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A busy, car-filled street in the East Village with people walking through a crosswalk.
The East Village is one of the city’s most glorious dining destinations.
Ryan DeBerardinis/Shutterstock

29 Restaurants That Define the East Village

Japanese, Mexican, Moroccan, Indian, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Jamaican, and Tibetan — it’s all here in one of the best dining neighborhoods in NYC

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The East Village is one of the city’s most glorious dining destinations.
| Ryan DeBerardinis/Shutterstock

Culinarily, the East Village is one of the city’s most diverse neighborhoods. The area has long supported an immigrant population, but it’s also a magnet for younger New Yorkers from all over the city — and indeed all over the world — intent on eating and drinking, and craving something new. As a destination for Chinese food, it is now the equal of any in the city, and Mexican food is another high point. Among its other glories are a continuing Ukrainian, Japanese, Puerto Rican, and Jewish presence, and newer establishments offering Portuguese, Laotian, Argentinean, and Himalayan fare. Pick a cuisine, and we bet you can find it there.

But where is “there”? The disputed boundaries go from the north side of Houston to the south side of 14th; and from Third Avenue to the East River, thus including what is now called Alphabet City (largely due to the musical Rent). Take a walk along the neighborhood’s three-block backbone of St. Marks Place to get an inkling of the East Village’s level of tumult and range of dining options, from French fry-stuffed burritos to Moroccan tajines.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Yellow Rose

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San Antonio natives Krystiana Rizo and husband Dave Rizo opened Yellow Rose late in 2020, pandemic be damned. Their laser focus is on Central Texas, with bean-and-cheese tacos served on flour tortillas made on the premises, vegan chili con queso, and some interesting salads and sandwiches — including one featuring wild boar. The interior is plastered with historic photos and posters, some recalling the area’s hippie era.

A flour tortilla filled with a dark beef stew held in two hands so we can see inside.
The carne guisada taco at Yellow Rose
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

The East Village has lately been the site of new Thai restaurants that stretch the public’s idea of the cuisine. The food of the Chinese community within Bangkok was one example, as also seen at Noods ‘N Chill in Williamsburg and Tong in Bushwick. Soothr showcases koong karee, a colorful dish featuring shrimp in egg sauce. Other highlights involve food from Central Thailand’s Sukothai, where two of the owners come from: Kittiya Mokkarat and Supatta Banklouy. A third owner, Chidensee Watthanawongwat, hails from Isan.

A restaurant facade open at the front with a couple of tables on the sidewalk.
Soothr lies on bucolic (and lucky) East 13th Street.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Veeray Da Dhaba

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Channeling a roadside snack shack in the Punjab, Veeray da Dhaba is the brainchild of Indian fine-dining veterans Sonny Solomon, Hemant Mathur, and Binder Saini. The restaurant offers what is usually displayed on steam tables at area Indian buffets, only hiked up a notch or two. Goat biryani is one highlight, and so is a saag paneer with cheese made in-house, a fish fry from Amritsar, and a ramped-up tandoori chicken.

Three Indian dishes in plastic containers on a worn picnic table top, one green, one brown, and one rice based.
A nicely balanced selection of Punjabi dishes from Veeray Da Dhaba
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

John's of 12th Street

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Red-sauce fare dating to 1908 makes this Italian restaurant a piece of living history. It remains charmingly dated with its murals, intricate tile floor, and a guttering candle that looks like it has been lit since Prohibition. All the classics are here: eggplant parm, linguini with clams, spaghetti with meatballs, and pizza, too. But the place also mounts a vegan menu, guaranteeing a younger, health-conscious crowd.

A veal cutlet smothered in cheese with spaghetti and meat sauce above it.
Veal parm at John’s isn’t one of the vegan offerings.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Dua Kafe

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Five years ago owner Bobian Demce opened this narrow Albanian cafe in a former tailor shop. It offers all the usual Balkan specialties, from flaky byrek pies stuffed with spinach and cheese to the grilled and skinless ground beef sausages qebapa, which arrive smothered in cream sauce. There are also vegetable-heavy casseroles, grilled kebabs and chops, and desserts like baklava. This being the East Village, a conventional hamburger is also available.

