Best Quick and Casual Lunch

Alesci's Downtown

You could walk right past this hole-in-the-wall, so unimpressive are its looks. And things hardly improve when you step inside the shoebox of a room, with its cafeteria-style counter and ready-made salads stacked high. But the prices are right, and the chatty staffers serving up homemade pastas, pizzas, and calzone are as warm as the fare. Try the saucy lasagna with a slab of cheesy bread, and add on a well-appointed salad. And -- when the well-worn booths are filled with veteran Alesci's Downtown customers -- clamber onto a bar stool and down your lunch at a rickety high top, with a plastic fork off a styrofoam plate. Who cares? It's delicious. And when you come back tomorrow -- and you will come back tomorrow -- you'll know to bring your friends.