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A square slice of pizza topped with pepperoni
Prince Street Pizza
Photo by Nick Solares

18 Excellent Places to Eat in Nolita

Superlative pepperoni pizza, Michelin-starred Thai, and plenty of red-sauce Italian fill this compact ’hood

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Prince Street Pizza
| Photo by Nick Solares

Wedged between Soho’s chaotic, retail-filled stretches and Disney-ish, tourist-clogged Little Italy’s hit-or-miss dining options lies Nolita. Home to dozens of quaint restaurants and equally twee boutiques, there are an impressive array of worthy meals to be found, mostly in charming digs housed in former tenement building storefronts.

Some of the city’s best cheap eats, like Xian Famous Foods, Prince Street Pizza, and Taim, are here, and so are finer dining hot tickets like Estela and Pasquale Jones. Check out 18 standout dining options wedged into the pint-sized neighborhood, ahead.

Note: This map is arranged geographically from north to south.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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The compact restaurant from partners chef Ignacio Mattos and beverage director Thomas Carter has gained plenty of accolades since it opened in 2013 in a living room-like space with a bar perfect for second dates up front. The small plates-centric Mediterranean menu includes lots of innovative, umami-packed creations; highlights include a superlative beef tartare with sunchoke and delicate ricotta dumplings.

Estela’s mussels escabeche toast Tuukka Koski

Emilio's Ballato

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This thoroughly old-school Italian joint has been a celebrity fixture for years, feeding the likes of Rihanna and David Bowie — and more recently, it garnered buzz for hosting Barack and Malia Obama. The vibe and owner-chef Emilio Vitolo’s personality are big draws, though the menu includes solid versions of classic, hearty pastas like tagliatelle Bolognese. 

Chefs Club

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A constant rotation of buzzy chefs from all over the country do residencies at the cavernous, slickly appointed space that can last a couple weeks or a few months. Most recently, Chef’s Club hosted J.J. Johnson, formerly the executive chef at Minton’s. The next chef-in-residence is Jeremiah Langhorne, from The Dabney in Washington, D.C. Note that the pop-up restaurant space is closed on Sundays.

Cafe Gitane

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This cute, pint-sized French- and Moroccan-influenced bistro lures in big crowds at brunch, but it’s a solid bet — and pretty affordable for the area — for dinner as well. In addition to its beloved avocado toast, Café Gitane’s menu includes a merguez sausage and baked egg sandwich, smoked trout salad, and Moroccan couscous.

Cafe Gitane Cafe Gitane

Prince Street Pizza

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This casual counter-serve spot dishes up some of the area’s best pizza, made with higher quality ingredients than the average slice joint. Don’t miss the glorious grease bomb of a pepperoni slice: a crispy, square pie laden with thick-cut, curled-up pepperoni disks. The grandma slice is also beloved. Lines can get long on weekends and around dinnertime, so try to go at an off hour, or opt for delivery or takeout.

A square slice of pizza topped with pepperoni Photo by Nick Solares

This Major Food Group (Carbone, The Grill) OG still delights with great renditions of red-sauce Italian staples. Family-style apps like mozz sticks and fried calamari are followed by stellar classics susch as meatball parm and chicken cutlet. Those sandwiches are on a roll or hero, or sans bread and flanked by salad or spicy pink sauce rotini that’s quite similar to the spicy rigatoni with vodka sauce at Carbone — for a fraction of the price.

Sandwiches piled up, thrown around at random, with some fixings and side dishes also on display. Parm

Rubirosa Ristorante

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The perpetually packed Mulberry Street spot has some serious pizza cred: It was founded by third-generation pizza maker Angelo “AJ” Pappalardo, who died at age 40 in 2015, and his father, Joe Pappalardo of Joe & Pat’s in Staten Island. The crisp, thin crust pies include a standout vodka-sauced iteration, and are supplemented by a slew of classic housemade pastas like a chitarra vongole and cavatelli with broccoli rabe and sausage. The cozy space has a warm, throwback feel, with quaint wallpaper, bright red booths, and old black and white photos framed on the walls. 

A worker cuts a pepperoni pie into slices using a pizza wheel. Daniel Krieger

It’s the sort of fast-casual dining that puts most Chipotle-riffing outfits to shame: Chef Einat Admony’s addictive Israeli menu has fresh, intensely flavorful falafels and bright, punchy salads. There’s counter seating, which is cramped but makes for prime people watching, and the spot does brisk takeout business, too. Find excellent and slightly pricier Middle Eastern food in cute confines at nearby Balaboosta, Admony’s first full-on restaurant after Taïm.

Falafel platter with hummus, Israeli salad, tabbouleh, and pita Photo: Taim

La Esquina

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Count on well-executed tacos with fillings like sliced rib eye, grilled mahi mahi, and seared cauliflower, plus dishes like quesadillas, tortilla soup, and grilled corn, from these compact corner taqueria digs. In the downstairs brasserie space, there’s an expanded menu — queso fundido, a shrimp BLT, various ceviches and tostadas, and more — along with a full bar in the brick-walled space, accented with colorful mismatched chairs, lots of candles, and antiques.

