Post Overview: Best restaurants East Village
If you consider yourself a foodie, even in the slightest, the restaurants in the East Village will quickly become your best friends. Brimming with global cuisines that are curated by expert chefs there’s little need to ever leave the neighborhood (and as a local, I rarely do).
Whether you’re in search of comfort classics or want to spice up your routine and try something new there are restaurants in the East Village to suit any occasion. I’ve put my palette on a roller coaster living in the East Village and I’m better for it.
But with so many options the hard part is finding the best restaurants in the East Village! It feels like there’s something new sprouting every weekend and there are so many worthwhile options. But fret not, if you’re in need of suggestions I’m here to help.
As a local with a knack for burning toast I find myself going out to eat more often than not. That’s why I’m confident I have a strong idea of what the best restaurants in the East Village are. In writing this post I’ll sum up the restaurants I can’t get enough of and recommend you try too.
Are you ready to get to the good stuff? Because I am! Let’s dive in.
Visiting New York City? If you haven’t decided where to stay (yet) check out our helpful guide on Where to Stay in New York City (The best neighborhoods for first timers +2 to avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s our favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.
Best Restaurants East Village
This Ukrainian Diner has been one of the most iconic East Village restaurants since 1954. Even as “Little Ukraine” dwindled, Veselka remained a popular destinations and has served as a reminder of the abundance of Ukrainian people who called that area home at one point.
The East Village restaurant has helped introduce Eastern European cuisine to generations of New Yorkers. And whether it’s a businessman catching a bite before work or college students stopping by for a sobering meal after a night out, the love for Veselka can be felt all around and eating here is one of the best things to do in the East Village.
You won’t have to break the bank swinging by this popular NYC cheap eats destination. There’s homemade soups for $6 per cup or $11 for a large bowl. Those looking for a traditional meal should order the Ukrainian borscht. It’s a beet soup that is perhaps the best known slavic dish.
Another popular and authentic dish is the pierogis. They’re Ukrainian-style dumplings that can either be boiled or fried, and served with sautéed onions and sour cream.
With affordable dishes and the welcoming atmosphere, it’s no surprise Veselka is one of the best restaurants in the East Village.
Address: 144 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003
You can’t list the best restaurants in the East Village without mentioning Sao Mai, a small Vietnamese restaurant that punches well above its weight (and price tag).
I’m not Vietnamese so I can’t speak on its authenticity but I will say it scratches the itch when a craving of pho arises (and it does for me often). My go-to order is the Phở Sao Mai because it comes with all the meat options of beef brisket, beef meatball, tripe and beef round.
There’s more than just pho too, and on days when it’s too hot for the noodle soup a banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich) always hits the spot. The Bánh Mì Đặc Biệt is made with cold cuts of ham and pate and is an upgrade for your typical bodega sandwich.
Not to mention the no-frills setting makes it easy to get up and go without the need of dressing fancy-shmancy. I find that I crave Vietnamese food when it’s cold and rainy, and the last thing I want on those days is to spend more time getting ready than I will enjoying my meal.
Address: 203 1st Ave., New York, NY 10003
Thursday Kitchen is one of the best East Village restaurants that doesn’t get enough recognition. Serving fusion Korean tapas, the menu is constantly changing but one things for certain — you’ll always be in for a treat!
The combinations of flavors are intricate, unique and can’t be replicated. Stand outs are the truffle mac & cheese along with the truffle edamame dumplings.
This East Village restaurant will have you wanting to order everything off the menu. I recommend coming with friends since the plates are great for sharing and you can try a variety of the dishes.
As far as drinks go Thursday Kitchen has knocked it out of the park. Cocktails are served in bags (think of an adult version of Capri-sun) and taste amazing. Did I mention the pouches light up?!
Something to note, Thursday Kitchen doesn’t take reservations. As one of the best restaurants the East Village has to offer, lines are to be expected but I promise it is well worth the wait. Try to arrive as soon as doors open!
Address: 424 E 9th St, New York, NY 10009
Momofuku Noodle Bar
A true powerhouse in the culinary world Momofuku has variety of different restaurants under its umbrella. If you’re looking for one of the best ramen restaurants in the East Village, Momofuku Noodle Bar has you covered.
