Our 10 Best East Village Restaurants, 2012 Edition

Our 10 Best East Village Restaurants, 2012 Edition

These chicken chile guajillo enchiladas at Downtown Bakery are every bit as good -- and spicy -- as they look.

The East Village may be the city's most eclectic and rewarding dining destination, though this aspect of the neighborhood is sometimes eclipsed by its bars and cocktail lounges. You can dine cheap or you can go upscale -- the chief challenge of this new ranking was to identify places that fall all along the continuum of price, but still represent great value and superior taste. Compare it with our 2010 list.

Our 10 Best East Village Restaurants, 2012 Edition

10. Downtown Bakery -- This former Italian bakery turned Mexican over a decade ago, supplementing its torpedo-shaped breads and sweet rolls with pan dulce and antojitos (tacos, enchiladas, burritos, etc.). Gradually the menu expanded, the baked goods faded away, and what we now have is one of the best and cheapest Mexican restaurants in town. 69 First Avenue, 212-254-1757

9. Dirt Candy -- A valentine to vegetarians, this strictly no-flesh spot turns out startlingly good assemblages of veggies in architectural platings that feature little splashes of brilliant color and well-spaced geometric elements. Why no one did this before is the big question. The only downside is the name. 430 East 9th Street, 212-228-7732

Our 10 Best East Village Restaurants, 2012 Edition

8. Back Forty -- The sophomore project of Peter Hoffman -- New York's early answer to Alice Waters -- strikes all the expected local and sustainable notes, with a meatiness added that's absent from, say, Chez Panisse. The Sunday night pig roasts have become legendary. 190 Avenue B, 212-388-1990

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