Establishment neighborhood
Citizens of Gramercy
362 2nd Ave., Gramercy
Like so many of the city’s best new cafés, this Gramercy spot was opened by a team of Aussies in a neighborhood that could do with a couple more stellar cafés (there’s another in Chelsea). The food skews healthy, and we love the all-day breakfast—especially the smoked salmon eggs, which come with a roasted beet labneh. The coffee house scene transitions to wine and cocktails at night, so after working for a few hours during the day, you won’t have to go far to unwind with a different sort of beverage.
119 E. 18th St., Gramercy
Tex-Mex isn’t a type of cuisine you’d normally associate with New York City, but after a meal at this cheerful spot in Gramercy (a few blocks north of Union Square), you might rethink that idea. Grab some friends and order the traditional queso (yellow cheese tomatillos, serrano peppers, pico de gallo) and a round of prickly pear margaritas before diving into your entree. The chile relleno is reliably tasty, as are the grilled shrimp tacos, topped with salsa cruda, pico de gallo, cotija cheese, and cilantro. The central location makes it a great group dinner spot, but there’s also a second location on the Upper East Side..
Bar Jamón
125 E. 17th St., Gramercy
Tucked into a tiny (very tiny) space next door to Casa Mono, this U-shaped tapas bar by Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich has been around for more than a decade. The crowd is typically neighborhood types grabbing quick drinks, lots of (stylish) first dates, or those swinging by for a nightcap post dinner next door. The pared-down menu, which is scrawled on the mirror behind the bar, includes pan con tomate, tortila, and jamon iberico—in addition to, obviously, great reds. Food Photos: Kate Previte; Exterior Photo: Kelly Campbell
2 Lexington Ave., Gramercy
Maialino is NYC restauranteur Danny Meyer's trattoria outpost at Gramercy Park Hotel. The kitchen is helmed by Nick Anderer, who previously had stints at kitchens in Rome and Milan and Italian ones Stateside, like Mario Batali's Babbo. (Anderer is also still a big part of the pizza joint, Marta, too.) The dinner menu is very well done, and they have a nice, separate space for private parties. But less expected is that this is also an ideal spot to grab a cup of coffee or stay and sit for a bit if you find yourself in Gramercy during the afternoon.
Casa Mono
125 E. 17th St., Gramercy
Mario Batali and Andy Nusser's tiny tapas spot opened over a decade ago, but the vibe and food is still just as great—particularly on those days when you're really missing Spain. The menu leans pretty heavily on proteins, but the more veggie-driven dishes (asparagus with octopus, spring leeks vinaigrette) hold their own, too. Meanwhile, Mono's sister property next door, Bar Jamón, is great for a post-dinner nightcap. Both spaces can accommodate full buyouts for private parties.
381 Park Ave. S, Gramercy
Sarabeth’s started out as a bakery in Chelsea Market in the 80s, where owner Sarabeth Levine perfected cookies, scones, and cakes (with unabashed amounts of sugar, flour, and butter). After she became legendary, she opened Sarabeth’s and basically launched the craze that is weekend Brunch. Years later, it’s still hard to get a breakfast reservation at any of her roomy, all-American, restaurants, but it’s so worth it for luscious pancakes and french toast, not to mention ideal omelettes. There are additional locations in the Upper East Side, Midtown, Upper West Side, and Tribeca.
123 Lexington Ave., Gramercy
As serious home cooks attest, Kalustyan’s may just be the best international food stockist in the world. Operating out of the same Lexington Avenue location since 1944, they stock every spice, grain, cracker, and chutney in the world from India to Italy, along with just the right implements, whether it be a tortilla press or a tagine. The sheer size of the honey aisle alone is enough to drop jaws. It’s a foodie mecca, not just for the seemingly infinite varieties of foods and international kitchen tools, but for the outstanding sandwiches and middle-eastern/mediterranean nosh served at their cafe upstairs.