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East Village bests

Going to spend a day in the East Village as friends say it's a pretty funky area to stroll in and spend the day. SO what shouldn't be missed? Looking for a great lunch and munchies. Food carts to not miss (or not try)? Russian, Ukranian, Italian, or other resonably priced? Where for cocktails? Been told LaPalapa has the best margarita's. How about ethnic markets? CHeese shop? Wine shop? Any neighborhood festivals happening the 30TH?

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  1. food at la palapa is good too - had the mole and cactus..very tasty. pommes frites is a fries shop with loads of different kids of sauces to eat your fries with.


    Frank is a great little italian place as is Supper...

    Veselka has some good pierogies and blintzes (open all night which is a plus)

    3 Replies
    1. re: pellie narc

      i can second veselka...on 2nd ave and 9th or 10th street, i believe. great ukranian kind of diner, sorta? pierogies are YUMM and borscht, incredible.
      great place, cheap and delicious.

      1. re: ceeceee

        I would skip Veselka -- it's not so different from any other diner -- and go to Ukranian Family Restaurant instead. It's a much more interesting food experience and incredibly cheap to boot.

        1. re: mashpee

          Do you mean the Ukranian East Village Restaurant in the Ukranian National Home building, or some other place?

    2. Supper is a great choice - one of my East Village faves. I also like Mermaid Inn for seafood, and I'd recommend Nicky's Vietnamese Sandwiches for cheap ethnic snackfood -- great on the go.

      For EV cocktails, I'm a dive bar guy myself. Grassroots Tavern and the even nastier Holiday Cocktail Lounge are both on St. Marks Place. Company bar is also a nice neighborhood spot for drinks, and Boxcar Lounge on Ave B has a great garden for daytime boozing.

      1. I'm inclined to suggest Mercadito over La Palapa. Its food and margaritas are better, IMHO...

        Mercadito's on Ave. B. near 10th st...

        1 Reply
        1. re: millefeuille

          I love Mercadito! Great choice as an alternative to La Palapa, who I think wins the popularity contest but certainly not dominant amongst the rest of the competiton.

        2. Vending style snack
          -Bamn! on St. marks. An interesting sight to behold. Insert coins and get your food. Its been generating alot of press. They also sell fries behind the counter featuring 40 different sauces made with fresh ingredients.

          Japanese market
          -Sunrise mart: 4 Stuyvesant Street, Second floor, (Between 9th Street and Third Avenue).
          -Jasmart: 35 E. St. Marks Place

          Cheese shop
          -East village cheese:40 Third Ave. (between Ninth and 10th Sts.) Always jam packed, this store sell perfectly fine cheeses at rock bottom prices because the expiration dates are coming to a near. Funny if you think about it since cheese is aged anyways.

          I didnt see you mention Japanese but along st. marks there are some places that serves street style skewers and fried tapas style snacks that goes well with beer and sake. I believe they open at 5Pm.

          1. Two Boots on Ave A is worth a shot for Pizza. Not, I repeat NOT, the typical New York pie ( go to Lombardi's for that) but Two Boots is a little different and pretty good.

            1. The best place for cocktails would be Angels Share right across from alumni hall in Astor Place. The food suggestions are good but I'd also add Snack Dragon on East 4th for cheap tacos, Max on Ave B. for good inexpensive itallian, Otto if you want to venture slightly out of the EV for great itallian, and unreal gellato hit up otto on 8th street and 5th ave.

              1 Reply
              1. re: wingman

                Wingman beat me to it - definitely Angel's Share for cocktails (I think they open at 5p though) or McSorely's for a bar experience you can tell your friends about. I'd suggest Frank or Il Bagatto over Max for inexpensive Italian.

              2. We recently moved into the area and while walking through the neighborhood stepped into Paprika, a little Italian place. We ordered the risotto balls, which I didn't care for but my husband loved. Our entrees were fresh gnocchi with pancetta and fresh pappardelle with veal ragu and broccoli rabe, both were specials that night. Both fresh pastas were excellent, especially for the cost (less than $15 each). I would definitely go back, I love fresh pasta.

                1. Thanks so far. Velselka sounds great for lunch and the cheese shop does too. Have heard about Pomme Frites and Bamn too - heard lousy bad food at Bamn but and interesting concept - at least something to see. The bars sound good too. Just have to strt mapping some of these out. Thanks to ALL.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: joeysmom220

                    I just don't think the food at Veselka is good enough to put up with their slow and surly service.

                    I've yet to get to the Ukranianian rest up the street but usually enjoy the pierogis, kielbasa and other like foodstuffs at Polonia (on 1st Ave around 5th st.)

