Back to NYC Eats… and Drinks!
Angels Share, 8 Stuyvesant St [COCKTAIL BAR]
– The city’s first Japanese speakeasy, Angels Share is a real gem, and a great find, once you actually find it i.e.! A hidden entrance (within Village Yokocho, an East Village Yakitoriya) leads you into a long, narrow space, past a beautiful bar complete with ceiling mural, and many a tuxedoed waiter. The cocktail list is staggering, and the libations are always expertly prepared. Groups of more than 4 are not allowed, and just as well, for this is a cozy, intimate setting, perfect for a date or a quiet catch up with friends!
Anyway Cafe, 32E 2nd St [RUSSIAN]
– This little cafe has two other locations in the Russian inhabited parts of Brooklyn, so rest assured this is authentic every step of the way! Their East Village location – the only one I can speak to – is warm, cozy and beautifully decorated, with a strong Russian aesthetic. The Zakuski platter (Russian hors d’oeuvres) was great, as was the Stroganoff I ordered. Live bands are present most evenings and the one we had was fantastic, making the evening all that more memorable. Service is really attentive and impressive here, given the size of our group and the confined quarters within which we were seated.
Awash, 338E 6th St [ETHIOPIAN]
– Probably the only non-Indian restaurant along Curry Row, Awash’s downtown location is a spacious, homely spot, with good service and very reasonable prices. The Sambusa (Ethiopian version of the Indian Samosa) appetizer is great, and the Meat Platter for two is almost sufficient for three, while offering plenty of flavor and variety. The Split Red Lentils stands out amongst the vegetarian offerings. Their Injera bread is very good too. Get the bottle of Honey Wine – it’s a lot cheaper than ordering it by the glass, and you will be sure to finish it!
Bourgeois Pig, 111 East 7th St [WINE BAR]
– A cool wine bar with awesome interiors. No standing room or queues outside – they call your phone when there’s a spot available!
Caracas Arepa Bar, 91E 7th St [VENEZUELAN]
– Choose between their regular restaurant and ‘Caracas to go’ but expect a wait time regardless! This tiny Venezuelan eatery, which specialises in Arepas, is extremely popular, even on weeknights! Colourful interiors, good service and a great selection of Arepas, all served fresh and piping hot! Of the four I tried, my favourites were the Reina Pepiada and De Pollo. Overall, a little pricey!
Curry-Ya, 214E 10th St [JAPANESE]
– I’ve been hearing about this place for the longest time and only wish I had made it there sooner! This tiny spot churns out some of the best curry I’ve had in the city, and that’s across all cuisines, mind you! Counter seating, efficient service and attention to detail – everything one would expect from a well-oiled Japanese eatery. The Classic and the Pork Katsu are the curries to go with but everything on their little menu is guaranteed to please. Well curated selection of Japanese beers, great condiments and toppings to choose from, and all of it very reasonable too!
Decibel, 240 East 9th St [SAKE BAR]
– You can easily miss this one while walking along 9th st and once inside you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’re suddenly in Tokyo! A real underground gem in the east village.
Desnuda, 122 East 7th St [WINE BAR]
– Tiny, alley like South American wine bar which serves garlic popcorn gratis with your wine!
DBGB Kitchen & Bar, 299 Bowery St [GASTROPUB]
– As far as Gastropubs go, this one is pretty high end, so be prepared to shell out some bucks! That said, and this being my first foray into the world of Mr.Boulud, I came away very impressed! Extensive selection of Beers (be sure to check the price before ordering one!), and meat offerings alike! The most memorable one for me being the Spicy Thai Sausage. Cavernous space, which is very well designed, and a buzzing scene all year around!
East Village Cheese, 40 3rd Ave [CHEESE SHOP]
– Great selection of European Cheese’s at down-to-earth prices!
Han Dynasty, 90 3rd Ave [CHINESE]
– The wait can be fairly long on most nights, but once your seated, prepare to sit back and enjoy one fiery Sichuan dish after another (dishes are brought out as they’re prepared) family-style. Servings are huge, the fare is uniformly spicy, and the flavor is up there with the very best! Highly economical too for a group outing. Whatever you end up ordering, don’t miss out on the Dan Dan Noodles and Spicy Crispy Cucumber!
