Black Seed Bagels
170 Elizabeth St., Nolita
Black Seed draws big crowds, which we totally get: The hand-rolled, wood-fired bagel sandwiches are actually easy to eat (they’re much smaller than their brethren), and for the most part, they’re great—particularly for those times when the only thing that will satisfy is a bagel sandwich. Favorites include: beet-cured gravlax, a basic tuna salad, Tobiko spread, and the egg salad (though it's heavy on the dill). There's now a location in Battery Park City, and one coming in the East Village soon.
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.
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).
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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