Uncle Boons

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Per Se alums Matt Danzig and Ann Redding have been whipping up exceptional Thai fare in an intimate, always buzzy Nolita space for the past four years. An essential order is the rotisserie chicken with green mango salad (a dish typically served at Muay Thai boxing arenas, as the menu notes). Other standouts among the mix of Northern and Southern Thai dishes include green snail curry, stuffed betel leaves, frog legs, and a number of charcoal grilled sausage, satay, and seafood options. When waits get into the over-hour range — as they often do — simply walk around the corner to counter-service spot Uncle Boons Sister.

Mother's Ruin

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A cozy, unpretentious cocktail bar that’s a reliable choice for drinks and light snacking. In the warmer months, the frequently rotating frozen spiked slushy creations are a hit, along with well-made cocktails. Food options include shareable dishes like pimento cheese dip, spicy fried chickpeas, and Thai pork sliders. Bigger dishes are also available, like a cheese-spackled French onion soup grilled cheese and Frito pie.

Epistrophy

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This is the answer to date night, casual group dinners, and other low-key drinks situations that aren’t full-fledged meals but could benefit from a small plate or two. The Italian menu at this quaint, romantic wine bar runs the gamut from shareable plates like seared squid with mushrooms and zucchini or ricotta croquettes, to heartier choices like cacio e pepe and wine-braised short ribs with polenta. Drinks-wise, there’s a range of cocktails in addition to a primarily Italian wine list and numerous aperol spritz iterations. 

Pasquale Jones

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Ultra-polished pizza is the M.O. at this second act from the team behind Charlie Bird. The excellent clam pizza is a highlight, and in addition to charred pies, there’s heartier carnivorous fare like braised pork shank and duck Bolognese-filled lasagna. The extensive wine options are a hit, too, and they’re also very accessible, thanks to half-bottles offered at half the list price. 

Xi'an Famous Foods

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This Flushing-founded chainlet is compact, sometimes a little chaotic, and quickly serves up addictive, affordable Western Chinese fare. Don’t miss the liang pi cold-skin noodles, packed with julienned cucumber and delicious, spongy wheat gluten slabs in a vinegar and chili-spiked sauce. Other standouts on the brief menu include the cumin lamb burger and a few permutations of hand-ripped noodles (stir-fried as well as in soup form); the stewed pork is particularly great. 

Hand-pulled spicy cumin lamb noodles being lifted with chopsticks Nick Solares

Cocoron

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Tuck into excellent soba, offered dozens of ways, at counter seating and a handful of cozy tables. In addition to buckwheat noodles in myriad broths and dipping sauces, appetizers include housemade silken tofu, mochi and spicy cod roe spring rolls, and raw octopus with wasabi. Next door, the Cocoron team also runs Geomon, a Japanese curry house, and there’s another Cocoron outpost a couple blocks away, on Delancey. 

Seamore's

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The bright corner space from Meatball Shop restaurateur Michael Chernow serves up a light menu of sustainably sourced seafood dishes. “The Reel Deal” lets diners choose from a daily selection of fresh catches and a range of sauces, served with grains and veggies. There’s also a slew of pasta, taco, salad, and sandwich offerings, like a blackened fish burger or shrimp amatriciana rigatoni, plus apps like clam fritters and poke. Perpetually packed and relatively affordably priced, Seamore’s has spawned a second location in Chelsea with the same breezy, low-key seaside vacation-worthy ambiance.

Mimi Cheng's Dumplings

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The second outpost of the Taiwanese-inflected dumpling spot started by sisters Hannah and Marian Cheng features a more expanded menu than the East Village original. Choose from a handful of dumpling options, like the namesake style, filled with chicken and zucchini, as well as a veggie version and a pork and bok choy option. Special fillings created with buzzy restaurants and chefs also crop up from time to time. Past collaborators include Emily and By Chloe for burger-inspired dumplings.

Mimi Cheng’s Patty Diez

Greecologies

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Homemade Greek yogurt with toppings like chai-roasted apples or olives, cucumber, and tomato is the main attraction at this airy, souped-up café with a big backyard. There are a couple solid lunch options, like an excellent Greek salad layered with tangy feta and crouton-like Cretan rusks drenched in quality olive oil and oregano. Also of note: great matcha lattes, like an excellent rose version featuring petal-filled preserves blended in — an ideal alternative to nearby Cha Cha Matcha when its Insta opp-seeking queues are absurdly long. Plus pick up prettily packaged jars of the excellent preserves, in flavors like bergamot, quince, and carrot, which are great for gifting.

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Estela

Estela’s mussels escabeche toast Tuukka Koski

The compact restaurant from partners chef Ignacio Mattos and beverage director Thomas Carter has gained plenty of accolades since it opened in 2013 in a living room-like space with a bar perfect for second dates up front. The small plates-centric Mediterranean menu includes lots of innovative, umami-packed creations; highlights include a superlative beef tartare with sunchoke and delicate ricotta dumplings.

Estela’s mussels escabeche toast Tuukka Koski

Emilio's Ballato

This thoroughly old-school Italian joint has been a celebrity fixture for years, feeding the likes of Rihanna and David Bowie — and more recently, it garnered buzz for hosting Barack and Malia Obama. The vibe and owner-chef Emilio Vitolo’s personality are big draws, though the menu includes solid versions of classic, hearty pastas like tagliatelle Bolognese. 