The open kitchen design gives the restaurant a living room-esque feel, making it easy to stay for a few rounds of drinks. Plus the ramen will make it hard to want to leave, especially on a chilly day.
Although Momofuku serves some of the best ramen, you can’t leave without trying the pork buns. Pair them with a bowl of smoked pork ramen and you’ll be oinking all the way home from this East Village restaurant!
Address: 171 1st Ave., New York, NY 10003
I’m convinced if “pasta” was a language I’d be highly fluent in it. They say carbs are a girls best friend and I can attest to the validity of that statement thanks to Bar Primi — one of the best Italian restaurants in the East Village.
The corner pasta shop has been around since 2014 and gives off a rustic-Italian vibe. The interior is inviting full of light and offering a great amount of seating. But the food is what keeps you coming back.
This East Village restaurant uses fresh pasta made the traditional way and serves all the Italian classics.
It’s hard not to fill up on starters with options like ricotta crostini’s and brussel spouts with pepperoni and cheese. That may sound strange, but trust me and give it a shot. Any of the main dishes will blow your mind, but if you need help narrowing down what to try, my go-to is the penne bolognese with ricotta.
Address: 325 Bowery, New York, NY 10003
Founded in 1983 Cafe Mogador has become a staple of the Lower East Side, drawing locals in with a charming storefront and guaranteeing they’ll come back with hot plates of delectable Moroccan food.
It’s widely recognized as one of the best restaurants in the East Village thanks to its brunch (weekends until 4PM). You’ll find an array of breakfast classics like eggs benedict and Middle Eastern staples like malawach (Yemeni flatbread, egg, grated tomato, Yemeni hotsauce, & labne).
Or you can visit in the evenings, which is my favorite, for casual appetizers and drinks. Mezzes are under $10 and the falafel and tahini are worth the trek alone – as a matter of fact I’m putting on my shoes now.
Cafe Mogador is also one of the most popular restaurants in the East Village, but luckily they recently started offering reservations online. I strongly encourage making one in advance otherwise you run the risk of waiting a while for a table.
Address: 101 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009
Warm and homely, Hearth is one of the best restaurants in the East Village for a hearty meal. Chef Marco Canora curates a market driven menu that ensures optimal freshness and high quality meats.
Just try the beef and ricotta meatballs and you’ll understand why Hearth is one of the best restaurants in the East Village. The kitchen staff must be sprinkling something addictive into them because I always want more!
There’s also a wide array of drinks, and the house cocktails hold their own against the best bars in the East Village. You’ll also find beer and wine by both the glass or bottle that pair excellently with the hot plates.
If I wasn’t already married Hearth would make for one of the best restaurants in the East Village for a first date. Luckily, my wife and I both adore it so we’re able to pop in on a more casual basis.
Address: 403 E 12th St, New York, NY 10009
If you’ve been dying to try Vietnamese food but don’t know where to go, allow me to help. Hanoi House is my personal favorite restaurant in the East Village for pho. The reason? The pho is served with bone marrow! And if you’ve never had pho with bone marrow, you are missing out my friend.
Aside from the bone marrow, I’d even go as far as to argue Hanoi House has the best meat cuts and flavor when it comes to the traditional Vietnamese soup dish.
Owner Sara Leveen spent months in Vietnam immersed in the culture to perfect recipes and bring them back to NYC. And the proof is in the
pudding pho at this East Village restaurant!
Admittedly, Hanoi House is more on the spendy side, but the quality is top-tier and worth the stop. I recommend making reservations in advance since this is one of the best restaurants in the East Village and can fill up quickly.
Address: 119 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009
New York City isn’t immediately what comes to mind when thinking about the island life but luckily Noreetuh brings a taste of Hawaii to the Big Apple.
The musubi, which is rice and an array of fillings wrapped in nori seaweed, is non-negotiable. There are more than 10 options available, but the spam musubi is a classic for a reason.
On top of the impressive menu you’ll also find an award-winning selection of wine. That’s right, not only is Noreetuh one of the best restaurants in the East Village it’s one of the best neighborhood spots for a drink. The restaurant has been won Awards of Excellence from Wine Spectator for five years in a row!
