New York City’s East Village is a bustling hotbed of things to do, see, and experience. Although this cosmopolitan neighborhood in New York is now known for its cultural heritage, poetry slams, and museums, it was once a farm where German, Irish, Italian, and Eastern European immigrants first made their home in the United States.
After its heyday as New York City’s resident rural community, the East Village got a punk makeover in the 1970s when St. Mark’s Place erupted as the epicenter for all things punk culture. Today, things have slowed down somewhat, although the East Village is still an edgy, fun, and cool place to hang out.
Visit some of the East Village’s theaters and galleries, or check out Tompkins Square Park for a little peace and quiet in the heart of the big city. There are also plenty of museums, and of course, places to eat in and around the East Village. These East Village restaurants showcase the best in New York cuisine and are great places to visit after a busy day exploring the city.
Best Restaurants in the East Village NYC
- Hearth Restaurant
- Avenue C
- Pineapple Club
- Jose Luis
- Risotteria Melotti NYC
- Somtum Der New york
- SHINN EAST
- Momofuku Noodle Bar
- Oiji NYC
- Hanoi Soup Shop
- Superiority Burger
- B&H Dairy
- Bobwhite Counter
403 E 12th St, New York, NY 10009
Hearth Restaurant is a local favorite with great service and simply excellent food. If you are craving comfort food, this is the right restaurant for you. They sit just across from the East Side Outside Community Garden between E 11th St and E 12th St. Some standout dishes include their chicken fried steak, southern chicken, baked ham, Salisbury steak, and ribs. There’s also an “all you can eat buffet” with piping hot food and fresh vegetables.
Make sure that you save a little bit of room for dessert. You won’t want to miss the Hearth Restaurant’s banana pudding. If you want good, old-fashioned favorites prepared the right way, make sure that you make a point to stop at this unpretentious little gem of a restaurant.
231 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003
KJUN is Korean food done right. You might actually feel like you’ve been transported directly into the heart of Seoul rather than New York City. You can find them down from Abe Lebewohl Park, kitty-corner from the Barney Building. One of the things that makes KJUN one of the best restaurants in the East Village is its inspired takes on traditional Korean cuisine that blends in just a little bit of American southwest cuisine into the mix.
For a real treat that will totally blow your mind, try the tomato kimchi. It’s deliciously sour, with plenty of layered flavoring. There’s also watermelon rind pickles and fried oysters. If you’re very hungry, you can always opt for the heirloom fried chicken, which will undoubtedly rival anything that you have ever tasted before.
127 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009
Papilles is an elevated dining experience in the heart of the East Village just down the street from Tompkins Square Park. This restaurant features new French cuisine and offers plenty of tasting menus for discerning palates. Choose from a five or seven-course menu, and you’re bound to get extra surprises like amuse-bouches and desserts. Their menus are also light enough so you can enjoy every single course without feeling overly stuffed.
At Papilles, they put a significant emphasis on presentation and quality. Their cocktails are also excellent. Try their Old Fashioned or Manhattans for interesting takes on old favorites. The pear and tonka bean cream is delectable, as is the langoustine carpaccio.
102 Loisaida Ave, New York, NY 10009
Avenue C is a great place to go to for brunch. Within walking distance from the Firemen’s Memorial Garden, it has a comfortable atmosphere where you’ll feel totally at home spending a few hours, with excellent cocktails. If you decide to sit and stay awhile, try out their bottomless brunch cocktail menu where you can choose between Bloody Mary’s, mimosas, or screwdrivers, plus the entree of your choice. It’s a budget-friendly steal that will make your Sunday as fun as possible.
The food at Avenue C is good too! Their French toast is light, fluffy, and not too sweet. Their steak and eggs are also delicious. If you want to eat something a little bit more adventurous, you really can’t go wrong with the lobster shrimp risotto or the beet salad.
