Lower East Side
259 E Broadway, Lower East Side
Proper Basque food is hard to come by outside Spain, but Ernesto’s distills all those salty, sometimes smoky, definitely porky flavors into a tight menu that changes daily. Crunchy-on-the-outside, melty-on-the-inside croquetas; txistorra sausage; and proper jamón Iberico draped over fried potatoes: These are the small shareable snacks we want to warm up to while dining outside. Try a glass of something biodynamic and definitely order dessert.
355 Bowery, Lower East Side
New Yorkers are experts in resilience and generosity, and the city’s restaurateurs are no exception. Short Stories crafts tasty brunch and inventive cocktails at the best of times and stepped up for its Bowery community during the worst. Throughout the lockdown, every Wednesday, the chefs served perfect vegan curry to any and all who needed a hot meal for free. We heartily recommend the cheesy naan, huevos rancheros, and beet salad, and the outdoor patio is one of the prettiest spaces in the city.
Chef restaurateurs Fabian Von Hauske Valtierra and Jeremiah Stone are old hands at Michelin-starred food that’s actually fun to eat. Both Contra and Wildair are shut, but a new, unexpected mashup of the two, Contrair, is open for delivery through Caviar. Rather than merely adapting current menus for delivery, Valtierra and Stone have come up with an entirely new concept that fuses both restaurants’ dedication to seasonality, shareable plates, and New American vibes. Divided into hot, cold, and sweet, the dishes are just the kind of food you crave during—well—a pandemic. Warm, comforting congee; lamb-stuffed cabbage; BBQ chicken; and homey rice pudding. A few dishes off this new menu plus a bottle of something natural and funky-tasting sounds like an ideal night at home in front of Tiger King to us. (Oh, and the duo and their team are delivering weekly lunches and drinks to New York City hospital workers in collaboration with our favorite dumpling spot, Mimi Cheng’s.)
115 Delancey St., Lower East Side
Peoples Wine was one of the 2019 openings we were most psyched about, mainly because we knew, based on our always-stellar experiences at sibling establishments Contra and Wildair, that it would be fantastic. It was, and hopefully it will be again. Until then, the good folks behind the wine bar are now in the wine delivery business. Order online or email [email protected] with your preferences and budget for a sommelier-grade selection of small-batch biodynamic and organic wines from the world’s best producers. And, if you're hungry as well as thirsty, check out the founders' new restaurant mash-up delivery concept, Contrair, here.
205 E Houston St., Lower East Side
Katz has dinner covered with its famous brisket, roast chicken or turkey, stuffed cabbage and creamy kugel, and other delicious, comforting dishes for delivery in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Those craving Katz’s never-too-salty matzo ball soup from further afield can order a full dinner package (including brisket) that serves up to four people for $125 with two days’ notice for nationwide shipping. Meanwhile, you can get the deli’s pastrami sandwiches and warming soups on all the usual delivery platforms (Seamless, Caviar, DoorDash) alongside some convenient fridge and freezer staples like sour pickles, hand-carved meats, and liters of broth.
Sister City Hotel
225 Bowery, Lower East Side
Efficient is the best word to describe Sister City, the new hotel from the Ace Hotel Group located in the Lower East Side. Enter through a narrow courtyard into a pristine, light-wood-filled lobby complete with hipster restaurants and self-check-in kiosks. And as all great hotels should, it has a rooftop bar with spectacular views of the city skyline. A little Finnish, a little Japanese, and a little college dorm, the rooms have just what you need (and little else). Images courtesy of Adrian Gaut.
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.
VMV Hypoallergenics Skin-Specialist Boutique & Spa
123 Elizabeth St., Lower East Side
If you have sensitive skin—and even if you don’t—this intimate little studio tucked away on Elizabeth 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.