The micro-micro-neighborhood centered around Broadway and 20th happens to be the capital of Danny Meyer’s small but beloved empire of restaurants, where Credit Suisse First Boston financiers do lunch; actors and temps, meanwhile, have an array of lowbrow eats to choose from.
• Fleur de Sel Executive chef and owner Cyril Renaud, of the dearly departed La Caravelle, mixes uptown elegance with downtown creativity. Forget the martinis — woo clients over a four-course tasting menu with a focus on seasonal Greenmarket produce. If that doesn’t work, there’s always the French-heavy wine list, jam-packed with Grand Crus. 5 E. 20th St., nr. Fifth Ave.; 212-460-9100.
• Mayrose High ceilings and sunny windows don’t make for a traditionally cozy diner setting, but comfort-food classics like meat loaf with gravy, chopped salad, and malts will have you feeling right at home. 920 Broadway, nr. 21st St.; 212-533-3663.
• Tamarind The Anglo-Indian sweets and unique paratha sandwiches (with fillings like yogurt-marinated lamb, roasted eggplant and spicy apple chutney) distinguish this upscale, special-occasion Indian tea room from its nearby Curry Hill cousins. For drinks, split pots of Darjeeling and Nilgiri. 41-43 E. 22nd St., nr. Broadway; 212-674-7400.
• Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop Hang your coat on a wall hook and have a seat at the counter; the tuna salad–egg salad combo on rye is as iconic as the Flatiron. Top it with bacon and wash it down with a magenta lime rickey. 174 Fifth Ave., nr. 22nd St.; 212-675-5096.
• Mandler’s This glorified hot-dog stand is perfect for a quick bite. Choose from spiced chicken, kosher beef, or veggie dogs, then slather your pick with toppings like Pale Ale mustard from the generous condiment station. 26 E. 17th St., nr. Broadway; 212-255-8999.
• The City Bakery Chef Ilene Rosen’s Greenmarket-fresh soups and savory buffet deserve at least as many accolades as Maury Rubin’s pastries. Get the best of both worlds by making a pretzel-croissant sandwich with salad-bar booty like fresh guacamole and cornmeal-coated catfish. Throngs pack the tables on both levels, so take your lunch to go. 3 W. 18th St., nr. Fifth Ave.; 212-366-1414.
• Rainbow Falafel Crisp falafel in tahini-drenched pitas come flying out of this consistent and efficient closet-size eatery. Take your sandwich around the corner to Union Square and enjoy the outdoors before the cold sets in. 26 E. 17th St., nr. Broadway; 212-691-8641.
• JAS Mart Fast food doesn’t have to mean a few greasy bites of mystery meat. Run into this Japanese grocery to pick up light grab-and-go fare like seaweed-wrapped rice balls with salmon, pickled plum, and the heart-healthy salmon bento box. 34 E. 23rd St., nr. Park Ave.; 212-387-8721.