Han Joo, 12 St Marks Pl [KOREAN]
– Their original location is in Flushing but their East Village outpost is a convenient alternative, and a spacious setting too. A crystal grill with infrared rays powers the on-table set up, and meats are brought in with production-line efficiency. Finely cut Raddish and Hot Peppers feature amongst their Banchan offerings, and their BBQ menu includes thinly-sliced Duck, and several different cuts of Pork! Han Joo is well priced, especially when ordering for a large group, and a good option for Korean BBQ outside of K-town.
Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria, 53 Great Jones St [ITALIAN]
– A gorgeous space, split into different levels and seating areas, this offshoot of the original Il Buco (the next block over) does an excellent job of all the Italian staples. A really enticing menu, waiters who know their business, a massive wine list, and great house bread. My Favorite thing on their menu? The Cripsy Artichoke app! The only downside to it all? Its pricey as hell, and I just with their portions were bigger!
Jeepney, 201 1st Ave [FILIPINO]
– The brand-name, their website, and the space pays homage to the World War II Jeeps that continue to serve as Taxis in the Philippines today! The sister restaurant to Maharlika is being touted as a “Filipino Gastropub” and it certainly feels that way in the cozy and compact bar area up front. A long corridor, lined with “Jeepney-like” steel cladding runs past the kitchen and into a back room, which in turn opens out to a patio – one that’s sure to be a hit in the warmer months! Bartenders conjure up Filipino Cocktails, and for the less adventurous, offer staples like San Miguel. The Bicol Express (slow-roasted Pork Shoulder) is outstanding, and cooked in the most amazing sauce! Their Chicken Wings, and Filipino-style Prawn Tamale are great too! The staff is exceptionally friendly, and the prices are reasonable.
Kambi Ramen, 351 E 14th St [JAPANESE]
– This compact little Ramen place offers high seating, of the communal variety, and bar stools wrapped around the kitchen. Their Ramen is good, the helpings more than adequate, and the toppings are great to. Also tried their Kimchi as an appetizer, and considering this was a Japanese place, I was most impressed!
KGB Bar, 85 East 4th St [BAR]
– Located on the 2nd flr of ‘Red Room’, a performance space, this one is a quintessential ‘local’ with regulars sitting at the bar, and a living room like ambiance all around.
Khyber Pass, 34 Saint Marks Place [AFGHANI]
– Kitschy interiors and hookahs make up this Afghani / Middle Eastern eatery where the helpings are often small but always tasty!
La Luchas, 147 Ave A [MEXICAN]
– Dedicated to Lucha Libre, the free form of wrestling in Mexico, this has got to be one of cutest little eateries in the East Village / Alphabet City area. Every inch of the decor pays homage to Lucha Libre, including the check, which is given to you in a mini boxing ring! The Tacos are pretty good here, with the oddly-named ‘Dr.Wagner’ being one the most popular. The accompanying sauces pack in a real punch, and the grilled Corn, smeared in Chipotle Mayo and Cheese, is great too!
Maharlika, 111 1st Ave [FILIPINO]
– A really well done up cozy space, with plenty of buzz from tables packed with locals (read Filipinos!). The hostess is really warm and the service is fantastic! Tried a bunch of dishes since we were a big group – the standouts were the Kare Kare (outstanding!), Bistec, the Shrimp special dish (I forget the name), and the Flan. Oh, and awesome 80s music too!
Malai Marke, 318E 6th St [INDIAN]
– The decor is clunky and the service tends to be sloppy, but the name is certainly catchy and the food is a fairly good representation of cuisine from the Malabar region of South India. The Kebabs (starters) can be hit or miss, but the “Bheendi Sasuralwali” is dynamite – some of the best Okra I’ve had in an Indian restaurant! Their seafood curries are very well flavoured, but lack the all-essential kick! Definitely ask for extra spice! Overall, Malai Marke is a good option if you’re looking to try seafood from the Indian South.