A line of brown skinless sausages striped with cream sauce.
Qebapa Albanian skinless sausages.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Opened by Bon Yagi — called the godfather of the East Village’s Little Tokyo — in 1984, Hasaki is the last of the neighborhood’s earliest sushi bars. Known for its bargain omakase menu of traditional nigiri sushi, the daily fish assortment often holds surprises. A kitchen at the rear of this handsome semi-subterranean space with a backyard of private nooks offers the usual Japanese appetizers, mains, and side dishes, including teriyaki, fried chicken, tofu in kelp broth, and chawanmushi.

A luscious plate of sushi, totally filling the frame, with orange sea urchin, pink tuna, and many other fish on rice, some with roe. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Lhasa Tibetan Restaurant

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Sang Jien Ben, who grew up in the Tibetan town of Rebgong, is the operator of Lhasa Tibetan Restaurant. It’s a spin-off of a Jackson Heights establishment immortalized by Anthony Bourdain. A greatest hits of Himalayan cuisine is presented, from colorful momo dumplings, puckered at the top, to both meatless and meaty homemade noodles. Vegetarians, in particular, will find much to admire.

Noodles rolled around tofu and chile sauce, like Japanese maki.
The noodle-based sushi lhamo at Lhasa.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

While most Chinese restaurants in the East Village specialize in noodles, soups, dumplings, and other budget-friendly dishes, Uluh offers a contemporary Chinese menu that could as easily be found in Flushing...or Beijing. Sure, there are Sichuan dishes, but diners will find ones originating in several other Chinese regions.

Three decorative bowls, one with salt-cured sliced chicken leg.
A typical selection of dishes from uluh.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Madame Vo

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Modern Vietnamese restaurants are growing in number, and deeply flavored dishes such as fish sauce chicken wings, caramelized pork ribs, fried rice with prawns and pork sausage, and a huge beef pho with a deeply flavored broth and firmer than usual rice noodles make Madame Vo one of the scene’s leaders. Owners Yen Vo and chef Jimmy Ly preside over an agreeable space with white brick and cushy banquettes.

A ceramic crock with ribs and a thick brown broth inside, crusting on the lip of the vessel.
Caramelized spare ribs in a crock at Madame Vo.
Daniel Geneen/Eater NY

Veselka

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A New York City icon, Veselka has been serving Ukrainian diner fare to the neighborhood since 1954. Pierogi are an obvious order, available in flavors like potato, cheese, and short rib. Other Ukrainian specialties like borscht and veal goulash are also offered, but a sleeper hit is the giant platter piled high with pierogi, meat-stuffed cabbage, and beet horseradish salad. Go at any hour (breakfast starts at 8 a.m.) for comforting nourishment and a slice of NYC life.

Three plates of boiled half-moon dumplings.
How about some Ukrainian pierogies?
Gary He/Eater NY

A few steps below street level, Kenka is one of St. Marks’ most colorful establishments, serving izakaya fare like curry and takoyaki, as well as astonishing things like bull penis with mayo that one suspects are to be eaten on a dare. (We’ve tried it, and it’s stringy and tough.) The decor is mock-pornographic, and there are fun details like free serve-yourself cotton candy at the exit, though that feature has been on hiatus lately. This has always been the goofiest and most popular Japanese spot in the East Village, so be prepared for a wait.

A jumbled pair of storefronts with a life size strange creature in front, and all sorts of skeleton themed art above this classic Japanese restaurant.
The blue façade of Kenka lies below a secondhand clothing store.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Dhom, named for chef Soulayphet Schwader’s childhood nickname, is probably the city’s first Laotian restaurant — though it specializes in small dishes and drinks, and calls itself a tapas bar. A paste of pork and eggplant is one distinctive dish, to be scooped up with sticky rice — in fact, sticky rice should be ordered with most dishes. For snackers, the brochettes of skirt steak, duck hearts, or chicken thighs are just the thing, while more substantial appetites might try the the fish salad.

