The Best Restaurants in New York City's East Village
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The Best Restaurants in New York City's East Village

Prune Restaurant
Eric Wolfinger

There’s no shortage of excellent food in Manhattan’s East Village.

Below 14th Street, above Houston (that's HOW-ston), and west of Broadway, there are countless restaurants serving food from nearly every continent (Antarctica has yet to lay its stake on St. Mark’s Place) for a wide variety of budgets.

A couple dollars will get you a steaming bowl of hand-pulled noodles with spicy lamb at Xi’an Famous Foods, or you can splurge on omakase sushi or tasting menus while wearing your weekend best.

Little Tong Noodle Shop
Afra Lu

Little Tong Noodle Shop

177 First Ave.
929-367-8664

The first neighborhood restaurant to serve Chinese mixian noodles, that is, long rice noodles, also happens to be one of the best in the East Village. Chef Simone Tong, who worked under WD~50 genius Wylie Dufresne, cooks up agnoloti-style pork wontons that pop in your mouth, a chilled cucumber salad swimming in nutty bang bang sauce and an egg white soup dotted with salmon roe all to warm you up for the main event: Noodles. Served spicy with dan dan pork, swimming in slurpable chicken broth and cold with seafood curry, it’s hard to go wrong with any of Tong’s noodle creations.

Crif Dogs

113 St. Mark’s Place
212-614-2728

Skip the dirty water dog on the street and cozy into this subterranean hot dog lair where franks comes wrapped in bacon, drenched in cheese, chili and potato chips and served on buns laced with peanut butter or cream cheese. If you’re feeling fancy, dip into the phone booth to visit Crif Dogs’ attached speakeasy, Please Don’t Tell. Inside the taxidermy adorned PDT (as regulars know it), you’ll sip on highbrow mixology cocktails while enjoying some special cheffed up Crif Dogs, like Eleven Madison Park chef Daniel Humm’s “Hummer” topped with hummus, pickles and peppers.

Harry & Ida's
© 2015 erin & erica / Elk Studios LLC

Harry & Ida’s - Meat and Supply co.

189 Avenue A
646-864-0967

The temptation of eating at an old school Jewish deli may be voracious in this part of town, but mix things up at a bit at sibling Will and Julie Horwitz’s seriously un-kosher ode to their grandparent’s era. A hefty cured-in-house pastrami sandwich substitutes the dill pickle for buttermilk fermented cucumbers and fresh dill, and bread is swiped with anchovy-laced mustard for an extra kick. For even more modern sandwiches, go for the smoked eel, vegan roasted squash or radically not Jewish hot ham with pineapple, provolone and gravy.

Caracas Arepa Bar

91 E. 7th St.
212-228-5062

Over a dozen Venezuelan-style arepas (made from 100 percent corn flour, making them naturally gluten-free), are on the menu at this casual café, where the only thing harder than choosing which arepas to stuff your face with is not overdoing it with Caracas’ homemade sauce. Fillings range from roasted pork shoulder to fried sweet plaintains with cheese and avocado and special brunch arepas on weekends are worth a special early afternoon visit.

Veselka

144 Second Ave.
212-228-9682

This 24/7 Ukrainian restaurant, iconized by many a movie and scene is never empty, and for good reason. At any hour, you’ll want to stop by for a plate full of pierogies, stuffed with your choice of potato, cheese, meat, spinach and cream cheese, sauerkraut and mushroom or arugula and goat cheese. Salads, soups, burgers and massive plates of meatballs and stroganoff are all available, so leaving hungry is never an option

Prune

54 E. 1st St.
212-677-6221

Chef Gabrielle Hamilton’s tiny neighborhood lair has barely changed since she opened the restaurant in 1999 – and that’s a good thing. If you can snag a coveted seat, you’ll be treated to perfectly executed, homey yet gourmet bites, which change seasonally but always prove to be a treat. Think a boiled chicken dinner served in its brother, lamb topped with crispy mint leaves and crisp radishes to dip in butter and salt that are deceptively delicious.

Malai Marke

318 E. 6th St.
212-777-7729

On East 6th Street’s string of Indian restaurants, Chef Hemant Mathur’s local mainstay stands out as the best. Feast on kebabs, finger foods, curries, tandoor meats and Coastal Indian seafood dishes, all distinctly flavorful (not to mention colorful) and ready to load on piece of freshly baked naan.

Hearth

403 E. 12th St.
646-602-1300

Chef Marco Canora’s cornerside restaurant is known for ladling out latte-like cups of broth from its bone broth window, Brodo, but inside await a delight of Italian-style small plates, ranging from seafood crudos to warm salads to saucey meatballs and homemade whole wheat pastas, the off-menu cacio e pepe (just ask your server) being a pleasingly salty standout.

Frank

88 Second Ave.
212-420-0202

An old school red sauce joint with style, this Italian restaurant lures in local crowds with its array of fresh pasta dishes, daily specials and wine bottles bought by consumption – if you don’t finish the bottle, you don’t pay for what’s left – i.e. a sure recipe for a good time.

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