but I opted for the lunch set menu instead. I got the crispy fried chicken lunch set that included a spinach salad, freshly made tofu, housemade pickles, rice, and miso soup.

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I ordered a Japanese tea to go with my lunch.

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The lunch set comes out on a tray with small dishes to accompany the meal as side dishes. I ate it all — it was filling and delicious.

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For dessert, I paid $6 for this Monaka ice cream sandwich which was excellent.

Perfect combination of all Asian favorites (chestnuts, red bean paste, matcha ice cream) in one.

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INFO: EN Japanese Brasserie | 435 Hudson Street btw Morton St. & Leroy St. | New York, NY 10014 | 212.647.9196


 

Three Course Prix Fixe Lunch at Tocqueville

Tocqueville is a fantastic place for a leisurely lunch. It’s an oasis with good food and service.

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Located right next to 15 East, a sushi place I like to frequent, Tocqueville is a quiet, unassuming restaurant right by Union Square.

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The restaurant is a great place to engage in long conversations since the tables are nicely spaced apart and there is a feel of intimacy.

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My favorite seats are the corner banquettes. Comfy and roomy.

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They have a lunch prix fixe which comes in three courses: appetizer, entree, and dessert.

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I got the grilled asparagus to start as my appetizer. Small but tasty.

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As my entree, I got the housemade gnocchi. My gnocchi was very good, but my friend’s Pan Roasted Hake (the other entree offering), was better.

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And a sorbet trio for dessert.

INFO: Tocqueville | 1 East 15th Street btw. Union Square West & Fifth Ave. | New York, NY 10003 | 212.647.1515


 

Lunch Special Donburi at Cha-An

Cha-An, a Japanese tea house in the East Village does a daily lunch special donburi (Japanese rice bowl dish) for under $20.

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Located on the second floor up a flight of stairs, look for this sign outside.

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Peeping inside the kitchen which can be seen from the bar. The shelves are lined with tea and teaware.

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The daily lunch donburi at Cha-An is a great deal around. For $13, you get a rice dish, a pot of genmaicha tea, and two side dishes. I love it since it’s filling and delicious.

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I got the Ebi Chili Don, a spicy shrimp rice dish. I cleaned the bowl, eating every single grain of rice.

Tea is served continuously with the pot being refilled with hot water for your entire stay. If I”m not careful, I’ll sometimes have up to six cups of tea. Then I wonder why I can’t fall asleep at 3AM.

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For an additional $3, you can add dessert to your meal. You don’t pick off a dessert menu; they’ll serve you whatever is being served that day. It’s always good.

INFO: Cha-An Japanese Tea House | 230 E 9th St, 2nd Floor | New York, NY 10003 | 212.228.8030

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