The East Village is a prime destination for sushi, soba, Korean, Indian, Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, Mexican, Italian, French, Greek, Austrian, German, Serbian, Ukrainian, barbecue, vegetarian and even Ayurvedic cuisine. Its independent, ambitious restaurateurs face tough competition—so they never stop working to please customers. The 10 new and newish spots we’ve rounded up—which offer dining experiences from humble street food to high-end seafood—prove that diversity and change are still essential to the neighborhood’s character. —Julie Besonen
Many coffee connoisseurs rank Abraço at the top of their lists for bean-to-cup excellence. Debuting in a closet-size space on East 7th Street in 2007, it almost instantly burst at the seams. Baristas and customers got more elbow room in 2016 when a move across the street allowed for tables, a bigger kitchen and a front patio. Moist olive oil cake and light sandwiches add to the appeal, as do vinyl records on the turntable.
Empanadas get a modern twist at Che Cafe, an East Village nook that formerly lodged Abraço (which moved to larger digs across the street). Tennis-ball-size pouches, called chechenitas, are deep-fried to a golden crunchiness. Steamy savory fillings include chicken with sun-dried tomatoes and smoky chipotle, spinach with feta and rib-eye steak with onions, leeks and cheese. If you crave sweet street food, try the plantain and coconut pocket with raspberry puree and whipped cream.
Request the wine list at Fiaschetteria “Pistoia,” and the staff delivers a vintage milk bottle rack stocked with Italian reds and whites. The entertaining touch sets a free-spirited tone at this rustic, Tuscan-inspired trattoria. “Fiaschetteria” roughly translates as “wine shop,” and owner Emanuele Bugiani and his friendly staff hail from Pistoia, northwest of Florence. The freshly sliced prosciutto, homemade pasta and chicken liver crostini exude authenticity.
Roxanne Spruance, a veteran of WD-50 and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, channels a similar seasonal ingenuity here. The seductive space features a bar with tufted chairs and an outdoor patio. The bar menu’s spicy deviled pork sliders are exactly what you want with cocktails, and the kitchen deftly prepares fluke crudo, charred octopus and steak with black garlic for dinner. At brunch, zero in on crispy pork belly and pickle tot hash with fried eggs.
Simone Tong conjured Little Tong’s theme: spaghetti-like rice noodles called mixian, a specialty of China’s Yunnan province, in broth that’s cooked over the course of multiple days. Proteins include the comforting “Grandma chicken”—with a tea-brewed egg, black sesame garlic oil and spicy fermented chili—and pork with greens and a tart chili vinaigrette that’s ladled into a copper pot. The narrow East Village spot is lined in brick and blond wood, and also serves tasty appetizers, beer, wine and sake.
“Nobody Is Perfect” is quite the disclaimer, as names go, but we find no flaws in the restaurant’s soft burrata with broccoli rabe, whole rotisserie chicken and wood-fired pizza stuffed with mozzarella, arugula and fresh tomato. The warm, hip, brick-lined space is versatile for dates, big gatherings at communal tables or hanging out at the bar with a glass of wine and delicious fried baby artichokes with lemon zest.
This inviting, bi-level seafood restaurant has a clubby vibe and celebrates coastal New York with seasonal agriculture and offerings from the Atlantic. Chef Tim Meyers (ex–Charlie Bird) shows talent through Nantucket Bay scallops with Meyer lemon; black bass carpaccio with strawberry and pistachio; tender, beer-battered octopus; and hot-smoked trout with lemon curry. Other highlights include hearty dishes like pan-roasted chicken and sides like creamed wild mushrooms with Hudson Valley Camembert cream.
Social media fans have posted innumerable photos and videos of Raclette’s molten Alpine cheese scraped tableside over roasted potatoes, vegetables or steak. In 2016, the restaurant left its original, tiny East Village space for a much larger stage when Northern Spy Food Co. closed shop. The move has led to a vaster population indulging in toasted tartines, incredibly cheesy macaroni and cheese and a value-priced wine list.
This younger East Village sister to the West Village’s long-running Tavern on Jane has the same low-key vibe and recipe for hot wings. A pressed-tin ceiling, mahogany bar, comfy barstools, high tables and a banquette flush with pillows make it the consummate neighborhood hangout. The straightforward menu includes fried chicken and a monster burger stacked with beer-battered onion rings—just the sort of ballast required when partaking in the extensive drinking options.
Sushi masters quietly and confidently carve raw fish like butter at Uogashi, an upscale Japanese restaurant outfitted in pale wood. Sophisticated patrons pluck seafood morsels with their fingers, using chopsticks only for palate-freshening ginger shavings. Whether or not you eat with your hands, you’ll get warm towels at the meal’s start. Sitting at the long counter gives you a great opportunity to watch the chefs at work; for privacy, choose a table behind a swath of white fabric.
For more options, see our East Village dining listings.