clock menu more-arrow no yes
A series of restaurants along St Marks Place, with tables flanked by red chairs in the street.
Much of the East Village dining action remains outside, and will be more so as the weather warms.

30 Restaurants That Define the East Village

Japanese, Mexican, Italian, West African, Filipino, Indian, Chinese, and Puerto Rican — it’s all here in one of the best dining neighborhoods in NYC

View as Map
Much of the East Village dining action remains outside, and will be more so as the weather warms.

The East Village is one of the city’s richest neighborhoods when it comes to its culinary offerings. There’s a long history of the area supporting an immigrant population that refuses to leave, 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 willing to try something new. As a destination for Chinese food, one could argue it is now the equal of certain neighborhoods in Queens, and Mexican food is another high point, from Pueblan taquerias to new birria joints to white-tablecloth establishments. Among its other glories are a continuing Ukrainian and Polish presence, an historic Puerto Rican cafe, and new places to find African, Albanian, Portuguese, 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, both sides, to the East River, thus including what is now called Alphabet City, largely due to the Broadway musical Rent. Take a walk along the neighborhood’s backbone of St. Marks Place to get an inkling of the East Village’s level of excitement and the range of its dining options.

Note: This is an updated version of a map originally published in 2016.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Yellow Rose

Copy Link
102 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10003
(212) 529-8880
Visit Website

San Antonio natives Krystiana Rizo and husband Dave Rizo (a Superiority Burger vet) opened Yellow Rose late last year, pandemic be damned. Their laser focus is on Central Texas with bean-and-cheese tacos served on flour tortillas made on the premises, chili con queso, and some rare pastries. Another favorite is the meaty and juicy carne guisado taco shown here. The interior is plastered with historic photos and posters, some recalling the area’s hippie era. Texas boutique grocery items are also stocked, including blue cornmeal from Barton Springs Mill and Rancho Gordo beans.

A flour tortilla filled with a dark beef stew held in two hands so we can see inside. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

2. Soothr

Copy Link
204 E 13th St
New York, NY 10003
(212) 844-9789
Visit Website

One surprise during the pandemic has been the opening of new Thai restaurants, many with menus that stretched the public idea of the country’s cuisine. Food of the Chinese community within Bangkok was one example, as also seen at Noods ‘N Chill in Williamsburg and Tong in Bushwick. Soothr offers koong karee, a delicious dish featuring shrimp in egg sauce. Other highlights of the menu 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. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

3. Veeray da Dhaba

Copy Link
222 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10009
(212) 777-1420
Visit Website

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 hiked up a notch or two. Goat biryani is one highlight, and so is a saag paneer made with cheese made in-house, a fish fry from Amritsar, and a ramped-up tandoori chicken not simply smeared with bottled red paste.

Three Indian dishes in plastic containers on a worn picnic table top, one green, one brown, and one rice based. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

4. John's of 12th Street

Copy Link
302 E 12th St
New York, NY 10003
(212) 475-9531
Visit Website

Red-sauce fare dating back to 1908 makes this Italian restaurant a piece of living history. It’s resisted most trends but is still charmingly dated with its murals, an intricate tile floor, and a guttering candle that looks like it has been lit since Prohibition. All the classics are here: eggplant parmesan, linguini with clams, spaghetti with meatballs, and pizza, too. A vegan menu available. Former proprietor Nick Sitnycky owns the building, and he sold the restaurant under the condition that it remain open, so John’s actually has a chance of making it.

A veal cutlet smothered in cheese with spaghetti and meat sauce above it. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

5. Jeepney

Copy Link
201 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10003
(212) 533-4121
Visit Website

Filipino cuisine once had a huge presence in the East Village; it’s more limited now, and often in more modernized versions, such as Nicole Ponseca and Miguel Trinidad’s gastropub Jeepney. It’s most known for its Kamayan feasts — prix fixe group dinners that cover a table with a bountiful meal meant to be eaten by hand — but a regular meal of whole fish with escabeche sauce or beef and pork lumpia is recommended, too.

