Sarge’s (548 3rd Ave., near 36th St., 212/679-0442) is a classic old–New York deli.
In Little India, Indian fast food can be picked up at Curry in a Hurry (119 Lexington Ave., at 28th St., 212/683-0900), housed in a bright turquoise building. Muriya (129 E. 27th St., near Lexington Ave., 212/689-7925, $14) specializes in Mughali fare.
The famous Second Avenue Deli (162 E 33rd St., 212/677-0606, $9–19) lost their 2nd Avenue lease in the East Village  and reopened here. It remains a great place to get classic NY deli dishes like corned beef sandwiches or matzoh ball soup. Expect the sandwiches to be huge.
At another casual spot, The Coffee Shop (29 Union Sq. W., 212/243-7969, $14), beautiful waitstaff serve well-priced staples with a Brazilian tinge.
The city’s best Turkish restaurant, serving fare made with the freshest of ingredients, is the red-and-gilt Turkish Kitchen (386 3rd Ave., between 27th and 28th Sts., 212/679-6633, $16). Sala One-Nine (35 W 19th St., 212/229-2300, $23) is a fun dark little tapas place that is great for groups to sample food together.
Housed in a stunning former bank building with lots of white marble and red lamps is the popular Blue Water Grill (31 Union Square W., at 16th St., 212/675-9500, $26), serving fresh seafood.
A longtime favorite among restaurant critics and New Yorkers alike is Danny Meyer’s Union Square Cafe (21 E. 16th St., near 5th Ave., 212/243-4020, $26), a gracious and hospitable place serving an imaginative mix of Italian, French, and American cuisine.
Union Square Cafe’s youngest and most casual sibling is the big, high-ceilinged Blue Smoke (116 E. 27th St., between Park Ave. S. and Lexington Ave., 212/447-7733), the ultimate take on an urban barbecue joint. There’s a spiffy jukebox to one side, a bar stocked with 30 varieties of bourbon to the other, and one of the best jazz clubs in town downstairs (the Jazz Standard).
City Bakery (3 W. 18th St., near 5th Ave., 212/366-1414) is a good place for simple gourmet lunches and baked goods.
Old Town (45 E. 18th St., between Broadway and Park Ave. S., 212/529-6732) is a stunning, historic bar complete with high ceilings, mosaic floors, and a gorgeous back bar. Upstairs is a casual dining room serving passable food.
Near Union Square  is 119 (119 E. 15th St., near Irving Pl., 212/995-5904), a comfortable dive with a pool table in front, dart boards in back, and a handful of creaky booths in between.
Historic Pete’s Tavern (129 E. 18th St., at Irving Pl., 212/473-7676, www.petestavern.com , 11 a.m.–2:30 a.m daily) bills itself as the city’s oldest bar. Pete’s is open for lunch and dinner, but go for the atmosphere and drink, not the food.