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Feb 16, 2008 05:34 PM

Favorite tiny restaurant?

I'm looking for recommendations on restaurants that are small -- great food but only 8 or 9 tables. I'm also certain there is likely to be a good story associated with your favorite tiny restaurant -- so please share that, too!

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  1. One of my favorite tiny joints is Westville. Great burgers, salads, and "market sides," not to mention the eggs w/ turkey hash on the weekend. It's one of those places where the cooks in the kitchen have to step aside to let you get to the bathroom.

    1 Reply
    1. re: billyeats

      Westville is one of my fave restaurants, not just the small ones. I almost always get the market plates.

    2. Le Gigot on Cornelia. No story, just a tiny, sweet, space!

      2 Replies
      1. re: simetrias

        Fig & Olive on the UES is a charming, small walk-down that specializes in healthy Mediterranean food (they use olive oil instead of butter and you'd never know the difference!)
        La Boite en Bois -- a French bistro walk-down, very tiny with the flavor of being in Paris.
        I'm with you. I happen to prefer small, intimate restaurants as well.

        1. re: simetrias

          Cornelia's a happening place! Love Home at 20 Cornelia--delicious, homey (go figure ;) ) food. Went there this winter, but apparently they also have a garden in warm weather. Homemade ketchup and yummy mulled cider.

          The counter at La Esquina late at night--delish simple tacos.

          Also second Fig & Olive. Gotta love a place with olive oil tastings! Don't know if I'd consider it *super*tiny though.

        2. My favorite tiny restaurant that delivers BIG is Tides (in the LES), less than 450sq ft. Seafood is their expertise. Their food is absolutely fantastic and the decor is nothing like you've ever seen before --- their entire ceiling is made out of bamboo stalks. They do a lot with the space and I've never felt cramped. Very reasonably priced, most bottles under $50, their mussels are a must. Its romantic, yet has that grounded trendy edge. You won't feel rushed and you'll never forget this place. I love it.

          5 Replies
          1. re: viniferaNYC

            A favorite of mine as well, and viniferaNYC has done an excellent job of describing the teensy seafood "shack" that is Tides to a "T"! :-)


            1. re: RGR

              I guess I should try it again - but I was sorely disappointed with my food there and so haven't been inclined to thus far. I did like the room.

              1. re: MMRuth


                Even though I like Tides, given how you felt about your first time there, I can understand your reluctance to try it again since I rarely return to a restaurant when my initial experience has been disappointing. This is along the lines of my theory that a restaurant has only one chance to make a first impression.

                I'm trying to think back on exactly what disappointed you, but I'm drawing a blank and am too lazy to do a search. In any event, unless you thought the food was horrible, if you are inclined to give restaurants that don't quite measure up a second chance, then you should go to Tides again.

                1. re: RGR

                  I think I thought the lobster roll was weak - didn't like the dill in it - and the other people I was with felt the same way about their food, other than someone who had a whole fish, which was quite nice.

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    The lobster roll is definitely not traditional since it's always "spiced up" with an herb such as basil, tarragon, or, in you case, dill, and there's also some chopped cucumber in mayo. Not to everyone's taste, but I like it.

          2. Itzocan on 101st and Lexington.

            2 Replies
            1. re: nancyl126

              The original one on E. 9th is TINY! (And not so good anymore...)

              1. re: scarlet starlet

                what? what happened to it? i haven't been in a few years and was just missing it recently - is it not worth going back to?

            2. Le Veau D'Or

              This place has been open for decades and was once a top restaurant in town. It hasn't been a top restaurant in town since elevated trains rumbled past on nearby 2nd and 3rd Avenues though. The owner is an amazing Savoyard who was a member of the French resistance. Stories and wine are guarenteed. The menu is still straight out of super old school Escofier French. It has to be virtually unchanged in over 40-50 years now, menu included. Interesting time capsule. The only servers they have are old as dirt too. Oh yeah, Hemingway and Bogart used to frequent this place.