5 Great Restaurants in Little Italy

Categories: My 5 Favorite


Now that this year's San Gennaro festival has stuffed its last cannoli, my neighborhood has returned to its relaxed self. While I'm all in favor of the old-country vibe surrounding most of Mulberry Street, my go-to spots around Little Italy and Nolita aren't actually Italian (except for one!).

Here are my top five:


Despana's Vinos y Mas
When this tiny Spanish food market recently decided to expand to a restaurant with communal tables, everyone came out a winner. Offering a full menu of bocadillos, flautas, salads, and soups, the preserved goods that the store is known for are showcased throughout these plates. A simple meal of thinly sliced Serrano ham on crisp ciabatta, a few spicy patatas, and a small dish of punchy Spanish olives make for a grazer's dream. 410 Broome Street, 212-219-1555

la esquina.jpg

La Esquina
Beautiful people deserve tacos, too. At least that what you'll think at this taqueria and late-night lair on Kenmare. The excellent tacos, tortas, and char-grilled corn evoke sunburned, spring-break memories in TJ. Also worth trying: the fluke ceviche with marinated cucumbers and pickled carrots and the empanadas stuffed with duck confit in mole. While the crowd is generally high-heeled, everyone leaves with a few chile relleno grease stains. 114 Kenmare Street, 646-613-1333


The French can make anything look cool, which might be why this corner bistro -- which isn't reinventing anything other than its own block -- is as enticing as a too-full glass of the house red and a dog-eared copy of The Sun Also Rises. Stick to the standards, like a hefty salade Nicoise or a pleasantly greasy Croque Monsieur, and you'll be satisfied. And because this neighborhoody spot doesn't draw the crowds of Balthazar, you'll be free to linger all afternoon. 155 Grand Street, 212-274-8859

Location Info


408 Broome St., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

La Esquina

114 Kenmare St., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant


155 Grand St., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

Red Egg

202 Centre St., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant


235 Mulberry St., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

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