A gorgeous buffet including shrimp, sausages, rice and other dishes on a grooved green table. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

6. Hearth

Copy Link
Read Review |
403 E 12th St
New York, NY 10009
(646) 602-1300
Visit Website

Marco Canora’s longtime Italian restaurant is a neighborhood mainstay that in recent years has a healthier focus to reflect the chef’s lifestyle change spurred by a gout diagnosis. The menu is full of Italian-American items such as chicory with anchovies, parmesan, and balsamic or a New York strip with greens, gorgonzola, and cherry peppers. It’s a lovely date and brunch spot, and Canora’s broth to-go counter Brodo, which is largely responsible for the trendiness of people drinking soup in coffee cups, is also quite popular. Get the apple cider doughnuts.

Hearth’s dining room with wooden beams on the ceiling and exposed brick walls Nick Solares/Eater

7. Dua Kafe

Copy Link
520 E 14th St
New York, NY 10009
(212) 228-1696
Visit Website

Two 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 qeubapa, 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 fairly conventional hamburger is also available

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

8. Hasaki

Copy Link
210 E 9th St
New York, NY 10003
(212) 473-3327
Visit Website

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 left standing. Known for its bargain omakase menu of traditional nigiri sushi, the fish assortment in the glass case often holds a few surprises. A kitchen at the rear of this handsome semi-subterranean space offers the usual Japanese apps, mains, and side dishes, including teriyakis, soy-marinated 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

9. Lhasa Tibetan Restaurant

Copy Link
177 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10003
(917) 388-2230
Visit Website

Sang Jien Ben, who grew up in the Tibetan town of Rebgong, is the operator of Lhasa Tibetan Restaurant. Occupying the former corner space of Little Tong, it’s a spin off of a pocket-size Jackson Heights establishment immortalized by Anthony Bourdain. A “greatest hits” of Himalayan cuisine is present here, from colorful momo dumplings, puckered at the top, to dishes — both meatless and meaty — featuring homemade noodles. Vegetarians, in particular, will find much to admire here.

Noodles rolled around tofu and chile sauce, like Japanese maki. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

10. Madame Vo

Copy Link
212 E 10th St
New York, NY 10003
(917) 261-2115
Visit Website

Modern Vietnamese restaurants are growing in numbers, and deeply flavored dishes such as fish sauce chicken wings, caramelized pork ribs, fried rice with prawns and pork sausage, and a huge and distinguished 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, with a delivery cyclo installed in the front window.

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

11. CheLi

Copy Link
19 St Marks Pl
New York, NY 10003
(646) 858-1866
Visit Website

Gradually, the East Village has become one of the city’s best destinations for Chinese food (the others: Flushing, Elmhurst, the Upper West Side, and Manhattan’s Chinatown). This newcomer to St. Marks Place, right next door to its sister restaurant, the equally commendable Szechuan Mountain House, specializes in food from Shanghai and surrounding territories. The emphasis, via chef Qiling Wang, is on historic recipes, and those invented in a modern vein. Be surprised by a tofu soup thickened with sea urchin, a dish that red-cooks pork belly and abalone, and some very colorful dim sum. Three kinds of soup dumplings fabricated, almost as an afterthought.

Yellow, green, and white dumplings, one shaped like a pumpkin. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

12. Veselka

Copy Link
144 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003
(212) 228-9682
Visit Website

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 on offer, but a sleeper hit is the giant meat plate, piled high with pierogi, meat-stuffed cabbage, and beet horseradish salad. Go at any hour for breakfast and for comforting nourishment and a slice of NYC life.