                    Anyways, If you also are interested in retail food shops, I'd visit the Pierogi Deli on 1st Ave (below St Marks) next to the famous Kurowycky's Meat Market. Instead of getting the pierogis, I usually opt for PD's fresh cheese blintzes and soups.

                    Also, close by on E 7th is the Caracas Arepaa Bar where you can have some tasty arepas and not break the bank.


                    For sweets, you can visit Black Hound (2nd Ave @12th St) where they have very pretty cakes and okay truffles. My fave is the wee carrot cake that is moist, nicely spiced with a great cream cheese icing.

                    1. re: was_bk

                      Second the opinion re: Veselka - it's open late, so it's a decent option when inebriated - just not a destination dining spot. And the service is awful.

                    2. re: joeysmom220

                      I would never use "slow: to describe the service at Veselka. For the past 10 years, my food always shows up before I expect it - and usually it's being served by a middle aged Eastern European woman with a killer hair do.. And I've also never had Kielbasa cooked with a better "snap."

                    3. After many experiments, I am convinced that the best Ukrainian in the area is the Ukrainian Restaurant itself, inside the Ukrainian National Home on Second Avenue. It's an unusual, wood-panelled space, and sometimes dead quiet, but the home-cooked food is excellent, and cheap. Next door is a crazy bar, The Sly Fox.

                      There are few wine shops in the EV; I'd only recommend Discovery Wines on Avenue A, but you're much better off going to Astor or Union Square Wines further west. There are no cheese shops in the EV worth making a special stop for. More interesting are the Eastern European/Russian meat-sausage-grocery markets on First and Second. Elvie's Turo Turo on First around 12th Street is an amazingly good value Filipino buffet.

                      Personally, I think Two Boots is horrible. For pizza by the slice, Muzzarella's on Avenue A between 13th and 14th. Zum Schneider on Avenue C gets busy, but it's an unusual German beer and sausage parlor. Shoot me, but I wouldn't bother eating Italian or Mexican in this neighborhood - you get much better elsewhere.

                      For "ethnic" markets, head south on Essex Street to the Essex Street Market - it's general, but strong on Mexican ingredients. Also, Dowel Products, on First between 5th and 6th has an Indian ingredient selection that almost rivals Kalyustan, plus hundreds of imported bottled beers.

                      Have fun.

                      1. agreed about two boots and muzzarella's - latter delicious, former awful. a few doors down on avenue from muzzarella's is zaragoza, a mexican grocery and taqueria that makes pretty amazing tacos.

                        also agreed about dowel. if you're looking for indian/south asian products, then it's your place.

                        1. The two "musts" are the east village cheese shop and pomme frites. For other diversions, you are pretty close to the Trader Joe's wine shop. Veselka is a great meal, as is Klong and any of the indian places on 6th street. The entire area is saturated with cool bars, so getting a drink shouldn't be a problem.

                          1. Get the potato pancakes with sour cream and apple sauce at Veselka, I think they are even better than the pierogies...the key is the combo of the sour cream and apple sauce, its really good

                            1. Thanks - you've all made the day's planning easier. Sweets and coffee at Veniero's, snacking at Pommes Frites and Bamn, drinks at McSorleys and Summers, and lunch is still a toss-up between Little Poland, Veselka or Zum Scheider. Take homes will come from Trader Joes, East village cheese shop and a meat market or two. That sound like a full day of walking and fine chowing.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: joeysmom220

                                i'd go for little poland over veselka if it's pierogies that you're after. imo, there's no contest. the soups are delicious as well.

                                1. re: wleatherette

                                  Teresa's also is far superior to Veselka. I just don't understand the raves Veselka gets here. They were never that good, in my experience.

                                  The best cheese shop I know in this vicinity is actually north of the East Village, KK's (I think it is) on 1st Av. between 18th and 19th. They have the best comte' cheese I've found in New York.

                                  1. re: Pan

                                    Thanks, Pan. I agree on the Veselka mystery and am looking forward to trying KK's. I hate that they don't let you taste the cheese at EV Cheese.

                                    1. re: jona2325

                                      Alright, I found this info in a post I made on eGullet:

                                      K's Gourmet Food & Cheese
                                      319 1st Av. (between 18th & 19th Sts.)
                                      New York, NY 10003
                                      (212) 677-2347

                                      So, it's just K's, not KK's (which is the name of a Polish restaurant).

                                      In any case, the nice Korean lady who owns K's will be happy to give you a taste of any cheese.

                              2. Oh, the place not to miss in, or just across the street from the East Village, is of course Katz's!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Pan

                                  Not to get overly technical, but isn't that really LES?

                                  1. re: Lucia

                                    Yes. It's also "just across the street from the East Village", the street in question being Houston.

