The Soho Restaurants We Can't Live Without

Photo Via: @vanderlex
You've probably heard about how gritty Soho was back in the '70s and '80s, when artists flocked to the downtown 'hood in search of affordable living and studio space. It's tough to imagine that today, what with the large flagship stores, the high-priced lofts, and the uneven cobblestone streets filled with enthusiastic shoppers and slow-moving tourists. But, you know what else has changed? The culinary landscape.
Today, Soho is home to some of the most beloved eateries in the city, as well as a ton of newer spots that offer a fix for whatever you're craving. We're talking farm-to-table freshness, some of the most delicious Mexican eats on the East Coast, and pasta — lots and lots of pasta. Check out our picks for the hottest restaurants in one of the hottest neighborhoods in Manhattan.
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Photo: via @antiquegaragesoho.
Antique Garage
Mediterranean food in an old garage-turned-antique-store (yep, everything is for sale), with live jazz. It doesn't quite add up, yet somehow is right at home in SoHo. After all, who would have thought an old industrial neighborhood would turn into a global destination for designer shopping? In good weather, you can get a full view of the street — but you'll have plenty to feast your eyes on, from delicious mezze platters to antique busts, inside.

Antique Garage, 41 Mercer Street (between Grand and Broome Street); 212-219-1019.
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Photo: Courtesy of Vin Et Fleurs.
Vin Et Fleurs
Really looking to impress someone? Have a custom arrangement of flowers ready at the table when you sit down. At Vin Et Fleurs, you can. Here, flowers are just as front-and-center as the food. Always full of fresh, ever-changing flowers, it's a bit like eating in a greenhouse, or the kind of house we wish we had where bouquets adorned every surface. As the name suggests, the food here is French-American, with plenty of wine to pair with it.

Vin Et Fleurs, 69 Thompson St (between Broome and Spring Street); 212-431-3335.
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Photo: Courtesy of Sanctuary T.
Sanctuary T
At Sanctuary T, there's a reason to drink tea all day, from breakfast through till cocktail hour. A perfect spot for a shopping break any time of the day, you can enjoy all-day breakfast or an afternoon snack alongside your cuppa, or wait till after 5 p.m. and grab a tea-infused cocktail instead. With teas from around the world, your brief respite from the hustle and bustle of SoHo's streets can turn into a mini vacation.

Sanctuary T, 337 W Broadway B (at Grand St); 212-941-7832.
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Photo: Courtesy of Mamo.
Mamo
Can't make it to Cannes this year? Then consider paying a visit to Mamo in SoHo. An American outpost of the beloved Cannes restaurant, the same Provençal classics are on offer here. The burger, complete with a healthy dollop of foie gras, is a customer favorite, as is the extravagant truffle pizza. And don't picture the truffle oil-drizzled pies of the past — this one is completely covered in thinly-sliced, fresh truffles. The price, tellingly, is simply "market" — a far cry from dollar slices you might be able to find in the neighborhood. But, then again, it's a lot cheaper than airfare to France.

Mamo, 323 W Broadway (Between Canal and Grand Streets); 646-964-4641.
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Photo: Via @balthazarny.
Balthazar
Hungry shoppers looking for a rest (and maybe a glass of wine or two) ensure that Balthazar is nearly always packed. The giant space is filled with people sharing bistro classics like steak tartare and moules frites. If you're looking for a quiet spot with lots of elbow room, you may need to look on (possibly beyond the confines of SoHo), but if you are willing to be a part of the cacophonous fun, grab a seat outside and join the line.

Balthazar, 80 Spring Street (at Crosby Street); 212-965-1414.
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Photo: courtesy of Paowalla.
Paowalla
A restaurant devoted to bread in all it's amazing forms? Yes, please. At Paowalla, chef Floyd Cardoz pays tribute to the may delectable breads of the Indian subcontinent. Named for the paowallas that bring fresh bread, there are almost ten on offer. Yes, you'll find garlic naan, but also bread served with bacon butter and cheddar cheese-stuffed rolls. They're perfect with a chutney (you have seven to choose from), or to scoop up one of Paowalla's excellent main dishes, all designed for sharing.

