● Amorina – An authentic pizzeria known for Roman-style pies. The thin crust is perfect, and they also deliver. ● Beast – Americanized tapas bar with a diverse menu (brunch selections include chorizo hash with chipotle-spiked hollandaise) and a mellow lounge area. Reservations recommended. ● Cafe Enduro – Comfy neighborhood cantina offering pecan-encrusted trout in addition to more traditional Mexican fare.
● Franny’s – Simple yet satisfying dishes all created with organic, locally grown ingredients and renewable energy — feel smug while you grub. ● James – Perfect blend of homey fare and urban flair in a cozy dining room cleverly disguised as just another Brooklyn brownstone. The creamed spinach and roasted Brussels sprouts are the stars. ● Melt – Bergen eatery with an excellent tasting menu (a Tuesday night favorite), including creative courses such as strawberry gazpacho and grass-fed beef ceviche. ● Ortine – Charming yet elegant, offers equally delicious brunches and dinners featuring scores of organic ingredients — vegetarians welcome. ● Stonehome Wine Bar and Restaurant – Exquisite seasonal menu from local and sustainable sources with divine cheese and wine lists. ● Tom’s Restaurant – A Brooklyn institution with an extensive menu and the best service in New York. Get the crab cakes Florentine with grits and a cherry lime rickey, and then go back next week and get the same thing. ● Fly Fish – Reincarnation of short-lived Whiskey Sunday pimps seafood with similar rustic vibe. Go for the catfish po boy.
For those who would happily eat a pile of dead leaves, were they slathered in cream cheese frosting.
● Babycakes (Lower East Side) – For the vegan red velvet lover (they pull it off, in spite of the fact that real cream cheese frosting is key to any successful red velvet cake). ● Crumbs (Greenwich Village) – For the more mainstream experience, and the convenience of multiple locations. ● Solomon’s Porch (Brooklyn South) – Recently renovated soul food spot serves up blues and famous red velvet cake Bed Stuy style.
● Billy’s Bakery (Chelsea) – Famous bakery uses family recipes exclusively. ● Atlas Cafe and Bakery (East Village) – Also vegan, with a wide variety of delicious entrées in addition to their extensive baked goods. ● Magnolia Bakery (West Village) – Longtime downtown favorite is known for its cupcakes (coconut cream is a close second to the red velvet). ● Sugar Sweet Sunshine (Lower East Side) – Rivington bakery has great 60’s / 70’s vibe but don’t worry, no armadillo cakes, here. ● Buttercup Bake Shop (Midtown East) – Midtown bakery delivers deliciousness all over the city. ● Cousin John’s Cafe and Bakery (Park Slope) – Brooklyn institution offers delectable cookies and great coffee as well. ● Cake Man Raven (Brooklyn South) – This legendary Fort Greene bakery is billed as “The Official Home of the Red Velvet Cake.”
● ABC Seafood (Downtown) – In spite of the name, order the duck and feel like you’re dining in the Emperor’s own banquet hall. ● Arunee’s House (San Fernando Valley) – Thai dive in Toluca Lake with exquisite yellow curry. ● Cafe Pinot (Downtown) – Tahitian vanilla panna cotta — oo la la.
● Casa Vega (San Fernando Valley) – The moody paintings of hombres and bullfights make you feel as if you’re sequestered in a border bar, at least until you see famous regulars like Joni Mitchell or Jennifer Aniston. ● Ike Sushi (Hollywood) – Atmosphere is authentic Japan — small, cramped, and fluorescently lit — but the sushi is superb. ● Casa La Golondrina (Downtown) – Arguably the best margaritas in L.A., and the charm of Olvera Street transports you to another time, not just another place. ● Marrakesh (San Fernando Valley) – Wear your fez, and be prepared to belly dance — best with a large group and lots of Moroccan wine. ● Taste of India (San Fernando Valley) – The small waterfall and impeccable chicken korma will help you forget that this delicious restaurant is located beside a 7-11 (what could be more international?). ● Yamashiro (Hollywood) – Enjoy a selection from the glamorous wine list while gazing down upon a twinkling Japanese valley (or at least Hollywood). You might even spot an actual astral body from this magnificent hilltop restaurant. ● Zankou Chicken (Hollywood) – The famous Mediterranean garlic paste will instantly become your favorite condiment.