The second in my NYC neighborhood series!  And I must say my favorite areas in NYC (OK, have to include NoHo, then all my favorite places in NYC to dine).

  • Balaboosta – 611 Hudson St., 1212-390-1545 – Einat Admony’s is moving her Chinatown / NoLita restaurant to this spot and closed Bar Bolonat.  The restaurant features her middle eastern roots, and  has an interesting array of exotic small plates.  Loved the kibbeh, any vegetable dish, and the baby chicken over crispy rice with walnuts and pomegranates.  They also have a great happy hour at the bar. (open November 2018).
  • Bar Primi – 325 Bowery (at E. 2nd Street); 212-220-9100 – Handmade pasta and beautiful brunches is what is featured at this two story Italian restaurant.  There are several must orders, start with the ricotta crostino, drizzled with truffle honey and a sprinkling of hazelnuts, and then move onto the bucatini with lamb amatriciana. It’s all delicious and Instagram-worthy decadence.

  • Buvette – 42 Grove Street, West Village (no reservations) – Cozy, rustic-chic French bistro serving small-plates at breakfast, lunch & dinner. Chef Jody Williams opened a second bistro in Paris so you can enjoy her food in both cities.  Small plates include plenty of vegetarian options (salads with fennel or beets, ratatouille, a croque with wild mushrooms and tangy cheese) alongside satisfying miniature versions of coq au vin, os à moelle, and cassoulet. 
  • Chumley’s –  86 Bedford St, 1212-675-2081 – the renowned West Village speakeasy reopened after being closed for around 10 years.  It’s a cozy, welcoming restaurant owned by Alessandro Borgognone (Sushi Nakazawa). He took over the space and has turned this pub into a great restaurant.  Unfortunately chef Victoria Blamey recently left to go to Gotham Bar & Grill and haven’t been back since.  Hopefully the food keeps its same high standards.  Must try’s are the pretzel, steak tartar, hamburger and fried chicken.
  • Corkbuzz – 13 E 13th St, 646.873.6071 – wine bar with interesting small tastes (and some larger ones).  Especially on Sunday’s (opens at 4 PM so a late Brunch is perfect) where all Champagne is 50% off.
  • dell’anima38 Eighth Ave (Jane), 1212-366-6633 – former Babbo sommelier and an ex–Del Posto chef, Chef Gabe Thompson, got together to open this unassuming little Italian trattoria.   Small copy place, filled with locals who genuinely love food.  This is a place for foodies!

  • Don Angie – West Village,,  modern take on classic Italian food.  They have set a new standard for Italian restaurants in NYC.  Try the lasagna for two (nonna approved recipe but with a twist – pinwheels of robioa cheese).
  • Extra Virgin – 259 West 4th Street – Love this busy bistro for Brunch, especially eating at the sidewalk tables. It’s very small, intimate, crowded, and constantly busy both in the bar and the dining area. There are probably only 10-15 tables, but also has a few bar seats.
  • Frevo – 48 W 8th Street (MacDougal),646-455-0804 – a quiet sanctuary in busy, noisy NYC with modern French food.  Chef Franco Sampogna, who is Brazilian, wanted to open a restaurant that would give diners “that feeling of being in your own secluded safe haven”.  And this he does…starting when you arrive.  There is no signage, the address is a small art gallery, where you are warmly welcomed as they reach behind one of the canvases to reveal a hidden doorway.  The small, cozy, restaurant seats 18 at the bar and has a small chef’s table in the back.  Tasting menu only, at $124, with creative, focused and refined dishes such as halibut resting on a thin, crisp platform of fried bread shellacked with a dark mushroom marmalade with a miniature mushroom tart (this was amazing!).  We loved the restaurant and every dish was innovative and delicious.  Can’t wait to return.  The NYT reviewer stated that “everyone he has brought her has fallen under it’s spell, which is hard to resist” – in total agreement.

  • Gotham Bar & Grill – 12 E. 12 Street – sorry to say that they have closed permanently due to the financial impact of COVID 19.
  • I Sodi – 105 Christopher St., 1212-414-5774 – small, intimate space with some of the best Tuscan cooking in NY.  Delightful service at the bar or at a table. (
  • King – 18 King St, 917-825-1619 – run by three young women, this casual Italian.  The short menu changes daily seems like the ideal version of what you thought it would be.  The co-chefs, Jess Shadbolt & Clare de Boer, cooked together at the River Cafe in London (loved that restaurant).  The third, Annie Shi, manages the front of the house.  They fly fresh ingredients in from Italy and you won’t be disappointed with anything you order.