509 E 6th St, New York, NY 10009
This vibrant restaurant gets serious points for its eclectic decor and inventive drinks. Just around the corner from the Joe Strummer Memorial, you will find their knowledgeable staff are able to give you precise suggestions about what to order and why. Overall, you’ll feel like you’re part of the family when you dine at the Pineapple Club. Their cocktail list is massive, and each one is artistically chosen and inspired. Try the pina chili margarita for a spicy and sweet treat. The pineapple Old Fashioned is good too.
Make sure that you pair your drinks with some of their signature small bites. At the Pineapple Club, these dishes were undoubtedly made for sharing. The avocado fries, pork belly bao buns, and tuna tartare are all winners.
186 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009
If you’re wondering where to eat near Joseph C. Sauer Park, for sangria and comfort food, look no further than Jose Luis. This East Village staple offers inexpensive sangria and plenty of tapas to satisfy your appetite. Plus, the service is impeccable, and the staff at Jose Luis is able to make recommendations on pairings and suggested dishes.
Make sure that you try their pappardelle with homemade ragu or their paella mista. The portions at Jose Luis are sharable, but on the smaller side, so you can order several dishes for the table and sample most of the menu. If you’re looking for something that’s a little on the lighter side, you can’t go wrong with the various bruschettas.
88 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003
Frank is one of the best Italian eateries which sits just down the street from the Ukrainian Museum. Expect to find all of the classics here, prepared just the way that you like them. The pasta is fresh and paired expertly with just the right amount of sauce. Their cheeses are good too, with fresh burrata and mozzarella available. Frank tends to be busy, especially on the weekends, so if you go, make sure to make reservations well in advance.
Their bruschetta is particularly lovely, featuring fresh tomatoes and expert seasoning. The roast chicken is good too, and their sides are excellent. The mashed potatoes have a great consistency, but you really can’t go wrong with any of them. Make sure that you save room for dessert! Frank serves some of the best tiramisu in New York, and it’s perfect with a strong cup of Italian coffee.
144 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003
Veselka gives a shout out to the East Village’s Eastern European roots with classic food from the region that will not disappoint you. If you’re looking for authentic borscht, pierogi, or latkes, that is just a short walk from the STOMP Performing Arts Theatre, Veselka is the right place to visit. This restaurant specializes in comfort food, making it an ideal stop after a long day out exploring the city.
Some of the key highlights of this restaurant are the short rib pierogi and the matzoh ball soup. You can also get authentic blintzes at Veselka. This charming restaurant does not take reservations, so try to visit it during the week, or pack your patience on the weekend. Trust me; the wait is definitely worth it.
Risotteria Melotti NYC
309 E 5th St, New York, NY 10003
With a name like “Risotteria Melotti,” you know that the risotto is going to be excellent. This restaurant does not disappoint. You can find them on the same street as the New York City’s 9th Precinct Police Department building. There are plenty of different types of risotto on the menu, and you can customize your meal to fit your specific needs. Their waitstaff is friendly, knowledgeable, and ready to help you. They have no problem checking with the chefs to make sure that there’s nothing in the dish that will interfere with your dietary restrictions.
All of their risottos are fabulous, but the smoked salmon option really stands out. Texturally, this dish is just incredible, and it hits all of the right flavor notes. The rucola grana salad is excellent too. Save some room for dessert because their profiteroles are absolutely delectable.
Somtum Der New York
85 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009
Although there are many Thai restaurants in New York City, there’s only one Somtum Der. Only a block away from Blink Fitness, this restaurant specializes in Isaan food, cuisine from a particular region of Thailand. It also has perfected the art of somtum, a uniquely Thai dish made out of unripe papaya, spices, shrimp, and vegetables. Somtum, or papaya salad, pairs exquisitely with their fried chicken.
Another excellent dish is Somtum Der’s massaman curry. This comfort food Thai staple is difficult to perfect, but Somtum gets the creamy and spicy notes just right. There are also rice and noodle salads, soups, and grilled meats. Be careful of ordering anything too spicy. Thai food is notoriously hot, so it might be better to go medium.
