Breakfast/Brunch: The Smith (multiple locations but the East Village is my favorite)
Brunch in New York City can sometimes be (pardon the language) a real shit show. Two hour waits, over-hyped food, not to mention spending half your meal trying to drum up a game plan for how you will get out of your seat without sitting on your neighbor’s avocado toast. Be it as it may, I really, really love brunch. So I persevere.
Which brings me to, The Smith. First off, they take reservations. Huge bonus, right?! Second, the restaurant doesn’t feel like it has three more tables squeezed in than it really should. There’s actually room to put your coat and bag beside you. Finally, the menu is huge and the food is really good. I had what I believe to be the very best pancakes I’ve ever had in my entire life on our last visit. I have no doubt you’ll find something, or maybe a few things, you’d like.
It should be noted that while I recommend The Smith for brunch, I’d also add their East Village spot to my list of places to grab a late afternoon drink and snack at the bar.
Lunch: Joe’s Pizza (Greenwich Village)
Proclaiming your favorite pizza spot in New York City is almost on the lines of professing your political beliefs. It’s a hot button and people will happily debate your slice of choice. Nonetheless, I happily recommend Joe’s Pizza… or Joe’s “Famous” Pizza because apparently it was in Spiderman and a lot of famous people have eaten there. Take all the hype away and it’s just simply, really good pizza. Piping hot. Loads of cheese. Just the right amount of sauce. You’ll most likely find a line out the door and you can pretty much forget finding a seat inside the tiny place. However, lucky for you, it’s a stone’s throw away from Washington Square Park and that just happens to be one of the most picturesque spots in the city. So, grab a slice, sit by the fountain, and enjoy your quintessential “New York Moment”.
Dinner: Amelie Wine Bar (Greenwich Village)
Amelie is my favorite restaurant in the city and usually our first stop. The atmosphere is what I love most. It’s tiny. I believe in New York, they call it “cozy”. Either way, you won’t have any problems hearing your neighbors’ conversation. On one of our most recent trips I spent a good portion of the meal eavesdropping on a first date. It was going really well for them. Speaking of dates, it’s a great option for one. Dim lightning, good music, relaxed vibe. It’s sexy without being cheesy. Romantic without being over the top. The staff made up entirely of French men doesn’t hurt either.
The fare is French, but not intimidatingly, ya know French. There’s a well rounded list of entrées and in my opinion, something for everyone (this coming from someone who’s fairly picky). The real star here is the warm pistachio crusted goat cheese ball. Guys. I literally find myself thinking of this appetizer at random times. It’s that good. It comes served over deliciously caramelized onions and accompanied by fresh baked bread. You’ll be eyeing your date to make sure they’re not taking too much. Promise.
On top of having amazing food, their wine selection is stellar. I don’t pretend to be very knowledgeable about wine. My reality is more like “recent college grad trying to be sophisticated”. With that being said, the staff is so kind. They’ll steer you to something they think you’ll like, all without judgment (at least to your face… that’s all that matters, right?) As an added bonus, they have a really good happy hour from 5-7 with $12 wine flights. Pick one of the staff-made options or make your own from practically anything on the menu. Amazing.
Drinks: 10 Degrees (East Village)
Drinks in New York City can be expensive and really add to your tab, but the city honestly gets a bad reputation. If you know where to go, you can find plenty of reasonable options. One of the best I’ve found (well, my husband actually gets credit for this one) is 10 Degrees. Why? They have a 2 for 1 happy hour 7 days a week from noon to 8 pm. Let me be clear. 2 for 1 on ANY DRINK for 8 HOURS *I do not recommend anyone drinking for 8 hours 😉 * So, take a $12 cocktail and it essentially becomes $6, an $8 craft beer becomes $4, which is a pretty good price for any city.
Maybe you’re thinking… okay, the drink prices sound great, but this place is probably a dump or overrun with NYU students. Surprisingly, no. The crowd was a mixed bunch and low key, just what I like. There wasn’t a sea of bodies to push through, but rather everyone sitting at tables enjoying time with friends. I expected the bar to be 5 deep and drinks next to impossible to get, but the staff was attentive, friendly and service was quick. I also expected the drinks to be watered down, but they were great. Overall, a great experience.
As an added bonus, 10 Degrees is right off St. Marks, so if you’re looking for an action-packed, up all night kind of time, this is the place for you.