#1 LA CONTENTA
La Contenta is one of our favorite lesser known gems in the Lower East Side. The two of us have traveled to Mexico on several occasions, and the food here is some of the closest we have found to the incredible dishes we remember from our travels. If you can, totally grab a seat at the bar and chat with their friendly bartenders while they whip up some seriously unique concoctions right before your eyes. Don’t miss the Mayan cocktail, a mix of corn puree and coconut milk with tequila and a spicy rim that almost tastes like a Dorito. If you think that’s gross, then for sure what is wrong with you?
#2 ECONOMY CANDY
If you come down to LES and you don’t go to economy candy, you haven’t done a trip to New York right. This place has been around since the Great Depression, and you know if a business could make folks happy selling candy back then, it’s gotta be legit. They have something for literally everyone here, unless, somehow you don’t like candy, and even in that case they have a huge selection of bulk nuts! So stop reading and get to snacking!
#3 PRINCE STREET PIZZA
It’s maybe the understatement of the century to say that New York has tons of great places for Pizza. You know this, we know this, you are basically born knowing this. So how do you decide where you’re gonna go since just in lower Manhattan alone, there’s almost an infinite amount of choices? Well, let us make this one easy for you: you’re gonna go to Prince Street Pizza, and yes, you’re also going to wait in that line. The Pepperoni Grandma slice from this place is without a doubt one of the best slices in the city, and possibly the world. The nostalgic, fluffy yet crispy crust, great sauce to cheese ratio and obviously those tasty little cupped pepperonis is what has put this spot on the map on the national stage, even though they are only 6 years old.
#4 PARISI BAKERY
The great thing about Lower Manhattan is that since it was the first part of the island to really be built up and established, there are so many great places that have been around since forever. And Parisi Bakery Delicatessen is no different. This family owned bakery and deli has been in Little Italy for over 100 years, still cranking out the same amazing bread they have been since 1908. And if you are looking for an amazing lunch spot to grab a sandwich that you can also eat for dinner and possibly breakfast the next day, look no further. The sandwiches here are stacked high with quality meats and cheeses, are very inexpensive and could probably feed a whole baseball team and the batboy and one lucky fan whose dreams just came true.
This is hands down one of the best date spots in Manhattan, and one of our favorite little gems in the West Village. One of those classic New York spots where they cram so many people inside that they gotta literally move the table for you to sit down, and you break bread with strangers whose elbows are practically on your shoulders, but the food makes the whole experience worth it. Where else in the West Village can you get a plate of pasta that tastes like grandma made it for 14 dollars. And that's how much every pasta dish is, not just a special. Their wine selection is also fantastic, and you can really feel like you are ballin' out here for under 100 bucks for two people. Make a reservation if you head here for dinner though, cause it fills up quick.
#6 GREAT NEW YORK NOODLETOWN
For amazing and authentic Chinese American food in Chinatown, Great NY Noodletown is a must visit. Picture in your mind a classic New York Chinese restaurant, and thats what you are envisioning at Great NY Noodletown: Roast ducks and pigs in the window, hot tea when you sit down, massive menu with seemingly endless, inexpensive choices and decor that looks like they bought it from the souvenir shop next door. This is a fantastic late night spot, as you can get a ton of food for not that much money, but don’t rule it out as a good place to fuel up any time of day. Get the ginger scallion noodles for sure.
Forgetmenot is one of the best “where do we go now” spots in this part of the city. Located right between LES and Chinatown, this place has something for everyone: a fairly well rounded food menu (that’s full of delicious options), cheap beers and a surprisingly creative cocktail list, outdoor seating, sports and movies on tv and little nooks to have intimate moments if that's your angle. All this wrapped up in a package that lives somewhere in the middle of being a bar and a full on restaurant. It's casual and cozy, and no matter when you find yourself here, its always the right move.
#8 FLOWER SHOP
Looking for a creative food menu, awesome cocktails, a pool table, trivia and the occasional celebrity sighting? Look no further than the “your friend's house from the 80’s” inspired Flower Shop. Dripping with cool, but still surprisingly accessible and not too snooty, this is place is a rare find in this part of town. The "kitch" factor draws in just the right type of crowd, the staff is friendly and the food is truly bangin’. If you come here, don’t skip the bar downstairs which truly looks like a basement in a suburban home, right down to the carpet on the floor (that’s right, carpet in a bar).
#9 CHA-CHA MATCHA
Feeling like you wanna get lit but maybe you don’t wanna actually get lit? Also, are you riding a bike and trying to be responsible (yes)? Head over to the Instagrammers dream, Cha-Cha Matcha. This place is like a bar experience without the bar, down to the baristas making shaken drinks like cocktails, that are actually non-alcoholic elixirs in every color of the rainbow. Even if you don’t take pictures of your food, you will hardly be able to resist snapping a picture of a half blue, half green drink with a giant purple orchid sitting on top of it. And the best part about this place is that all their drinks are actually delicious. This is definitely a spot to be experienced for the NA crowd, but the novelty can be appreciated by just about everyone.
#10 GENUINE LIQUORETTE
If you only go to one of the places on this list, this is the one to go to. Located underneath Dante, this speakeasy looks like you’re about to walk into the back of house of the restaurant as you step through air curtain flaps into a liquor store. That's right, the whole bar is lined with bottles of alcohol, and they aren’t just for show. The name of the game here at Liquorette is creativity, as you are able to take whatever alcohol you want from the shelves, bring it to the bartenders and ask them to make you something with it. The amount of fun you can have at this place is only limited by how many cocktails you can have. Our recommendation is try and find something truly weird, that you think you might hate, and have them change your mind about it. They also have a limited but delicious bar menu, fantastic and photogenic cocktails made with airline liquor bottles, and a great and often changing list of house cocktails. This place is a total experience and it is truly not to be missed.
Comments will be approved before showing up.