The best restaurants know that a good lunch special can make your day, and savvy patrons know they can find many of their favorite dinner items on the lunch menu at a discount. Whether you're looking for a quick, cheap bite or something more sumptuous, these 50 lunch specials are some of the best in the U.S.
50 Best Lunch Specials Across the Country
Drawing upon the flavors of Italy's Chianti region, Carne at La Centrale is inspired by a classic Italian butcher shop with an upscale steakhouse twist where quality cuts are cooked on a traditional wood-fired grill. Every weekday guests can indulge in a two-course prix fixe menu for $20. Choose from classic antipasti like the executive chef's mother's meatballs or minestrone soup, plus a main course like the 8 oz. La Centrale hamburger or tagliatelle pasta.
Located on Boise's restaurant row on Eighth Street, The Matador turns out a clever luncheon special called the Mix and Match Lunch. Choose two menu items for $8.50 or three for $12 a choice of three from tacos made from braised beef, carnitas, pork belly, house made chorizo, braised chicken thigh, house-made tortilla soup, and seasonal salad or romaine salad. You can find other Matador locations in Seattle, Denver, and Portland, Ore.
This upscale Peruvian restaurant is located inside the tony Atton Hotel in Miami's Brickell neighborhood. For $16, Lima's "executive" lunch menu gives you a choice of appetizers like tomatoes and honeydew tartare, feta cheese, in lemon vinaigrette; cucumber gazpacho; or watermelon and queso fresco; plus an main course. Try the lemony pappardelle with salmon, the vegetable platter, or honey-garlic chicken thighs in a savory soy reduction.
Ways & Means Oyster House boasts sustainably-caught seafood and seasonal dishes. They offer lunch special in the bar area daily for $5. You can choose from burger sliders made with a "life-altering" aioli and frizzled onions on a brioche bun, the shrimp-and-fish tacos, or fried calamari served with chile aioli. For an additional $5 you can wash down lunch with one of five signature cocktails. If you're in the Los Angeles area, check out their sister restaurant in Huntington Beach.
Chef Brandon Carter offers a lunch special Tuesday through Saturday that lets you pick a meat and three sides, priced according to portion size: single, double or triple. Prices run from around $15 to $21. Choose from Southern favorites like pork meatloaf sandwich, pickled shrimp, fried catfish, fried chicken biscuit, pastrami sandwich. Side options include refried butter beans, roasted broccoli, roasted zucchini, corn and butter bean succotash, and canewater grits.
Every day of the week LaRosa Marketplace features a tantalizing luncheon special. From Tuesday's prosciutto caprese panino with chips and a pickle for $9.99, to Thursday's grilled chicken on panzanella salad for $9.99, to Friday's meat and cheese lasagna for $6.99 per pound, there are several specials to choose from each day at this Hartford establishment that's been in business since 1928.
Located in the rapidly gentrifying Hunts Point neighborhood in the Bronx, City Tamales offers an $8 lunch special from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. You get a choice of two tamales, served with an order of rice and beans. Choose from the tamale rojas and pernil or five other options (plus a vegetarian one, the spicy mushroom). The deal also includes salsa verde, mushrooms, and queso fresco and an agua fresca made with watermelon, lemonade, jicama, cantaloupe, or tamarind.
Maine is known for its lobsters, and this Bar Harbor landmark offers daily lobster lunch specials. If seafood isn't your thing, try their create-your-own mac-and-cheese lunch special instead. Load up your pasta with optional add-ins like fresh spinach, black bean salsa, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, roasted red peppers, black olives, green peppers, jalapenos, artichokes or bacon.
Lunch at GQue means meat. Their rotating weekly lunch specials, which run $8 to $12, include the prime brisket dip, made with hickory-smoked brisket, caramelized onions, provolone cheese, and served with au jus dipping. This Denver-area restaurant also offers a weekly two-for-$5 wing special that lasts until they run out of the special wing flavor of the week. Try the honey-garlic chicken wings.
If you love Indian food, you can eat your fill at Amaya Indian Cuisine's lunch buffet for only $12.95. Available from 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. from Tuesday through Sunday. You'll find favorites like pakora, vada, panipuri, tandoori chicken, and chicken tikka masala at this family-run restaurant, which has been serving Rochester diners for two decades.
Celebrity chef Tim Love's bistro is a modern Texas take on the classic Western steakhouse and a great pick for a business lunch. Power lunchers can chow down on Lonesome Dove's prime rib special for $16 every Friday. The 16 oz. cut of beef comes with a side of Yukon gold potato puree and fresh "horsey" cream. Bottles of wine are half price. Lonesome Dove also has locations in Austin, a few hours to the south, and in Knoxville, Tenn.
