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A sushi assortment from Kanoyama shimmers, with huge eel filets slithering down the center of the plate.
The East Village is swarming with restaurants, many of them excellent. The mixture is as eclectic as anywhere in town, with 30 or so ethnicities represented, and price levels ranging from incredibly cheap to almost-expensive. The food runs from top-shelf Japanese sushi to the peasant soups of Europe, with everything in between.
A peasant soup if ever there was one: The vegetable soup at B & H Dairy Lunch, served with buttered challah baked on the premises.
We’ve defined the neighborhood as extending from Houston to East 14th Street, and Broadway to the East River. Katz’s might be number one on the list, except that it’s on the south side of Houston and thus outside the area. (Look for Our 10 Best Lower East Side Restaurants soon.)
Without further ado, here are our 10 best, ranked in order, plus a slew of runners-up that are nearly as meritorious. Your chances of having a bad meal at any of these places is slim. The Japanese restaurants, in particular, are some of the best in the metropolitan area, including several distinguished places serving Japanese ramen with ferocious authenticity.
Please let us know your favorite places if they’re not included here, and we’ll file them on the Readers’ Suggestion page.
Back Forty is a farmstead-friendly restaurant on Avenue B dark enough to be a great date spot.
Runners-Up to Our 10 Best East Village Restaurants
Chiyono (Japanese Homestyle), 328 East 6th Street, 212-673-3984; Pylos (Greek), 128 East 7th Street, 212-473-0220; Grand Sichuan (Chinese), 21 St. Marks Place, 212-529-4805; Mercadito (Mexican Ceviches), 179 Avenue B, 212-529-6490; Angelica Kitchen (Vegetarian), 300 East 12th Street, 212-228-2909; Wechsler’s Currywurst and Bratwurst (German), 120 First Avenue, 212-228-1170; Soba-Ya (Japanese Noodles), 229 East 9th Street, 212-533-6966; Zabb City (Thai), 244 East 13th Street, 212-529-8770; Nomad (North African), 78 Second Avenue, 212-253-5410; Counter (Vegetarian), 105 First Avenue, 212-982-5870; Banjara (Indian), 97 First Avenue, 212-477-5956; Kanoyama (Sushi), 175 Second Avenue, 212-777-5266; Gnocco (Pizza & Italian), 387 East 10th Street, 212-677-1913; Hearth (Italian), 403 East 12th Street, 646-602-1300; Crif Dogs (Hot Dogs), 113 St. Marks Place, 212-614-2728; Buenos Aires (Argentine), 513 East 6th Street, 212-228-2775; Mogador (Moroccan), 101 St. Marks Place, 212-677-2226; Hummus Place (Israeli), 109 St. Marks Place, 212-529-9198
Next: Numbers 5 though 10
Angelica Kitchen has been regaling vegetarians and their friends for decades with a combination of the ancient hippie vegetarian cuisine and a more modern take on vegetarianism.
Numbers 6 through 10
10.Dirt Candy (Vegetarian), 430 East 9th Street, 212-228-7732
9.Porchetta (Central Italian), 110 East 7th Street, 212-777-2151
8.The Smith (Gastropub), 55 Third Avenue, 212-420-9800
7.Back Forty (New American), 190 Avenue B, 212-388-1990
6.B & H Dairy Lunch (Jewish Dairy), 127 Second Avenue, 212-505-8065
Next: The Top 5
Ippudo replicates a ramen style imported from Japan, and the noodles are transcendently delicious.
The Top 5
5.Hasaki (Sushi), 210 East 9th Street, 212-473-3327
4.Prune (New American), 54 East 1st Street, 212-677-6221
3.Jack’s Luxury Oyster Bar (New American), 101 Second Avenue, 212-979-1012
2.Momofuku Ssam Bar (New American), 207 Second Avenue, 212-254-3500
1.Ippudo (Japanese Noodles), 65 Fourth Avenue, 212-388-0088
Next: Readers’ Suggestions
Hanging at the B & H’s famous Formica counter on the swiveling stools.
Caracas Arepa Bar (Venezuelan), 93 East 7th Street, 212-529-2314
Mamoun’s Falafel (Middle Eastern), 22 St. Marks Place, 212-387-7747
Veselka (Ukrainian), 144 Second Avenue, 212-228-9682
Degustation (Science Chef), 239 East 5th Street, 212-979-1012
The Redhead (New American), 349 East 13th Street, 212-533-6212
Motorino (Pizza), 349 East 12th Street, 212-777-2644
Ukrainian East Village Restaurant, 140 Second Avenue, 212) 614-3283
Kyo Ya (Japanese), 94 East 7th Street, 212-982-4140