West Village Eats: Where to Eat Near IFC Center

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Photo via Tertulia

Since opening its doors in 2005, IFC Center has become one of the best arthouse movie theaters in Manhattan, showing everything from Oscar-winning features and shorts to rare independent films and brilliant ongoing repertory programs. Whether you’re escaping the summer heat and hiding away with Christian Petzold’s fascinating Phoenix or coming for a weekly midnight movie, you’re sure to work up an appetite soaking up all that cinema. With an overwhelming number of dining options in the West Village to choose from, knowing just where to have a meal can be stressful. To help, here are five great restaurants near IFC Center.

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Photo via Murray’s

Murray’s Cheese Bar 

264 Bleecker St., New York, NY

From the good folks that brought you the cheese sensation Murray’s, the Bleecker Street companion Murray’s Cheese Bar offers some of the most rich and delicious food in the neighborhood. Come for a bite before a movie and order a large glass of red wine paired with a well-curated cheese plate and return after for a hearty Murray’s melt or refined mac & cheese. 

What to Order: Murray’s Melt, Mac & Cheese, Cheese Bar Sliders, Kale Sprouts
Distance from IFC Center: A 3 minute walk

Cornelia Street Cafe

29 Cornelia St., New York, NY

Since 1977, Cornelia Street Cafe has been a beacon for the West Village’s thriving creative community. From artists and actors to poets and patrons, this beloved landmark serves up delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day in a cozy and welcoming cafe setting. Come for dinner and feast on their steak frites and return after you take in a movie for a cocktail and live jazz.

What to Order: Steak Frites, Eggs Benedict, Bistro Burger
Distance from IFC Center: Less than a 3 minute walk

Home

20 Cornelia St., New York, NY

This intimate and inviting West Village staple features a delectable seasonal menu in a romantically rustic setting. Dine under the stars in their garden patio or cozy up inside with tried and true favorite dishes like the mac n’ cheese and pork belly. Make sure to save room for their heavenly chocolate and butterscotch puddings or their flourless chocolate cake.

What to Order: Pork Belly, Mac n’ Cheese, Heirloom Tomato Salad
Distance from IFC Center: A 2 minute walk

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Photo via Tertulia

Tertulia

If you’re in the mood for sophisticated and unique Spanish cuisine, Chef Seamus Mullen has you covered at Tertulia. From award-winning seafood tortas and flavorful cured meats to their praised paella, this charming rustic restaurant is sure to satisfy your post-movie cravings and become your new go-to for exquisite Spanish fare in the neighborhood. (359 6th Avenue)

What to Order: Tosta Matrimonio, Paella del Huerto
Distance from IFC Center: A 2 minute walk

Pearl Oyster Bar  

18 Cornelia St., New York, NY

Reinventing “beach food” for the refined palates of the West Village, Pearl Oyster Bar is one of Manhattan’s best restaurants for satisfying seafood cravings. Choose from a to-die-for lobster roll, fried oysters and seafood stews, and order a glass of wine and spend your lunch or dinner in this cozy and quaint Cornelia Street spot chatting about the movie you just watched.

What to Order: Lobster Roll, Fried Oyster Roll, Little Neck Clams
Distance from IFC Center: A 2 minute walk

The Best of Midtown Manhattan: Where to Eat Near Bryant Park

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Photo: John Gillespie

Bryant Park is something of an oasis in Manhattan—the New York Public Library and wide open space (when not occupied by an ice skating rink) offer a respite from the hustle and bustle of midtown. That the park is dangerously close to Times Square means that most of its surrounding food options are counter-serve chains, ranging from Starbucks and Panera to Le Pain Quotidien and Pret A Manger. There’s no shortage of sandwiches and salads, but what if you’re looking for food that’s more than just fuel? Here’s our pick of restaurants near Bryant Park, from one-of-a-kind sandwicheries to authentic Asian eats and a taste of old New York.

Cafe Zaiya

1073 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY

Located on the second floor of the bookstore Kinokuniya, Cafe Zaiya is more of a Japanese bakery than anything else. Though cream puffs and flaky, donut-like pastries are the speciality, the café, which has a nearby location close to Grand Central, is a go-to for lunch with savory options like premade bento boxes and onigiri, seaweed-wrapped rice balls.