  • Kish-Kash – 455 Hudson St – The chef behind Middle Eastern hits like Taïm opened this restaurant in the West Village dedicated to Moroccan-style couscous. Einat Admony makes it by hand, fairly rare in NYC, and the intended result is a fluffy, very fine grain. The 30-seat space is packed with patterns, and everything costs less than $21 on the small menu, including couscous with short rib, stewed vegetables, spicy fish, or three-lemon chicken tagine. Though couscous is the main event, Kish-Kash also offers a salad, hummus, and a Moroccan cookie for dessert.
  • L’Artusi -228 W. 10th St., 1212-255-5757 – creative small-plate Italian fare, that is bar-centric  (I am in heaven) has two bar areas  with 30 seats and excellent bartenders.  You must order one of the Crudos, and don’t miss the pastas, and side vegetables.   (

  • Joseph Leonard – 170 Waverly Place – Another neighborhood gem from restaurateur Gabriel Stulman.  This French bistro manages to be great at any  time of day. At breakfast there’s croque monsieur and avocado toast, at dinner there’s steak frites and oeufs mayonnaise, and in between there’s lunch and late-afternoon snacks. The kitchen even stays open until 2 am, serving a late-night menu that ranges from a burger to a goat cheese omelette. It’s one of those rare restaurants guaranteed to feed you well no matter when you show up.
  • La Cave – 99 Bank Street (Greenwich St.) – an elegant hideaway lounge for a glass of wine with hors d’oeuvres and desserts (downstairs at Bistro Pierre Lapin) is opening in October 2018.
  • Llama-San – 359 Ave of the Americas (Washington Place) – chef Erik Ramirez opened this restaurant, in the previous Tertulia space, serving Peruvian-Japanese hybrid food featuring raw fish with chilies.  Also cooked food over a robataya wood-fired grill.
  • Lucien – 14 1st Avenue (between 1st and Avenue A); 212-260-6481 – Craving a trip to Paris, look no further.  This traditional French bistro with fading mirrors, steak frites, and not much elbow room, is your choice. They have been in business for 20 years amid all the hot new upcoming East Village spots, but sometimes you just need an old fashioned traditional food, prepared well, and recognizable!

  • Madame Vo & Madame Vo BBQ – 212 E 10th St. / 104 Second Ave (Sixth St.) – Vietnamese dining with chef Jimmy Ly cooking at his standout Vietnamese restaurants.  Now opening another take on his home food with BBQ.  Festive, interactive and fun food with Japanese tabletop grills for searing fish and meats (Wagyu beef wrapped in betel leaf, black sea bass, sugar cane shrimp and lemongrass grilled oysters).
  • Market Table – 54 Carmine Street – Bustling New American eatery with huge windows & an emphasis on farm-fresh fare. The menu is filled with simple, comforting dishes that change based on what’s in season.
  • Mary’s Fish Camp – 64 Charles Street -except for a couple of salads and dessert, everything on the menu involves, as you would imagine, seafood. The vibe is New England summer, but the food ranges far beyond a great lobster roll to include everything from Louisiana crab au gratin to red snapper posole.

  • Mimi – 185 Sullivan St (nr. Bleeker), 212-418-1260  – Small, friendly, warm, Village bistro with French roots but a interesting twist on each dish.  Chef Liz Johnson (25 years old) changes the menu constantly serving odd little flavorful wonders.  Some examples are the asparagus dressed in smoky porridge with bits of fresh uni,  the duck a l’orange presented with the head on, douced in Grand Marnier, then lit on fire at your table, or fresh-made gnocchi layered with uni and white asparagus.  (
  • Minetta Tavern –  113 MacDougal St., 1212-475-3850 – Keith McNally remodeled this old Greenwich Village mainstay.  French cuisine and great steaks.  Try any of the specials and the famous Black Label Burger is a must.  Hard to get reservations, but if you arrive when they open, or just time it perfectly, you can get a seat a the inviting bar and have dinner with the friendly and helpful bartenders.   (

  • Monofuku Noodle Bar – 171 First Avenue (between 10th and 11th streets); 212-777-7773 – The first restaurant in David Chang’s East Village Momofuku empire, Noodle Bar still is filled with crowds daily looking for big, slurpy, savory bowls of ramen. In addition to the classic ramen and pork buns, seasonal dishes and soups are always on offer. Go with friends and try the fried chicken dinner: two whole fried chickens, one Southern-style, the other Korean. If you’re feeling really decadent, make it a fried chicken and caviar dinner.
  • Perry Street – 176 Perry St,  212-352-1900 – Jean-Georges brings relaxed elegance to the West Village with this warm, friendly, restaurant located in the Richard Meier Towers and offering beautiful waterfront views.   Do not miss the delicate brick of tuna rolled in crushed rice crackers served with a deliciously creamy emulsion spiked with Sriracha, the lightly fried whole artichoke, sea bass with a crispy mushroom and basil vinaigrette, a plate of fried chicken, tender beef tenderloin (garnished with sweet onion jam), and yummy country lamb chops.

