I've always had some sort of love/hate relationship with lunch. What kind of food to eat, where to eat, how much to eat, light or heavy, hot or cold, leftovers, cafeteria, restaurant? Making all of these decisions within your short lunch break time can cause the even the wisest foodie to get frustrated. I often find myself pushing back the lunch hour because I can't even make a decision before I leave my desk!
I thought a lot about where I could go for my 45 minute lunch break--somewhere that was fast, but not fast food, tasty, but not too fattening, and had a nice atmosphere, but wasn't too popular to have to fight for a seat. And of course, the most important factor: location. If you can't find a restaurant/deli/bar/eatery that is close enough to work/school, you can simply cross it off the list.
So far, I've found a few places that work for me. I work in Brighton, bordering Allston and Watertown. Three of these places are chains, so if you can find one around your work/school, I'd say its your best bet for some good food at lunchtime.
Top 5 Lunch Places
1. Panera Bread- With a huge menu, Panera has a variety of items to order from so it doesn't get old. Many of the sandwiches have distinct tastes which you won't find at usual deli's. Soups and salads are also reliable, always tasty and surprising low in calories.
2. Bugaboo Creek Steak House- After avoiding this place for months due to its funny name, I finally gave it a try and decided I was the crazy one! Great food from sandwiches to salads to soup. The service is quick and food is always served hot. They're also good about letting you customize orders--ex: grilled salmon instead of chicken on salads, etc--which is always a plus.
3. La Casa de Pedro- A great place for salads and light lunches, especially if you're tired of the same old lunch options at other places. The Latino flare is sure to give your taste buds something new to savor.
4. Marty's Liquor, Allston- As odd as it sounds to have a sandwich shop in a liquor store, Marty's certain does it right! Best sandwiches and alcohol, all in one place, what's there not to love? Order up one of the Marty's specialties sandwiches or make your own.
5. Whole Foods Market- Did you see this one coming? Whole Foods is, not only one of my most favorite places on earth, but also a great place to get lunch. Most locations have a counter for customers, so you don't have to eat in your car. They carry everything, from pre-made salads to tuna salad to soup to BBQ sandwiches...and on and on and on. If you can find a Whole Foods near you, consider yourself lucky!
If you know of anywhere that you think belongs on my Top 5 list, tell me! I'm always up for trying new places. Also check out my past post with a list of great restaurants around Boston, if you have more time for lunch and want some really top-notch food.
UPDATE: If you're eating anything resembling this Pancake-Sausage on a Stick, I would like to personally offer my condolences, and severely urge you to try one of the above restaurants.