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
A nicely appointed but low key Irish bar on Clinton Street that caters mostly to a neighborhood crowd. There’s no kitchen, but they turn out some tasty bar grub anyway (fried oysters, fish & chips, shepherd’s pie). Weekend brunch includes a traditional Irish breakfast and a smoked salmon platter. $15 gets you free bloody mary’s, mimosas or screwdrivers (limit 3 per customer). A good place to down a pint of Guinness and watch a football game.
35 Clinton Street, at Stanton
Hours Daily: 12pm-4am; dinner served until 11pm. Weekend brunch served 11am-4pm.
Latin street food and fancy cocktails from the owners of Rayuela.
157 E. Houston St., near Allen St.
Open Mon-Thu, 11am-midnight; Fri, 11am-4am; Sat, 11am-4am; Sun, 11am-midnight.
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
The tiny Italian spot on Clinton Street features seasonal ingredients (including vegetables from a backyard garden) and a Williamsburg refugee in the kitchen, Brett Ackerman of Diner and Marlow & Sons. Sandwiches and salads for lunch… pan roasted mussels, crab cakes and veal dumplings for dinner.
63 Clinton Street, near Stanton
Hours: daily 11am-2pm; weekend brunch 11am-5pm
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
Open to the street on two sides, featuring a big beer menu and serving up surprisingly decent “gastropub” fare, this place is one of the neighborhood’s most popular nightlife destinations. Go for lunch or happy hour to avoid the frat party that begins to build after 8pm.
101 Rivington, near Ludlow
Open Mon-Tue, noon-3am; Wed-Fri, noon-4am; Sat, 10am-4am; Sun, 10am-3am
Reservations accepted for parties of 10 or more.
An Italian wine bar with an ambitious small plates menu. The dining room feels like a sanctuary from bustling Allen Street, where Sorella is located. Inspired by the Piedmont region of Italy, the menu features items such as pate with duck fat, english muffin bread, a fried egg and bacon.
95 Allen Street, near Delancey
Hours: Tue-Sat, 6pm-2am; Sun, noon-9pm
Reservations not accepted
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
Sure, Keith McNally’s hot spot on Rivington Street attracts a bridge and tunnel crowd, but the staff goes to great lengths to treat the locals well. If Todd is behind the bar, you can be assured of a perfectly prepared cocktail. The French bistro-ish menu includes many crowd pleasers, including a very decent steak frites, a well-prepared roast chicken and french onion soup. Avoid the crushing crowds, and go for lunch.
131 Rivington, at Norfolk
Hours Mon-Wed, 11am-1am; Thu, 11am-2am; Fri-Sat, 10am-3am; Sun, 10am-1am
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
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.