Bombay Bread Bar
195 Spring St., Soho
Chef Floyd Cardoz grew up biking around Mumbai, India. It follows that he became an expert in Indian street food. His new SoHo restaurant celebrates the foundation of so many of these snacks—namely, the puffy, buttery, herby kulcha flatbreads slathered in spicy chutneys. We loved the Indian version of a panini, with spiced lamb, cucumber raita, and mustard mashed potatoes pressed between two slivers of toasted naan (he calls it the lamb naanini). But there are also plenty of less carb-y options, like the Bengali banana-leaf-wrapped halibut. The interior, meanwhile, was dreamed up by Kris Moran, a member of filmmaker Wes Anderson’s creative team who worked on The Darjeeling Limited. As you’d expect, it’s a whimsical collection of Pop Art, citrus-patterned oilcloths, and entire walls covered in Bollywood-inspired murals by artist Maria Qamar.
463 West Broadway, Soho
It's no surprise that Major Food Group's take on the deli has been a big hit. Come in the morning for bagels, smoked fish, and chopped salads, and in the evening for a dimly lit brasserie vibe, with roasted salmon and spicy fried chicken on the menu.
138 Lafayette St., Soho
A collaboration between restauranteur Stephen Starr (of Upland and Buddakan, among many others) and Chef Daniel Rose (you know him from Spring, one of GP’s favorite restaurants in Paris), Le Coucou’s menu is a lighter take on old-school French cuisine (duck breast, halibut in beurre blanc, lobster tail salad). Roman and Williams transformed the space on a once-seedy block of SoHo, injecting their signature glamour into the grand dining room. You’ll talk about the space, which is marked by overstuffed banquettes, gilded mirrors, a hand-painted mural, and an open kitchen, but you’ll also talk about the service, which is super attentive and buttoned-up. Interior Photos: Ditte Isager; Food Photo: Corry Arnold
210 6th Ave., Soho
A New York mainstay since the '70s, the prevailing theory at Soeun is an old-school Japanese-based macrobiotic one: there is no meat, dairy, or eggs on the menu and certain veggies are prohibited. One could argue that the cult of the macro plate began here, but there are plenty of other dark green veggies, grains, beans and fish on the menu to leave you feeling pleasantly sated. Salmon or black cod can be ordered with teriyaki sauce; the yuba, tofu "skins" are served with Chinese cabbage, carrot, and scallion in a tamari kombu broth. Both downtown spaces (the other is in the East Village) are light-filled and sparsely decorated. Bonus: They deliver.
Café Altro Paradiso
234 Spring St., Soho
Located in Soho, Café Altro Paradiso is the second restaurant from Ignacio Mattos (chef) and Thomas Carter (sommelier and front-of-house)—their first was the brilliant Estela in NoLita. This Italian restaurant is much bigger than tiny Estela, and less about the presentation and look of the dishes—though still focused on really good, un-fussy food.
508 Greenwich St., Soho
Inspired by the word for everyday food in Swedish (husmanskost), the fare here is generally rooted in comfort and familiarity. That said, chef/owner Ned Baldwin is too pedigreed to keep it simple, having come from Prune. You’ll find everything from a roasted peach and feta salad to little neck clams and a perfectly prepared burger.
180 Prince St., Soho
Run by the Raoul brothers and their family, and open in Soho since before the neighborhood scrubbed itself clean, patrons return again and again for the bistro fare, and the charming, authentically eccentric vibe. It genuinely feels like a secluded little Parisian nook, where you can find great French staples and a late night scene at the bar.
218 Lafayette St., Soho
Inspired by the city of Bologna in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, Michael White's Osteria Morini churns out excellent fare using lots of regional ingredients (prosciutto, parmigiano, balsamic vinegar, et al). The pasta here is especially great, as are the antipasti.
Omen a Zen
113 Thompson St., Soho
While it’s nothing special when it comes to atmosphere and décor, this unassuming Japanese nook in Soho serves up delicious Kyoto-style food, including plenty of super fresh sashimi and small, flavorful cooked dishes. We’re partial to the Omen udon noodles, served simply with seaweed and hot or cold broth. This spot is a big hit among artists, actors, and creatives, who probably love the food as much as its hushed, relaxed vibe. We always order The Garden.
Jack’s Wife Freda
224 Lafayette St., Soho
The husband and wife team behind this wonderfully buzzy spot are South African and Israeli respectively, and this unusual mix turns out to be a hit, as evidenced by the delicious, homey cuisine that comes out of the kitchen. Thanks to its bustling but laid-back vibe, it’s become more of a hang-out than a traditional restaurant: People linger from breakfast until late at night. There's a second location in the West Village.
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