  • Pearl Oyster Bar – 18 Cornelia Street –   New England seafood menu whose simple seafood includes a revered lobster roll.  No-reservations, so plan on waiting or go really early.
  • Pisellino – 52 Grove St. (Seventh Ave. South) – Italian Greenmarket fare from Rita Sodi and Jody Williams, a bar with food from morning to night, across the street from their Via Carota restaurant.
  • Pylos – 128 East 7th street (Between Avenue A and 1st Avenue); 212-473-0220 –  Serving classic Greek favorites but with a gourmet twist, it is almost like jumping on a plane to Athens.  You can find all your favorite Greek classics, like moussaka and spanakopita, but you can also try some interesting dishes you have not seen before.  Great staff is friendly and will help you with recommendations.
  • Rosie’s – 29 East 2nd Street (Between Bowery and 2nd Avenue); 212-335-0114 –  Their are all the familiar standbys, like quesadillas and tacos, as well as some harder-to-find eats like Sikil Oak, a Mayan pumpkin seed dip. The drink menu is just as impressive, with flavorful margarita flavors like passion fruit-habanero. If you’re craving variety, order a tequila or mezcal tasting flight to pair with your meal.
  • Sushi Katsuei – 357 6th Ave, New York, NY 10014, 212-463-0039 – newly opened in Manhattan, in the Sushi Soto space  (original is in Park Slope, Brooklyn), serving excellent, affordable omakase and Japanese options a la carte.  Chef Anug Ko Win  told Eater ” I don’t like the prices to be too high because I want people to relax and enjoy”. This small, modern space, is comfortable with very attentive service.  Large Saki list but limited wine choices.  

  • Sushi Nakazawa – 23 Commerce Street, 1212-924-2212, –   you can easily walk pass this unassuming store front, but from the moment you realize the lovely brown door is the entrance, you have entered a Zen atmosphere where the tensions of the day dissolve.  Have a drink before dinner, as the bartender is great company, and will engage you in lively conversation (I actually prefer to eat at this bar as it is the only place you can order a la carte). If making reservations, you can either sit at the Sushi Bar (if you are lucky to snag a reservation for this coveted spot) or at a table in the small, sophisticated dining room.  Chef Daisuke Nakazawa serves a twenty-course Sushi omakase  menu with ingredients sourced domestically and internationally. He shows his love of this cuisine in each piece that is presented, oh so beautifully.  It was delicious, some of the best sushi I have had.  Good wine and Sake list and service attentive and friendly.  A great overall experience. (
  • Takahachi – 85 Avenue A (between 1st Avenue and Avenue A); 212-505-6524 –  Local, reasonable sushi sanctuary where you’ll find every kind of sushi or roll your heart desires.  They also have kushiyaki skewers for as little as $1.50 a piece, so you can snack on shishito peppers, okra and bacon, or squid, grilled to perfection in-between your sushi binge.

  • Tartine – 253 W 11 Street – BYOBs are almost impossible to find in Manhattan, which is part of what makes this tiny French bistro such a treasure. Grab your favorite bottle of wine, order a big bowl of steamed mussels or a classic steak au poivre, and you’ll understand why people keep lining up for a spot at one of these cramped tables (been around for over 20 years).  Great breakfast and brunch also.
  • The Little Owl – 90 Bedford Street – When it opened 10 years ago it was one of the hottest restaurants, but it has settled into a tiny neighborhood mainstay.  Serving great, Mediterranean-style dishes, it is famous for it’s gravy meatball sliders (made from a blend of beef, veal, pork, and covered with tomato gravy on a small garlic roll) & spiced sugar beignets .
  • Tuome – 536 E. 5th Street (near Ave B), 646.833.7811 – not sure what took me so long to get here, but it will certainly become one of my regular haunts.   Chef Thomas Chen (from 11 Madison)  cooks contemporary American with Asian influences.  Space is small, rustic, intimate, with great service, and East Village casual.   Don’t miss the Octopus with pork XO sauce; Chicken Liver Mousse with New York maple; and Crispy Deviled Eggs with Chili for appetizers.  On the mains, Striped Bass with Black Lentils, Bonito and English Peas; Chicken Porridge with Basil Sauce; and the Pig Out for two (Berkshire Pork, Spicy Peanut Noodle and Condiments). like sticky rice with duck fat. SOOO Good!
  • Van Da – 234 E 4th Street – Finally decent Vietnamese food in NYC!  Coming from LA I took it for granted that their would be numerous great places to find good, authentic Vietnamese food, but not true in NYC.  Van Da changes this (as well as Hanoi House and Madame Vo, also in the East Village) serving Vietnamese traditional flavors but also adding modern, creative touches.
  • Via Carota – 51 Grove Street (7th Ave), 1212-255-1962 –  Highly recommended by my fellow foodie, Mus! And I totally agree with him.  Jody Williams and Rita Sodi are the dynamic chef duo at this warm, casual, Italian restaurant.  Williams wonderful French restaurant Buvette, and Sodi’s Italian one, I Sodi, are right in the neighborhood and this is their first venture together.  And the combo really works.  The pasta’s delicious as is everything on the menu.   (
  • Windrose – 39 Downing St. (Bedford St.) – Chef Sung Park melds French & Korean food while pouring creative cocktails in the old Mas space.

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