Union Square Restaurants
Union Square Cafe
101 E. 19th St., Union Square
The iconic Union Square Cafe moved from its namesake location to the corner of 19th and Park two years ago. The new space has all the charm of the original—subtle furnishings, great art, and the best service in New York City—but with more room, and more importantly, more barstools. This is one of those Danny Meyer establishments you can always rely on for a solid, even excellent, supper. A plate of Bibb and red oak leaf lettuces with a mustardy vinaigrette fools us into a healthy start every time. Following with those perfect knuckles of ricotta gnocchi in tomato sauce and ending with the banana tart is an order we rarely deviate from. Even people who hate bananas love this tart, improved only by the accompaniment of a glass of Sauternes. Trust.
Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Co.
25 E. 17th St., Union Square
Assistant district attorney Chloe Epstein’s pregnancy had her craving ice cream—but a quick look at the nutritional label left her concerned with what she was feeding herself and her future child. She started to experiment with making her own at home, and settled on a satisfying recipe with only three ingredients—fruit, water, and organic cane sugar. Now a full time glacier, the flagship store has classic flavors like dark chocolate and strawberry, plus great seasonal options and sweet and savory toppings like gluten-free gingersnaps, fresh fruit, and warm peanut butter sauce.
38 E. 19th St., Union Square
It's no secret that we love Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's ABC Kitchen, along with the rest of the world—and his adjacent and very new restaurant abcV, which employs the same GMO-free, sustainable ethos to an equally stunning effect—is certainly no exception. With a breakfast service that starts at 8am, abcV offers everything from omega seed butter shakes with raw almond milk, wild blueberry, hemp, chia and dates, to gluten-free almond pancakes, to lunch and dinner menus that boast incredible and varied plant-based dishes, there's really something for everyone. While you can still power-lunch in the back, you can also order takeout, or sit at the bar; if fresh-pressed juice, wellness tonics (which feature adaptogens, rhodiola, and ashwagandha), or kombucha aren't your thing, they have a cocktail menu, too.
TsuruTonTan Udon Noodle Brasserie
21 E. 16th St., Union Square
Don’t let the fact that TsuruTonTan is a big chain in Japan steer you away: this noodle brasserie, which just opened its first US location here in Union Square, is serious about noodles. And not just any noodles, but udon noodles, which they make from scratch in-house every day and feature in bowls ranging from mushroom and egg to shrimp tempura with anago to their infamous mentaiko caviar offering. Don’t get too attached to anything, though: they switch up the menu regularly, offering more than thirty udon options at a time.
17 E. 17th St., Union Square
Dig Inn’s philosophy is “farm to counter,” which means that they serve sustainably sourced, usually local food in a casual setting and in a price range that makes it a reasonable option for everyday lunch. The salads and the market plates are easy to take back to the office (or home for dinner), and the menu changes with the seasons, so you won't ever be bored with the offerings. There are locations in Morningside Heights, Union Square, Tribeca, and in Midtown on 52nd, Madison, and 55th, in Lower Manhattan on Pine, Liberty, and Broad St., in Nomad, and off Madison Square Park.
15 E. 15th St., Union Sqaure
They use incredibly fresh fish in particularly inventive ways here, which has earned them a well-deserved Michelin star. We like to dine at the bar and give in to affable chef Masato Shimizu's omakase, which is full of some pretty unusual and surprising flavor combinations—not always the easiest thing to achieve when it comes to sushi.
35 E. 18th St., Union Square
Helmed by chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, this airy, all-white space—attached to ABC Home—is a temple to inventive, seasonal, and local cooking sourced from nearby farms and cooperatives. It doesn't come as much of a shock that the fare is GMO-free and also grown and made without pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, insecticides, antibiotics, or hormones. It's not surprising because you can taste the well-sourced provenance on the plate, whether in the form of house-made ricotta ravioli or fried organic chicken in a hot butter sauce. (We never said the offers were ascetic.)
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