Address: 128 1st Ave., New York, NY 10009
Málà Project is hands down the best restaurant in the East Village to get dry pot. For those who don’t know what dry pot is, allow me to fill you in!
Similar to hot pot, which is a broth based dish served in a big metal pot where you cook your ingredients by simmering them in the broth. Dry pot is essentially the same dish, just minus the broth. The traditional Chinese dish can be made up numerous ways but you’ll typically find a variation of meats, veggies and spices.
The biggest difference between dry pot and hot pot is dry pot is served with ingredients already cooked and ready to go, whereas hot pot you’re left to your own devices for cook times.
Málà Project is a great East Village restaurant for groups looking to enjoy a delicious dinner. The interior is clean, modern and inviting and the dishes are memorable. Standouts are the dan dan noodles and spicy dry pot!
Address: 122 1st Ave., New York, NY 10009
Growing up on the West Coast, California-style burritos were not a want but a need. Moving to New York City I quickly discovered there was a lack of options and my cravings were left hanging. That was until a friend of mine recommended I tried Electric Burrito, one of the best East Village restaurants.
What makes a California-style burrito so different from the classic is that beans and rice are left out and instead replaced with fries and are typically bigger than your mouth can open.
Packed with flavor and all the fillings you can think of, Electric Burrito was exactly what the doctor ordered! The burrito is the size of your head (which makes it perfecting for sharing) and the house-made sauce is non-negotiable.
The small East village restaurant is quaint and straight to the point. An unfussy burrito joint in New York City that knows what they’re doing and consistently hits the spot, what more could you ask for?
Address: 81 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003
Popular for serving authentic udon, Raku continues to be a neighborhood staple and one of the best restaurants in the East Village for a hearty bowl of ramen.
The broth is packed with flavor and the noodles are thick and chewy. If this is your first time visiting you have to order the Nike Udon with a poached egg, so good!
The recognition and hype behind this Japanese restaurant is well deserved and the inevitable long lines are further proof that Raku is one of the best East Village restaurants!
Locals Tip: Since Raku is a small restaurant getting a table can be tricky. Show up right at opening or try joining the Yelp waitlist for a table.
Address: 342 E 6th St, New York, NY 10003
If you’re a health-nut looking for the best restaurants in the East Village then Westville East has to be at the top of your list.
Westville’s menu is compiled of options for people with all sorts of dietary restrictions. Vegans, vegetarians and folks who enjoy eating out but still want to eat clean are all welcome here.
This East Village restaurant serves classic American-fare like salads, burgers and hotdogs. The brunch here is also worth making a detour for. I recommend ordering the California Benedict which is your typical eggs and Benedict but with hash browns instead of English muffins.
Address: 173 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009
There are few restaurants in the East Village I would make the trek for knowing there is a chance I won’t get a table, and Taverna Kyclades is one of them.
A longtime staple in Queens, the popular Greek restaurant now has an outpost in the East Village but unfortunately takes no reservations. The crowds of folks attracted by the fresh fish and crabbed-stuffed clams are par for the course but so worth it when you get a table.
The Greek salad is incredible and worth considering, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t recommend starting with the octopus appetizer. As one of the best restaurants in the East Village, Taverna Kyclades’ menu is jam-packed and every option warrants a tasting.
The ambience is lively yet casual, with nearly every table of friends being either lost in conversation or inhaling their food. All this to say Taverna Kyclades has all the attributes necessary, from vibe to cuisine to be one of the best restaurants in the East Village.
Address: 228 1st Ave., New York, NY 10009
If I had to name one of the most quintessential East Village restaurants, it’d be Little Ruby’s Cafe. The place has been a New York City staple since opening in 2002 and with lines out the door I think it’s safe to say they’re still growing.
Ruby’s serves traditional breakfast fare mixed with Australian culinary influences, attributed to its founders being from the land down under. Local favorites include the avo toast and the spicy sausage breakfast sandwich.
I do have to let you folks know though that Ruby’s doesn’t take any reservations and is served on a first come first served basis. Therefore whenever possible, try to plan a trip to this popular East Village restaurant early and on a weekday to avoid the lines.
Address: 198 E 11th St, New York, NY 10003
Bowery Meat Company
Have you ever thought about why we use the saying, “the meat of the matter”? That’s because the meat is what matters most and Bowery Meat Company (BMC) is no exception!