                                    Katz's is too good to miss. There is nothing in the world like the pastrami there.

                                2. "...or other reasonably priced"
                                  could easily open the door for any number of good, cheap Japanese diners, my favorite of which is the old standby Sapporo East. Village YokoCho also has some tasty dishes, albeit more pricey. Or you could go for some ramen at Rai Rai Ken, not necessarily great stuff but a good attempt at a traditional Japanese Ramen Shop. You could also check out the gigantic Momofuku Ramen, which has generated any number of arguments on this board, and which will - no doubt - leave you with no room for dessert. Yakitori Taisho, of course, on St. Marks, or the neighboring extension, a few doors to the east.

                                  I was thinking that, if you're willing to stop by Bamn Foods for a snack and some atmosphere, why not hit the nostalgic Kenka, which serves up hit or miss comfort food dishes, a great many of which can be considered snack food.

                                  Or, better yet, there's nothing better after a few beers than a sixer of Octopus Balls (Takoyaki) at Otafuku on 9th.

                                  Okay. So that's a mouthful. Perhaps, on your second EV junket....

                                  1. I love the East Village. Cheap eats are readily available. Try Dok Suni's for Korean on First Avenue, and Cafe Mogador on St. Marks place for Middle Eastern cuisine. For drinking, and some of the best Pommes Frites and mussels in town, there is the Belgian Room and Hop Devil Grill futher down St. Marks on Avenue A. Incredible Belgian Beer selection on one side, and tasty tacos and an amazing American and Eruo beer selection on the other side.

                                    1. try the cubano at downtown bakery on 1st ave btw 4th and 5th sts.

                                      lan's is a new vegetarian vietnamese on 6th st btw 1st and 2nd aves. they have fake meat ban mi's and pho! it's excellent!

                                      there is now a mamoun's on st. mark's! btw 2nd and 3rd aves.

                                      dumpling man on st. mark's btw 1st and A is an experience. they even make the wrappers by hand there. right in front of you.

                                      i like the pizza at three of cups the best. brick oven. 5th st at 1st ave.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: chartreusevelour

                                        Do you know if the downtown bakery has other cuban stuff? Used to get great guave pasteries and tres leche cake with cubano coffee in Miami. Any other place in the east village might have these?

                                        1. re: joeysmom220

                                          no, i think it's mexican. some ppl around here rave about their mexican food, but i think it's terrible. the sandwiches are great bc they bake their own bread, hence "downtown bakery". i like to get an egg sandwich there in the AM.

                                      2. Another cheap and delicious dining destination in the EV is Caracas. Try the cachapas as well as the arepas. Their secret hot sauce is addictive.

                                        1. Bar Carrera is great for tapas - good strawberry/cucumber sangrias too.

                                          175 Second Ave., nr. 11th St.
                                          Hours: 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily.
                                          Prices: $3.50 per tapa.


                                          For japanese bbq, Yakiniku West (218 E 9TH St) - bbq at your table, really cute atmosphere (tatami mats, comfortable tables


                                          For fresh, handmade soba: Sobaya (229 E 9TH Between 9th Street and 10th Street)

                                          For japanese bentos/bakery items:
                                          Cafe Zaiya (3rd ave off of Saint Marks)

                                          For japanese cream puffs:
                                          Beard Papa:
                                          740 Broadway
                                          New York, NY 10003

                                          1. Ditto Bar Carrera above - but it's more of an evening place, I think.

                                            For cheap and atmospheric I like B&H Dairy Lunch, a tiny Jewish (but non-kosher) counter deli that has tomato/mozzarella/basil sandwiches on slabs of challah that are out of this world and run about 4 dollars.

                                            Peaceful and relaxing place to get away from the noise and grime of the East Village - Cha-an Teahouse. They have an amazing rice ball combo with tea, the most delicate green tea drinks (as well as basic leaf tea) and also one of those eccentric Japanese computerised toilets with 18 different bidet angles and a computerised operating system :)


                                            1. for cuban tres leches, great cafe con leche and good food in general, try cafecito on ave. c btwn 11th and 12th. their cubano is one of the best ever had. nice place, very pleasant staff and great prices. food is good and fresh(try their current special shrimp salad and ceviche) but it sometimes takes a while to arrive.
                                              don't know for sure which day you're going to be here but a word of warning or encouragement re: zum schneider- their oktoberfest celebration starts on sunday, so they will be PACKED! however, if you can take it, they have an oompah band (w/ the crazy owner as singer;), waitstaff in lederhosen and dirndls, good traditional bavarian food and the best german beers i have ever had (could there be a secret pipeline somewhere??). that said, saturday should be normal for them, which can mean many things...!