Mamouns, 22 Saint Marks Place [MEDITERRANEAN]
– The East Village branch of the MacDougal institution – more space and equally good!
Mancora, 99 Ist Ave [PERUVIAN]
– One of the best spots in the city to get Pisco Sour and Ceviche!
Miss Lily’s 7A Cafe, 109 Ave A [CARIBBEAN]
– I love pretty much everything about this place – from the awesome decor to the beautiful waitresses, from the amazing menu (its design and content) to the stiff cocktails, and lest we forget, some outstanding Caribbean fare! Great mains, great apps and sides, and a selection of hot sauces along with that – what’s not to like?
Moishe’s, 115 2nd Ave [BAKERY]
– An old school Jewish Bakery, one of the last surviving in the city! Their Rugelach (comes in many flavors) is amazing! Remember, they’re closed Saturdays!
Mona’s, 224 Avenue B [BAR]
One of the most chilled out places you can find in the East Village on a weekend night! Essentially a dive, but with a great jukebox, some interesting old furniture and a pool table at the back. Good selection of Beers and excellent prices to boot! I mean at how many other places in the city do you get a Black & Tan for 5 bucks??
Motorino, 349 East 12th St [PIZZERIA]
– This one’s been written up by everyone as being New York’s best, so naturally I went there with a lot of expectation! The place itself is nice n cosy with a lovely old ceiling. Service is efficient and their week day lunch special is great value for money. Their Pizza dough is the best part actually – melt-in-your-mouth awesomeness – if you’re a sucker for thin crust, like I am! Unfortunately their toppings are so-so. Their original location is in Williamsburg.
Ninth Ward, 180 2nd Ave [BAR / SOUTHERN]
– Its a little too dark to appreciate all the details they’ve put into the furnishings of the main bar, and the booths, but the patio area at the back is a real standout, complete with water fountain in the centre. Great for lazy evenings with large groups, and although I haven’t tried anything on their food menu, I can vouch for their selection of Beers, which includes the entire Abita lineup, of course!
PDT, 113 St.Marks Pl [COCKTAIL BAR]
– PDT or ‘Please Don’t Tell’ is an East Village speakeasy, as the name might suggest! You enter through Crif Dogs, another East Village institution that’s known for its Franks (although I haven’t eaten here yet!), call the hostess from an old school phone – in a passage that pretty much resembles a phone box – and then she lets you in!! Inside is an intimate setting complete with semi-circular leather couches, highly conducive to groups and conversations! The bar area is as communal as it gets, where patrons watch the Mixologists at work. PDT has an extensive cocktail list, wines and beers from NY state and food catered from across the door. Staff is friendly, cocktails are great – if not a little pricey – and the space is oh so speakeasy 😉
Pie by the Pound, 124 4th Ave [PIZZERIA]
– A novel concept in a very casual setting, Pie by the Pound works exactly as the name suggests. You order Pizza, which is as thin a crust and artisanal as you’ve come to expect – by weight! The friendly staff will be more than happy to carve up a slice according to your shape preference and liking. There are even board games and books to while away your time as you wait. Works out a lot cheaper, you can try a variety of slices, and you still don’t end up overeating! Oh, and the quality of Pizza and toppings are good too!
Robotaya, 231 E 9th St [JAPANESE]
– The interiors here are chic Japanese, and the largish space is divided into a more informal area up front, and regular seating in the rear. Go with the one up front, for you will be seated around the chef, watch him do his thing, and be served directly by means of a wooden paddle! Everything we ordered was excellent – especially their grilled vegetables (organic and seasonal), Salmon Kamameshi (rice dish cooked and served in an iron pot), grilled Kobe Beef and Chicken Meatballs. This place is not cheap, but well worth the extra bucks. And its totally legit too – its sister restaurant is in Roppongi, Tokyo!