Good for: To-go Japanese lunch

What to get: One of the bento boxes, a to-go lunchbox with any combination of fish, meat, rice, and vegetables.

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Photo: Bento box at Cafe Zaiya (credit: Stu Spivack)

Untamed Sandwiches

43 W 39th St, New York, NY

If you’re a sandwich eater, you can thank Untamed Sandwiches for saving you from the banality of fast-casual lunch chains. Since opening its doors in January 2015, this specialist of slow-braised meat has been drawing armies of desk job folk during peak lunch hours for sandwiches, hearty and creative in both name and ingredients. The wood-lined space is casual and small with less than 20 stools, split between a communal table and window seating. It’s open for breakfast as well as lunch and dinner, so you might as well stop by on a hungover Friday morning for an egg sandwich.

Good for: Workday lunch, to sit or to go

What to get: The Hot Goldie, beef short-rib, red onion, sweet and sour cabbage, black pepper aioli on ciabatta roll

Keen’s Steakhouse

72 W 36th St, New York, NY

Of all the New York steakhouses dotted around Midtown Manhattan, Keen’s is the one to try for a taste of old New York. It’s been around since 1885, and everything about the place resembles a traditional dinner club, from the white tablecloths and wood-paneled walls to its mutton chops and creamed spinach specialities.

Good for: A classy steak dinner

What to get: Go surf and turf with an order of oysters and the legendary mutton chop.

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Photo: Keen’s Steakhouse (credit: Edsel Little)

Ootoya 

141 W 41st St, New York, NY

If you’re craving Japanese and have time to sit and stay a while, consider Ootoya, an outpost of a Tokyo izakaya chain. The menu features the Japanese equivalent of comfort food, specializing in set menus consisting of a main dish like breaded and deep-fried pork or chicken, served with miso soup, rice, pickled vegetables, and egg custard. There’s sushi, soba, udon and more, making it a one-stop shop for a well-priced and satisfying Japanese meal.

Good for: Reasonably-priced sit-down lunch or dinner

What to get: Tonkatsu teishoku (set meal with breaded pork loin) or homemade soba

Szechuan Gourmet

The name might be ordinary, the outdoor facade drab, and the interior basic, but Szechuan Gourmet on 39th Street is one of New York’s most authentic spots for spicy cuisine. You don’t come here for General Tso’s chicken (though it is on the menu and very good), but for fiery Szechuan specialities.

21 W 39th St, New York, NY

Good for: A casual sit-down for hot and spicy authentic Chinese

What to get: The tea-smoked duck, sliced pork belly with chili leeks, and ma po tofu with chili-minced pork.

Where to Celebrate JK Rowling’s Birthday Based on Your Hogwarts House

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Everyone’s favorite mistress of magic, JK Rowling, turns 50 today! Here, we scoped out the perfect spots to celebrate the Harry Potter author’s birthday tonight based on your Hogwarts house (we KNOW you know yours).

Ravenclaw—Le Philosophe

Clever Ravenclaws will feel right at home at this NoHo restaurant; themed around famous philosophers, dinner conversations will naturally skew academic. But, the no-nonsense rustic French cuisine won’t make you think too hard.

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Hufflepuff—The Spotted Pig

Cozy gastropub chic fits Hufflepuff’s humble demeanor well. Even though Kanye has been known to frequent this place, it’s overall a good, low-key spot to nestle into rich dishes like burgers and skirt steak.

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Slytherin—Mission Chinese

Located on the gritty cusp of the Lower East Side and Chinatown, Mission Chinese is the perfect haunt for Slytherins. The strong, spicy flavors match their devious personality, and snagging a table here requires some cunning tricks.

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Gryffindor—The Clocktower

Hearty, contemporary British fair suits a Gryffindor’s night out. From fancy prime côte de boeuf to down-to-earth mac and cheese, this classic restaurant is the perfect place to raise a toast to JK Rowling’s birthday.

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For more places to eat and drink in New York right now, check out the BlackBook City Guides.

Need Another Reason to Go to Rockaway Beach This Summer? Welcome to The Palms

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Photo: The Palms

Get on the A train any given weekend in the summer and you’ll find the subway cars as crowded as they are during the weekday commute. Except instead of toting briefcases and backpacks, people are geared up with bikes, surfboards, and beach umbrellas. Their destination is Rockaway Beach, the chillest summer hang spot in New York. Post-Hurricane Sandy, Rockaway has rebuilt itself in a way that’s revitalized the old and welcomed the new. It’s a bonafide creative community and a food destination boasting pilgrimage-worthy tacos, pizza, and snack bar eats.

