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Home > Restaurants > Café Nadary

Café Nadary

16 W. 8th St., New York, NY 10011 40.732584 -73.997463
nr. Fifth Ave.  See Map | Subway Directions Hopstop Popup
212-260-5407 Send to Phone

  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern
  • Price Range: $$

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Photo by Angela Datre

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Payment Methods

American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Special Features

  • Lunch
  • Take-Out


Accepted/Not Necessary


This venue is closed.

It has been quite some time since Greenwich Village—let alone 8th Street—represented artistic bohemia, political activism, or much of anything beyond NYU bloat and Magnolia cupcakes. But the 17 Iranian-American shareholders who form the collective ownership of Café Nadery felt the enduringly schlocky block between Fifth and Sixth Avenues was the perfect home for their new public clubhouse, a Wi-Fi-equipped haven for art exhibits, film screenings, live music, and political debate. Its illustrious namesake, Naderi Café, opened in Tehran in 1928 and became for a time the city’s reigning literary and intellectual hangout. Although it was famous for its confections, we can’t speak for the rest of the food. New York’s Café Nadery, though, has a distinct advantage over its nominal predecessor: a menu created by Louisa Shafia, an Iranian-American chef and food writer whose latest book, The New Persian Kitchen, combines traditional Iranian recipes with her unprocessed, whole-grain, veggie-centric riffs. Shafia’s approach to her ancestral cuisine emphasizes the bounty of fresh herbs, the ubiquity of yogurt, the richness of nuts, and the sweet-and-tart tanginess of exotically seasoned pickles and chutneys—Iranian as you might not recognize it, health food for this locavore era. On the surface, Café Nadery aspires to nothing grander than serving as a social hub, and invites the community to peruse the newspapers and magazines stacked by the door or riffle a bookcase filled with well-thumbed English and Farsi volumes. There is Gimme! coffee (an alternative to the spiffy new Stumptown down the street) and plenty of craft beers and (mostly) California wines. True, all of those things can be found elsewhere in this super-­caffeinated, well-lubricated metropolis, but not in combination with the lyrically named “Iranian garden.” This still life of pristine, unplucked herbs, oiled-and-spiced feta, walnuts, and radishes is served with the Iranian sourdough whole-wheat flatbread called sangak; it’s customary to tear off pieces of bread, stuff them with sprigs and cheese, and nibble them throughout the meal. The “fresh mint green salad” is exactly that: a very fresh, very green heap of butter lettuce, arugula, basil, and spearmint, festooned with pistachios and pumpkin seeds. There is a chicken-salad sandwich dressed in cucumber yogurt that tastes just vaguely unfamiliar, and a bean, herb, and noodle soup, ash-e reshteh, that tastes utterly so. The contents of the bowl are ribollita-thick and deep green, an Über-vegetal mush of spinach, dill, cilantro, parsley, and green onion mingled with soft strands of pasta, chickpeas, and kidney beans. On top, minted caramelized onions and a dollop of the cultured cream called kashk provide the perfect sweet-and-sour foil. The kitchen employs an equally compelling condiment, tamarind-date chutney, on the beet burger, a meatless patty served with melted Cheddar on a whole-grain roll. 

Related Stories

Featured In
The Underground Gourmet on Café Nadery and El Aripo Café, Two Humble Oases of Expat Culture (08/04/13)

Ideal Meal

Iranian garden; bean, herb, and noodle soup; majoon.