Veselka’s boiled pierogies Gary He/Eater

13. Kenka

Copy Link
25 St Marks Pl
New York, NY 10003
(212) 254-6363
Visit Website

Kenka is one of St. Mark’s most colorful establishments, serving typical izakaya fare like curry and takoyaki, as well as more surprising offerings such as bull penis with mayo that one suspects are to be eaten on a dare. (We’ve tried it, and it’s not very good, stringy and tough.) The decor is pornographic, and there are fun details like free serve-yourself cotton candy at the exit, though that feature has been on hiatus during the pandemic. This has always been the hippest and goofiest 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. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

14. Green Garden Buffet

Copy Link
332 E 9th St
New York, NY 10003
(646) 575-1248

Owner Tamika Gabaroum hails from Chad and formerly worked for the United Nations, but most of the food on Green Garden’s buffet might be described as pan-African. In fact, much is also vegetarian, with African style cook-ups of ingredients like collard greens, okra, eggplant, and various yams, supplemented by a single flesh-bearing dish, often chicken. The output, which gleams on a steam table, is sold by weight so you can try a little of everything.

A green interior with a steam table on the right and cook with mask standing on the left. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

15. Ramen Misoya

Copy Link
129 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003
(212) 677-4825
Visit Website

Yes, there are a dozen places you can go for excellent ramen in the East Village, so why choose this one? Misoya specializes in broths deriving from miso paste, in a rainbow of brownish, reddish, and whitish colors. In addition, the flavoring schemes are often contrary to expectations, many presented as specials, with add-ins that might include butter, parmesan cheese, fried fish cake, and pork cutlets. And the heat level is adjustable with many bowls. The quality of the noodles is high, and they tend to be firmer than most.

A bowl of ramen with boiled egg, fish caked, and napa cabbage sticking out of a beige broth. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

16. B&H Dairy

Copy Link
127 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003
(212) 505-8065
Visit Website

This enduring Jewish Kosher luncheonette — open since 1938 — is now owned by Polish-Catholic Ola Smigielska and Egyptian-Muslim Fawzy Abdelwahed and remains a stalwart in the neighborhood. Dishes include tuna melts on challah, pierogies, omelets, and 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. The tuna melt’s not shabby, either.

A bowl of cabbage soup speckled with orange carrots and challah bread on the side on a white counter. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

17. Frangos Peri Peri

Copy Link
182 Avenue B
New York, NY 10009
(917) 675-7897
Visit Website

Finally, as if Newark’s Ironbound neighborhood were transplanted to downtown Manhattan, the East Village has its own Portuguese barbecue restaurant. This one, with a colorfully muraled interior, extends the definition somewhat with 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. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

18. Stromboli Pizza

Copy Link
83 Saint Marks Pl
New York, NY 10003
(212) 673-3691
Visit Website

The neighborhood’s longest-running slice joint is still going strong. Stromboli Pizza has been a mainstay since 1976 and is open until late at night for slices with a sweeter tomato sauce, a full blanket of cheese, and some oregano on a thin crust. The Beastie Boys ate there in the 80s, and it has hosted many other rock stars dropping in for a late night bite post-gig.

Diners sit at tables underneath the red Stromboli Pizza sign Nick Solares/Eater

19. Superiority Burger

Copy Link
430 E 9th St
New York, NY 10009
(212) 256-1192
Visit Website

Brooks Headley’s tiny counter-service stop (along with a newly opened branch across the street) proves that vegetarian fast food can be truly exciting. Beyond the excellent burger, there’s a vegetarian sloppy joe and rotating specials every day. Fridays have been popular for supremely soft focaccia, via baker Rick Easton. No matter what, do not leave without some sorbet and/or gelato, which rotates through flavor combinations such as lemongrass mango and corn tortilla, guava peach and black sesame, or rhubarb and rye toast.

A selection of colorful vegetarian specialties on a black plastic try, including a sloppy joe, a tissue wrapped burger and four other things. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

20. Cafe Mogador

Copy Link
101 St Marks Pl # 1
New York, NY 10009

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 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 couscous — all served in a laid-back, coffeehouse ambiance.

A series of vegetable dishes in small bowls featuring beets, baba ganoush, and pickles on a delft blue tabletop.

21. Oiji

Copy Link
Read Review |
119 1st Ave
New York, NY 10003
(646) 767-9050
Visit Website

Chef and owner Brian Kim is among the leaders in NYC’s modern Korean food movement, serving exciting fare at Oiji like long island duckling with kimchi fried rice, a mushroom salad featuring shiitakes and maitakes lightly fried, and a truffled seafood broth. One of NYC’s best desserts is here, vanilla ice cream topped with sticky, salty, and sweet honey butter chips, shown below. Check the cocktail list, which changes regularly.

