Our 10 Best Lower East Side Restaurants

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Cheeky Sandwiches has delightful beignets, but is it delightful enough to make our 10 best?

Editor's note: We've updated our list of the best LES restaurants for 2013.

The Lower East Side is home to an assortment of restaurants that provide a prismatic view of its immigrant past and more sanitized present. While the diversity and sheer number of its restaurants aren't quite as dizzying as those of the East Village, the neighborhood is one of the city's uniformly best eating destinations, something reflected by the increasing number of restaurateurs intent on opening new businesses there, undaunted by recession or over-saturation.

Because the geographical boundaries of the Lower East Side are open to interpretation, particularly by enterprising realtors, we're defining the neighborhood as south of Houston, east of the Bowery extending to the East River, and north of Canal Street. Although these boundaries include parts of Chinatown, we're abstaining from including Chinatown restaurants, as they deserve a list of their own. That said, you'll notice the inclusion of a couple of places that could be said to fall within Chinatown's borders, as their exclusion from a list comprising the best of what the Lower East Side has to offer just wouldn't be right.

Here, then, are our 10 best, ranked in order, plus a number of runners-up that we also like quite a bit. As always, let us know if your own favorites aren't included here, and we'll add them on in the readers' suggestions. And please bear in mind that, like the average entree, no list is intended to be infallible.

Next: Runners-up

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bondidwhat/flickr
Alias has one of the Lower East Side's most distinctive facades, and the food is pretty good, too.

Mole (Mexican), 205 Allen Street, 212-777-3200; Allen & Delancey (New American), 115 Allen Street, 212-253-5400; Freemans (New American), Freemans Alley, 212-420-0012; Cheeky Sandwiches (NOLA-style sandwiches), 35 Orchard Street; An Choi (Vietnamese), 85 Orchard Street, 212-226-3700; Little Giant (New American), 85 Orchard Street, 212-226-5047; Brown Cafe (New American), 61 Hester St, 212-477-2427; Falai Panetteria (Italian), 79 Clinton Street, 212-777-8956; Tiny's Giant Sandwich Shop (Sandwiches), 127 Rivington Street, 212-982-1690; Bunny Chow (South African), 74 Orchard Street, 212-260-5317; Baohaus (Taiwanese), 137 Rivington Street, 646-684-3835; Paladar (Latin American), 161 Ludlow Street, 212-473-3535; Satsko (Japanese), 245 Eldridge Street, 212-358-7773; El Maguey y La Tuna (Mexican), 321 East Houston Street, 212-473-3744; Prosperity Dumpling (Chinese), 46 Eldridge Street, 212-343-0683; Frankies 17 (Italian), 17 Clinton Street, 212-253-2303; wd-50 (Molecular), 50 Clinton Street, 212-477-2900; Sushi UO (Sushi), 151 Rivington Street, 212-677-5470; Zucco Le French Diner (French), 188 Orchard Street, 212-677-5200

Next: Numbers 6 through 10


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