I have personally found myself to be a west-sider for the long duration of my time in New York, but if I had to pick a favorite east-side hood, the East Village would be it, without a doubt. So much of the East Village feels like old school New York City to me. There’s still a grit and an unabashed unglamorous-ness to the area, especially as you travel farther east. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that some of my favorite restaurants in the world are there. Read on for my favorite East Village spots.
Tompkins Square Bagels – The OG of bagel spots on the east side. They are big and squishy and fluffy – everything you want in a bagel. Skip the gimmicky rainbow sprinkle cream cheese and go for the classic.
Three Seat Espresso – One of my favorite spots to post up in the window and read and people watch. Owned by an adorable Aussie couple, this little cafe boast excellent coffee, but I also love the tumeric latte for a little superfood action.
Matcha Cafe Wabi – If green tea is your bag, this is your spot. The space is miniscule so get your match to go and stroll around the hood.
Davey’s Ice Cream – A little old school ice cream spot with a limited selection of homemade flavors that are absolutely delicious. My favorite is the speculoos cookie (but the nutella is a close second).
Timna – This Israeli restaurant is as delightful for dinner as it is for brunch. At dinner, don’t miss the sashimi and the kubaneh bread (plus the specials – I had a mean sweetbreads special here), and at brunch, the cow-shuka and shawarma are divine.
Som Tum Der – This little, casual Thai restaurant has incredible food and – little known fact – also has one Michelin star. Don’t miss it the papaya salad.
Tuome – Home of the “pig out for 2,” which is a large format entree with spicy pork, delicious peanut noodles, and all the condiments, this cozy Asian-influenced spot also offers one of my favorite octopus appetizers of all time.
Hearth – You can’t go wrong with Italian, and Hearth just may be my favorite Italian spot in this hood. The bone marrow and the meatballs are delightful, but we also sampled a delicious assortment of pastas.
Oiji – I have three words: honey butter chips. I could eat these by the bowlful, but they also nicely accompany a selection of elegant Korean fare at Oiji.
Virginia’s – Get your burger fix at Virginia’s, which feels like a local neighborhood joint. They also do a monthly or bimonthly series where they have guest chefs in to cook with their staff for a tasting-style dinner.
Avant Garden – This vegetarian restaurant in no way left me missing meat. The chef does wonders with veggies and the atmosphere is just lovely, especially on a chilly fall day.
GG’s – This wouldn’t be a complete list without pizza, and GG’s “grandma pie” is a thick, square cut dream with roni cups and fresh basil.
Motorino – Have you ever had brussels sprouts on your pie? Pair them with pancetta and you have a winner. This is one of my fave NYC pies.