Oiji’s honey butter chips Nick Solares

22. MáLà Project

Copy Link
122 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10009
(212) 353-8880
Visit Website

The pickiest of eaters will find something to like at Chinese restaurant MáLà Project, which lets diners choose their own ingredients (meat, vegetables, starch) and spice level for dry pot. Ingredients are decidedly whole animal, running from plain old chicken breasts to chicken gizzards. Appetizers and dim sum items, such as pig ear in chile oil and the sweet, sticky rice-stuffed lotus, impress, too. The stylish restaurant is especially good for groups. MáLà Project is brought to us by Amelie Kang and Meng Ai.

A spread of dishes at MaLa Project
A spread of dishes at MáLà Project
Anthony Bui/Eater

23. The Izakaya NYC

Copy Link
326 E 6th St
New York, NY 10003
(917) 697-7162
Visit Website

Co-owner and chef Dai Watanabe (the other co-owner flea market maven Yudai Kanayama) presides over a menu of izakaya (Japanese pub) classics, hiked up a notch in quality from the usual menus around town. Some of Eater’s favorite dishes there include candied smelts with flavored mayo and lemon, yellowtail sashimi fresh as an ocean breeze, and a perfect fried pork cutlet, all of which may be washed down with a distinguished and quirky sake selection.

A passel of anchovies glistening on a plate with a lemon wedge and dab of brown mayo dip. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

24. Medan Pasar Malaysian Cuisine

Copy Link
102 E 7th St
New York, NY 10009
(646) 756-4006

Normally, you’d have to go to Queens to get some of the Malaysian specialties on Medan Pasar’s menu, including cucur udang, a wonderful round fritter embedded with whole shrimp that comes with a sprightly dipping sauce. Other standards of the cuisine are well represented, including nasi lemak, a set meal that features chicken curry or beef rendang, rice, cucumbers, dried anchovies, and a fried egg. The modernistic decor features a giant terminal that lets you alter various aspects of every dish as you order it. The owners and co-chefs are Chao Chen and Chuan Tan, who previously operated restaurants in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

A white plastic bowl with two round shrimp fritters and a brown dipping sauce. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

25. Ho Foods

Copy Link
110 E 7th St
New York, NY 10009
(347) 788-0682
Visit Website

Deeply flavored and dramatically dark Taiwanese beef noodle soup is the focus of chef-owner Richard Ho’s uber-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. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

26. Downtown Bakery

Copy Link
69 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10003
(212) 254-1757
Visit Website

Once it was an Italian bakery of the kind that existed on many Lower East Side blocks. Taken over by a Pueblan family in the mid-90s, it eventually eschewed most of the baked goods and went on to mount an impressive and inexpensive menu of mainly southern Mexican fare, with some Mexican-American standards thrown in. The owners are now the sister-and-brother team of Olivia Marin and Manuel Marmolejo. For diners craving birria, the epic adovo sauce based on guajillo chiles is the Pueblan equivalent, 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. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

27. Somtum Der

Copy Link
85 Avenue A
New York, NY 10009
(212) 260-8570
Visit Website

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, and become one of the city’s most distinguished Thai restaurants. As the name suggests, the focus is on shredded green-papaya salads prepared in a mortar with options that include the classic raw blue river crabs, but there are also incredibly spicy meat salads called larbs, as well as deep-fried chicken thighs, grilled coconut-milk-marinated pork, and sour pork sausages. The owner is Thanaruek Laoraowirodge.

A shredded green papaya salad heaped on the plate in an orangish dressing. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

28. Minca

Copy Link
536 E 5th St
New York, NY 10009
(212) 505-8001
Visit Website

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.

