Published on November 19, 2015

16 East Village Spots We're in Love With

Known for its eclectic shops, trendsetting nightlife and artsy vibe, the East Village is one of the most colorful, laid-back parts of New York City. This diverse dining destination boasts a restaurant scene as spirited and creative as the neighborhood itself. Here are 16 East Village spots that’ll inspire your dinner (and dive-bar crawl after):

17 EAST VILLAGE SPOTS WE LOVE

1. TUOME 

NYC - Tuome Photo provided by Tuome.

At Tuome, Executive Chef/Owner Thomas Chen blends his French culinary training with his Chinese-American upbringing, resulting in uniquely distinct, Asian-inspired contemporary American fare. The casual yet refined spot is decorated with reclaimed materials — an 1890’s-era light fixtures from a Philadelphia milk factory, spools from an old knitting factory and a cherry oak bar where diners can enjoy a few choice sakes, wines and beers.

2. NOREETUH

NYC - Noreetuh Photo provided by Noreetuh.

At Noreetuh, Hawaiian food — with roots in Japanese, Korean and Filipino cuisines — is reimagined through an American lens. The restaurant’s modern, earthy vibe complements its brightly flavored and approachable menu. Noreetuh’s extensive shareable and late night options can be washed down with Hawaiian beer or a variety of sake and wine flights.

3. VIRGINIA'S

NYC - Virginia's Photo provided by Virginia's.

Virginia’s is a modern American bistro offering a select menu of seasonal, market-driven fare. Local ingredients shine in the refreshingly bright dishes while cocktails, beers and wines from small producers fill an elegant yet unassuming drink list. The intimate space features plenty of warm wood accents, burnt orange banquettes and crisp white walls.

4. KING BEE

NYC - King Bee Photo provided by King Bee.

King Bee pays homage to Louisiana country cooking and its French and Canadian roots with creative, locally sourced Acadian — or Canadian-Cajun — fare. With a focus on seasonality and flavor, the menu features plates for sharing along with more classic and contemporary Acadian dishes, which diners can enjoy along with sophisticated cocktails or a glass or bottle off the extensive wine list at the copper bar.

5. EDI & THE WOLF

NYC - Edi & the Wolf Photo provided by Edi & the Wolf.

Edi & the Wolf serves an authentic Austrian menu focused on the comforting cornerstones of Viennese cuisine: spaetzle, schnitzel, pork belly and pickled vegetables. The restaurant — run by Chef Eduard Frauneder, a Michelin Star restaurateur — resembles a cozy cottage with dried flowers and metal grate decor. Edi and the Wolf boasts a spirited atmosphere and garden seating, in addition to a wide assortment of whiskeys and wines.

6. MOMOFUKU NOODLE BAR 

NYC - Momofuku Noodle Bar Photo provided by Momofuku Noodle Bar.

Opened in August 2004 as the original Momofuku restaurant, Momofuku Noodle Bar is David Chang’s seasonally influenced Asian fusion destination. The intimate and bustling restaurant features spare decor, an open kitchen and treats brought in from Momofuku Milk Bar.

7. HUERTAS

NYC - Huertas Photo provided by Huertas.

Inspired by New York City and the lively culinary culture of Northern Spain, Huertas serves up Basque-influenced fare. In the dimly lit, wood-clad inner room, diners can watch the preparation of their food in the open kitchen after choosing from the daily rotating four-course menu. Classic Spanish beverages — including refrescos, house-made vermouth and a long list of Spanish wines — are available (along with finger foods) at the bright bar.

8. HEARTH

NYC - Hearth Photo provided by Hearth. Photo by Mark Jordan.

Hearth is a Tuscan-American restaurant focused on preparing superior ingredients with subtle complexity. The seasonal menu at this East Village gem — a product of the relationships that Chef/Owner Marco Canora has cultivated with local farmers — features sections dedicated to vegetables, offal, fish and hand-milled grains. The vast wine program is as approachable as the menu, as are the unique beer and cider collections.

9. EMPELLÓN COCINA

NYC - Empellon Cocina Photo provided by Empellon Cocina.

Empellón Cocina serves up creative Mexican fare and craft cocktails in the East Village. At the circular bar, diners can enjoy margaritas, cocktails or an eclectic selection of beers. The elegant, partially brick-walled eatery features modern lighting and understated decor.

10. MOMOFUKU SSÄM BAR

NYC - Momofuku Ssam Bar Photo provided by Momofuku Ssam Bar.

Momofuku Ssäm Bar is Chef David Chang’s New American eatery in the East Village. The Momofuku restaurant serves inventive Asian-inspired fare and features an evolving menu composed of small and large dishes. True to the nature of Momofuku restaurants, the space is simple and streamlined with a long, sleek bar.

11. BARA

NYC - Bara Photo provided by Bara.

The product of a collaboration between Chef/Owner Ian Alvarez (formerly of momofuku noodle bar) and General Manager Kyle Storm, Bara is a hybrid of a French wine bar and a Japanese izakaya. The menu changes daily and spotlights creative cocktails, craft beers, an all natural wine list and a well-curated selection of sakes and shochu. Small bites and entrees are also available at the tiny, minimalist downtown space.

12. PORSENA

NYC - Porsena Photo provided by Porsena.

Porsena is Chef/Owner Sara Jenkins’ casual and contemporary Italian neighborhood trattoria. The neighborhood gem features a pasta-centric menu — with both classic and imaginative sauces — inspired by memories from Jenkins’ Tuscan and Roman childhood. Hearty main dishes are also available at the simple, brick-walled space.

13. MOMOFUKU KO

NYC - Momofuku Ko Photo provided by Momofuku Ko.

David Chang’s two Michelin-starred restaurant, Momofuku Ko (which means “son of”) serves a multi-course tasting menu along a kitchen counter. Ko uses seasonal ingredients, and changes its menu frequently.

14. L'APICIO

NYC - L'Apicio Photo provided by L'Apicio.

One of restaurateur Joe Campanale’s hotspots, L’Apicio dishes out modern Italian plates and house-made pastas in an airy, vibrant space. The open kitchen, exposed brick walls and leather booths work together to create a fun, chic environment complete with a bustling bar scene. House cocktails and an extensive wine list complement the fare.

15. BOWERY MEAT COMPANY

NYC - Bowery Meat Company Photo provided by Bowery Meat Company.

Bowery Meat Company delivers a unique take on the traditional steakhouse, serving modern meat dishes as well as old-school Italian-American classics from Chef Josh Capon. The restaurant creates an inviting, retro vibe with sleek wood finishings and geometric designs. An extensive list of wine, spirits and beer are on offer.

16. BALADE

NYC - Balade Photo provided by Balade.

Balade is a traditional Lebanese restaurant offering mouthwatering favorites — including  lamb kebab and meze plates to share — as well as modern additions like pita pizza to pair with its beer and wine selection. The intimate eatery is outfitted with authentic Eastern Mediterranean art and wood finishings that create a cozy, at-home vibe.

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