Three sticks of glistening meat.
Brochettes, to be wrapped in lettuce and herbs when eaten.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Chef Tan

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There are currently four branches of this Chinese chain in the metro area, including one in Jersey City, specializing in Hunan cuisine and each a little different. Century egg and eggplant is a good bet here, featuring the two ingredients coarsely squished together, amplified by fresh green chiles. The fish head is probably the cuisine’s most desirable dish, and here it comes with more flesh than usually found in this “eat-everything including the cheeks and eyes” delicacy.

A blue delft bowl with little gnarly pieces of pale frog.
Stir-fried frog at the East Village Chef Tan.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

B&H Dairy

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This enduring Jewish Kosher luncheonette — open since 1938 — is now owned by Polish-Catholic Ola Smigielska and Egyptian-Muslim Fawzy Abdelwahed and remains a pescatarian and vegetarian highlight in the neighborhood. Dishes include tuna melts on challah, cheese pierogies, omelets, and berry filled blintzes. And let’s not forget its amazing vegetarian soups — mushroom barley, cabbage, and matzoh ball are favorites. Served with homemade challah, they’re bargain lunch mainstays.

A bowl of cabbage soup speckled with orange carrots and challah bread on the side on a white counter.
B&H’s famous cabbage soup, with “holly bread”.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Le Fournil

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Three years ago French bakery Le Fournil supplanted old-timer Moishe’s, and the replacement proved fortuitous. It turns out a much broader range of baked goods, which often includes rugelach and other products of its predecessor, but also extends its reach to Portuguese custard tarts, fig focaccias, and zaatar-dusted flatbreads from Lebanon. Sandwiches and all the traditional French breads and pastries are also available, making it the perfect place to outfit a Tompkins Square picnic.

A round sandwich with mozzarella, tomato, and pesto on a wooden picnic table surface.
A caprese sandwich from Le Fournil.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Electric Burrito

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This burrito spot, serving little else, caused a sensation when it opened right on St. Marks last year and did something rarely seen in NYC — putting french fries in its burritos, San Diego style. Squish, squish. Burritos are divided into those intended for breakfast (any time of the day), and those that aren’t. A favorite is Johnny Utah, filled with carne asada and shrimp. Tacos also available, but little else.

A hand holds a burrito upright in yellow tissue paper.
Behold, one of Electric Burrito’s products, this one with french fries inside, California style.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Frangos Peri Peri

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Finally, as if Newark’s Ironbound neighborhood were transplanted to downtown Manhattan, the East Village has its own Portuguese barbecue restaurant. With a colorful mural extending across the interior, this place features a range of marinades (including the eponymous piri piri, an Angolan hot pepper sauce), as well as a choice of wings and other chicken parts, chicken nuggets, and whole or partial chickens. Salads, sandwiches, and a series of vegan grilled items round out the menu.

A whole red Portuguese chicken splayed on a blue mottled platter.
A whole chicken in Angolan piri-piri sauce.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Cafe Mogador

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Founded by Rivka Orlin in 1983 a stone’s throw from Tompkins Square, Cafe Mogador was a pioneer in the East Village dining scene back in the day when options were mainly limited to Italian, Eastern European, and Latin-American restaurants. The menu was a novelty, focusing on the cuisine of the Moroccan Jewish community, which meant a plethora of small appetizing dishes based on vegetables and yogurt, and mains that focused on tajines and couscouses — all served efficiently in a laid-back, coffeehouse ambiance.

A series of colorful small dishes including beets and eggplant.
A selection of vegetarian appetizing dishes at Mogador.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Cadence

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Recently moved across the street into bigger digs, Cadence is one of the newer additions to Ravi de Rossi’s East Village vegan empire. Award winning chef Shenarri Freeman concocts unique and often delicious versions of soul food using no meat or cheese — which is no mean feat, and her deep fried lasagna has become the stuff of legend.

A bowl of brown grits with crunchies and greens on top.
Smoked grits at Cadence.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Da Radda

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Da Radda is a new Argentinean restaurant and wine bar with an appealing wine list that also includes Chilean vintages. It’s owned by Sergio Raddavero, and focuses on the country’s Italian-influenced cuisine, rather than the steaks that characterize nearly all NYC Argentinean restaurants. That means an emphasis on a few pastas — some of them not widely seen here — as well as antipasti, risottos, eggplant and veal parms, and some rather unusual pizzas. The dulce de leche panna cotta is killer.