Paowalla, 195 Spring Street (at Sullivan Street); 212-235-1098.
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De Maria
The product of a collaboration between two boss ladies, chef Camille Becerra and creative director Grace Lee, the newly-opened De Maria is destined to become one of SoHo's go-to spots for gorgeous, insta-worthy breakfasts and coffee breaks. Focusing on locally-sourced comfort food with a twist (like sprouted grain porridge and tahini yogurt), schedule some time to chat, sip, and linger ASAP — because pretty soon, the lines are going to be out the door.

De Maria, 19 Kenmare St (between Elizabeth and Bowery); 212-966-3058.
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Photo: Courtesy of Emmett's.
Emmett's
There's a heated rivalry between New York and Chicago-style pizza, but can't we all get along? After all, we love a good 99 cent slice as much as the next person, but sometimes you just want a pizza so overflowing with toppings and cheese that a fork and knife is necessary. You can get that (and more) at Emmett's, a paean to all that's tasty in Chicagoland. In addition to deep-dish pizzas that guarantees leftovers for days, you can order Chicago-style hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches, and beer from the Land of Lincoln.

Emmett's, 50 Macdougal Street (between Prince and W. Houston Streets); 917-639-3571.
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Photo: Via @amyleegiannotti.
Seamore's
Take a trip to the Cali coast, or just take a trip to Seamore's in Soho —this beachy spot is flooded with air, light, and chill vibes. A seafood focused Mexican menu, the plates here are always fresh and funky. Try Chrissy Teigen's favorite crispy fish tacos, made with a lightly battered and fried fish of the day that's been topped with cabbage and a drizzle of chipotle mayo.

Seamore's, 390 Broome Street (at Mulberry Street); 212-730-6005.
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Photo: Via @salidonyc.
Pasquale Jones
Created by the same team behind our other Soho darling, Charlie Bird, Pasquale Jones slings the downtown (i.e. chic) pie heat. These pizzas are thin crust and chewy perfection, thanks to two wood-fired Stefano Ferrara ovens, and come in a variety of savory flavor profiles (e.g. the clam pie with charred broccoli raab, cream, salted chiles, and white wine steamed clams). Not to mention this is the very spot where Beyoncé noshed after the VMAs.

Pasquale Jones, 187 Mulberry Street (at Kenmare Street).
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Photo: Via @edslobsterbar.
Ed's Lobster Bar
With a wood-paneled exterior, Ed's brings low-key New England seafood shack vibes to bustling downtown Manhattan. Offering a plethora of oysters, steamers, seafood pasta dishes, and of course lobster rolls, this Soho spot serves up coastal catches with comforting hometown gusto. Be sure to try the lobster ravioli — it's rich.

Ed's Lobster Bar, 222 Lafayette Street (at Spring Street); 212-343-3236.
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Photo: Via @revolve.
Cafe Gitane
This French-Moroccan cafe on Mott Street is best known for its Insta-worthy brunches — but the real meal to be had here is dinner. Gitane is cash-only (so the prices are right) and offers flavor-packed plates (ideal for sharing) in a chic Soho setting. And the Moroccan couscous with red peppers, potatoes, raisins, toasted pine nuts, hummus and eggplant? It's not to be missed.

Cafe Gitane, Multiple locations in Manhattan.
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Photo: Via @steveneatsnyc.
La Esquina
Beyond and beneath an antiqued neon "Corner Deli" sign lies La Esquina, a darkly lit and luxurious Mexican dining destination. But you'd never know — this Soho eatery is top secret, reservation-only, and exceedingly hard to get into (literally, a guarded nondescript door within the deli serves as the entryway).

If you're unable to score a reservation, you can always score some fabulous tacos from the counter upstairs...while casing the mystery door for a stealth entrance.

La Esquina, 114 Kenmare Street (at Centre Street); 646- 613-7100.
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Photo Via: @mscornpuff.
The Butcher's Daughter
Known as the "vegetable slaughter house," The Butcher's daughter is the hip place in Soho to get your organic and veggie-friendly fix. Providing top-of-the-line juices and lots of whole grain noshes, this neighborhood eatery is perfect for a trendy downtown bite.

The Butcher's Daughter, (at Great Jones's Street); 212-219-3434.
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Photo: Via @vanderlex.
Uncle Boons
Uncle Boons is your downtown Soho spot for delicious and dependable Thai. Located in a quaint loft-like space, it's a perfect date night destination — or a even just a low key, good grub, hangout with comrades.