A bowl of noodles with broth and fixings to dip in
The Tokyo Tsukemen at Minca
Robert Sietsema/Eater

29. Bobwhite Counter

Copy Link
94 Loisaida Ave
New York, NY 10009
(212) 228-2972
Visit Website

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. If the timing’s right, go for Bobwhite’s happy hour, when the restaurant’s beers come with a free piece of fried chicken.

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

30. Casa Adela

Copy Link
66 Loisaida Ave
New York, NY 10009
(212) 473-1882
Visit Website

Adela Fargas, who died in 2018, founded this Lower East Side Puerto Rican stalwart in 1976, making it probably 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 chickens, steak with onions, and Cuban sandwiches were equally as alluring. For the cash strapped, a plate of rice and beans often suffices. While Dominican restaurants are common in the city, Puerto Rican ones are much harder to find.

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

1. Yellow Rose

102 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10003
A flour tortilla filled with a dark beef stew held in two hands so we can see inside. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

San Antonio natives Krystiana Rizo and husband Dave Rizo (a Superiority Burger vet) opened Yellow Rose late last year, pandemic be damned. Their laser focus is on Central Texas with bean-and-cheese tacos served on flour tortillas made on the premises, chili con queso, and some rare pastries. Another favorite is the meaty and juicy carne guisado taco shown here. The interior is plastered with historic photos and posters, some recalling the area’s hippie era. Texas boutique grocery items are also stocked, including blue cornmeal from Barton Springs Mill and Rancho Gordo beans.

102 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10003

2. Soothr

204 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003
A restaurant facade open at the front with a couple of tables on the sidewalk. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

One surprise during the pandemic has been the opening of new Thai restaurants, many with menus that stretched the public idea of the country’s cuisine. Food of the Chinese community within Bangkok was one example, as also seen at Noods ‘N Chill in Williamsburg and Tong in Bushwick. Soothr offers koong karee, a delicious dish featuring shrimp in egg sauce. Other highlights of the menu 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.

204 E 13th St
New York, NY 10003

3. Veeray da Dhaba

222 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10009
Three Indian dishes in plastic containers on a worn picnic table top, one green, one brown, and one rice based. 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 hiked up a notch or two. Goat biryani is one highlight, and so is a saag paneer made with cheese made in-house, a fish fry from Amritsar, and a ramped-up tandoori chicken not simply smeared with bottled red paste.

222 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10009

4. John's of 12th Street

302 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003
A veal cutlet smothered in cheese with spaghetti and meat sauce above it. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Red-sauce fare dating back to 1908 makes this Italian restaurant a piece of living history. It’s resisted most trends but is still charmingly dated with its murals, an intricate tile floor, and a guttering candle that looks like it has been lit since Prohibition. All the classics are here: eggplant parmesan, linguini with clams, spaghetti with meatballs, and pizza, too. A vegan menu available. Former proprietor Nick Sitnycky owns the building, and he sold the restaurant under the condition that it remain open, so John’s actually has a chance of making it.

302 E 12th St
New York, NY 10003

5. Jeepney

201 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10003
A gorgeous buffet including shrimp, sausages, rice and other dishes on a grooved green table. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Filipino cuisine once had a huge presence in the East Village; it’s more limited now, and often in more modernized versions, such as Nicole Ponseca and Miguel Trinidad’s gastropub Jeepney. It’s most known for its Kamayan feasts — prix fixe group dinners that cover a table with a bountiful meal meant to be eaten by hand — but a regular meal of whole fish with escabeche sauce or beef and pork lumpia is recommended, too.

201 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10003

6. Hearth

403 E 12th St, New York, NY 10009
Read Review |
Hearth’s dining room with wooden beams on the ceiling and exposed brick walls Nick Solares/Eater

Marco Canora’s longtime Italian restaurant is a neighborhood mainstay that in recent years has a healthier focus to reflect the chef’s lifestyle change spurred by a gout diagnosis. The menu is full of Italian-American items such as chicory with anchovies, parmesan, and balsamic or a New York strip with greens, gorgonzola, and cherry peppers. It’s a lovely date and brunch spot, and Canora’s broth to-go counter Brodo, which is largely responsible for the trendiness of people drinking soup in coffee cups, is also quite popular. Get the apple cider doughnuts.