Soba Ya, 229 E 9th St [JAPANESE]
– Simple, yet charming interiors, with all the right Japanese touches! Excellent service, especially the very attractive hostess who offers you hot tea while you wait for your table! Expect a crowd! They specialise in Soba and Udon Noodles – hot & cold – but their menu is more extensive than that. I tried their Soba Noodles with Roasted Duck which was superb! The next time I’m there I’ll try their Udon. The only downside to this place is that it’s a little pricey and the servings could be bigger!
Som Tum Der, 85 Ave A [THAI]
– Som Tum translates to Papaya Salad, and not only do they have plenty of those, but they also do an exceptional job of every single one of them! There are more offerings, of course, all from Northeastern Thailand, and the colorful menu makes it fairly easy for you to decide. Go with a group, if possible, for the dishes are meant to be shared, and this is the kind of place you want to try and sample as many of them as you can! The balance of flavors here is hard to come by at other Thai eateries in Manhattan; the pricing is very reasonable, and you are guaranteed to leave very satisfied. Save space for desert if you can – the Taro-Coconut Milk desert is worth every bite!
Streecha, 33E 7th St [UKRAINIAN]
– Located in a basement, right across the Ukrainian Church, they’re only open from 10 am to 4 pm, Fridays and the weekend! Inside, its a bit of a time warp, both in terms of decor and prices! For less than 10 bucks you can sample the entire menu made up of excellent Varenyky (the Ukrainian version of Pierogi), Borscht, and Sausage with Sauerkraut!
Veselka, 144 2nd Ave [UKRAINIAN / DINER]
– This 24 hr Diner serves a good selection of Ukrainian and Polish dishes including beer from the region. There specials are always worth a try!
Village Yokocho, 8 Stuyvesant St [JAPANESE]
– Awesome non-Sushi Japanese cuisine, specializing in Yakitori, with an extensive sake list to boot!
Wechsler’s Currywurst, 120 1st Ave [GERMAN]
– This tiny space with high booths and low communal tables is slowly but surely becoming something of an East Village institution. They have a great selection of German Beers, with seasonal ones on tap, and a much longer list available by the bottle – all of them well priced. On the food front, we tried the Merguez (North African Lamb Sausage), Wild Boar Sausage, and their house specialty, Currywurst – all of it was fantastic! Their Fries are great too, as is the soft, warm Pretzel that they serve. Service is friendly and it’s never to difficult to snag a spot here.
Xian Famous Foods, 81 St.Mark’s Pl [CHINESE]
– This tiny East Village location (their original is in Flushing and they have another one in Chinatown) seats no more than 10 but is often packed with thrice that number of people! A couple dozen hand-pulled Noodle dishes to choose from which combine Chinese cooking with Middle Eastern spices – makes for an amazing fusion – as was was evidenced by the Cumin-spiced Lamb dish that I had. Their burgers (Stewed Pork & Lamb) are awesome to and are served with the kind of bread one would find in South Asia during Ramadan. Super reasonable, quick service and deliciously spicy food!!
Yakitori Taisho, 5 Saint Marks Place [JAPANESE]
– Another great spot for Yakitori in a more cramped, Izakaya like setting.
Zabb Elee, 75 2nd Ave [THAI]
– The Manhattan outpost of this Jackson Heights eatery has pleasant-enough interiors, reasonable prices, and excellent – if somewhat over-enthusiastic – service. Their Som Tum Muazuar (Papaya Salad with BBQ Pork) is great, and their Duck Larb is pretty good too. The Crispy Pork and Thai Eggplant dish (Pad Ped Moo Krob) is the one they highly recommend but it was a little too crunchy and salty for my liking. The star entree instead is their fried Fish special (I don’t think the specials change here!) – probably one of the best seafood dishes I’ve had in a Thai restaurant!
Zum Schnieder, 107 Avenue C [BEER GARDEN]
– This one’s a trek to get to but quite worth it once your there! Indoors its a carnival like atmosphere with Bavarian music playing through the speakers and patrons thumping on wooden tables. But their corner location makes the outdoors more attractive, especially in the summer. Superb selection of Biers, good, knowledgeable wait staff and some of the best German food I’ve had in the city! Reasonable too!