Uncle Boons , 7 Spring Street (between Bowery and Elizabeth Street);
646-370-6650.
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Photo Courtesy of: Bistro Les Amis.
Bistro Les Amis
The corner bistro looks like it hasn’t been redecorated since 1983, which is part of the appeal. Sit at an outdoor table and select from a simple French menu (maybe coq au vin and cheese-drenched onion soup?) while you watch the Soho beauties and their shopping bags breeze by.

Bistro Les Amis, 180 Spring Street (at Thompson Street); 212-226-8645
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Photo Courtesy of: Cafe Altro Paradiso.
Cafe Altro Paradiso
The owners of nearby restaurant Estela promise “another kind of paradise” with this space, which is huge and airy and filled with light. The Italian-ish entrees are so simple that you may want to hang out strictly with the starters, like spicy anchovies on a buttery crostini, or a seared octopus with chickpeas.

Cafe Altro Paradiso, 234 Spring Street (at Sixth Avenue); 646-952-0828
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Photo Courtesy of: Miss Lily's.
Miss Lily’s
In a neighborhood where everyone else is too cool for school, this vibrant Jamaican diner explodes onto Houston Street. You’ll find jerk spices on everything—jerk corn, jerk fries, jerk wings, and so on—multiple seafood dishes, and yummy cocktails. Including one served in, yep, a coconut.

Miss Lily’s, 132 W Houston Street (at Sullivan Street); 212-812-1482
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Photo Courtesy of: Aurora.
Aurora
Expanding from their original venue in Williamsburg, the menu at Aurora has plenty of homemade pastas but we’ll just mention this one: burrata-stuffed ravioli with crushed truffles and a butter emulsion. If that description didn’t kill you, try their surprisingly great brunch, which boasts $5 refills on cocktails.

Aurora, 510 Broome Street (between Thompson Street and West Broadway); 212-334-9020
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Photo Courtesy of: Mooncake Food.
Mooncake Food
Calling itself a “new kind of Asian food,” Mooncake refuses processed meats, sugary sauces, and heavy frying at its original location in Soho (they already have two other outposts). So go ahead and fill up on the fascinating fusion of Asian flavors, as with the whitefish salad bahn mi or a grilled tofu noodle salad with ginger cilantro pesto dressing.

Mooncake Food, 28 Watts Street (between Thompson Street and Sixth Avenue); 212-219-8888
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Photo Courtesy of: Galli.
Galli
“Let’s do Italian” is comforting enough, but Galli promises “Italian comfort food,” so why not take a seat? The restaurant serves up the classics (pasta alla norma, vodka, pesto, amatriciana) and a whole calamari category and multiple kinds of protein parmesan. Don’t fight it. There’s no point.

Galli, 45 Mercer Street (between Broome and Grand streets); 212-966-9288.
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Photo Courtesy of: Coco & Cru.
Coco & Cru
Come to Coco & Cru for a refreshingly delicious breakfast, lunch, or brunch (because brunch is life). An Aussie-inspired establishment that serves up freshly sourced and flavorful eats. The space is clean, bright, and open air— nestled in the bustling heart of Soho.

Coco & Cru, 643 Broadway (at the corner of Bleecker Street); 212-614-3170.
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Photo Courtesy of: Mimi.
Mimi
Let this gray-marble sliver of a restaurant be your secret for as long as you can. The menu was dreamt up by a 25-year-old chef, Liz Johnson (who managed to fit in a stint at Per Se at an age most people spend partying) and is filled with rich French delicacies.

Mimi, 185 Sullivan Street (between Bleecker and West Houston streets); 212-418-1260.
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Photo Courtesy of: Chikarashi.
Chikarashi
Haven't hopped on the poké bowl train yet? Now's the time with Chikarashi — a sleek NYC spot serving up their own take on the new food trend. With a fusion of Japanese, Korean, and Chinese cuisines, these bowls are fresh, full of flavor, and affordable!

Chikarashi, 227 Canal St (between Centre and Baxter streets); 646-649-5965.
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Photo Courtesy of: Egg Shop.
Egg Shop
If you firmly believe that breakfast should last all day, run (don't walk) to Egg Shop. From brunch 'til late, you can avail yourself of the many egg-ccentric items on the menu, from classic bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches to their take on bibimbap and veggie-rich bowls and salads (topped with an egg, of course).

