Our 10 Best East Village Restaurants, 2012 Edition

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These chicken chile guajillo enchiladas at Downtown Bakery are every bit as good -- and spicy -- as they look.


The East Village may be the city's most eclectic and rewarding dining destination, though this aspect of the neighborhood is sometimes eclipsed by its bars and cocktail lounges. You can dine cheap or you can go upscale -- the chief challenge of this new ranking was to identify places that fall all along the continuum of price, but still represent great value and superior taste. Compare it with our 2010 list.


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10. Downtown Bakery -- This former Italian bakery turned Mexican over a decade ago, supplementing its torpedo-shaped breads and sweet rolls with pan dulce and antojitos (tacos, enchiladas, burritos, etc.). Gradually the menu expanded, the baked goods faded away, and what we now have is one of the best and cheapest Mexican restaurants in town. 69 First Avenue, 212-254-1757


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dirtcandynyc.com
9. Dirt Candy -- A valentine to vegetarians, this strictly no-flesh spot turns out startlingly good assemblages of veggies in architectural platings that feature little splashes of brilliant color and well-spaced geometric elements. Why no one did this before is the big question. The only downside is the name. 430 East 9th Street, 212-228-7732


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8. Back Forty -- The sophomore project of Peter Hoffman -- New York's early answer to Alice Waters -- strikes all the expected local and sustainable notes, with a meatiness added that's absent from, say, Chez Panisse. The Sunday night pig roasts have become legendary. 190 Avenue B, 212-388-1990

Location Info

Downtown Bakery II

69 First Ave., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

Dirt Candy

430 E. Ninth St., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

Back Forty

190 Ave. B, New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

Zabb Elee

75 Second Ave., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

Vandaag - CLOSED

103 Second Ave., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

South Brooklyn Pizza

122 First Ave., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria

53 Great Jones St., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

Ramen Misoya

129 Second Ave., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

Momofuku Ssam Bar

207 Second Ave., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

Prune

54 E. First St., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant


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12 comments
Zara Gonzalez Hoang
Zara Gonzalez Hoang

Just went to Ramen Misoya tonight. Yum. Pete - If you read this, thanks for the tip. Well worth the detour. The ramen was geat (both hokkaido and kyoto style). Not Ippudo great but definitely on par with rai rai ken.

Herb
Herb

Great list! Prune's bone marrow takes me back to my childhood, when my mom used to make hot pitcha for dinner and then had the left-over cold pitcha the next day. yummy!!!...and yes, I do have the recipe!

Joshua4844
Joshua4844

Forget Ethnic cuisine. Where can I find a cheeseburger with a good firm bun andA sharp cheddar? And a cold draft.

Nancy Duggan
Nancy Duggan

Ms. Hamilton "became...philandered"?  Please explain.

Rick Shaw
Rick Shaw

Yeah, great list...these are some awesome places. And I cant wait to try the few I've missed! Cheers

Sam
Sam

FYI, you misspelled genever as "ginever." Nice list!

guest
guest

ASIANS CAN ACTUALLY READ MINDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!they can hear and see what your visually thinkingthis is the solid truth

The reason a lot of Asians have completely expressionless faces, segregate from everybody else-only associate with Asians and don't associate with non Asians that much, and are very unfriendly in general is to avoid accidentally revealing that they can read minds. If all over a billion Asians where to show facial expressions all the time just as much as non Asians, integrate and associate with non Asians much more, and be much more friendly and talkative, then a lot of them might accidentally reveal that they can read minds by accidentally showing a facial expression or dirty look when someone thinks, or visually pictures something in their mind they don't like, find astonishing, or funny etc because those people might see that and and really wonder what that was that just happened there and see the connection, and they might accidentally say something similar to what the person was just thinking and going to say. If they all associated with non Asians a lot more then there would be a lot more people around for them to accidentally show facial expressions when those people think things they don't like etc, so they segregate and only associate with Asians so there won't be anyone around for them to see that and have any accidents happen in the first place.

Try thinking, best yet visually picturing in your mind something absolutely crazy as you possibly can when you are around Asians, and try looking for Asians who give people particular looks, especially dirty looks for what appears to be for completely no reason, that is them giving people looks when they hear and visually see someone thinking something they don't like, find astonishing, or funny etc.It still happens spite a large percentage of Asians having completely expressionless faces all the time, it would just happen a lot more if none of them had completely expressionless faces all the time, it's still not uncommon!

I know this may sound crazy, impossible and unbelievable, BUT IT ISN'T CRAZY WHEN ITS TRUE

You have to spread the message!!!!!!The world has to know about this!!!!!

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