118A Eldridge Street, Lower East Side, 625-8008

Of the four northern Chinese dumpling stalls in Chinatown, this is my favorite, offering pork-and-chive pot stickers, boiled-beef sandwiches on wedges of homemade sesame bread, vegetable-filled hot and sour soup, and the legendary chive box—ask for "chives and egg pancake"—a half-moon pie filled with scallions, vermicelli, scrambled egg, and, sometimes, baby shrimp. The box is prepared on the spot and cooked to order. Also look for the jar of summer kimchi at the carryout window. Best of all: Most selections are $1, and there are bags of frozen dumplings to take home. ¢

Location Info


Vanessa's Dumpling House

118A Eldridge St.
New York, NY 10002

Category: Restaurant > Chinese

Region: Chinatown

Sophie's Cuban Cuisine

96 Chambers St.
New York, NY 10007

Category: Restaurant > Cuban

Region: Financial District


246 Tenth Ave.
New York, NY 10011

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Chelsea


35 W. 20th St. #A
New York, NY 10011

Category: Restaurant > Greek

Region: Chelsea


790 Eighth Ave.
New York, NY 10019

Category: Restaurant > Bistro

Region: West 40s

Atelier, Ritz-Carlton Hotel

50 Central Park S.
New York, NY 10019

Category: Restaurant > French

Region: West 50s

Cafe Sabarsky

1048 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY 10028

Category: Restaurant > German

Region: East 80s


2529 Eighth Ave.
New York, NY 10027

Category: Restaurant > African

Region: Harlem

Cafe Steinhof

422 7th Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Park Slope

Carolina Creek Restaurant

87 Utica Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11213

Category: Restaurant > Soul Food

Region: Crown Heights


511 Myrtle Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11205

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Brooklyn

La Piazzetta

442 Graham Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Brooklyn

Taqueria la Asuncion

206 Knickerboker Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11237

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Bushwick

Eddie's Sweet Shop

105-29 Metropolitan Ave.
Jamaica, NY 11434

Category: Restaurant > Dessert

Region: Jamaica

96 Chambers Street, 608-9900

Proving that great food never goes out of style, Sophie's has reinvented the Cuban lunch counter on Chambers Street, filling a hot cabinet in the window with snacking standards like empanadas, yuca croquettes, and papas rellenas—scarlet mashed-potato ocarinas stuffed with ground beef and olives. The Cuban sandwich made further inside at a special counter is top-notch, oozing cheese and mayo, and loaded with great pernil and thin-sliced dill pickles. Best surprise, however, is a made-to-order camarones al ajillo, featuring a dozen barely cooked shrimp in a tangy, annatto-laced sauce. ¢


325 Spring Street, Soho, 414-1344

Occupying the same premises as the original White Columns Gallery, Theo permits you to sit on the exact spot where Sonic Youth played their break-out "Noise Festival" show. When we visited recently (there's been a change of chef since then), the food was playful and semi-revolutionary, including a gazpacho that seemed like a healthy reinvention of Orbit soda, with tiny BBs of vegetable suspended in a pallid tomato water that was barely sweet. Also intriguing was a macaroni ravioli that, while not containing actual macaroni, tasted like mac and cheese. Entrées were sturdier and not quite so wild. Our fave was a fish stew that toed the line between bouillabaisse and cioppino. $$$

175 Avenue B, 253-2221

Despite being the fourth in a series of Emilia-Romagnan restaurants south of 14th Street, Paolina manages to stake out new culinary territory. At this new and whimsically decorated restaurant on a prime East Village corner, you can get the usual piadinas and tagliatelle al ragu, but there's also fagotti—blistered fried pies loaded with ham, cheese, and mushrooms; and maialino al latte—a substantial pork filet browned in oil, then braised in milk. Best of all is the breaded chicken cutlet named after Italy's favorite superhighway: cotolette autostrada. Sit outside on the comfy deck chairs and watch the world go by. $

14TH TO 42ND

246 Tenth Avenue, Chelsea, 206-6766

Frustrated in your attempt to get into Red Cat after that Chelsea gallery opening? Right across the street, Bottino is nearly as good. Go for the octopus salad, in which the rubbery fellow is upstaged by his tasty olive-oil dressing, and skip the boring salad of underdressed baby greens. Pastas make the best main courses, especially the giant green ravioli stuffed with cheese and herbs and bathed in sage butter, but also consider the baby chicken, splayed and crusty and served on a bed of sautéed peppers. And while the weather lasts, luxuriate in one of the city's leafiest restaurant gardens. $$

35 West 20th Street, 463-7890

While most upscale Greek restaurants in Manhattan pick the easy route to riches, concentrating on expensive but simply grilled whole fish, Periyali serves a Panhellenic menu, painting a fairer picture of Attic cuisine. At a recent lunch, we enjoyed a brick-red rabbit stew bombarded with baby onion bulbs, the meat copious and tender, and a chorus line of tender sautéed shrimp kicking in olive oil and lemon. The dining rooms in the rear are preferred, rustic within but offering a vertiginous cityscape through the skylights. $$

790 Eighth Avenue, 489-2233

Many of today's most ambitious restaurants are opening in luxury hotels, and, located on the ground floor of the Days Inn, Pigalle follows the trend. I was prepared to dislike this facsimile of a Parisian brasserie (or, perhaps, imitation of Pastis), until I tasted the food. The salt cod brandade was superb: Though more like cod mashed potatoes, the largish cylinder was anchored in mushroom cream. The thick gazpacho served with a skewer of fresh-tasting shrimp and the cassoulet cooked with duck confit, pork sausage, and smoked bacon were also tastier than expected. Drawback: The recipes have been defunkified from their Gallic counterparts, but, as compensation, the servings are humongous. Open 24 hours. $

42ND TO 59TH

Ritz-Carlton Hotel, 50 Central Park South, 521-6125

Ritz-Carlton dining rooms all over the country provide expensive and slightly creative French fare in sedate surroundings, and this new restaurant is no exception. The $68 prix fixe offers three courses of solid high-quality ingredients, and, to its credit, there is no additional charge for foie gras (served dusted with sea salt in a whip of basil and pea shoots), roast lobster (an entire shelled specimen with baby fennel in a sea of pink foam), and dry-aged sirloin steak. The drawbacks—too much foam, and a fiendishly expensive wine list, with virtually no bottles under $50. You'll be hearing a lot more about this place. $$$

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