This weekend, Rockaway gets even cooler with the opening of The Palms, a 5,000 square foot event space from Rockaway Taco co-founder David Selig and The MP Shift, a design and branding studio. Located across the street from The Summer Shift, the “tropical town square” will host events from Topless Art Gallery, yoga classes, movie showings chosen by Greta Gerwig, and guest-chef dinners. Fashion boutiques Feather — a bohemian chic sustainability-driven store — and The Notion, a swimwear shop, will also be on site, as will an outpost of O Café, featuring all things coconut from chef Fernando Aciar. The guest dinners start this weekend with a 5-course menu from Camille Becerra of Navy (including a dessert from Morgenstern’s) — tonight is sold out, but tickets for Saturday are still available here.

No matter when you stop by this summer, The Palms is sure to be a bustling hub of activity with something new popping up every day.

No Meat, No Dairy, No Problem: The Best Vegan Restaurants in New York City

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Photo: Crispy tofu at Dirt Candy (credit: Krista)

Here’s the dilemma: you’re a vegan and you’re going out to dinner with a decidedly non-vegan group. You don’t want to be “that guy” who goes out to Mexican and orders a taco salad that amounts to nothing more than iceberg lettuce in a tortilla bowl, or the one who gets oatmeal at brunch (but only if it’s made with almond milk). In order to avoid being pegged as a boring dinner date and to keep the invitations coming, you need to not only recommend the restaurant, but choose one that caters to you and your less dietary restricted friends. And hey, even if you aren’t vegan, plant-based eating is having a moment in the culinary world right now and you’d be missing out on some fine New York dining were you to turn your nose up at meatless menus. With that in mind, here are the best restaurants in New York for vegans.

For more places to eat and drink in New York right now, check out the BlackBook City Guides.

By Chloe

185 Bleecker St. at MacDougal, New York, NY

By Chloe, a new vegan concept from celebrity chef Chloe Coscarelli just touched down in the West Village. It’s a strictly plant-based restaurant but not in a stereotypical crunchy way. The menu features vegan takes on American comfort foods, like a burger and fries, mac n’ cheese, and ice cream sandwiches. Chef Chloe also does her own take on the very Instagrammable avocado toast.

Good for: Casual lunch

What to get: The classic burger (made with a tempeh, lentil, chia, and walnut patty) on a potato bun with air-baked sweet potato fries

El Rey Coffee Bar & Luncheonette

100 Stanton St. at Ludlow, New York, NY

Lower East Siders have been crowding the veggie-friendly El Rey since it first opened in 2013, but thanks to New York Times critic Pete Wells’ recent visit to the California-Mexican and his pleasant surprise at the vegan chicharrones, the hole-in-the-wall joint is about to get a lot busier. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, the space is bustling all day long, and though it isn’t branded as vegan, there are plenty of dairy and meat-free dishes, though there’s also a marinated chorizo plate.

Good for: Brunch or dinner with a small group

What to get: Avocado flatbread, kale salad with almond vinaigrette, vegan chicharrones locos with cashew cream 

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Photo: Grains and crudité at El Rey (credit: El Rey)

Dirt Candy

86 Allen St. at Broome, New York, NY

Amanda Cohen, the mastermind behind trendy Dirt Candy, couldn’t handle the never-ending hype that surrounded her original East Village location that she had to move to a bigger space in early 2015. She does crazily inventive things to vegetables, crafting dishes like vegetable monkey bread, sizzling Brussels sprouts tacos, and jalapeno hush puppies. Don’t shy away from the veggie-based desserts, you’ll be back for the celery cheesecake.

Good for: Trendy dinner

What to get: Brussels sprouts taco, carrot waffles with peanut mole sauce

Dimes

49 Canal St. at Orchard, New York, NY

Eating at Dimes is a win-win, it’ll make you feel healthy and cool. The minimalist California chill space specializes in one-plate wonders that cater to any dieter. Vegans will take to the chia seed pudding breakfast bowls and eclectic salads with accouterments like pickled red onions and candy cane beets, pescatarians will appreciate the pickled salmon bowl and seared tuna, and carnivores have more than plenty to choose from, like the pulled-pork bowl or the crunchy BLT.