Located in downtown Miami, the sleek eatery Zuma offers a weekday prix fixe Japanese-influenced lunch menu for $29. Choose from dishes like the sashimi bowl, salmon teriyaki, baby chicken, or truffle tenderloin. Each entrée is served with white miso soup, a mixed-leaf salad with asparagus and barley-miso dressing, and prawn and black cod dumplings. Jet-setters take note: Zuma also has locations in London, Hong Kong, and Istanbul.
This elegant restaurant inside Chicago's Langham Hotel is a fine choice for a business lunch or to celebrate a special occasion. Their Wabash Express lunch special for $29 begins with a choice of chilled carrot soup or mixed greens served with a house vinaigrette, followed by main courses including risotto carbonara, lemon-thyme chicken or branzino with sunchoke hash, spring vegetables, and brown butter. Finish with lemon pavlova or chocolate cake.
Parry's is a Denver-area pizza powerhouse, serving Neapolitan-style pizza and a rotating roster of craft beers. Each location has a different lunch menu and specials, but all of them include a 9-inch cheese pizza and a soda or beer, and you can even get a side salad. Don't want pizza? Order any menu item at the bar and Parry's guarantees it in 20 minutes.
Mamo in New York's trendy SoHo neighborhood has a $28 lunch special that will make you think you're lunching on the French Mediterranean. Choose from appetizers like salmone crudo or prosciutto di parma with mozzarella and olives, and main courses like rigatoni al ragu or roasted branzino with olive oil and mashed potatoes. To finish, sample a classic like tiramisu and the lavender cheesecake.
Fans of wood-fired pizza who live in the mid-South know Brixx is the place to get their fix. Their lunch special is just $8.95 and includes a half-sized house salad, a personal-sized pizza with your choice of toppings, plus a drink. Try a classic like the margherita or expand your horizons with the Korean pepper steak pizza. Brixx has locations in Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Ohio, and Indiana.
Located just blocks from the beach, Roe Seafood specializes in seafood of all sorts. Summer lunch specials include the Captain's Lunch ($16) with choice of hamburger, fish tacos, or the "Filet R'O'E" fish sandwich; choice of chowder or seafood bisque; and a mixed-greens salad. If you'd prefer something lighter, try the Skinny Captain ($15) with choice of albacore tuna toast, grilled fish tacos, or ceviche tostada; plus soup and salad. Thirsty? You can add a draft beer for $4.
Ono Hawaiian BBQ's lunchtime "Aloha Plate" specials are served with steamed rice and fresh salad, just like in Hawaii. Guests can pick one or two entrée options from chicken katsu, kalua pork, island white fish, Hawaiian BBQ beef, and more. These plates run between $7.99 and $8.49 dependent on whether one or two options are chosen. This chain restaurant has locations throughout California and in the Phoenix area.
Located inside the Sofitel New York, Gaby's serves French cuisine with a modern twist. Its two-course prix-fixe lunch for $26 is a deal for Midtown Manhattan. Appetizer choices include heirloom tomato salad, spinach salad with smoked salmon and lemon-dill dressing, and market greens with toasted quinoa and fried shallots. Entrees include scallops, miso-glazed duck breast, steak and cavatelli, plus your choice of three desserts.
Housed in a restored bank building dating to 1902, this upscale New American restaurant offers a $16 weekday Blue Plate Special that changes weekly. Past specials include St. Louis-style pork ribs, New York a trip with Brussels sprouts and potatoes, and chicken fried steak. If the weather is nice, enjoy a cocktail on the rooftop bar.
South Florida residents head to Louie's again and again because lunch is on the house after your sixth visit. All you need to do is to ask for a frequent-visitor card to get started. This restaurant, which has a sister location in Miami, features a generous lunch menu that includes pizza and house-made pasta, plus steaks aged on site and daily specials.
This Belmont neighborhood fixture offers a daily $10 lunch menu that includes favorites like pad thai and more elaborate dishes like their shrimp-cake noodle soup and mango sticky rice, plus a Chinese chopped salad. There's a changing daily lunch special board menu, too.
The kitchen at Josie's Ristorante is presided over by James Beard Award winner Mark Militello, who gives lunchers a generous menu. For just $8, you have your pick of shrimp or chicken caesar salad, meatball parmigiana sliders, chicken wings, rigatoni bolognese, panini caprese, pollo parmigiana sandwich, chicken Milanese, or panini Italiano. Josie's is also offering a variety of summer specials, including 20 percent off guest's entire bill.
Executive chef and owner John Zucker delivers traditional lunch specials that range from $8.75 to $13.25. Try the four-cheese macaroni and cheese; fried green tomatoes with pork belly croutons, sheep's milk feta, and smoked-tomato caramel; the shrimp BLT with pepper jack cheese and mayo on sourdough bread; or the Chinese chicken salad with julienne Napa cabbage, carrots, daikon, peppers, red onion, fried wontons and a ginger vinaigrette.
