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Secrets of the Village

Four of us will be coming to NYC and staying in the Village and we are visiting on a budget. I can read all about the well known places to dine but we would like to learn about those not-so-published but otherwise fabulous little places that only you natives know about through experience. We will be interested in places for breakfast and dinner primarily. So please feel free to jump in with your suggestions. Thanks!

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  1. Breakfast: Good, Max Brenner, Noho Star (Rachel Ray went here on one of her Food Network travel shows featuring NY restaurants)
    MUST TRY snack: a cupcake from The Magnolia Bakery
    Dinner: Piccolo Angolo (yummy Italian food), Sushi Samba (can also try to go at lunch), Gonzo, Cuba, Rare Bar & Grill

    1 Reply
    1. re: LFeinberg

      don't do sushi samba, that place is garbage

    2. Brunch: Tartine
      Belgian food/beer: Cafe de Bruxelles
      Coffee: Joe's
      Coffee/Breakfast: Grey Dog's

      IMHO Magnolia is terribly overrated and totally not worth the long line.

      12 Replies
      1. re: nokitsch

        Magnolia may be overrated, but they make a damn good cupcake...I think we're just spoiled being New Yorkers.

        1. re: LFeinberg

          Maybe, maybe - I just don't see what the big deal is. Magnolia to NYC food is what the Seaport is to NYC attractions. :-)

          1. re: nokitsch

            Totally understandable, and I feel like I have this debate quite often. However, the cupcakes are really good and the neighborhood is just the cutest. :) What are your thoughts on Buttercup?

            1. re: LFeinberg

              The Magnolia cupcakes are pretty good but personally I like Crumbs cupcakes better. And I always feel so bad for the people waiting on a line that stretches down the block. I can't dispute the neighborhood though -- it's definitely the cutest.

              My other recommendation is Murray's Cheese -- stop by there for excellent takeout sandwiches, snacks, and of course, cheese.

              1. re: JennS

                Murray's does have great things...I would recommend lunch there (but you didn't really specify needed lunch locales). Make sure to try the cheese straws!

              2. re: LFeinberg

                Never went there, actually - so I can't say. I'm definitely not a cupcake aficionado, I was thinking more in terms of good dessert.

                1. re: LFeinberg

                  Buttercup is down the block from me. I think they grew on me or maybe I finally figured out which ones i like: red velvet and chocolate chocolate. these are pretty good but i can't say i'd really go out of my way for them. what do you think?

              3. re: LFeinberg

                i don't get the magnolia bakery bashing. it's almost like if something is a hit it also can't be everything it's hyped to be... i think the cupcakes are terrific and the banana pudding to die for...

                1. re: LFeinberg

                  I tried their cupcakes once and found them disgusting, so we'll have to agree to disagree. Cupcakes that are half icing. Yuck! :(

                2. re: nokitsch

                  I concur about Magnolia. Never had understood the appeal. It's dry and tastelss to me. Same for Buttercup and Cupcake Cafe. I do enjoy Burgers and Cupcakes in Chelsea. But if you're visiting New York, you may want to dry Magnolia for the experience.

                  I would also recommend Momofuku/Momofuku Ssam for dinner. The roast pork buns made with Berkshire pork are to die for -- nothing like it. They also have a wonderful brussel sprouts with kimchee puree (it was on the winter menu; not so sure about the spring). It is definitely a unique restaurant.

                  1. re: nokitsch

                    Magnolia cupcakes are too dry and not that flavorful.

                  2. Da Andrea is perfect for dinner - delicious and affordable.

                    1. East or West Village? (BTW you can find all of the addresses and menus for all the places I mention below here www.menupages.com

                      )

                      West Village/Central Village
                      A burger at Corner Bistro -- you can start real debate calling this NYC's best burger, but it's certainly one of the City's most famous, if only for the heated debate. And it's cheap.
                      Las Ramblas -- tiny Spanish tapas bar, great festive atmosphere, fantastic Spanish wines.
                      A bagel from Murray's -- get one with lox, cream cheese, a slice of tomato and onion for breakfast.
                      Alidoro's -- for sandwiches
                      Cafe Noir -- for late-night, wine fueled, Moroccan influenced tapas (although it's in SoHo, rather than the Village)

                      East Village/Soho-ish
                      Lombardi's -- real NY pizza, inexpensive and fun.
                      Bereket -- 24 hour Turkish falafel/kebab joint. Delicious food at all hours.
                      Katz's -- go for a pastrami sandwich, and read RGR's Lower East Side walking and eating tour before you go (if you search for it here I'm sure it will come up).
                      Veselka -- for breakfast with a Polish/Russian/Ukraine feeling. Not my absolute favorite of the Eastern Euro options, but the most famous and the most frequented. Cheap diner food but throw in some latkes, blintzes, etc.

                      I'm forgetting the 1 million and 5 other places that I like, but...

                      1. Speakeasy and good cheeseburger: Chumley's (86 Bedford St)
                        Great dive bar: the Back Fence (Bleecker and Thompson)
                        Reasonably expensive dinner or drinks: Employees Only (Hudson St. - cool NYC scene)
                        Great neighborhood bars after dinner: White Horse Tavern or WXOU Radio Bar (Hudson and ~11th St)
                        Grey Dog would be great for breakfast

                        6 Replies
                          1. re: ballulah

                            Third Chumleys. Also Good for breakfast.

                            Sushi Samba? Gah. Anything that is in Sex in the City is not a Village "secret." Same goes for Magnolia.

                            Slaughtered Lamb is a cool bar with an "interesting" NYC atmosphere. Good luck finding it, I always get lost going there :)

                            1. re: CorgiLover

                              definitely go to 'ino for early dinner...truffled egg toast, cheese plate, and quattro panini...inexpensive and delicious.

                              corner bistro...there's nothing wrong with that. avoid the crowds by going very late on a weeknight or before 5pm weekdays.

                              lilac for chocolate, murrays cheese for...well, cheese. i like bruno bakery on laguardia for coffee and cakes. retro-y vibe. also, get a square pizza at demarcos while you're there.

                              1. re: sam1

                                Second 'ino and Murray's!

                                Definitely skip Magnolia! Totally mediocre. I can't believe how many lemmings will wait on that line. There's much better cake to be had at Amy's.

                                Too bad Shopsin's closed.

                                1. re: texann

                                  I was there one night they had a BDSM convention in the basement. That was certainly interesting!