The East Village might be oversaturated with bars and restaurants to the point of bursting, but that doesn't mean that they all blend together. There are lots that clearly stand out from the pack. Whether they're neighborhood standbys that have been packed since the '80s or influential newcomers that are deservedly iconic, this guide will lead to some of the best spots to satisfy any craving.
Photo Courtesy: _takefumimaruoka_
At Prune, chef Gabrielle Hamilton has done the impossible. She's kept a single New York restaurant open and relevant for 15 years. While they're famous for their French-inflected brunch (and 45 minute waits), Prune is also a great plan for dinner.
Bloody Marys, Dutch baby pancakes, Spaghetti carbonara, Veal breast
Photo Courtesy: schmooey
Vietnamese food may soon be having a moment, thanks to Hanoi House. Expect a combination of comforting flavors with a few innovative touches, like the beef pho. You can't go wrong with the classic: it features filet mignon, brisket & rice noodles.
Crispy spring rolls, Spicy frog legs, Hanoi-style beef pho
Photo Courtesy: marcopolo46
Superiority Burger is proof that veggie burgers can be craveable. At this tiny spot in the East Village, the menu offers plant-based interpretations of fast food standards that leave you feeling full and happy with none of the expected self-loathing.
Superiority burger, charred broccoli salad, rotating gelato flavors
Photo Courtesy: handynastyny
This beloved Sichuan chain started in Philadelphia, where it gained fans so devoted that this East Village location has had a line out the door from day one. And for good reason: the food is fantastic. Order the dan dan noodles and smile.
Dan dan noodles, dumplings in chili oil, dry pot style fish, dry pepper style chicken
Photo Courtesy: veselkanyc
An East Village veteran, Veselka is a serious utility spot. Do your visiting relatives want a taste of old New York? Done. Nursing a hangover? Handled. Do you just want a plate of pierogies and pancakes at 2:00 AM? Veselka's got you covered.
Pierogies, burgers, matzo ball soup, pretty much any breakfast food
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David Chang has changed restaurants look in America. His boundary-pushing flavors and combinations have inspired countless chefs. A lot of it started at Ssam Bar. Order some country ham, some kimchi, and a glass of wine. Be happy.
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Thai eateries are everywhere in New York, but if you're craving traditional fare, head to this wood-paneled spot. Exclusively offering northern (Isan) cuisine, authentic meat-centric dishes are packed with bold flavors and a whole lot of spice.
Tum Thai, Khao Pad Nam Prik Pao Pia Sa Lid, Yum Nue Lai
Photo Courtesy: sushantpradha
What constitutes a perfect soup dumpling is a hotly debated topic. But the undisputed best ones in Manhattan are served at The Bao. There are plenty of other things on the menu at this trendy spot, but these perfect treats are the reason to go.
Xiao long bao (soup dumplings), wontons in chili oil, squashed pepper and eggplant
Photo Courtesy: orlenayeung
Thirty years after opening, neighborhood crowds still flock to Hasaki for top-notch sushi at affordable prices. Snuggle around a blond wood table and opt for the omakase menu or, if you’re not into raw fish, a surprisingly tasty beef teriyaki.
Sushi and sashimi omakase, tekka don, beef tataki, lunch specials
Photo Courtesy: onehungryjew
If you're a noodle fan, or just want to taste the original tonkotsu broth that put ramen on NYC's map, hightail it to this crowded spot. Start with some pork buns and relax your workday away, courtesy of warm wooden accents and a lively setting.
Shiromaru Hakata Classic, Hirata buns, shochu high lychee
Photo Courtesy: grubstreet
Motorino serves some of the best Neapolitan style pizza in the city. Their space is small, and you might have to wait for a table, but believe us, the perfectly chewy, bubbly crust alone is worth it. Plus, you can even bring your vegan friends.
Meatballs, brussels sprout pizza, colatura di alici, cherrystone clam pizza, margherita
Photo Courtesy: huertasnyc
This Basque taverna specializes in pintxos, bite-sized dishes, and other shareable tapas. Bring friends, settle down in the lively front room and sample some casual bites or grab a table in the cozy back room for a family-style tasting dinner.
Croqueta, pollo, pulpo jamon, arroz
Photo Courtesy: noleftovers
Devour Taiwanese-style pan-fried dumplings in house sauce at Instagram-perfect Mimi Cheng's. The recipes come from the owner’s mother, and it shows. Save space for the monthly special, with flavors ranging from fried chicken to everything bagel.
Monthly Special, Mimi Cheng, Reinvented Classic, spicy dan dan noodles, dessert dumplings
Photo Courtesy: Tim Ho Wan
The first US outpost of a world-famous dim sum chain, Tim Ho Wan has had a line out the door since they opened. While the food will be familiar to dim sum fans, the freshness, small dining room, and Western service are welcome updates to the formula.
Har gow, pork rice rolls, eggplant with shrimp
Photo Courtesy: foodydates
The first restaurant in David Chang's edible empire, Momofuku Noodle Bar has done much to define dining culture in NYC (and the rest of the world) today. Don't let the casual environment or the crowds of tourists fool you, this is serious food.
Pork buns (off menu), Momofuku ramen, ginger scallion noodles, smoked chicken wings, large-format fried chicken dinner (order ahead).
Photo Courtesy: cafemogadornyc
While it's best known as a brunch spot, Cafe Mogador is a great bet at any time of day. Stop in at breakfast for eggs, hummus, and salad with some sugary mint tea, or come by for dinner and try one of their traditional Moroccan stews, called tagines.
Middle Eastern Eggs, foul medammes, mint tea, tagines, couscous
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