33 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003
Streecha is another Eastern European favorite, which is close to the St. George Ukrainian Catholic Church, where you can get comfort food at its finest. It’s also a budget-friendly restaurant that’s great for families. Although Streecha is a little bit difficult to find, the search will be worth it. You’ll find excellent homemade pierogi, cabbage rolls, and rose jam donuts at this restaurant.
Since the prices are so inexpensive, Streecha tends to attract a lot of local people and college students. You definitely will not feel like you’re in a tourist spot. It’s about as authentic as you can get and will likely be one of the highlights of your trip to New York City.
137 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009
Rosella is one of the premier Japanese food destinations, sitting directly across the street from Tompkins Square Park, and you can expect delicious food with a beautiful presentation. One of the standout dishes at Rosella are their nigiri sushi plates. The fish is expertly prepared, and the service is top-notch. You’ll receive your meals promptly, and your server will be on hand to answer any questions.
One of the key differentiating factors of Rosella is that their seafood is always sustainably sourced. You will really taste the difference, especially when it comes to the fluke and bluefish. There’s no bitterness or overly fishy flavors, just great food. Make sure that you check out their extensive wine list too.
119 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009
SHINN EAST is another excellent Asian food experience that is only a few steps away from the St Stanislaus B & M Church. Although there are several different things on the menu, it’s a good idea to try the omakase experience. Omakase is a special menu designed by the chef, and it’s great for those with an adventurous palate. SHINN EAST is also reasonably cost-effective, and it’s very family-friendly.
You’ll find plenty of items on the menu at SHINN EAST, including unagi, caviar, fluke, and toro. If they’re not busy, they might even take special orders. The sushi chef is exceptionally knowledgeable and will even make recommendations and explain where the ingredients are sourced from. Although there are more adventurous dishes on the menu, SHINN EAST offers more traditional fare too, so it’s an excellent place for sushi novices to try out different rolls.
156 E 2nd St, New York, NY 10009
Supper is an unpretentious gem and is only a block away from the Union Market. They offer elevated comfort food in a welcoming and cozy environment. One of their standout dishes is the grilled salmon and lentils. The Caesar salad is excellent, and their pastas are out of this world. The pasta bolognese is a true crowd-pleaser, and you get plenty of flavor in every bite.
Supper does tend to get pretty crowded, so it’s advisable to make your reservation ahead of time. If you do find that you have to wait for a bit, you can sit at the bar and sample some of their excellent wine or draft beer.
Momofuku Noodle Bar
171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003
Momofuku Noodle Bar is one of the most respected and well-established restaurants in all of New York City. If it’s your first time in the East Village, you should certainly pay a visit. You can find them just up from Performance Space New York. Everything on the menu is excellent, but there are some standout items as well. The spicy cucumbers are great, and they’re an excellent shareable appetizer for your group.
If you like ramen, Momofuku Noodle Bar is an ideal place to visit. Their ramen is what put them on the map in the first place, with richly spiced broth and delectable noodles. You can also try their pork or spicy chicken buns. There are mushroom buns for the vegetarians in your group too.
119 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003
Oiji NYC hits all the best notes regarding excellent food, great service, and phenomenal atmosphere. It’s a true find and sits close to East Village Books. The food at Oiji NYC is exceptionally fresh, and the flavors are really on point. Some of the best menu items include their mushroom salad, beef shank, and their fried chicken. The fried chicken is light, crispy, and flavorful.
Their servers can also explain all of the different items on the menu and make suggestions. If you have specific dietary needs, Oiji NYC can accommodate them. Since they have a lot of Korean food on the menu, you should definitely try the kimchi and spicy pork. Both dishes are wonderfully balanced and flavorful.
Hanoi Soup Shop
115 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009
Hanoi Soup Shop serves up great Vietnamese food that will make you feel like you’ve been transported straight to the streets of Hanoi, even though it is just across the street from the Holyland Market. There’s nothing inauthentic about this restaurant, and the service is just as good as what’s on the menu. Although the entire menu is excellent, there are a few dishes that you should try.
