Tim Ho Wan
85 4th Ave., East Village
Since its' opening in late 2016, this NYC outpost of the famed Hong Kong chain has been packed – like, lines around the block packed. Known by many as the world’s cheapest Michelin restaurant, Tim Ho Wan boasts an extensive menu – some highlights include excellent crispy turnip cakes, baked BBQ pork buns, and deep-fried eggplant with shrimp. Unlike some other popular dim sum spots, it has limited seating and no carts, but it’s also open all day, which means you can get your dumpling fix any time between 10am and 10pm.
430 E. 9th St., East Village
Superiority Burger made a name for itself with chef Brooks Headley's (formerly the pastry chef of Del Posto) rakish take on vegetarian fast food. The menu is brief, but you can't really make a bad choice—the small-but-mighty veggie burger, a Sloppy Dave (their version of a Sloppy Joe), and burnt-broccoli salad are stand-outs. Daily specials range from soarana beans with parsley to kabocha squash with pea shoot pepita pesto. Grabbing one of the few seats is basically a competitive sport, so better take your food over to Tompkins Square Park and grab a bench. Check their Instagram feed for daily specials. They're closed on Tuesdays.
18 E. 2nd St., East Village
Considering New York's reputation when it comes to Mexican food, it's possible that Rosie's was actually transplanted here from LA. Even the décor feels a little California, with pale-green, geometric chairs, string lights hanging above the bar, and sliding doors that open the corner space to the street in warm months. The menu has all of the classic craving-satisfiers, including tacos al pastor, queso fundido, and a tart, lime-ey margarita. The easy vibe makes it the kind of place that's great for feeding a big group without a fuss.
Sundaes and Cones
95 E. 10th St., East Village
Sundaes and Cones relocated to the East Village after its first two decades based in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Here you'll find all the classics, but most people come for their specialty Asian-influenced flavors—e.g. wasabi, ginger, and black sesame. They also make delectable ice cream cakes topped with fresh whipped cream.
Big Gay Ice Cream
125 E. 7th St., East Village
Big Gay Ice Cream hardly needs an introduction. This beloved soft-serve joint started off as a seasonal truck in 2009, quickly amassing a loyal fan base in NYC. Their first permanent shop was opened in the East Village in 2011, followed by a shop in the West Village the next year.
48.5 E. 7th St., East Village
Whether you’ve had Van Leeuwen on the streets of Brooklyn or parked up on Abbot Kinney, it’s instantly recognizable by its sunny yellow truck. They’re particularly famous for their vegan ice cream, a combination of cashew milk, coconut milk, cocoa butter, and carob beans that’s incredibly creamy and indulgent (and a major victory for the dairy-sensitive). They’ve got a few locations now: Greenpoint, Boerum Hill, and Williamsburg in Brooklyn; the East and West Villages in Manhattan; and the Arts District and Culver City in LA. You can always track their many food trucks on their website.
Black Seed Bagels
176 1st Ave., East Village
This newcomer is drawing big crowds, which we totally get: The hand-rolled, wood-fired bagel sandwiches are actually easy to eat (they’re much smaller than their brethren), and for the most part, they’re great—particularly for those times when the only thing that will satisfy is a bagel sandwich. Favorites include: beet-cured gravlax, a basic tuna salad, Tobiko spread, and the egg salad (though it’s heavy on the dill). There’s also a location in Battery Park City, in addition to the Nolita original.
508 E. 12th St., East Village
While hydrotherapy colonics are the specialty here, SanaVita also offers lymphatic massage, acupuncture, and Reiki. They even have an on-staff astrologer.
2 Extra Pl., East Village
Off the beaten path on a Manhattan side street called Extra Place, fiancés Stevenson Aung and Angelique Chmielewski, have just opened a bricks and mortar showcase for their e-tail shop, full of off-the-beaten-path extras. In their careers as industrial and fashion designers, respectively, they’ve spent years amassing quite the collection of Japanese-inspired design—that mix of style, craft, function, and a little wabi-sabi—and finally have the perfect glass-fronted location to showcase it all, from Azmaya tea accessories to Sunao cutlery, to Fog Linen baskets.
406 E. 9th St., East Village
Though they’re famous for the Juicy Lucy (two hamburger patties sandwiched around a dollop of pimiento cheese), we actually like the Turkey Burger best (fried egg on top optional). They offer pretty much everything else we’ve ever craved for lunch, including an excellent kale salad (along with requisite kale chips), sweet potato fries, and the perfect grilled cheese.