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.
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
"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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