Knurled little dumplings with a green-flecked red sauce.
Homemade potato gnocchi with “tutti pesto” at Da Radda.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Ho Foods

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Deeply flavored and dramatically dark Taiwanese beef noodle soup is the focus of owner Richard Ho’s .tiny Ho Foods. The soup, available with two types of noodles, is the main attraction, nicely rounded out by garlic cucumbers, lu rou fan (minced pork over rice), and housemade tofu with a century egg. There’s also Taiwanese breakfast on the weekends.

A bowl of beef soup with wide wide noodles with a reddish broth.
Beef noodles soup at Ho Foods.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Bar Verde

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At Bar Verde, chef Matthew Kenney proves once and for all that a vegan and gluten free menu is easily done in Mexican cuisine — and you won’t miss the meat and cheese. The verdant Oaxacan tlayuda uses jackfruit as its central ingredient, while a California style burrito is enlivened with cashew crema, which adds a mild nuttiness. In fact you won’t find many major dishes from a pan-Mexican menu missing, in version that run from inspired to marginally acceptable.

A round cracker with all sorts of ingredients densely strewn on it including guacamole and mushrooms.
Bar Verde’s tlayuda.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Miss Lily's 7A Cafe

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Normally, one might have to sojourn to Flatbush or at least Harlem to find Jamaican food of this caliber, but be forewarned, Lily’s doubles as a wild cocktail lounge as the sun sets and the corner of East Seventh Street and Avenue A becomes the most tumultuous scene in the East Village. Via chefs Kahari Woolcock and Andre Fowles, crisp codfish fritters, a version of pepper shrimp saucier than its beachside prototype, and jerk chicken are all recommended, and even the simple rice and peas are moist and flavorful.

A colorful corner facade with lots of painted signage, and a temporarily structure out front, all with diners seated.
By day Lily’s is almost sedate.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Downtown Bakery

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Once an Italian bakery before it was taken over by a Pueblan family in the mid-90s, Downtown Bakery eventually eschewed baked goods and went on to mount an impressive menu of southern Mexican and Mexican-American standards. The owners are the sister-and-brother team of Olivia Marin and Manuel Marmolejo. Their epic adobo sauce based on guajillo chiles is the Pueblan equivalent of birria, available with chicken or over enchiladas. Breakfast tacos, Austin-style, and Mission-style California burritos are other fantastic options.

Three enchiladas painted with a deep red sauce and melted squiggles of cheese.
Chicken enchiladas in guajillo chile sauce.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Somtum Der

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Some of NYC’s spiciest Thai fare can be found on Avenue A, where Somtum Der has spotlighted the food of the Isan region of Thailand since 2013. As the name suggests, the focus is on shredded green papaya salads prepared in a mortar with optional add-ins that include the raw blue crabs, but there are also incredibly spicy larbs, as well as deep-fried chicken thighs, grilled coconut-milk-marinated pork, and sour pork sausages.

A shredded green papaya salad heaped on the plate in an orangish dressing.
Papaya salads are the centerpiece of the menu at Somtum Der.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Founded by jazz musician Shigeto Kamada, Minca is a tiny shop that ranks among the best ramen-yas in a neighborhood that has many. The level of care put into the composition of each bowl makes it a destination not to be missed. The Tokyo tsukemen, a deconstructed dipping ramen dish that Eater highly recommends, is a good bet here, although any of the roughly 15 options on the menu are well worth exploring. Cash only.

A deconstructed bowl of noodles with broth and fixings.
Tokyo Tsukemen at Minca.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Bobwhite Counter

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This snug lunch and dinner counter in Alphabet City specializes in two things: simple Southern fried chicken and lighter-than-air biscuits. There may be Texas Pete’s hot sauce and a squeeze-bottle of honey on every table in the restaurant, but the chicken here doesn’t need either. It’s brined overnight in sweet tea, then dredged in milk, flour, salt, pepper, and a handful of mystery spices that owner Keedick Coulter has kept secret since opening in 2012.

