Although the American chain restaurants may have the brightest signs, there are plenty of local dining options that don't require a long walk.
For a fancy midday meal, Sen Sakana has pre-chosen "set meals" that combine Peruvian and Japanese cuisine: Think sushi topped with crunchy quinoa or noodles paired with spicy shellfish.
Xi'an Famous Foods is a New York City mini-chain of Northwestern Chinese restaurants where even the most snobby Manhattanites will wait in line for an hour for spicy lamb soup, hand-pulled noodles and spicy sour dumplings. The best way to experience the canteen-style restaurant is to arrive at a non-peak mealtime (3 p.m., for example) and go solo or with only one other person to increase your odds of snagging one of the few seats.
If you want the feeling of old-school New York, head to The Lambs Club, where the main dining room is lined in red velvet and centered around a fireplace from legendary Gilded Age architect Stanford White. The food, overseen by celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian, has modern (usually healthier) takes on classic menu items like Dover sole and foie gras. And you'll want to wash the whole thing down with a retro cocktail like an Aviation.
When it comes to drinking, Times Square has some of the highest and lowest options. For the best of the low, stop by beloved dive bar Rudy's, where cheap beer is plentiful and best paired with one of the bar's ready-made hot dogs. On the high end, duck into the dimly-lit Rum House for cocktails in a piano bar inside the Hotel Edison.
On the west edge of Bryant Park is Kinokuniya, the first US branch of the mega-popular Japanese bookstore, which can sometimes feel more like an art gallery than a bookshop: There's everything from manga to stuffed animals to calligraphy pens. Head upstairs to the store's Cafe Zaiya for mulberry tea and Japanese snacks, and choose a window seat where you can have a bird's-eye view of the park.