186 Mott St., Nolita
Uncle Boons has sadly closed, but the kitchen mavericks behind this beloved Nolita spot have opened up a stellar successor. Thai Diner is exactly as named: a casual restaurant serving sensational, accessible Thai food with a nod to American favorites. Standouts include the crab fried rice, fried chicken laab, and duck soup. The owners have gone above and beyond to pivot to a restaurant model that will survive the pandemic, trading the multiple-small-plates trend for generously portioned mains. Diners sit outside and order via QR codes on their phones, minimizing contact and speeding up the order and payment process—it works. Images courtesy of Alex Mucilli.
164 Mott St., Nolita
For classic Aussie-style avo toast, or an insanely decadent banana bread topped with honey and mascarpone, look no farther than this charming, low-key café with outposts both here and Tribeca. The menu focuses on simple, health-centric food–and the space is bright (read: white-washed brick and string lights overhead) and totally relaxed thanks to its Aussie roots.
151 Elizabeth St., Nolita
Owned by the adorable husband/wife team Sarah Schneider and Demetri Makoulis and chef Nick Korbee, Egg Shop was founded on a mutual love of the egg sandwich. That said, their menu has since expanded to include all kinds of egg specialties, from BLT benedicts, to spicy fried chicken with eggs, and smoked salmon scrambles. There's a delicious egg-centric dinner menu, too, and there are now locations in Nolita and Williamsburg.
19 Kenmare St., Nolita
You’ll hear a lot about how stylish Nolita's De Maria is (and Instagram-ready, too): The bright, sun-filled minimalist space enlists lots of soft earth tones and a beautiful bar to warm its sleek furniture and white-painted brick walls. From the pretty ceramic plates to the staff’s striped Everlane-designed uniforms, everything is as photogenic as the food itself—which is, of course, much more than just photogenic. Helmed by Camille Becerra (previously of Navy and Café Henrie), the menu is stacked with of-the-moment, elevated healthy favorites (think: chili-turmeric bone broth with milk-foam, herbs, and mustard seed oil; radish and jicama salad; sweet potato with beet borani, walnut, and mint). Their famed Fire Dragon Bowl—turmeric poached egg, heirloom beans, avocado, and tarragon tahini–is not to be missed. Photos: Nikki Brand
The Butcher’s Daughter
19 Kenmare St., Nolita
Count on Joya Carlton, the former chef at Buvette, to help open up another stellar brunch spot. Set up on the corner of bustling Kenmare Street in Nolita, the Butcher's Daughter offers the kind of vegetarian fare you can feel good about—their version of a breakfast sandwich features an egg, cashew cheese, kale, and tomato jam on an English muffin; their organic muesli is topped with fresh fruit and almond milk. The cold-pressed juices are easy to make a habit of—the honey bee, with grapefruit, turmeric, yuzu, kumquat, honey, and bee pollen is good for fending off colds. The minimalist (but Instagram-ready) decor includes big-picture windows, bleached wood, and exposed brick; produce hangs from meat hooks and herbal infusions are lined up behind the bar.
187 Mulberry St., Nolita
Everyone in New York has their own best-of list, but the wood-fired pizza at Pasquale Jones, from the same folks behind Charlie Bird, is a solid contender. The littleneck clam and spicy coppa (kale, garlic, smoked caciocavallo) pies are standouts, and a nice match to their wine list, which has some great reasonably priced bottles. The action here centers around an open kitchen and two wood-burning stoves; the booths—though limited—are roomy and good if you’re dining with littles in tow. Reservations are hard to come by, so walking in is your best bet, though be prepared to take several spins around the block while you wait. (Worth it, still.) Food Photos: Will Engelmann; Interior Photo: Robyn Lehr
235 Mulberry St., Nolita
At the heart of this family-run restaurant is a fifty-plus-year-old thin crust pizza recipe. But Rubirosa also does Italian classics like chicken parm, lasagna, and meatballs; and they have a separate gluten-free menu. Make a reservation in advance, especially if you want to eat at prime dinner time—although, Rubirosa's weekend brunch is surprisingly good, too.
The Wine Room At Peasant
194 Elizabeth St., Nolita
It's really easy to miss the stairs to the downtown space at Peasant. While the main dining room at this Nolita mainstay has a subtly fancy vibe, the basement is decidedly more cozy and relaxed. Rickety communal tables, rustic details, and candles are a little romantic, sure, but it's not at all cheesy. You still have access to the full menu—don't miss the seasonal pastas—as well as the standout wine selection.
37 Kenmare St., Nolita
This is definitely one of the best soba joints in the city: We like the Nolita location the best, as the spot in the LES is really tight. Go for the Mera Mera Dip Soba, with minced chicken and a fiery broth: The noodles are packed with flavor, chewy, and perfectly al-dente. Don’t miss the homemade silky tofu, sprinkled with grated ginger, scallions, nori and bonito flakes, which is as creamy and delicious as a hunk of fresh burrata.
248 Mulberry St., Nolita
This Nolita original is part of the Major Food group (Dirty French, Carbone, etc.), and as-to-be-expected it's reliably really good. It couldn't be Parm if it didn't serve a really good one, along with other trattoria standbys like broccoli rabe, penne scampi, and chicken limone. There are also outposts in the Financial District, Upper West Side, Williamsburg, and at Yankee Stadium.