This restaurant inside the Omni Mount Washington Resort offers several lunch specials, including their best-selling New England Burger. Two ground beef patties, crisp pork belly, maple aioli, lettuce, tomato, cranberry brie spread on a brioche bun for $16 is a deal in a town where bargains can be harder to find than bipartisan agreement.
Brennan's weekday "summer break" lunch specials costs $12 and gives you a choice of three Cajun- and Creole-inspired dishes. Choose between the blackened fish tacos served with chayote-and-jicama slaw with smoked jalapeño aioli, the grilled burger with avocado relish, "power comeback" sauce, and hand-cut fries; the Cajun red beans and rice made with house-made boudin sausage; or the pig trotter stewed Camilla red beans with toasted garlic Jazzman rice.
The emphasis is on fresh and hearty fare at Doc B's upscale chain of restaurants. At the new Dallas location, the lunchtime special features Doc B's bestselling White Marble Farms double-cut pork chop. It's been brined for 72 hours before being grilled, drizzled with a roasted garlic butter, and served with a potato for $14.94 every day of the week.
This chain of fast-casual Italian "street food" has a summer lunch special that costs just $5.99. Try the Breakfast for Lunch bowl or the Breakfast for Lunch piada, both made with eggs, pancetta, red quinoa, tomatoes, arugula, and parmesan cheese. Piada has 42 locations in seven states.
Is there such thing as a free lunch? At Comstock Saloon, the answer is yes. Located between North Beach and Chinatown, this eatery is known for its "free-lunch Friday" from 12 to 4 p.m. Buy two alcoholic beverages and get a free lunch (or "creative weekly special," as they call it). Choose from such as guanciale poutine, Louie salad, crispy cheeseburger wontons, caesar salad, Captain Crunch-fried chicken, and more. Happy hour begins when lunch ends.
If you crave food with a Southwestern flair, then visit Panxa Cocina and try their Belly Special lunch ($14), which includes half a torta (choice of pork, chicken, or short rib) with a cobb salad and a cup of posole, plus a beverage. Add a draft Modelo or glass of J. Roget Sparkling White for an additional $3.
Located in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood, this crab house has been serving crustaceans for three decades. The pricey lunch specials they serve are only available Friday through Sunday, making it a great choice for a special occasion or an important business lunch. Try the unlimited snow crab legs ($38.95) or tempura shrimp ($26.95). If your appetite isn't bottomless, opt for the tempura soft-shell shrimp instead.
This trendy Kensington pizzeria is named in honor of a neighborhood legend named Dr. Haven, who built a series of play areas for local kids. The restaurant has two lunch specials worth the trip. Try the 9-inch, one-topping Neapolitan-style pizza and house salad or tuck into an Italian sandwich like the meatball, caprese and pesto, both of which cost $10.
Fine & Dandy offers a rotating daily luncheon special, each just $11.90. Monday is Cordie Lew's fried chicken with greens, potato salad, roll. Tuesday brings spring chicken sandwich made with green goddess. Wednesday boasts the "sinking" po'boy with "whatever we have" served with all the fixins. Thursday features a shrimp-and-crawfish roll made with celery, onion, and Old Bay seasoning on a house-baked bun. Friday is Simmons catfish fried and served with pickled green tomato tartar, fennel slaw and hush puppies.
This Union Square-adjacent restaurant is a great lunch spot for a mid-day break from sightseeing or a casual business meal. Their "Cheers to 22" lunch special is available Monday through Friday and offers a choice of one appetizer, one entrée, and one dessert. Choices include parsnip soup, butter lettuce salad, and entrees that range from salmon to sausage ragout, ratatouille flatbread pizza and maki and more. Dessert choices range from yogurt panna cotta to a trio of sorbets and more. Offerings change daily and the special costs $22.
Inside the Windsor Court Hotel, you'll find the elegant Grill Room. Their lunch special offers guests a choice of meat and three comfort-food sides for $19.84. The offerings change up daily based on seasonal produce and meats and fish. Lunch goers can also enjoy $2 martinis made with quality brands like Tito's vodka or Plymouth gin.
Party Fowl does hot chicken and soul food the right way, and their weekday lunch menu features seven dishes for $9 each. Items range from hot chicken BLT, hot chicken sliders, and hot chicken spinach salad. Don't want chicken? Try the vegetable plate, featuring scratch-made collard greens, white beans and onions, or skillet mac 'n' cheese and mashed potatoes.