Egg Shop, 151 Elizabeth Street (between Broome and Kenmare streets); 646-666-0810.
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Photo Courtesy of: Osteria Morini.
Osteria Morini
Bow down in devotion at this altar to carbohydrates. The handmade pastas are the main event here, and a great way to sample chef Michael White’s skills without dropping the insane dollars on his other NYC restaurants (which include Marea and Ai Fiori). In fact, pastas are only $10 after 9pm on Mondays!

Osteria Morini, 218 Lafayette Street (between Spring and Kenmare Streets); 212-965-8777
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Photo Courtesy of: Jack's Wife Freda.
Jack’s Wife Freda
You may be surprised to find out that this cafe doesn’t just exist as a background for models’ Instagram posts. It also peddles Mediterranean fare with particular attention to sea creatures. Their shared dishes — grilled halloumi, a plate of straight-up garlic — are great with girlfriends (as you, yes, try not to gawk at the models).

Jack’s Wife Freda, 224 Lafayette Street (between Spring and Kenmare Streets); 212-510-8550
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Photo Courtesy of: The Dutch.
The Dutch
A neighborhood of bustling, beautiful, effortlessly cool people need a restaurant that caters to all of the above. Consistently packed to the gills, the Dutch makes room for every American comfort food, from pasta to roasted chicken to three cuts of beef. The presentation is everything, darling.

The Dutch, 131 Sullivan Street (at Prince Street); 212-677-6200
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Photo Courtesy of: Lucky Strike.
Lucky Strike
This French bistro is as old-school New York as a restaurant can be that opened in 1989. The menu is scribbled on giant, antique mirrors around the warm wooden space, and the food is straightforward and comforting. French onion soup and mac cheese? Oui.

Lucky Strike, 59 Grand Street (between Wooster and W. Broadway); 212-941-0772
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Photo Courtesy of: Public.
Public
Spot the far-flung influences in chef Brad Farmerie’s menu. His training and travels result in sashimi next to Caesar salad near a Moroccan braised lamb shank, and somehow it all works. These flavor experiments, plus the industrial decor, make for one cool dining experience.

Public, 210 Elizabeth Street (between Spring and Prince streets); 212-343-7011.
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Photo Courtesy of: Raoul's.
Raoul’s
Can’t make it to Paris this year? We feel your pain. The next best thing is Raoul’s, run by two French immigrant brothers since the ‘70s. The atmosphere is everything — viva la vie boheme — but the steak au poivre and duck-fat fries aren’t too shabby, either.

Raoul’s, 180 Prince Street (at Sullivan Street); 212-966-3518.
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Photo Courtesy of: Burger and Barrel.
Burger and Barrel
Here you'll find the classiest burger joint in all the land. The candlelit ambiance makes for a surprisingly great spot for a first date, as does the menu — it’s not just burgers, but other crowd-pleasers, too, like roasted chicken and ravioli. Bond over the many small plates, which are just right for sharing.

Burger and Barrel, 25 West Houston Street (between Greene and Mercer streets); 212-334-7320.
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Photo Courtesy of: Aquagrill.
Aquagrill
The best seafood restaurant in New York? Aquagrill might just be. It’s not just that the menu contains every kind of fishy fare your heart could possibly desire — it’s also the inventive, worldy preparations, like the crab claws with jicama-jalapeno-pineapple slaw, or the sea bass with Korean kimchi in a wasabi-miso sauce, that knock our socks off.

Aquagrill, 210 Spring Street (at Sixth Avenue); 212-274-0505.
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Photo Courtesy of: Blue Ribbon Brasserie.
Blue Ribbon Brasserie
Brothers and graduates of Le Cordon Bleu Bruce and Eric Bromberg named their restaurant group after the esteemed institution — "the blue ribbon" is the English translation. They have restaurants all around the world, including flagship Blue Ribbon Brasserie, which distinguishes itself as a French dining experience for night owls. Lucky for us, it's open until 4 a.m., seven days a week.

