Where the West Village edges into Tribeca, you'll find publishing and advertising execs in the Saatchi Building, government employees off Houston, and union carpenters and hip-hop studio workers. Lunch-wise, nearly all ethnicities are well represented, and independently owned niche foodie destinations far outnumber franchises. Jane Jacobs, the famed urban planner who lived nearby, would be proud. Welcome to the micro-micro-neighborhood around the intersection of Seventh Avenue and Leroy Street.
Snack Taverna This small, charming restaurant, enclosed in exposed brick and sparkling glass, is tucked away off Seventh Avenue, so it's not usually crowded. Your office may be, however, so pick up mints on your way back: The aromatic Greek classics like warm lamb souvlaki with onions, pickled cabbage, and garlicky potato skordalia are all treats, but they linger on your breath. 63 Bedford St., nr. Morton St.; 212-929-3499.
Alexandra Thanks to impeccable, dainty salads and sandwiches and friendly service, this caf feels more cozy and European than the busier Belgian frites place up the block. Try the faultless nioise salad and the light, crisp, well-flattened Cuban sandwich with roasted pork loin. 455 Hudson St., nr. Barrow St.; 212-255-3838.
Moustache Pitza Mezes were made for sharing at this Mediterranean haven. Dip your hot, oven-puffed pita into the smoky baba ghannouj and lemon-intensified tabbouleh, and round out the meal with a spicy ground lamb-adorned lahambajin "pitza." 90 Bedford St., nr. Barrow St.; 212-229-2220.
Lederhosen You'll get great deals on bowls of spaetzle-dotted goulash, herring in cream sauce, and $3.50 wursts in the muraled back room of this German bierhaus. Make sure to come with a fellow meat eater the veggies are all either pickled, boiled, or both. 39 Grove St., nr. Bleecker St.; 212-206-7691.
Noodle Bar At the West Village's answer to Momofuku, the Pan-Asian ingredients are bit more accessible and affordable but still exceptionally delicious. Order the Singapore noodles, white-paste udon and shrimp in a spicy coconut-curry soup. At the bar, you can watch the chefs brave the blue wok fire. 26 Carmine St., nr. Bleecker St.; 212-524-6800.
Bleecker Street Pizza Handily beats neighbors John's and Joe's with its Nonna Maria. In warmer months, a thin-crust slice expertly dressed in fresh mozzarella, crushed tomato, and copious basil might not even be the highlight: The restaurant also offers Lemon Ice King from Corona ices in Queens. 69 Seventh Ave. S., nr. Bleecker St.; 212-924-4466.
The Lobster Place The pristine seafood displayed in the shop can also be prepped for lunch at the slim sushi counter in the back. Take away made-to-order rolls, nigiri sushi, and sashimi, or grab a prepared box from the refrigerator case. 252 Bleecker St., nr. Leroy St.; 212-352-8063.
Grey Dog Coffee Java addicts queue up for the namesake coffee all day long, but locals also pack the tables at lunch for creative salads, soups, and sandwiches (try the turkey, brie, green apple, and raspberry mustard on sliced-to-order freshly baked bread). Depressive emo busboys and blaring coffeehouse folk music make the Grey Dog experience rather collegiate, so take your lunch to go. 33 Carmine St., nr. Bleecker St.; 212-462-0041.
Out of the Kitchen! The swinging screen door and trays of hand-iced black-and-white cookies perfectly encapsulate West Villagestyle quaint at this caterer's takeout storefront. Prepackaged salads and classic picnic sandwiches like chicken salad with watercress share the spotlight with a colorful array of prepared salads like sliced flank steak with arugula or red beets with fresh orange. 456 Hudson St., nr. Barrow St.; 212-242-0399.
Do Hwa Elegant black bento boxes frame entres like spicy mackerel and tangles of beef bulgogi, all served with rice, salad, and kimchee. There are usually plenty of free tables in the refined red and black lacquer dining room, so the unharried wait staff is happy to let you finish your discussion over bottomless cups of hot Korean tea. 55 Carmine St., nr. Bedford St.; 212-414-1224