Where to Eat and Drink on the Lower East Side
With more than 25 restaurants per square mile, it’s hard to beat eating in New York City. There are too many great places to count and let’s just say you attempted to visit them all? It would take you at least 22 years!
NYC’s Lower East Side (LES) is the area that runs along the East River from the Manhattan Bridge and Canal Street to 14th Street and is roughly bound on the west by Broadway. This area also has an overwhelming number of places to eat and drink.
The area that includes East Village, Alphabet City, Chinatown, Bowery, Little Italy and NoLita has a great mix of classics and new, hot and happening spots when it comes to food and drink.
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A few favorites below will keep you on your toes. The best thing about trying them all is that they’re mostly walkable, like much of NYC. Walk off the calories before your next meal and you won’t feel guilty if you have that extra digestif or dessert after. Whether you’re visiting or you live in the Big Apple, you’ll appreciate this list and want to dive in ASAP.
Dumplings and hot dogs are the perfect way to start a night out, and you’ll find both, along with beer, cocktails and wine, at Boys Don’t Cry. The restaurant, which calls itself an “elevated dive,” has cheap drinks, good food and a neon sign—every hipster’s dream. It’s trendy here, and the servers are friendly and fun, too.
A beautiful dark and intimate bar, Amor y Amargo, showcases classic Italian and craft bitters and serves up a gorgeous (and strong!) cocktail so beware. Standing room is the way to go here; there are little nook-tables where you can set your drink down and have a casual chat with a friend or a date.
Tiki fans, rejoice! At Mother of Pearl, you’ll find moderately priced tiki drinks and Hawaiian-inspired food in a bright, slightly quirky island setting.
Get a Pupu Platter for sharing, Togarashi Fries with saffron, black garlic and sriracha aioli and maybe the Jackfruit Bahn Mi. The Shark Eye cocktail is a refreshing mix of passion fruit, lemon maraschino, dry curaçao, bourbon, rye and tiki bitters. Best of all, it’s served in a mug that resembles a shark’s head and open mouth.
Consistently named one of the world’s best bars, Attaboy is a simple speakeasy of sorts with a creative cocktail menu, although it’s not written down anywhere. When you arrive here, ring the buzzer and you’ll be let in if there’s space.
Once you’re inside, it’s cozy and warm; the design is definitely spot on. Tell the bartenders what you like, and they’ll concoct something special just for you. The bar has a website, but no phone number so best of luck finding it.
You can’t ever go wrong with cheese and wine and at Murray’s Cheese Bar. Indulging never felt so right. There’s a great happy hour menu here, too. We recommend the decadent grilled cheese, a good glass of chardonnay and the artichokes, to start. A cheese board is an absolute must, of course. Finish off the meal with more wine (duh!), coffee and a cheesy dessert.
Katana Kitten is a posh new Japanese spot, where the highball is the drink of choice—there are five different versions on the menu—and meals are made up of small bites, sandwiches and skewers. Pair charred Japanese eggplant with nori fries and a fujimi crispy chicken skewer.
If you’re extra hungry, throw in a teriyaki burger. At the end of this meal, you may be a little tipsy and a little full. If you need to roll home, that’s okay. No one will judge, and in the morning you can do it all over again.