Two pieces of dark fried chicken, coleslaw, and a biscuit on a vintage white plate with a pink floral design
Fried chicken, coleslaw, and a biscuit at Bobwhite Counter.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Little Myanmar

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The tiny premises belies the sprawling menu at this Burmese restaurant that started out as a closet in a Queens subway station run by family owners Thidar Kyaw, Tin Ko Naing, and Yun Naing. The Burmese cuisine is unique, with many ingredients not often found in other Southeast Asian cuisines as presented here. A tea leaf salad flavored with fermented leaves is a case in point, and so is chicken paratha — a rich soup with rafts of floating flatbread.

A dryish looking salad with tiny shrimp, sesame seeds, and a dozen other ingredients.
Tea leaf salad at Little Myanmar.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Casa Adela

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Adela Fargas, who passed in 2018, founded this Puerto Rican institution in 1976, making it the longest-running restaurant in Alphabet City. The rotisserie chickens — visible through the front window kicking like a chorus line — have been a carryout magnet, but roast pork, fricasseed chicken, steak with onions, and Cuban sandwiches were equally as alluring. For the cash strapped, a plate of rice and beans often suffices.

A paprika rubbed half chicken with rice and red bans on the side.
Paprika-dusted rotisserie chicken
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Yellow Rose

A flour tortilla filled with a dark beef stew held in two hands so we can see inside.
The carne guisada taco at Yellow Rose
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

San Antonio natives Krystiana Rizo and husband Dave Rizo opened Yellow Rose late in 2020, pandemic be damned. Their laser focus is on Central Texas, with bean-and-cheese tacos served on flour tortillas made on the premises, vegan chili con queso, and some interesting salads and sandwiches — including one featuring wild boar. The interior is plastered with historic photos and posters, some recalling the area’s hippie era.

A flour tortilla filled with a dark beef stew held in two hands so we can see inside.
The carne guisada taco at Yellow Rose
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Soothr

A restaurant facade open at the front with a couple of tables on the sidewalk.
Soothr lies on bucolic (and lucky) East 13th Street.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

The East Village has lately been the site of new Thai restaurants that stretch the public’s idea of the cuisine. The food of the Chinese community within Bangkok was one example, as also seen at Noods ‘N Chill in Williamsburg and Tong in Bushwick. Soothr showcases koong karee, a colorful dish featuring shrimp in egg sauce. Other highlights involve food from Central Thailand’s Sukothai, where two of the owners come from: Kittiya Mokkarat and Supatta Banklouy. A third owner, Chidensee Watthanawongwat, hails from Isan.

A restaurant facade open at the front with a couple of tables on the sidewalk.
Soothr lies on bucolic (and lucky) East 13th Street.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Veeray Da Dhaba

Three Indian dishes in plastic containers on a worn picnic table top, one green, one brown, and one rice based.
A nicely balanced selection of Punjabi dishes from Veeray Da Dhaba
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Channeling a roadside snack shack in the Punjab, Veeray da Dhaba is the brainchild of Indian fine-dining veterans Sonny Solomon, Hemant Mathur, and Binder Saini. The restaurant offers what is usually displayed on steam tables at area Indian buffets, only hiked up a notch or two. Goat biryani is one highlight, and so is a saag paneer with cheese made in-house, a fish fry from Amritsar, and a ramped-up tandoori chicken.

Three Indian dishes in plastic containers on a worn picnic table top, one green, one brown, and one rice based.
A nicely balanced selection of Punjabi dishes from Veeray Da Dhaba
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

John's of 12th Street

A veal cutlet smothered in cheese with spaghetti and meat sauce above it.
Veal parm at John’s isn’t one of the vegan offerings.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Red-sauce fare dating to 1908 makes this Italian restaurant a piece of living history. It remains charmingly dated with its murals, intricate tile floor, and a guttering candle that looks like it has been lit since Prohibition. All the classics are here: eggplant parm, linguini with clams, spaghetti with meatballs, and pizza, too. But the place also mounts a vegan menu, guaranteeing a younger, health-conscious crowd.

A veal cutlet smothered in cheese with spaghetti and meat sauce above it.
Veal parm at John’s isn’t one of the vegan offerings.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Dua Kafe