Hi, I’ll be heading to New York at the end of April with my partner. We will be staying on the Lower East Side.
I’m looking for restaurants with a bit of a buzz, but do not want to have to shout to be heard. Also in the evening I like to relax over my meal and would consider a sitting time of under 2 hours to be a rush. I don’t mind a quicker turnover at lunchtime.
I’m currently considering the following restaurants and would be grateful for any help weeding out those that are too loud or have a short turnover.
Italian - Via Carota, Etrusca, Foul Witch
Persian/Israeli - Eyval, Laser Wolf
Thai - Zaab Zaab Brooklyn, Lum Lum
Spanish/Portuguese - Cervo’s, Tia Pol, Casa Mono
Wine Bar - Claud, Four Horseman
I’ll be in New York for five days, and hope to dine in one restaurant from each of the categories. I’d gladly welcome any alternative suggestions.
For Spanish / Portuguese, I’d make a strong rec for Tomino Taberna de Gallega. Have always enjoyed Tia Pol / Casa Mono during my pre-kids NYC days and admittedly haven’t been to either in years, but on a recent trip to NYC, we hit Tomino Taberna and it was an incredible meal. And love the ambience which retains that intimate, tapas bar feel without feeling cramped (i.e. Tia Pol).
Not sure if Via Carota takes reservations these days. They do have a waitlist, if you can get your name on the list sooner than later. I wasn’t able to visit on my last visit in 2019 because it was too busy and I got my name on the list too late. We enjoyed drinks at their Bar Pisellino across the street.
While Lupa has been around forever, we enjoyed Lupa’s pasta tasting menu when we couldn’t get into Via Carota. Lupa takes online reservations. The other place that looked good to me was Altro Paradiso
Some of my colleagues have been to Etrusca and have noted that while good, it is also uneven. I would chalk it up to being a newish operation, so it might be better to let them get their operations to settle in first.
Via Carota is great, but i think I prefer their sister restaurant I Sodi, maybe b/c they take reservations, but both are great.
Others to consider for Italian.
Rezdôra for great handmade, curated pasta (opt for the pasta tasting)
Marea for seafood centric pasta (get the octopus and bone marrow fusilli).
Italian - Via Carota is lovely, but if you don’t want to wait go at an off time. Otherwise L’artusi around the corner, or Carbone if you want that vibe.
Thai - There are write-ups of LumLum here. It’s not sceney / buzzy really, and it’s not relaxed in the 2h sense unless you go late. I like Wayla not far from where you’re staying, if you can get seated in the back. Thai Diner is hard to reserve but probably the buzz you want, though maybe not the extended table time.
Spanish - Go to La Vara over Tia Pol (I love Tia Pol, it hasn’t been Alex Raij for many years).
Wine bar - It would help if you could be more specific with what you’re trying to do here. In the meantime, I’d suggest Aldo Sohm or Wildair (very different from each other).
I didn’t find LumLum loud on any visit but everyone has different tolerance for sound. (You can also ask to be seated on the bar side which has only 3 tables.) Less busy (and buzzy) at lunch as with everywhere else.
I would just note that if its two for dinner, most places these days won’t let you have two+ hours at a table unless you are having a late dinner and there is no one after you. Many places will note on the reservation that a two top gets 1 1/2 hours a four top 2 hours. Any place that is buzzy is stacked with reservations. If your reservation is before 8, expect that there is a reservation following you and that the staff will be encouraging you to move on as there will be another couple waiting impatiently. We had this happen just a few weeks ago and the manager was trying to manage a very awkward situation where there was a two top lingering far past their allotted time. We were impatient but reasonable and when we were seated a 1/2 hour past our chosen time they comped us with wine, free bread and an app. Was nice but really threw off what I had planned to eat as I was filling up on the comped stuff before we even ordered.