Chefs Club

A constant rotation of buzzy chefs from all over the country do residencies at the cavernous, slickly appointed space that can last a couple weeks or a few months. Most recently, Chef’s Club hosted J.J. Johnson, formerly the executive chef at Minton’s. The next chef-in-residence is Jeremiah Langhorne, from The Dabney in Washington, D.C. Note that the pop-up restaurant space is closed on Sundays.

Cafe Gitane

Cafe Gitane Cafe Gitane

This cute, pint-sized French- and Moroccan-influenced bistro lures in big crowds at brunch, but it’s a solid bet — and pretty affordable for the area — for dinner as well. In addition to its beloved avocado toast, Café Gitane’s menu includes a merguez sausage and baked egg sandwich, smoked trout salad, and Moroccan couscous.

Cafe Gitane Cafe Gitane

Prince Street Pizza

A square slice of pizza topped with pepperoni Photo by Nick Solares

This casual counter-serve spot dishes up some of the area’s best pizza, made with higher quality ingredients than the average slice joint. Don’t miss the glorious grease bomb of a pepperoni slice: a crispy, square pie laden with thick-cut, curled-up pepperoni disks. The grandma slice is also beloved. Lines can get long on weekends and around dinnertime, so try to go at an off hour, or opt for delivery or takeout.

A square slice of pizza topped with pepperoni Photo by Nick Solares

Parm

Sandwiches piled up, thrown around at random, with some fixings and side dishes also on display. Parm

This Major Food Group (Carbone, The Grill) OG still delights with great renditions of red-sauce Italian staples. Family-style apps like mozz sticks and fried calamari are followed by stellar classics susch as meatball parm and chicken cutlet. Those sandwiches are on a roll or hero, or sans bread and flanked by salad or spicy pink sauce rotini that’s quite similar to the spicy rigatoni with vodka sauce at Carbone — for a fraction of the price.

Sandwiches piled up, thrown around at random, with some fixings and side dishes also on display. Parm

Rubirosa Ristorante

A worker cuts a pepperoni pie into slices using a pizza wheel. Daniel Krieger

The perpetually packed Mulberry Street spot has some serious pizza cred: It was founded by third-generation pizza maker Angelo “AJ” Pappalardo, who died at age 40 in 2015, and his father, Joe Pappalardo of Joe & Pat’s in Staten Island. The crisp, thin crust pies include a standout vodka-sauced iteration, and are supplemented by a slew of classic housemade pastas like a chitarra vongole and cavatelli with broccoli rabe and sausage. The cozy space has a warm, throwback feel, with quaint wallpaper, bright red booths, and old black and white photos framed on the walls. 

A worker cuts a pepperoni pie into slices using a pizza wheel. Daniel Krieger

Taïm

Falafel platter with hummus, Israeli salad, tabbouleh, and pita Photo: Taim

It’s the sort of fast-casual dining that puts most Chipotle-riffing outfits to shame: Chef Einat Admony’s addictive Israeli menu has fresh, intensely flavorful falafels and bright, punchy salads. There’s counter seating, which is cramped but makes for prime people watching, and the spot does brisk takeout business, too. Find excellent and slightly pricier Middle Eastern food in cute confines at nearby Balaboosta, Admony’s first full-on restaurant after Taïm.

Falafel platter with hummus, Israeli salad, tabbouleh, and pita Photo: Taim

La Esquina

Count on well-executed tacos with fillings like sliced rib eye, grilled mahi mahi, and seared cauliflower, plus dishes like quesadillas, tortilla soup, and grilled corn, from these compact corner taqueria digs. In the downstairs brasserie space, there’s an expanded menu — queso fundido, a shrimp BLT, various ceviches and tostadas, and more — along with a full bar in the brick-walled space, accented with colorful mismatched chairs, lots of candles, and antiques.

Uncle Boons

Per Se alums Matt Danzig and Ann Redding have been whipping up exceptional Thai fare in an intimate, always buzzy Nolita space for the past four years. An essential order is the rotisserie chicken with green mango salad (a dish typically served at Muay Thai boxing arenas, as the menu notes). Other standouts among the mix of Northern and Southern Thai dishes include green snail curry, stuffed betel leaves, frog legs, and a number of charcoal grilled sausage, satay, and seafood options. When waits get into the over-hour range — as they often do — simply walk around the corner to counter-service spot Uncle Boons Sister.

Mother's Ruin

A cozy, unpretentious cocktail bar that’s a reliable choice for drinks and light snacking. In the warmer months, the frequently rotating frozen spiked slushy creations are a hit, along with well-made cocktails. Food options include shareable dishes like pimento cheese dip, spicy fried chickpeas, and Thai pork sliders. Bigger dishes are also available, like a cheese-spackled French onion soup grilled cheese and Frito pie.

Epistrophy

This is the answer to date night, casual group dinners, and other low-key drinks situations that aren’t full-fledged meals but could benefit from a small plate or two. The Itali