Lower East Side Cafes & Tiny Restaurants
Gridskipper has a write up on three recommended tiny cafes and restaurants in the Lower East Side:
Tiny’s Giant Sandwich Shop: "The first of the small fries, Tiny’s caters to the sandwich crowd."
Little Giant: "The people who pay 8 bucks for lunch aren’t the same ones laying down 10 dollars for a watermelon salad or 23 for scallops & summer succotash, by far the best dish on the menu."
Teany’s: "It is amazing such a wet-noodle pop star as Moby could create a warm a place as Teany’s but that’s just what the gnome did."
Allen & Delancey. Rumor has it, it's actually OK! Link
80 Spring St (& Broadway) - 212 965 1414 - Owned by Keith McNally, Balthazar is the grand sister of Pastis & Schiller's. I've never actually eaten a mean here but what a scene. Busy, buzzy, get a reservation. At night is full of Soho's glamourati during the day it's full of the next generation media moguls making deals and breaking promises.
If you're just visiting for one day or you have some swanky friends coming into town, try Balthazar.
'Snice - 45 8th Avenue - 212 645 0310 - I haven't written about this because I wanted to keep it my secret. Now read this: Guy Brighton & Vegetarian Food. Yup, I didn't think they mixed either until I started having lunch / late tea from this new spacious joint on 8th Avenue. No, let's get it straight: when I'm at work on 5th Ave, I crave lunch from 'Snice.
The food is mainly veggie and vegan sandwiches, salads. The crowd is chilled, happy, hip - and probably healthy. Locals and passersby. There's a smattering of laptops but, thank goodness, it's not as scene-y as Doma.
Guy's faves : The Chilli Broth, Tricolor Panini and Roasted Veg Panini.
St Helen's Cafe
150 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (Btwn North Seventh Street & North Eighth Street) 718-302-1197 -The St Helen's Cafe is an off the beaten path small wonder fronted by a a stately glass-and-black-wood facade. Serves ok coffee and tea plus beer and wine, to a crowd that knows it's here. Garden in the back lets the arties chill in the summer heat.
L at Bedford Ave
57 Pearl Street, DUMBO, Brooklyn, NY 11201 - Halcyon used to reside on Brooklyn's Smith Street where you could sit back and relax in this bar/cafe/record shop. Even the vintage furniture you sat on was for sale.
Now they've moved to DUMBO and with only a record and small 'lifestyle goods' offering. But the store's still worth a visit. There's an amazing mural on the brickwork outside and check the funky interior!
Subway: F to York St.
559 Hudson Street (near W11th) - 212 255 2221 - Cheap, cheerful but still classy pasta place for a decent plate of pasta. Serves Panini, insalate, antipasti, paste, contorni and even main courses.
Ideal place to start before visiting a few bars in West Village. But if you can't wait: Pepe Verde has a lunch special for 6.95 between 11 and 4! Does delivery.
Best dish by far is the Penne Spinach & Ricotta w/ Tomato.
160 Prince Street - 212 925 8248 - This postcard old school bakery serves up fine cafe dishes 7 days a week 11am to 10pm every day.
It's not the menu of imaginative antipasto, salads, wraps, sandwiches and (Vesuvio Special) Panini, nor the continental breakfast choices, nor the cool old school (1920) interior, nor the fine selection of breads - it's the gang of Italians, who hang outside that makes this a special place to try.
Far far better than the tourist trap opposite with the chairs onto the street!
20 Spring St between Elizabeth and Mott Sts (212-334-1015) - Really friendly and hip little cafe that won Time Out's 2003 Best Sandwich award. Young arty crowd hang out to enjoy fine food in tight but comfortable cafe. I recomend the prosciutto sandwich or even cosider Italian tuna with mesclun greens, tomatoes, and a piquant lemon dressing on ciabatta!!!
Places to go if you can't wait
Cafe Habana on Spring & Elizabeth
17 Prince St (c/o Elizabeth Street) +1 212 625 2001 - This latin / cuban restuaunt is one of the most popular shacks in the neighborhood. Expect a wait for good value food. Perfect for lunch but also worth a try early or late.
If you can't wait, try the take out service next door on Elizabeth (+1 212 626 2002)
Places to go before or after Cafe Habana
Walk up and down the Nolita streets checking out the boutiques
Look at the fine jewelry made by a local woman on her make shift table displays outside the church yard on Prince
6 to Spring St; N, R, W to Prince St.