Specializing in all things meat, BMC has not only made a name for itself as one of the best restaurants in the East Village, but has also managed to set the bar high when it comes to meat quality standards.
The dimly lit restaurant sets the vibe for an ideal romantic date night. And the food and service that follow are going to be the talk of the night.
I can confidentially say that the hype revolving around this East Village restaurant is valid and ordering the burger is non-negotiable. The BMC American wagyu burger comes topped with aged Vermont cheddar cheese, caramelized onions and tomato aioli that all melt into each other creating a delectable sauce.
Address: 9 E 1st St, New York, NY 10003
Ukranian East Village Restaurant
I married into a Ukrainian family and, outside of my beautiful bride, the best thing that got me is full access to their savory cuisine. Describing it as comfort food is just the tip of the iceberg, the plates are simple but flavor-loaded concoctions.
The Ukrainian East Village Restaurant is not as well known as Veselka, another one of the best restaurants in the East Village, which to me just means I don’t have to deal with the lines. The food is comparable and a little less expensive.
I always have a hard time choosing just one dish, but more times than not I order the letcho, which is a hungarian goulash made with tender beef chunks in paprika rich sauce over potato pancakes (yum!).
Address: 140 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003
Isan is Thailand’s biggest region, but since it’s removed from the major international city of Bangkok its cuisine isn’t often represented in Thai restaurants in the U.S.
Somtum Der hopes to change that, it’s one of the best restaurants in the East Village and shines a spotlight on the underrepresented region. Most of the dishes have unique, spice-driven flavors that expose your palettes to new horizons.
The most popular dish is the somtum (papaya salad) which is a little spicy and has grilled pork mixed in for some protein. Simple concoctions like this help make Somtum Der one of the best restaurants in the East Village without being flashy or overwhelming.
Not to mention the restaurant itself is welcoming and staffed with great servers. The wood-tones and hanging lamps add a charming Asian vibe to the place, which perfectly pairs with its menu.
Address: 85 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009
Anyone in the mood for a cozy Italian dinner should head straight to Supper, one of the best East Village restaurants. Brought to us by Frank Prisinzano, the same owner of Lil Frankie’s (an iconic NYC pizza joint in the Lower East Side) Supper satisfies any pasta craving you may have.
The menu is simple and straight forward and the flavor in traditional dishes is able to excel because of the no-frills cooking style. The Spaghetti Al Limone is just lemon-y enough where it isn’t overwhelming but can still be tasted.
Supper is a reliable restaurant in the East Village where you know you’ll get good service, incredible food and enjoy a relaxed atmosphere.
Something to note: Like every other Frank Prisinzano establishment, this East Village restaurant is no different and is cash only!
Address: 156 E 2nd St, New York, NY 10009
Before you write Soothr off because you don’t know how to pronounce its name allow me to explain it’s pronounced sood, and it’s one of the best restaurants in the East Village.
I’m not the only one who thinks it’s delicious either, the Thai-noodle restaurant has been featured on the Michelin Guide! The modern take on Thai cuisine is impossible not to appreciate.
The name itself, Soothr, is the Thai word for recipe and the restaurant brings family noodle recipes to the Big Apple. The homely vibe is only magnified by the intimate dining areas (which include outdoor seating) that remind me of late nights in Bangkok (or at least what I think they’d be like).
During your visit you’ll be tempted by the appetizers and entrees but I always encourage you order what Soothr is known for, noodles. There’s a variety of options, the most popular of which are the duck and dry crab noodles.
Address: 204 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003
John’s of 12th St.
John’s of 12th St. is a classic Italian restaurant that’s been serving the East Village since 1908. Something that set’s John’s apart is the fact that they offer a separate vegan menu full of old-school Italian recipes.
The food is authentic and stepping foot into John’s feels like stepping foot onto a movie set. If at all helpful, I suggest ordering the veal meatballs and chicken parm (with a side of garlic bread, of course!).
John’s is one of those NYC establishments where over the years nothing’s changed and you can expect good old fashioned Italian meals that always hit the spot.