Blue Ribbon Brasserie, 97 Sullivan Street (between Spring and Prince streets); 212-274-0404.
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Photo Courtesy of: Carbone.
Carbone
The Italian restaurant to end all Italian restaurants: That seems to be what chefs Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone were aiming for with Carbone. The menu is precisely what you would expect — linguini vongole, prime porterhouse, Caesar salad — with impeccable service and mighty-high prices. Try the spicy rigatoni vodka, which many Yelpers claim is the best pasta dish in the city.

Carbone, 181 Thompson Street (between Bleecker and Houston streets); 212-933-0707.
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Photo Courtesy of: Socarrat Paella Bar.
Socarrat Paella Bar
Jesus ‘Lolo’ Manso has created an empire of Spanish restaurants in Manhattan, all bearing the name “socarrat,” the term for the crust that forms at the bottom of a paella pan. The Paella Bar in Nolita boasts a bustling communal table and pans overflowing with lamb, shrimp, beef, cuttlefish, lobster, squid, duck, pork, and just about every protein that walks or swims this earth.

Socarrat Paella Bar, 284 Mulberry Street (at East Houston Street); 212-219-0101.
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Photo Courtesy of: Alidoro.
Alidoro
Sandwiches, sandwiches, and more sandwiches: That's Alidoro’s business. The specialty sandwich shop has about a billion combos on its menu, all named after famous Italians (like the Da Vinci and Sinatra). With all that prosciutto, sopressata, capicollo, mortadella, and more, you half expect a Sopranos cast member to be playing cards out front.

Alidoro, 105 Sullivan Street (between Spring and Prince streets); 212-334-5179.
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Photo Courtesy of: Navy.
Navy
If you're coming to Soho for its charm, you’ll most certainly find it in spades at Navy, a seafood spot with appropriately nautical décor touches. Chef Camille Becerra sets herself apart from other fish restaurants with veggie complements, like branzino with leeks puree or octopus with pickles and lemon aioli.

Navy, 137 Sullivan Street (between West Houston and Prince streets); 212-533-1137.
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Photo Courtesy of: Parm.
Parm
Italians love arguing about what real Italian food is — namely, how it’s not the ziti you’re being served in Staten Island or New Jersey. Parm serves up unabashedly Italian-American sandwiches, with chicken parm, eggplant parm, and meatball parm all on the menu. They also cater. Remind us what there is to argue about, again?

Parm, 248 Mulberry Street (between Spring and Prince streets); 212-993-7189.
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Photo Courtesy of: Lure Fishbar.
Lure Fishbar
If you don’t love seafood, this might not be the place for you. There is a marine touch to nearly dish, like a lobster crouton appetizer, tuna tacos, and any other fish-themed course you could possibly wish for. Okay, there’s a burger and herb-roasted chicken, for the non-seafood fanatics, but that’s no fun in a place like this!

Lure Fishbar, 142 Mercer Street (at Prince Street), 212-431-7676.
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Photo Courtesy of: Rubirosa.
Rubirosa
Of all the pizza and Italian joints in New York, it always seems to be Rubirosa that everyone thinks they personally discovered. Well, the secret is out. The cozy spot features the decades-old thin-crust recipe from the Pappalardo family (straight out of Staten Island), plus chef Al DiMeglio’s homemade pasta dishes.

Rubirosa, 235 Mulberry Street (between Spring and Prince streets); 212-965-0500.
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Photo Courtesy of: Little Prince.
Little Prince
Let this spot be your introduction to French food. Little Prince has the requisite steak frites and wine list, but without the holier-than- thou attitude (or prices). Plus, you still get that romantic bistro ambiance. Bon appetit!

Little Prince, 199 Prince Street (between Macdougal and Sullivan streets); 212-335-0566.
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Photo Courtesy of: Il Mulino Prime.
ll Mulino Prime
Just what New York needs: Another steakhouse. Right? Actually, yes, especially when it's by the Italian powerhouse Il Mulino group. Il Mulino Prime — whose decor is White Party-ready — is a tiny ode to beef. Though the cuts take center stage, you'd be remiss to pass up other dishes, like the lobster mac and cheese or the short ribs ravioli.