Good for: Eclectic breakfast, light dinner

What to get: Quinoa bowl with carrot slaw, ginger tumeric hummus and mint basil vinaigrette; ciao bowl with poached eggs, bulgur, olives, currants and cumin yogurt herbs

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Photo: Dimes

Superiority Burger 

430 E. 9th St. at Avenue A, New York, NY

This newcomer to the East Village restaurant landscape is home to the boutique veggie burger (from a Del Posto alum). The website sums up everything you need to know about the burger joint: “everything is vegetarian, a lot is accidentally vegan.” Similar to by Chloe, the meatless menu is hearty and even if an all-beef burger were offered, you’d probably opt for the veggie version anyway, it’s just that good.

Good for: A quick and cheap dinner

What to get: The vegan sloppy joe and burnt broccoli salad

WTF: There’s a Brooklyn-Themed Bar in Manhattan 

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Photo via The Brooklyneer 

There’s an odd shift in the space-time continuum of New York City; rents are getting lower in some Manhattan neighborhoods while Whole Foods and Starbucks and even Ralph Lauren are popping up in Williamsburg. The cool edgy vibe of Kings County is slowly dissipating as more corporations see millennial money to be had. But that quintessentially hip, young Brooklyn vibe is still a draw. Just ask the owners of a Brooklyn-themed bar in Manhattan’s West Village.

“The Brooklyneer” as it’s called, is either some sort of weird social experiment, art installation, or just a really, really silly concept. Why waste literally dozens of minutes on the L train when you can enjoy all the trappings of Brooklyn in Manhattan? The menu is chock full of eye-roll inducing Brooklyn stereotypes like kombucha, craft beer and local liquors. We wouldn’t be surprised if the bartender wears a knit beanie all year round and has a mustache tattoo on the inside of his finger.

Is this supposed to be, to use a v. Brooklyn word, “ironic”? And even if it is ironic, there’s a weird Disney Land sense of hyperreality about this place that would make even Jean Baudrillard go bonkers.

By Chloe, the West Village Lunch Spot With a Vegan Burger That Carnivores Will Love

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Photo: by Chloe 

As far as what’s cool in food right now, plant-based eating is pretty much the zeitgeist (when not eclipsed by the next big fried chicken sandwich). Everyone from Beyoncé to Mark Bittman has preached the benefits of eating a mostly vegan, heavily kale-infused diet. One of the main takeaways of veganism-of-the-now is that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. For every steadfast vegan out there, there’s a healthful eater who would do anything for a cheeseburger but has a sensibility for seitan. Just as often as carnivores are embracing plant-based meals, traditional chefs are creating their own meat-less imitations of American classics. Take Van Leewuen, the artisan ice cream makers who got their start scooping their signature milk and cream specialties from their yellow trucks and now serve a vegan ice cream in their seven stores that has the New York Times drooling.

Then of course, there are chefs who’ve always been dedicated to the vegan cause. With the demand for healthy food on the rise, such chefs have more of an opportunity than ever to bring their inventive dishes to the masses. The latest to do so is Chloe Coscarelli, a vegan chef who made a name for herself as the winner of Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars,” back when cupcakes were the coolest thing since sliced bread. Along with Samantha Wasser of ESquared Hospitality, the 27-year old, who counts cookbook author and social media star on her resume, started by Chloe, a hip fast-casual vegan restaurant on the corner of Bleecker and MacDougal in the West Village, open today.

Located on the outskirts of NYU’s campus, by Chloe has a casual vibe targeted at the young, downtown eater. Think of it as Westville-meets-Organic Avenue-meets-Shake Shack, with a little bit of Van Leeuwen mixed in. The menu has a solid salad selection (including a kale caesar), and hearty main dishes that replace meat with plant, nut and wheat combos, like a vegan burger made with a tempeh, lentil, chia seed and walnut patty or a portabello mushrom-based whiskey BBQ. Non-dairy wise, there’s a heartwarming mac n’ cheese and truly mouthwatering ice cream sandwiches in flavors like roasted banana bourbon and coffee chip. We can only hope that she introduces vegan fried chicken down the line.