403 E 12th St
New York, NY 10009

7. Dua Kafe

520 E 14th St, New York, NY 10009
A line of brown skinless sausages striped with cream sauce. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Two 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 qeubapa, 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 fairly conventional hamburger is also available

520 E 14th St
New York, NY 10009

8. Hasaki

210 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003
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

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 left standing. Known for its bargain omakase menu of traditional nigiri sushi, the fish assortment in the glass case often holds a few surprises. A kitchen at the rear of this handsome semi-subterranean space offers the usual Japanese apps, mains, and side dishes, including teriyakis, soy-marinated fried chicken, tofu in kelp broth. and chawanmushi.

210 E 9th St
New York, NY 10003

9. Lhasa Tibetan Restaurant

177 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10003
Noodles rolled around tofu and chile sauce, like Japanese maki. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Sang Jien Ben, who grew up in the Tibetan town of Rebgong, is the operator of Lhasa Tibetan Restaurant. Occupying the former corner space of Little Tong, it’s a spin off of a pocket-size Jackson Heights establishment immortalized by Anthony Bourdain. A “greatest hits” of Himalayan cuisine is present here, from colorful momo dumplings, puckered at the top, to dishes — both meatless and meaty — featuring homemade noodles. Vegetarians, in particular, will find much to admire here.

177 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10003

10. Madame Vo

212 E 10th St, New York, NY 10003
A ceramic crock with ribs and a thick brown broth inside, crusting on the lip of the vessel. Daniel Geneen/Eater NY

Modern Vietnamese restaurants are growing in numbers, and deeply flavored dishes such as fish sauce chicken wings, caramelized pork ribs, fried rice with prawns and pork sausage, and a huge and distinguished 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, with a delivery cyclo installed in the front window.

212 E 10th St
New York, NY 10003

11. CheLi

19 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003
Yellow, green, and white dumplings, one shaped like a pumpkin. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Gradually, the East Village has become one of the city’s best destinations for Chinese food (the others: Flushing, Elmhurst, the Upper West Side, and Manhattan’s Chinatown). This newcomer to St. Marks Place, right next door to its sister restaurant, the equally commendable Szechuan Mountain House, specializes in food from Shanghai and surrounding territories. The emphasis, via chef Qiling Wang, is on historic recipes, and those invented in a modern vein. Be surprised by a tofu soup thickened with sea urchin, a dish that red-cooks pork belly and abalone, and some very colorful dim sum. Three kinds of soup dumplings fabricated, almost as an afterthought.

19 St Marks Pl
New York, NY 10003

12. Veselka

144 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003
Veselka’s boiled pierogies Gary He/Eater

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 on offer, but a sleeper hit is the giant meat plate, piled high with pierogi, meat-stuffed cabbage, and beet horseradish salad. Go at any hour for breakfast and for comforting nourishment and a slice of NYC life.

144 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003

13. Kenka

25 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003
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. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Kenka is one of St. Mark’s most colorful establishments, serving typical izakaya fare like curry and takoyaki, as well as more surprising offerings such as bull penis with mayo that one suspects are to be eaten on a dare. (We’ve tried it, and it’s not very good, stringy and tough.) The decor is pornographic, and there are fun details like free serve-yourself cotton candy at the exit, though that feature has been on hiatus during the pandemic. This has always been the hippest and goofiest Japanese spot in the East Village, so be prepared for a wait.

25 St Marks Pl
New York, NY 10003

14. Green Garden Buffet

332 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003
A green interior with a steam table on the right and cook with mask standing on the left. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Owner Tamika Gabaroum hails from Chad and formerly worked for the United Nations, but most of the food on Green Garden’s buffet might be described as pan-African. In fact, much is also vegetarian, with African style cook-ups of ingredients like collard greens, okra, eggplant, and various yams, supplemented by a single flesh-bearing dish, often chicken. The output, which gleams on a steam table, is sold by weight so you can try a little of everything.

332 E 9th St
New York, NY 10003

15. Ramen Misoya

129 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003