Il Mulino Prime, 331 West Broadway (at Grand Street); 212-226-0020.
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Photo Courtesy of: Charlie Bird.
Charlie Bird
The owners of Charlie Bird claim that they were inspired by "essential New York." What does that mean? According to this Sixth Avenue hotspot, it looks like neon lights on brick walls, feels like a tight space with lively diners, and tastes like an American menu with heavy Italian influence. Oh, and said menu is printed on colorful graffiti-esque paper, too, as if designed by Warhol himself.

Charlie Bird, 5 King Street (at Sixth Avenue); 212-235-7133.
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Photo Courtesy of: Ruby's Cafe.
Ruby's Cafe
There's an expansive Australian ex-pat community hiding in New York, and you'll probably find a good number of them dining at Ruby's. Their recently expanded space has a menu full of Aussie standards, including —yup, you know it — Vegemite on toast. If that yeast paste freaks you out (it's an acquired taste, after all), there are plenty of solid burger, sandwich, and salad options.

Ruby’s Cafe, 219 Mulberry Street (between Spring and Prince streets); 212-925-5755.
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Photo Courtesy of: Balaboosta.
Balaboosta
As a resident of New York, you may be proud of the Yiddish phrases you've picked up along the way — right, bubbala? But, you might have missed balaboosta, which translates to "perfect housewife" (or "bossy woman," but six of one…). This spot features Middle Eastern dishes with Mediterranean touches, the best of which are the smaller plates like hummus or grilled eggplant crostini.

Balaboosta, 214 Mulberry Street (between Spring and Prince streets); 212-966-7366.
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Photo Courtesy of: Hundred Acres.
Hundred Acres
When you’re aching for an escape from the city, get a touch of the country at this airy spot on MacDougal Street. The food and decor is meant to evoke a farmhouse, with French doors open to the sidewalk and loads of local veggies on the seasonal menu. The best part, however, might be the delightful drink options, which include a dozen whiskeys and bold cocktails. It's enough to make you long for sleepy summer afternoons.

Hundred Acres, 38 MacDougal Street (between King and Prince streets); 212-475-7500.
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Photo Courtesy of: Tacombi.
Tacombi
Next time you find yourself arguing with co-workers about where to have happy hour, insist they join you at the ridiculously fun Tacombi. It's decorated to look like a shack on a Mexican beach, and a converted VW bus serving gluten-free tacos is parked right in the center of the space. The relaxed vibe is perfect to sip cerveza after cerveza. You can practically hear the waves crashing nearby.

Tacombi, 267 Elizabeth Street (between Prince and East Houston streets); 917-727-0179.
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Photo Courtesy of: David Burke Kitchen.
David Burke Kitchen
Of all of David Burke’s restaurants, Kitchen might be the most fun. Gingham and denim abound in the playful dining room, and for all of its higher-end fare, you can still order a bucket of beer to enjoy in the gorgeous outdoor space. The menu is full of hearty American farm favorites like lamb, ribeye, and chicken with arugula ravioli.

David Burke Kitchen, 23 Grand Street (at Sixth Avenue); 212-201-9119.
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Photo Courtesy of: Lovely Day
Lovely Day
This sweet little diner looks like a quaint 1950s spot, with flower-dotted wallpaper and shiny red table tops. The basement even has a happening little bar. But it's the tasty Thai fare that will make this fun, quirky spot a favorite to nosh on noodles and nostalgia.

Lovely Day, 196 Elizabeth Street (between Spring and Prince streets); 212-925-3310.
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Photo Courtesy of: Sadelle's
Sadelle’s
We respect anyone that respects the bagel, and this Jewish bakery/restaurant raises them to an art form. They emerge fresh from the oven and ready to be smothered in shiny layers of sturgeon, salmon, tuna salad, and more. There’s also the epic egg sandwiches, plus finger-lickin’ sticky buns. Wear leggings to brunch, is what we’re saying.

Sadelle’s, 463 West Broadway (between West Houston and Prince streets); 212-254-3000.
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Photo Via: @lupesnyc.
Lupe's East L.A. Kitchen
Tell the Angelenos in your life to stop whining about how Mexican food on the West Coast is so much better than anything here. Lupe’s brings that flavor to Soho, with low-key diner decor and even more casual prices for its flavorful burritos, enchiladas, and seafood dishes.

Lupe's East L.A. Kitchen, 110 Sixth Avenue (at Watts Street); 212-966-1326.
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