LOWER EAST SIDE & CHINATOWN &LITTLE ITALY

Vanessa’s Dumplings

So cheap, so good, worth the line. Don’t forget to get a container of pickled cucumbers.

Bacaro

Tucked onto a little tiny street just below Canal, Bacaro is like stepping into some old Venetian lady’s jewel of a home. The drinks are served in great glasses, the bar is a cool bit of marble, the food is straightforward, downstairs is sexy: it’s a good one.

The Fat Radish & The Leadbelly

Great for a Tricia Brock (Cleo’s mom) sighting….she practically lives at these places. Phil and Ben, the guys who run both of these places, are doing it right.

Torrisi & Parm

What the boys behind Torrisi have achieved is nothing short of remarkable. They have hit New York with a huge dose of energy and excitement and it continues to be one of the hottest tickets in town. Their food is sublime and we especially love having lunch at Parm. The roast turkey sandwich. Boom. The chicken, eggplant and meatball parm heroes. Triple boom. A basket of fried squid with those peppers? Yeah we’ll have those. A slice of that ice cream cake? Duh.

Rubirosa

Can’t get into Torrisi?! Despair not. Rubirosa is right across the street and offers an authentic selection of Italian-American faves: their lasagna, pasta and pizza are all great.

Balaboosta

Yummy Israeli/Middle Eastern food from the people behind Taim.

Ballato

An old-school Italian-American with walls lined with picture frames and great waiters and penna arrabiata and chicken parm and done.

Gitane

Everyone here is almost too cool, but go for the perfect avocado toast (seriously, where do they buy their avocados?) and for cous cous and the meatballs are really good too and any place that gives you a little square of chocolate with your coffee is fine by us.

DiPalo’s

Not technically a restaurant, but this place is so important and so remarkable that we couldn’t leave it off. The best place for Italian cheeses, cured meats, boxes of pasta and homemade meatballs and porchetta and pesto and trays of broccoli rabe and sausages and the nicest, most incredible storekeepers in the world and they are so knowledgeable and you must taste everything as you shop and be proud of your DiPalo’s bag as you schlep everything home knowing how promising the contents are.

Pho Grand

Very cheap and very good Vietnamese food.

Brown

A tiny place with amazing style. Love the baked eggs for breakfast and the simple sandwiches and salads at lunchtime.

Yonah Shimmel Knishes, Kossar’s Bialys, Russ + Daughters

Classic, perfect, please don’t ever leave. New York would be nothing without you.

BabyCakes

Run by our cooler-than-cool friend Erin McKenna, BabyCakes has been doing vegan baking before it became cool. Love love love just about everything, especially her donuts and her banana bread. Oh and the biscuits!

Mission Chinese

Helmed by the chef/hipster Dan Bowein, this offshoot of the original in San Fran serves impressive Chinese food in an ironically ugly space. One of the go-to American-Asian places of 2012, their salt-cod fried rice and thrice-cooked bacon are no joke.

Pulqueria

Walk down a small street in Chinatown, through a door, down a steep flight of stairs and into a den of Mexican iniquity. This place is a fun night full of margs and guac. Be prepared to be hungover.

Essex Street Market

This place just continues to thrive. Amazing stuff inside, including Brooklyn Taco, Shopsin’s, Saxelby Cheese and a fine fishmonger.

Jim Fong and Dumplings a Go Go

Great, great, fun dim sum!

X’ian Famous

Their hand-pulled noodles aren’t the most beautiful things in the world, but no need to worry about appearances when something tastes so good. Their Savory Cumin Lamb Burger is one of the best things ever. Ever. A cute little bun gets generously packed with shreds of slowly cooked lamb that’s been crisped on the outside. The whole thing drips with red chili oil and pieces of green chili say hello too. It’s so divinely seasoned, such a mess, such a glorious thing. Eat it bent over at the waist to save your shirt.

Nha Trang One

Terrific cheap, high-turnover Vietnamese. You must order their iced coffee.

Great NY Noodletown

Cantonese style food, a late night chef’s favorite that’s also good midday. Very good congee if you’re in an oatmeal-kind-of mood.

Joe’s Shanghai

Almost too-famous, therefore too-busy, but worth it for the soup dumplings, those bundles of dangerously hot crab and pork with rich, fatty broth miraculously enclosed in chewy dough. If it’s way too busy, try Joe’s Ginger down the street.

Oriental Garden

A recommendation from our friend Alexis, this dim sum favorite located on Elizabeth and Canal is very authentic and serves great dumplings.

Cocoron

This tiny place on Delancey has the most excellent soba noodles in NYC. Worth the wait.

Katz’s

A New York classic and actually home to what might be the best frankfurter in the city.

Congee Village

The greatest place to go with a group. Get a big round table downstairs and fill your lazy susan with so many options. Don’t miss the House Special Chicken (said to be the inspiration for David Chang’s fried chicken!)

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