Lower East Side
120 Rivington St., Lower East Side
Exotic pastries are the specialty at this Lower East Side bakery, where owner and baker Ry Stephen dreams up unexpected croissant pairings. Favorites include the NYC, filled with lox, cream cheese, and capers, and the Spinach Pie Twice Baked, with spinach, olive-oil-baked broccoli rabe, sautéed onion, chili, béchamel, and cheddar cheese. There are plenty of sweet creations, too, like the rhubarb, strawberry, and basil cruffin (a croissant-muffin hybrid), or the spiced peach-apple pie brioche doughnut, filled with peach-and-apple pie filling and whipped cream, topped with piecrust crumbs and white chocolate. Even pastry obsessives can usually find something here they’ve never seen before.
247 Broome St., Lower East Side
On a quiet block of Broome Street, Ten Bells is easy to miss: It has a discreet facade and no obvious signage. Even though it opened ten years ago, it still exudes the vibe that it’s a local secret, which makes a visit here so fun on cold winter nights, when a quiet, empty corner is easy to find. While it’s billed as primarily a wine bar (they put a premium on organic and sustainable labels), the tapas are great, especially the boquerones (white anchovies in vinegar and olive oil) and the burrata with piquillo peppers and basil. There’s also a happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. with $1 oysters.
43 Canal St., Lower East Side
Portuguese and Spanish vibes take center stage at this cozy Lower East Side spot from restaurateur Nialls Fallon and chef Nick Perkins, partners known for their Bed-Stuy restaurant, Hart’s. The menu is simple but satisfying, with a seafood bent: cockles with Vinho Verde and garlic; Maine scallops with endive and Basque peppers; a whole Boston mackerel with aioli; platters of Cape Cod and Washington State oysters. And the dishes pair well with a glass of unfortified white from the Iberian peninsula. There’s also a juicy grass-fed lamb burger and a roasted half chicken with asparagus and paprika. For the true Portuguese experience, come for Sunday brunch, when Cervo’s serves a classic fisherman’s breakfast, consisting of sardines, house-cured trout, and pickled red peppers on toasted sourdough.
Una Pizza Napoletana
175 Orchard St., Lower East Side
Anthony Mangieri is considered the king of Neopolitan pizza in NYC. This new and improved version of his former East Village restaurant comes with an impressive slew of desserts—a tiramisu that uses lemon sponge cake instead of the traditional lady fingers, and strawberry panna cotta—by Wildair and Contra chef Fabian Von Hauske Valtierra. There are also a few appetizers now, the best of which include burrata with tomatoes in lobster oil, and marinated white asparagus with bottarga and cured egg yolk. The pizza, of course, is still the main draw, and Mangieri hasn’t lost his touch at this new space: Perfect, simple margherita, bianca, and marinara pies are unbeatable.
177 Chrystie St., Lower East Side
A partnership between Taavo Somer (Freeman’s) and Carlos Quiararte (The Smile), the French-inspired food at Le Turtle is supposed to be great, but people are really coming for the experience: the wild interior (two-way mirrors, shiny surfaces, neon lights, and so on) seems like a sight to be seen.
VMV Hypoallergenics Skin-Specialist Boutique & Spa
227 Mott St., Lower East Side
If you have sensitive skin—and even if you don’t—this intimate little studio tucked away on Mott Street is especially compelling; all VMV products are derived from coconut oil sourced from the brand’s Philippines farm. The boutique in the front is brightly lit, cheery and staffed with knowledgeable, eager-to-assist employees. In the back is an atmospheric treatment room, where aestheticians perform some of the best facials around for balancing and fortifying troubled skin by way of intensely hydrating, soothing moisture therapies, as well as more-rigorous peels and microdermabrasion.
John Dolan Photography
246 Bowery, Lower East Side
Scrolling through John Dolan’s website is the digital equivalent of flipping through a beautifully curated coffee table book. Dolan does his fair share of editorial and advertising work, and his images have the dramatic, energetic quality of both. When it comes to weddings, he’s a master of discretion. He excels at capturing intimate moments—a quiet conversations in the corner, the setting of a veil, guests’ expressions when they catch their first glimpse of the bride. Dolan prefers film over digital and is based in New York City and the Berkshires.
The Musket Room
265 Elizabeth St., Lower East Side
The menu is divided into five sections: Powhiri, Kaimoana, Papatuanuku, Ranginu, and Ka Kate, meaning introduction, seafood, land, sky, and farewell in Maori.
294 Elizabeth St., Lower East Side
We’re obsessed with stylist Jonathan Van Ness (Gay of Thrones, Queer Eye) and his incredible ability to transform the way people look and feel. When the bicoastal stylist is in New York, he’s at this NoHo salon, where he, founder Joseph Artale, and a team of talented stylists do absolutely brilliant hair—perfectly sun-kissed highlights, razor-cut layers—that’s both easy to maintain and amazingly natural-looking.
104 Bayard St., Lower East Side
The first thing to know about this airy, minimalist Mexican restaurant is that it’s a “no avocado zone.”
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