The Lower East Side’s brunch mecca, serving up delectable pancakes and perfect biscuits. The wait to get in on weekends (and many weekdays) is ridiculously long. Your best best: going for dinner. Don’t miss the fried chicken!
4 Clinton Street, near Houston
Open 8am-11pm Monday-Friday, Saturday 9am-11pm, Sunday 9-6pm
Like the sign inside says, Carmine Morales has been “serving real Lower East Siders since 1976.” The Classic Coffee Shop is only open weekdays. The menu is super-basic: egg sandwiches, grilled cheese, pb&j, cold cuts. But the price is right. A turkey sandwich, for instance, will set you back $3.50. Coffee is a buck. This is a place to be treasured while it’s still around.
56 Hester, near Ludlow
Mon-Fri, 8am-4pm; Sat-Sun, closed
The white picket fence signals your arrival at the LES’s New Orleans-style sandwich shop. Owner Din Yates offers a half dozen or so made-to-order creations. There’s fried chicken on a biscuit, pulled pork, delicious oyster and shrimp po’ boys, etc. And for breakfast, beignets and Cafe du Monde coffee. Din’s a friendly, laid back guy who quickly established a loyal following in the neighborhood. A series of glowing reviews has not hurt business.
35 Orchard, near Hester
Monday-Friday 9am-6pm, Weekends 10-6, but actually open until 8 most days
In the former home of the legendary Garden Cafeteria, this old-school Cantonese restaurant does a reasonably decent job with dim sum, barbecued meats and seafood dishes. The price is right. Downside: they don’t deliver.
165 East Broadway, at Rutgers
Chief Curmudgeon Kenny Shopsin serves up a few hundred (no, that’s not a typo) wacky items in his little corner of the Essex Market. Ignore his profane rants and occasional temper tantrums while slurping down one of 54 “made from scratch” soups, mac ‘n cheese pancakes or shrimp gumbo grits – or the duck/chorizo/shrimp stew.
120 Essex Street, near Rivington
Open Tue-Sat, 9:30am-2pm; Sun-Mon, closed
Keith McNally’s (Balthazar, Schiller’s, etc) take on a Roman pizzeria and trattoria. The wood-fired oven produces slightly charred thin crust pies, featuring a lot of interesting toppings. Also on the menu: several antipasti platters and other entrees (roasted fish, hanger steak). Like all McNally ventures, Pulino’s highlights specialty cocktails and a big, lively bar.
282 Bowery, at Houston
Hours: brteakfast daily 830am-1130am; lunch Monday-Friday noon-5pm; dinner daily 6pm-midnight; weekend brunch 10am-4pm
The beloved Greek diner on the Eastern end of Grand Street acts as a second dining room for residents of the cooperatives, parishioners at St. Mary’s Church and other locals. The proprietors, Nodas and Mike, do, in fact, know everyone’s name. Delivery is lightning fast.
500 Grand Street, at Willett
Hours Mon-Fri: 6am-6:30pm Sat: 6am-4pm Sun: 8am-4pm
Bright, friendly coffee shop on Orchard with a good selection of teas, salads and sandwiches. They recently began offering a full dinner menu, with table service after 6pm, as well as wine and beer.
88 Orchard, at Broome
Mon.-Thurs. 7:30-11PM, Fri. 7:30-midnight, Sat. 8:30-midnight, Sun. 8:30-7PM
A French bistro with Brazilian and African accents, a laid back vibe and a party atmosphere in the late evenings. The grilled steak marinated in spices from the Ivory Coast, a Brazilian seafood stew and the lamb shank tajine are among the best options.
37 Canal, at Ludlow
Open Sun-Thu, 8am-2am; Fri-Sat, 8am-4am.
Gussied up diner serving a global menu, but excelling at Mediterranean specialties like falafel and seafood herime. Very friendly service. Wi/fi service not always reliable.
189 East Broadway (at Jefferson)
Hours: Mon-Fri, 8am-10:30pm; Sat-Sun, 8:30am-10:30pm
A cozy cafe operated by 30-year old Armine Sadki, who says he immigrated from Morocco a few years ago with the dream of opening just this sort of casual coffee shop in New York City. The menu includes items like kashi, oatmeal, sandwiches, soups and salads.
3 Clinton Street, near Houston
Hours Monday-Thursday 8m-9pm; Friday 8am-10pm; Saturday 8am-11pm; Sunday 8am-7pm
Sure the place is swarming with tourists, but who cares! It’s still the only Jewish deli in town where the guys behind the counter are carving the corn beef and pastrami by hand. A neighborhood institution, since 1888.
205 East Houston, at Ludlow
Mon-Tue, 8am-9:30pm; Tue-Thu and Sun, 8am-10:30pm; Fri-Sat, 8am-2:30am
They’re going for a 70’s era hippie vibe at this Grand Street cafe. There are egg sandwiches and bagels for breakfast and an assortment of sandwiches (think alfalfa sprouts and avocado) for lunch.The restaurant is owned by Bill Frazer, who also runs a flower shop a block away and a wine bar around the corner.
355 Grand, at Essex
Open Mon-Fri, 6:30am-7pm; Sat, 8am-6pm; Sun, 8am-5pm
A Dominican diner serving up huge portions at bargain prices. Cubano sandwiches, rice & beans, roast chicken are among the standbys. A good choice for breakfast, too. Two locations:
113 Rivington, near Essex/212-982-6412
Open daily 8am-midnight
Dominican take-out place alongside the Williamsburg Bridge, offering some interesting dishes (like codfish and eggs for breakfast). The downside: they close early.
212 Delancey, near Ridge
Hours Monday-Saturday 6am-6pm
Delivery, Cash only