From Sushi To The Perfect Date Spot, An Editor's Guide To Chelsea

Welcome to a brand-new R29 column, Building Blocks, a celebration of the places we call home, and all of the hidden (and not-so-hidden) gems we love — plus, the new neighborhood spots we're discovering all the time. Each go-round, a different editor will show you around their five favorite spots in their 'hood. Today, we're starting with our deputy editor, Neha Gandhi.
I moved to Chelsea about a year ago, and it's the furthest uptown I've lived, in my eight years in NYC. I love my apartment and I really enjoy how conveniently close everything from Trader Joe's and Whole Foods to The Container Store and pretty much all of the subways are (seriously, all within a three-block radius — what more could a girl ask for?). But, I was worried, at first glance, that I wouldn't find the same wealth of great boutiques, bars, and restaurants that I'd always had an abundance of, in Soho, Tribeca, and the LES.
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As it turns out, the options don't abound in the same way, but in the past year, I've found a handful of places that I really love, from what I consider the best Japanese food in the city to the easiest shopping-for-essentials spot that totally makes up for the fact that I don't live across the street from a Reiss anymore. So, in the name of sharing, I'm showing you around all of my must-hits.
Design by Isabelle Rancier
1 of 5
Tipsy Parson
This spot is owned by half of the duo formerly behind Little Giant, my favorite (now-shuttered) LES restaurant. The menu offers amazing avocado toast for brunch, the best farro salad ever, amazing brussels sprouts, and some very delicious cocktails. Plus, I once saw Simon Doonan there. What's not to love?
156 Ninth Avenue (between 19th and 20th streets)

Photo: Courtesy of Tipsy Parson
2 of 5
Comptoir des Cotonniers
This is my go-to for days when I hate everything in my closet. There's no shortage of chic, interesting silhouettes in solid shades or neutral prints — and as a bonus, every single piece in this shop is soft and sweet, and manages to be comfortable without ever feeling sloppy.
137 Fifth Avenue (between 20th and 21st streets)

Photo: Courtesy of Comptoir des Cotonniers
3 of 5
Morimoto
"A very good friend of mine is the head sushi chef here, so I might be a little biased, but I think this is the best Japanese food in all of New York. Better than Nobu by a long shot. Sit at the bar if you want a shot at sharing a meal with the likes of Jimmy Fallon and Leonardo DiCaprio, but know that the bar downstairs is truly lovely, especially if you're a fan of cucumber cocktails."
88 Tenth Avenue (between 15th and 16th streets)

Photo: Courtesy of Morimoto
4 of 5
Doughnut Plant
I used to live near the LES location of this spot, and there was a line down the block, waiting for doughnuts, at any given time, on every single weekend day. This location is just as amazing, but generally line-free, which I love. I prefer the hazelnut-cake doughnut, but you really can't go wrong with any of the options on the menu.
220 W. 23 Street (between Seventh and Eight avenues)

Photo: Courtesy of Doughnut Plant
5 of 5
Le Zie
This place is a restaurant with a lounge off the side of it. I can't make any promises about the food, but I really love the lounge part. They have a great wine list and it's really the perfect, intimate-but-not-overbearing spot for a second date. You can hear the person you're with, sit as close as you'd like, and enjoy a little bit of candlelight without feeling like the place is trying too hard.
172 Seventh Avenue (entrance on 20th Street)

Photo: Courtesy of Le Zie
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