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.
45 Spring St., Nolita
We dare to say this hole-in-the-wall (literally), Israeli place makes the best falafel sandwiches in the city. In fact, they make three varieties of the best falafel in the city. Get a sandwich to go and wash it down with their perfect, equal parts sweet and tart lemonade. There is also a location in the West Village.
100 Kenmare St., Nolita
We’re big fans of this sustainability-first spot, which is growing like crazy. The focus is on local farmers, proper sourcing, and environmental respect, which is also reflected in the hands-down delicious food. Besides the build-your-own salad bar, the bowl-centric dishes range from Mexican-inspired salads to basic cobbs—and in the true spirit of transparency, they reveal calorie content, too. Come lunchtime, the lines extend around the block.
219 Mulberry St., Nolita
This hangout for Australians (for real) offers an insanely delicious burger, along with meal-worthy salads. It's a great pit-stop for a quick bite should you be shopping your way through Nolita. The original location has doubled in size (expanding into next door's space) since opening in 2003, and there is also now a second location on the border of Murray Hill and Gramercy.
70 Kenmare St., Nolita
Ramen Lab seats no more than ten people at a time so there’s always a wait, but the Sun Noodle bowls are well worth it. The tiny space also serves as a think tank of sorts for emerging ramen chefs, hosting regular tastings and pop-ups with the likes of Paris-based Kodawari Ramen and Menya Jiro from Japan, as they hone their craft.
32 Spring St., Nolita
Lombardi's gets the title of being the U.S.'s first ever pizzeria, meaning it does receive its fair share of tourists. The best way to get your hands on this pizza is to order for take-out. Lombardi's has tough competition, but this is certainly a contender as one of the best in the city.
192 Mott St., Nolita
L’Asso serves great thin-crust pizzas and very hard to find deep dish pizzas along with excellent salads. (They have an extensive gluten-free menu, too.) It's a late-night go-to, as well as a fun place for brunch.
47 E. Houston St., Nolita
We were thrilled when Igancio Mattos (formerly of Chez Panisse, Il Buco, and Isa) opened this spot on East Houston (he now has Café Altro Paradiso nearby on Spring Street). The dishes are of a Mediterranean slant, and while they’re unfamiliar and unexpected, he never sacrifices taste or pleasure for innovation. There are many swoon moments on the menu: egg salad on matzo, raw scallops with yuzu, beef tartare with sunchoke (the texture of this was incredible), and ricotta dumplings. It’s a small spot with rustic accents that never threaten to overshadow the food. It can get quite loud, and tables can be hard to come by, but if you can get one, go.
Cherche Midi (Closed)
282 Bowery, Nolita
A member of Keith McNally's family of excellent eateries, along with —Balthazar and Morandi, Cherche Midi's French-inflected menu is pretty much perfect. Here you'll find a classic salad nicoise, steak frites, and a really solid steak tartare. The brunch menu has all of the expected standbys (eggs benedict, smoked salmon, beignets) as well as some inventive additions (i.e. lobster scramble).
17 Prince St., Nolita
The Cuban-style food and quick take-out (especially the corn) satiates that very specific craving, and the place is always flooded with people from midday to midnight. It can get noisy—there's a take-out window next door if the crowds are too overwhelming. There's a location in Brooklyn, and strangely enough, in the Malibu Country Mart.
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