Located in Midtown, Wokuni offers traditional Japanese lunch offerings like bara chirashi ($18), which is chopped sashimi over a bed of sushi rice, and salmon ikura don ($16), a rice bowl topped with salmon and salmon roe, as well as teishoku-style set meals that include grilled fish, a side dish, salad, rice and miso soup for $18. The signature wokuni-don is $24 and features sashimi and shrimp tempura on a bed of rice. In addition, lunch-size Asahi beer (6 oz.) is only $2.
The Imperial Lamian in Chicago's River North neighborhood is a sophisticated spot for a business lunch. Choose from six Chinese favorites like Hainanese chicken or sweet-and-sour pork, each under $19. This upscale spot has earned a reputation for its weekend dim sum, which is so popular that the restaurant opened its Wok Up Window, where patrons can order pumpkin puffs, crispy wontons, and mushroom buns for late-night munchies on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Peru has a large Japanese population and a thriving food scene, so it's no surprise the two cuisines have merged in delicious ways. Sen Sakana, NYC's first Nikkei (Japanese-Peruvian) restaurant features executive chef Mina Newman's specially priced lunch special for $35. You get a four-course prix-fixe lunch menu that includes a choice of soup such as pork belly miso or chicken, plus a choice of salad like tricolor quinoa or baby arugula and onion, and their signature house-crafted tofu, among many choices.
The emphasis is on Northeastern farm food with an urban sophistication at Halifax. Their $15 lunch special, available Monday through Friday, features a choice of a soup and sandwich, or soup and salad. Select any salad off the regular lunch menu such as roasted beet and farro or the New Jersey pear salad with arugula, Exum double-smoked ham, gorgonzola, apple vinaigrette, and candied pecans. Soup and sandwich options change daily.
Bring your appetite and your wallet to this Midtown Manhattan steakhouse. The $44 lunch special is so hearty you likely won't want (or need) dinner. Their special includes your choice of one of three entrées from a prime rib sandwich, hanger steak frites, open-faced salmon BLT, all served with a glass of wine, or try the chef's-cut "special burger" and craft beer pairing of your choice.
James Beard Award-winning Chef David Burke offers politicos and power lunchers a $28 weekday lunch at this steakhouse inside the Trump International Hotel. Try the surf-and-turf salad made with steak, potato, shrimp, tomato, and blue cheese, or the grilled steak sandwich with dry-aged steak, creamed Vermont cheddar, frisee, watercress, red onion, served with truffle fries.
Chef Peter Merriman's eponymous eatery offers pub classics like hamburgers and fish and chips with a Hawaiian accent. Lunch specials include house-made cavatelli pasta for $13 and the Big Island grass-fed bistro cheeseburger for $14. Merriman, a three-time James Beard Award nominee, is a pioneer of the farm-to-table movement, and 90 percent of his menu items are sourced from local farmers and ranchers.
This Boise spot offers Middle Eastern-inspired lunch specials like beer or chicken kabob served up with side of basmati rice and salad for $6.99, or a shami kabob, which are grilled skewers of seasoned ground beef served with side of basmati rice and salad for $7.50, or the tekka lamb kabob, also served with a side of basmati rice and salad, for $7.50.
Indian favorites are on the menu at this Hampshire County spot. Bombay Royale's daily lunch specials run from $10.95 on weekdays and $13.95 on non-holiday weekends and include chicken tikka, chana masala and they also have a buffet where vegetarian dishes are separated from meat dishes.
Thai Lotus offers more than a dozen weekday lunch specials. Each entree is served with jasmine steamed rice, choice of an appetizer, choice of soup, and salad from Thai favorites such as pad prik pak, red curry, pad prik sod, and green curry. Prices range from $6.95 to $7.95.
Upscale Naples was named in honor of the Italian city, and Parmesan Pete's pays homage to that heritage with its lunch specials. Try the rigatoni amatriciana with bacon, onions and basil spicy marinara for $12, or the Italian lobster roll, crispy shrimp scampi served and pappardelle pasta, or a blackened grouper focaccia sandwich, just $16 each.
Seattle's Kau Kau has several $5.90 lunch specials that include roasted duck and deep fried prawns, but notably popular and well reviewed are their $8.88 vegetarian "delight" lunch special or the BBQ pork $4.99 lunch special, which also includes rice, vegetables and an extra dish.
In the City of Brotherly Love, they love their sushi, and this sushi joint gets thumbs up for their lunch specials served Monday through Saturday. Lots of sashimi choices are offered on this discounted lunch menu as well as their "sushi lunch" and the "happy lunch" special that features three rolls and a soup for $11.95.
Cheapism.com participates in affiliate marketing programs, which means we may earn a commission if you choose to purchase a product through a link on our site. This helps support our work and does not influence editorial content.