10 Restaurants You Shouldn’t Miss in Downtown Manhattan
Finding the hidden nooks amongst the thousands of cafes
You’re probably thinking, here’s another list claiming to have found the best NYC restaurants. Out of the thousands, it’s difficult to come down with a concrete list of ten, so today I’m trying to find some you may not have heard of instead of listing off The Butcher’s Daughter and Bar Pitti. The problem with New York is that there will always be someone claiming to have found NYC’s hottest and best pizza or the newest trendy bagel place, but let me tell you something. For bagels and pizza — trust no one. People will always have their favorites, and an online blog still claiming John’s is New York’s best should not be listened to. (New Bagel Maven Corporation and 2 Bros. Pizza remain my go-tos, btw).
Moustache: This is my absolute favorite restaurant in New York. I’ve been going since I was five years old, and this is where my immense love for hummus was developed. Looking for affordable Middle Eastern food and decent portions? Look no further. Nestled on Bedford St. in the West Village, you could easily miss it. Their menu ranges from appetizers like hummus and tabouleh to thin-crusted brick oven pizzas and falafel plates. You could get a starter with pita, a main dish and a dessert for under $30, or just settle for a quick bite for under $10.
Recommendations: Starter: Hummus with pita, Main: Moustache pizza, Dessert: Muhallabia (incredible rose flan)
Address: 90 Bedford St. or 265 E. 10th St.
La Esquina: Looking for something cheap and quick in Soho? Haven’t found anything that fits in that category other than cupcakes? This Mexican taqueria / cafe / brasserie is perfect for that. Three places in one, you can choose if you want to grab something cheap to go or sit down and have a full meal. You can spend under $10 for tacos, a quesadilla, a soup or a salad, and everything on their menu is delicious.
Recommendation: Mexican street corn (with lime)
Address: 114 Kenmare
Via Carota: Looking for a more expensive meal? This Italian trattoria is all the rage. They even made Martha Stewart wait in their long line just like everyone else. Excellent cocktails, delicious appetizers and a big variety of choices for main dishes, this place has become the new place to go. Their big windows and outside seating attracts groups of friends every night just like families for Sunday lunch.
Recommendations: Burrata di Puglia, Risotto Limone
Address: 51 Grove St.
Sammy’s Noodle Shop: Okay so everyone has their Chinese food go-to. That place near your house that will bring you lo mein as you watch Netflix in bed — we all have one. If you can make it out of your house with a big group of friends though, this is the restaurant you should go to. You’ll never wait a minute to be seated with their huge tables and dining room, you’ll get portions that are out of this world, and you’ll be served delicious tea to rehydrate.
Recommendations: General Tso Tofu with Brown Rice and Broccoli
Address: 453 Ave. of the Americas
Freemans: Tucked away on a hidden street, you could easily pass this restaurant without even noticing. After taking a little alleyway, you enter a huge restaurant with deco worthy of a fashionable hunter living in the woods. Taxidermy and chandeliers, big wooden booths and huge mirrors… You may go for the setting just as much as the food.
Recommendation: Vegetarian Black Bean Burger
Address: Rivington St.
Snack Taverna: This Greek restaurant is great for a quick bite or a full three course meal. Its Greek specialties and incredible desserts are perfect for those late-day Sunday lunches. An intimate and well-lit place, it offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as a good wine list. Try the baklava — it’s the best I’ve ever tried.
Recommendations: Horta Boureki, Roasted Vegetable Sandwaich, Baklava
Address: 63 Bedford St.
Jack’s Wife Freda: A good alternative to the Soho classic where bloggers wait an hour for a table, Jack’s Wife Freda in the West Village offers the same menu minus the crowds and the wait. Grab a coffee, an avocado toast or bagel and lox and start off your day right with the perfect brunch!
Recommendations: Poached Eggs with Grilled Tomato and Haloumi, Mashed Avocado on Toast
Address: 50 Carmine St.
Cafe Orlin: An East Village classic that’s been around for years, it’s always busy on a summer day. Whether you’re there for a cocktail or a plate of hummus, your needs with will be answered with their wide selection and delicious food!
Recommendations: Eggs Florentine, Goat Cheese Sandwich, Hummus Plate
Address: 41 St Marks Place
Delicatessen: A popular spot for what they call “international comfort food”, all your hopes and dreams will be answered with their delicious carbs. Think all day breakfast, a mac bar, and truffle parmesan fries alongside healthy salads and fish options. You’ll be hesitating whether to eat kale or a monster mac and cheese.
Recommendations: Mac ‘Shroom (roasted “magic” mushrooms, fontina, mascarpone, truffle essence)
Address: 54 Prince St.