The papaya and watercress salad is fresh, flavorful, and is an ideal start to your meal. Additionally, the summer roll duo is a light dish that’s perfect for sharing. The summer rolls have a great mixture of textures and authentic Vietnamese flavors in every bite. Of course, the pho is excellent at Hanoi Soup Shop. It’s the ideal thing to order on a cold day in New York City.
430 E 9th St, New York, NY 10009
Superiority Burger is a local favorite that’s off-the-beaten-path, just around the corner from the Ten Street Laundromat. Take your cue from native New Yorkers and try this restaurant out the next time that you’re in the East Village. Although the word “burger” is in the name, they have something for vegetarians as well. Their veggie burger is great, juicy, and doesn’t taste overly processed or artificial.
If you’re a meat-eater, you can try the superiority burger or the sloppy joe. Both are packed with meaty goodness that will keep you full and satisfied all day long. The sides are good too. Their broccoli with eggplant and cashews hits just the right spice notes and pairs perfectly with any of their great burgers.
545 E 5th St, New York, NY 10009
Lavagna is a beautiful place to go if you want elevated cuisine that reminds you just enough of comfort food. Sitting right beside the 6th Street and Avenue B Secluded Garden, the atmosphere is welcoming and sophisticated. Their waitstaff is very knowledgeable about the menu and can make adjustments as needed for dietary or taste restrictions. The scallops at Lavanga are excellent, as is the artichoke salad.
Although they offer some traditional fare, you can find a lot of surprises on Lavanga’s menu. Their rabbit ravioli dish is excellent and unique, without being too gamey. Since the pasta is homemade, you really do feel the love in every bite. Lavanga also has a robust wine list and plenty of artisan desserts.
536 E 5th St, New York, NY 10009
At Tuome, they understand the importance of presentation. If you’re a foodie who loves getting artfully prepared meals, this is truly the restaurant that you want to visit right beside the New Amsterdam School. Start your meal out with a cocktail. Choose between their traditional menu of cocktails, or one of their signature drinks. The Fire in the Sky cocktail is especially beautiful and delicious.
Tuome has plenty of different dishes to please even picky palates. Many of them are whimsical and artistically prepared, like their snap pea scallop dish, or their halibut curry. Even the sides are meticulously designed, like their lotus leaf wrapped rice.
127 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003
B&H Dairy is another Eastern European favorite featuring Old World classics at a reasonable price. Sitting just across the street from the STOMP Performing Arts Theatre, stop in for their stuffed cabbage smothered in tasty tomato sauce, or homemade soups. At B&H Dairy, you can get traditional borscht and heartwarming chicken soup. There’s also knishes, omelettes, challah toast, and blintzes prepared fresh every day.
B&H Dairy is an unassuming little restaurant, which is truly part of its charm. You can meet local New Yorkers there, have a great cup of coffee and breakfast, or visit them for a late night snack before heading home. If you want to enjoy great food in a humble atmosphere, B&H Dairy is the spot.
94 Loisaida Ave, New York, NY 10009
For a taste of southern charm and flavors, check out Bobwhite Counter. This restaurant, sitting across from the Alphabet Grocery, takes all of the flavors from the Deep South and brings them up north to the Big Apple. Although there are plenty of comfort-food items to choose from on the menu, you really can’t go wrong with their biscuits or fried chicken. Both are light, airy, and totally flavorful.
If you want something a little bit heavier, try their macaroni and cheese. It’s homemade, decadent, and will keep you satisfied all day. Best of all, the food at Bobwhite Counter is fairly inexpensive so you can sample everything on the menu if you want.
New York City’s East Village has come a long way from it’s rural roots. Although this district was once the scene of New York’s punk heyday, it’s now a cultural hub for artists, designers, and some of the best restaurants around.
Whether you’re in the mood for Eastern European comfort food or high-end French cuisine, you’ll find it in the East Village. There’s something for every taste, style and budget in this trendy part of town.
Don’t see anything in this NYC neighborhood that piques your interest? How about these amazing restaurants in nearby Tribeca
Did we miss any of your favorite East Village haunts? Let us know what your favorite restaurant is in the comments below.
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