Address: 98 Rivington St./map
Hours: Mon-Fri, noon-1am; Sat-Sun, noon-3am
This wine bar at the corner of Rivington and Ludlow streets, one of the Lower East Side’s best places to watch the world go by, is an ideal location to spend a lazy afternoon, especially in the warm weather months. There’s sidewalk seating and a dining room that’s open to the street, providing a European feel as you sip a glass of wine and nibble from a cheese and charcuterie plate. The panini is excellent, and the pastas are very decent. Brunch is a standout; the brisket and fried eggs is a personal favorite.
The sliver of a restaurant on Ludlow Street with a cozy backyard offers creative versions of Neopolitan street food. The menu features such items as fried rice balls, fried artichokes and lamb meatballs. There are also a variety of simply prepared pasta and meat dishes, plus a Monday night special (spaghetti and meatballs and unlimited sangria for $20).
173 Ludlow, near Houston
Hours Mon-Thu, 5pm-11pm; Fri, 5pm-midnight; Sat, noon-midnight; Sun, noon-11pm
FEATURES: outdoor dining, weekend brunch
Tre draws its culinary inspiration from Naples, where owner/chef Gino Piscopo was born. The intimate little restaurant with a charming backyard seems a bit out of place on rowdy Ludlow Street. But once inside, you’ll be transported. The service is warm and the food well prepared. There’s a nice selection of pastas and small plates, such as fried rice balls and fried artichokes.
173 Ludlow, near Houston
Outdoor dining, weekend brunch
Zucco passed away in early 2010 but his charming little diner on Orchard Street lives on. All the classics are here: steak in a red wine sauce, duck confit, salad nicoise, onion soup, etc. There’s a single table outside and a cozy dining room.
188 Orchard, near Houston
Mon-Sat, noon-midnight; Sun, 11am-11pm
A sometimes rowdy Irish theme bar with a fairly substantial menu (burgers, pizza, wings, etc), a large patio in the back and a few pool tables.
191 Orchard, near Houston
Hours Mon-Fri, noon-4am; Sat-Sun, 11am-4am
The build-your-own meatball sensation on Stanton Street. Pick a meatball from column a (beef, pork, chicken, vegetable) with a sauce from column b. The DIY theme continues on the dessert menu: ice cream sandwiches featuring several flavors and cookie combinations.
84 Stanton, near Allen
Open daily noon-4am
Located in an appealing corner spot on Orchard Street, Little Giant serves a homey, locally sourced, seasonal menu. Brunch is very popular.
85 Orchard, at Broome
Open Mon-Thu, 11:30am-11pm; Fri, 11:30am-midnight; Sat, 10am-4pm and 6pm-midnight; Sun, 10am-4pm and 6pm-10pm
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.
A German couple, Amrei Schmitt-Fumian and David Wiesner, patterned this hidden gem on the memorable island restaurants frequented on their many trips to southern Italy. The cozy osteria serves homey dishes fusing Italian, European and American sensibilities. The bartenders are extremely warm. The garden in the back is enchanting. Good for big groups. This place becomes quite “sceney” on weekend evenings.
100 Forsyth, near Broome
Sun-Thu, 6pm-11pm; Fri-Sat, 6pm-midnight