Nutritious & Delicious Mediterranean Lunches in New York

New York is known for its diverse culinary landscape. Whatever cuisine you can think of, you can find a restaurant somewhere in the Big Apple, and Mediterranean food is no exception! In fact, it has been growing in popularity over the past few years, and more restaurants are popping up all over the city.

Lunch is one of our favorite meals of the day. It’s a great opportunity to take a break and refresh yourself to tackle the afternoon. When it comes to the best lunch spots in NYC, Mediterranean food should be at the top of your list. It’s light, yet filling – in other words, it’s the perfect lunch. There are so many diverse Mediterranean restaurants across the city, so no matter where you find yourself at lunchtime, you can find some of the best lunches in NYC nearby.

Health Benefits of Mediterranean Cuisine

There’s more reason to choose a Mediterranean lunch than simply its legendarily outstanding flavors. It’s also the healthier choice! The region is known for colorful plates packed with lean proteins, heaps of fresh vegetables, whole-grain carbs, and heart-healthy fats.

The Mediterranean mindset is not about counting calories, but rather about balanced meals and moderate portion sizes. Cultures may vary across the Mediterranean, but the one thing that unites them is this approach to food and eating. Food isn’t just fuel; it’s an experience that should be savored and shared.

The combination of relaxed, mindful eating with nutrient-rich dishes is a boon for anyone seeking true wellness. Studies have shown that a Mediterranean diet is good for preventing heart disease and may even help prevent mental decline and Alzheimer’s. When combined with a healthy, active lifestyle, the Mediterranean approach to food is the key to unlocking long-term health.

Delicious Mediterranean Lunch Ideas

So now that you know all the benefits of choosing a Mediterranean lunch spot, the time has come to choose something to eat. Fortunately, you have a wealth of options, catering to a variety of preferences and dietary requirements. Aromatic herbs and unusual ingredients like citrus fruits make exploring a Mediterranean menu a treat every time.

If you’re in the mood for a light lunch, a soup or salad should be your go-to. Mediterranean soups are chock-full of legumes, leafy greens, and other vegetables, making them a hearty, warming choice. Instead of rich heavy cream or butter, much of the flavor comes from olive oil and fresh herbs. Sometimes, Mediterranean soups contain meat, adding an extra dimension of flavor and texture. Add some bread for dipping or to soak up the last drops and you’ve got yourself a filling hot meal.

On to the salads, or salatim as they’re known in Hebrew. Forget a few chopped veggies perched on a mountain of lettuce – Mediterranean salads are vibrant, crunchy affairs that incorporate more filling elements like chickpeas, quinoa, and couscous. They can easily be enjoyed both as a side and as the main event. At 19 Cleveland we have a great selection of Mediterranean salad options for you to try. Our Fatush Salad incorporates the classic Israeli flavors of fennel, sumac, and za’atar for an authentic Mediterranean taste explosion.

For something a little more substantial, we arrive at dishes most associated with the eastern Mediterranean: wraps, pitas and laffa sandwiches, shawarma, schnitzel, and shakshuka. If you’ve never tried a sabich before, this popular Israeli street food is about to blow your mind. Layered on freshly-baked laffa bread, the combination of boiled egg, fried eggplant, and red cabbage slaw with the iconic flavors of tahini, harissa, and amba (a tangy sauce made with pickled mango) is a winner every time.

Traditional Mediterranean Sides for Lunch

Cultural exchange has always been a defining feature of Mediterranean cuisine. Food ideas, ingredients, and flavor combinations were (and continue to be) shared by travelers across the region.

One of the Mediterranean’s most iconic dips is hummus. It’s often said to be the unofficial national dish of Israel, reflecting the influence of its diverse Middle Eastern population. The perfect complement to a heart-healthy lunch, hummus is made from chickpeas, tahini (crushed sesame seeds), lemon, and garlic. 19 Cleveland is home to four delicious hummus varieties – our classic house hummus, hummus masabacha (with whole chickpeas), rotisserie chicken hummus, and the ever-popular crispy garlic and tomato hummus. Dig in with veggies or pita, or enjoy this creamy spread on our Falafel Sandwich.

Eggplant or aubergine is a common feature in Mediterranean cuisine. It’s used for everything from dips to salads and more. Rich in antioxidants like vitamins A and C and light on calories, eggplant is a great addition to any health-forward meal. Don’t miss out on our twist on this iconic ingredient, a Smoked Eggplant, served with the balancing flavors of feta, tahini, pistachios, and pomegranate.

Best Drinks to Complement Mediterranean Food

No NYC lunch menu is complete without a good beverage selection. Aside from the usual sodas and hot drinks, you can take your lunch up a notch with a glass of quality wine, beer, or cocktail.

A glass of wine turns a simple lunch into an event. White wines like Pinot Grigio are a great complement to the earthy flavors of hummus and tahini. If you prefer a red, a simple, fruity Pinot Noir or Cabernet Blend is known to work well with the Mediterranean flavor profile. 

Our bar is stocked with a variety of beers. But if you’re feeling a little more adventurous and don’t have anywhere to be, why not sip a cocktail while you enjoy your meal? Our talented bar staff can whip you up a light prosecco Midnight Spritz or something with a bit more kick.

So, what are you waiting for? Join us for the best NYC lunch with Mediterranean flair.


Salomon, S. (2022, June 10). 8 Scientific Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet | Everyday Health.