While the East Village has long been a hip neighborhood, it was first known as an ethnic community. The Ukrainian restaurant Veselka is a remnant of that history. This combination luncheonette and sidewalk cafe with an Eastern European air features breakfast muffins, bagels, potato pancakes and cheese blintzes among other selections. For lunch, a hearty borscht and their famous pierogies should do the trick, while a dinner meal of kielbasa or veal goulash should leave you smiling and satisfied.
As with many sushi restaurants in Manhattan, this popular East Village spot does not accept reservations on Friday and Saturday nights. So take a place in the line outside and start anticipating that first bite of traditional Japanese entrées like sushi, sashimi and more. Kanoyama's T-shirts were designed by the late pop artist Keith Haring, who was a regular here. A small place with enormous fresh flowers and branches, Kanoyama's fresh and contemporary atmosphere only adds to the experience.
Mamma Rosa's is your quintessential Italian deli. Open for business since 1989, this family-run establishment is still a White Plains’ favorite. In a home-style ambiance savor cuisine staples like paninis, sandwiches, pizzas and wraps in bologna, pastrami, corned beef and tuna renditions. Their signature dish is boar's head cold cuts, with 70 varieties on offer. If you enjoy their menu and service, have them cater your private party.
Levain Bakery on the 74th Street is the Upper West Side counterpart of the Harlem bakeshop of the same name. Known best for their huge, fluffy cookies that are now delivered all over the globe, Levain also offers a range of fresh country breads, muffins, cakes and savories. Locals swear by their chocolate chip walnut and dark chocolate peanut butter chip cookies.
The darling of the Italian American community of Nolita, Rubirosa treats its guests to a generous spread of revamped traditional Italian eats. Owned by the well-known Pappalardo family since 2010, the restaurant's modest yet charming Italian diner-style decor welcomes visitors with humility and endearment. The food is just an extension of the vibe of the place and is infused with honest flavors and presented with simplicity. The Lasagna Napoletana, Black & White Tagliatelle, and the Beef Braciole are some of the restaurant's specialties.
This tiny Israeli restaurant serves some of the best falafel to be found in the city. Limited seating in the restaurant can be an issue, so when the weather is nice, take your food outside to the benches out front. The falafel platter is a favorite, and the sauces are sure to please. Wash it all down with some refreshing iced tea, fresh lemonade or a smoothie.
This may be the best of the 57th Street theme restaurants. Certainly, it is the most authentic New York City spot on the block, serving old-fashioned favorites like cheese blintzes and a massive roast beef sandwich. It is far more expensive than most diners, but it will save you a trip across the Brooklyn Bridge. It is also thoughtfully decorated with plenty of New York City memorabilia. Try the cheesecake.
The sculpture of a giant nose appearing in the window of this spot will let you know you are in the right place. Located across the street from Carnegie Hall, Trattoria Dell’Arte is one of Manhattan's best places to enjoy antipasti and thin-crust pizzas. The pumpkin-colored dining room is bright and beautiful, and the food, service and ambience are all good. It is often crowded, but worth the wait. Try the grilled vegetable platter, veal chop parmigiana or the grilled shrimp. Check website for details.
So you think you know what hamburgers is all about? Wrong. One visit to Vizio's and you encounter hamburgers in every possible variety of stuffing. Try their ostrich burger, Kobe burger, bison burger, elk burger and even wild boar burgers! Not just that, there are a range of grilled foods, sandwiches, appetizers, side dishes and salads to indulge in. Pork Chops with mashed potatoes and gravy is yummy! All products used are natural and free of trans-fat, antibiotics, and growth hormones making it a haven for the health freaks. Their brunch menu including Eggs Benedict is very popular with locals. Top any of these with a 'fiberactive' or 'fruitilicious smoothie'. Or keep it simple and have a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice instead.
Although the interiors display understated elegance with candle-lit dinner tables, linens and paintings, the ambiance is energetic with loud live music and a crowded bar. The 85-seater restaurant serves traditional Cuban cuisine as well as other Latin specialties. The bar with its collection of assorted wines and liquors is one of the main attractions. Tuesdays are Bolero nights and till Sunday live acts are performed. Check website for details.
The opening of Serafina was a matter of survival for owners Vittorio Assaf and Fabio Granato, the business pact being made while on a tumultuous nautical experience. Today the restaurant group has etched its mark onto culinary scenes in America, Japan, Brazil as well as India. Serafina Broadway is housed in a 1904 establishment that later metamorphosed into the Dream Hotel. David Rockwell is the architectural force behind the unique decor that sees vibrant Venetian-glass lamps, a hand-painted ceiling facade and hints of Federico Fellini's cinematic classics. The cuisine is the reference point for Italian flavors in the city, with antipasti, fresh pastas and Cherrywood-fired pizza making it to the menu. Savor Le Crespelle Di Sofia, Linguine Alle Vongole Veraci, Risotto Del Giorno or Marinara and Di Fabio with regional fine wine.
Located in Midtown, Tanner Smith is a modern-day speakeasy with the trappings of an era gone by. Seat yourself at the main bar area inspired by a 20th century libation house. The namesake, Tanner Smith was associated with bootleggers from the Prohibition Era, which is where this old-time cocktail bar derives its name. While the ground level bar has elements of taxidermy, is strewn with teapots and carries a saloon-eqsue air, the underground space is where creative cocktails are served, some even in tea-pots and tea-cups. Dig into small plates, cured meats, burgers and flat-breads to soak up the booze.