Insider Picks: Where to Eat Like


a Local in Downtown NYC

by Emily Marucci

Where are you eating tonight? Whether you’re craving the coziest environment with the most comforting food or an artful mash up of cultural flavors, we have the best of them located in New York’s cool, calm and collected downtown.


Uncle Boons

(646) 370-6640
7 Spring Street New York, NY

The brainchild of Matt Danzer and Ann Redding this little gem is made for the traveler at heart. The food is so authentic you’ll feel like you caught a train to Bangkok (sans the airfare cost). Uncle Boon’s has a very downtown underground vibe – its warmly lit, frames dripping off the walls of exposed brick and lots of dark wood architecture. When it comes to this Southeast Asian cuisine, leave your unadventurous friends at home and start with the tamarind margarita or the beer shake, then move on to the green curry snails, spicy chicken, banana blossom salad, frog legs over glass noodles with a side of octopus.

Barrio Chino

(212) 228-6710
252 Broome Street New York, NY

We have never not craved Mexican food after discovering Barrio Chino. This casual spot in the LES does right by their name with the latter “Chino” meaning “Chinese” in Spanish. Asian accents and Chinese portraits hang from the warm exposed-brick walls, colorful paper lanterns dangle above the dark wooden floors and the shelves of tequila are always in plain site. Try the enchilada verdes stuffed with shredded chicken, melted oaxacan cheese, black beans and topped with queso fresco. You might as well be in it’s homeland…it’s that authentic. Barrio Chino is the Mexican-go-to we’ve been waiting on for so long.

Jack’s Wife Freda

224 Lafayette Street New York, NY

What’s the one thing every New Yorker loves? A brunch spot with a laid-back vibe fit for Sunday afternoons. It’s understated with an effortless charm (think a homey striped awning and a long family table smack in the middle of the space). Here you’ll find the perfect mix of cozy atmosphere and comfort food. Come for the owner’s grandmother’s matzo ball soup made with duck fat or the rosewater waffles with Lebanese yogurt, then head home for an afternoon nap.


(646) 882-7052
130 Division Street New York, NY’s

It’s Greece in Chinatown (with lemon trees inside to match). Kiki’s is authentic, uncomplicated, and straightforward. The space is intimate, airy and open. The food is 100% traditional Greek, which is a big plus for those searching for the real heart of the country…the food. The space has a rustic feel with wooden beams and brass fixtures. Order the roasted eggplant with crushed walnuts, charred lamb chops (don’t leave without trying some meat) and shrimp drowning in ouzo…you’ll get legitimate Athens vibes. If that alone doesn’t compel you to visit, you should know the staff is so friendly you’ll feel like family. From beginning to end, be prepared for an amazing experience.

Smith & Mills

(212) 226-2515
71 North Moore Street New York, NY

This tiny Tribeca carriage house turned 1930s bar offers a list of classic cocktails so you don’t have to read the fine print. You’ll want to get the oysters and then get down with a great burger. Sometimes that’s all you need. But, if you’re on the look out for something a bit healthier, the avocado toast with sunflower seeds, lemon, chili and sea salt is not only delicious, it’s a creative masterpiece.


(212) 730-6005
390 Broome Street New York, NY

Meatball Shop’s co-founder Michael Chernow just opened Seamore’s this month. The low down? Sustainable seafood in a light and bright inspired space with splashes of maritime décor. Try customizing the catch of the day with different sauces (i.e harissa cashew) and then make your choice between three sides (we love the sweet potato fries). Here, the choice is literally all yours.

Tijuana Picnic

(212) 219-2000
151 Essex Street New York, NY

Head to Tijuana Picnic for an interesting take on a Mexican menu. Chef Alex Lopez weaves lots of smart Asian accents into the food and it really just works. The best part is the food’s vibrant flavors that are just as thoughtfully presented to perfection. Try the duck wings with Asian spices, shrimp tempura tacos with fermented black beans and the tortilla soup with pork dumplings. Picnic tables, loud music and a cucumber mint cocktail with mescal…this place makes dining fun and there’s one word it’s not – pretentious. Don’t take grandma here because it’s party time.


+ (212) 687-3641
511 East 5th Street New York, NY

This eatery takes a cue from it’s name, its very New York. Now, the city happens to have the best pizza in the world so where does GG’s stand? Chef and Staten Island native Bobby Hellen serves up something simple but lovely: no fuss New York-style pizza that sets himself apart from the others who are trying to take pizza into another world with weird ingredients coming along for the ride. Here, he picks his ingredients straight from the backyard, so naturally we chose the “Ev Greenery”, which consists of greens, lamb chorizo, sauce vert, grano padano, cherry tomatoes and pickled red onion. If you feel like something that will feel home-cooked, word is the grandma pie is the way to go. Home sweet home.

Written by Emily Marucci

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By Published on Aug 13 2015
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