For any history buffs out there, John’s of 12th St. has a ton of mafia history. Visiting this East Village restaurant is one of the more fascinating things to do in the neighborhood because of the stories you hear. Oh did I mention the Sopranos filmed here?
Address: 302 E 12th St New York, NY 10003
Ferns is a rustic oasis serving as one of the best brunch restaurants in the East Village. The wood paneled ceilings and brick walls are adorned with string lights and plants, giving the spot a warm, and cozy feeling.
Once inside it’s hard not to feel like you’re in somebody’s living room and the staff is some of the friendliest you’ll find when enjoying this charming East Village restaurant.
The menu at Ferns is tantalizing to say the least, you’re going to want to order everything. If you need a suggestion, I say you can’t leave without trying the fried chicken biscuit (the hot honey + ranch combo is heaven).
Address: 166 1st Ave, New York, NY 10009
Gnocco never fails to make me lose track of time. As one of the best restaurants in the East Village the food is comforting like a grandmother’s hug and the outdoor patio feels like the first day of a vacation.
The impressive part is that Gnocco isn’t necessarily fancy or flashy, it’s just homely. Any of the pasta dishes are practically guaranteed to put you in a food coma and have you crawling back home for a nap.
Or take a bite of the truffle pizza (super thin crust, I’m drooling at the thought of it) and you’ll be in a state of euphoria. My wife has dubbed it the “most underrated pizza in NYC” and I can’t say I disagree.
Another reason Gnocco is one of the best restaurants in the East Village is because from Monday through Friday, 11AM to 6PM it serves as a free place to work remotely!
There’s free Wi-Fi, a printer and a delicious lunch menu with gluten-free and vegetarian options. And if you’re feeling mischievous the full bar is available, just tell your boss your webcam is down during your zoom calls. 😉
Address: 337 E 10th St, New York, NY 10009
Have a large group of people you’re trying to feed but don’t know where to go? One of the best restaurants in the East Village for groups is Au Za’taar. And trust me when I say you’ll want to try everything on the menu.
The Lebanese restaurant serves traditional Lebanese and Middle Eastern fare in an open and inviting environment with a focus on quality and freshness of food. During the pandemic, Au Za’taar transformed the outside area into a heated oasis and it’s one of my favorite places to gather for a meal.
This East Village gem is great for sharing meals and ideal for large groups, but don’t let it stop you from visiting if you’re flying solo. The food is unreal, especially the table-side Shwarma, served with fries and pita. It comes out on a electric skewer to stay warm and is large enough to feed 4-5 people.
Be warned coming here though, because after one bite you’ll soon realize that one visit won’t be enough and eating at this East Village restaurant will quickly become routine.
Address: 188 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009
Located on a bright East Village corner Rosie’s is an inviting Mexican restaurant serving colorful Mexican cuisine. Head chef Marc Meyer (formerly of The Odeon) uses fresh ingredients providing pops of reds, yellows and greens.
I’d say Rosie’s serves a slightly elevated Mexican cuisine. This is one of the best restaurants in the East Village for those looking for a spot casual enough for a margarita with friends but polished enough for a date-night. The menu has the tried and true classics (tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas) and serves them with a high-end presentation.
The plates are prepared in a traditional manner, making masa (dough) in house and using a comal (griddle). Every bite is a reminder of the years the Rosie’s has spent becoming one of the best restaurants in the East Village.
Let me fill you in on a picture perfect day at Rosie’s. You have to wait for a sunny, warm day when the restaurant opens its floor to ceiling doors and lets in the fresh air. Head to Rosie’s for happy hour (Monday through Thursday 5-6PM, Friday 4-6PM) with a friend and cheers with $10 margaritas, or even better, a $5 shot.
Address: 29 E 2nd St, New York, NY 10003
East Village Restaurants (Post Summary)
- Au Za’taar
- John’s of 12th St.
- Somtum Der
- Ukranian East Village Restaurant
- Bowery Meat Company
- Taverna Kyclades
- Westville East
- Electric Burrito
- Mala Project
- Hanoi House
- Cafe Mogador
- Bar Primi
- Momofuku Noodle Bar
- Thursday Kitchen
- Sao Mai
Map of the Best East Village Restaurants
And there it is my friends! The best restaurants in the East Village according to yours truly. I hope you enjoyed the post.
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