The 10 Best East Village Restaurants

The 10 Best East Village Restaurants
Bradley Hawks for the Village Voice

Gentrification may have long since sunk its tenterhooks into the East Village, but thanks to rent stabilization and diehard denizens who refuse to move away, the neighborhood still holds the distinction of being the most eclectic in the city. That goes for the restaurants, too -- here, you can find old-school diners, fine-dining gems, cab-driver-filled bodegas, and trendy cantinas, sometimes all on the same block, which makes it an exciting place to fill your belly. Here, we present the 10 best East Village restaurants. And given the sheer quantity of excellent spots, we already know we've forgotten your favorite -- so please let us know what we've missed in the comments.

The 10 Best East Village Restaurants
Lindsay Keys courtesy of Huertas

10. (Tie) Huertas (107 First Avenue, 212-228-4490) and Donostia (155 Avenue B, 646-256-9773) The East Village got a pair of Basque pintxos bars in the course of the last year. Huertas attempts to make the Spanish tapas experience relevant to New York City by passing stylish takes on traditional bites around its front room, dim sum-style. Hit the back room for a modern Spanish prix fixe. Donostia channels Spain's love of the conserva (basically, fancy canned food) to put out a surprisingly robust menu of traditional pintxos; don't miss the tortilla Española. The bar also pours the largest sherry collection in the city.

The 10 Best East Village Restaurants
Bradley Hawks for the Village Voice

9. Somtum Der (85 Avenue A, 212-260-8570) You won't find curry on the menu at Somtum Der, nor will you find many of the other specialties that fill the lists of more Americanized versions of Thai restaurants. This offshoot of a Bangkok eatery specializes in fare from the northeastern Isaan region of the country, and it's unyielding in representing that cuisine authentically. Somtum der refers to the green papaya salad, and so that dish is front and center here -- there are several different variations to choose from. After you've selected yours, you should move through pork rolls and sundried beef, a platter of chopped meat larb, and soup, skewers, or one of the versions of fried rice. And chile fans should note that heat can be dialed up intensely here -- so if you're sensitive to spice, you might want an order of sticky rice to temper your meal. That made it our Best Thai Restaurant in Best of NYC 2014.

The 10 Best East Village Restaurants
Nicole Franzen for the Village Voice

8. Prune (54 East First Street, 212-677-6221) Prune is the East Village -- the wee restaurant's served as a neighborhood gathering place since Gabrielle Hamilton opened it 15 years ago. Today, you'll still find lines flanking it for its famous brunch, when diners settle in for pasta carbonara, montecristos, and eggs in cocotte, paired to innovative takes on the bloody mary. Hamilton revamped the dinner menu earlier this year, though the fresh dishes still come from a personal place. This is creative New American fare lovingly cooked, and it's as good as it ever was.



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