19. Little Giant
85 Orchard St., nr. Broome St. 212-226-5047
An Ikea dining room hosts seasonal New American dishes with playful names like Beet Box (roasted beets with Humboldt Fog cheese, $10) and Babys Got Bass (wild striped bass with clams, lentils, bacon, and aïoli, $25). The Swine of the Week is $22.
20. El Bocadito
79 Orchard St., nr. Broome St. 212-343-3331
A new Mexican tapas joint serving “little bites”—e.g., taquitos—to the spillover crowd from Barrio Chino.
72 Orchard St., nr. Grand St.
646-264-3233 The shelves at this incubator for fashion designers currently feature lush, sexy lingerie from Martha Colón.
22. East Side Company Bar
49 Essex St., at Grand St. 212-614-7408
Another cocktail nest from Sasha Petraske (see Milk & Honey) but less exclusive. Huddle up in a booth, order a delicious Pimm’s Cup, and watch the candlelight play off the pressed-tin roof.
23. Kossar’s Bialys
367 Grand St., nr. Essex St. 877-424-2597
New York isn’t exactly packed with bialy stockers. But even in a town with 1,000 of them, Kossar’s light, bready, onion-smeared renditions would be the best.
24. Doughnut Plant
379 Grand St., at Norfolk St. 212-505-3700
Forget Dunkin’ Donuts, Krispy Kreme, and your local cart. These superb sugar-caked rings of fried dough come in offbeat flavors like vanilla bean and strawberry cake.
47 Orchard St., nr Hester St. 212-219-1061
It’s hard to categorize the collective behind this gallery space. And that’s kind of the point: Take the current show, “Vera,” which mixes Jason Simon’s film of a woman talking about her passion for shopping with one-off karaoke and video art nights.
26. Girls Love Shoes
85 Hester St., nr. Orchard St. 917-250-3268
Paradise for lovers of vintage footwear. There are 1,000 pairs for sale (a Maud Frizon tiger-print pump is $150), and 1,000 more for rent at this store run by Zia Ziprin, whose great-grandfather started a yeshiva on East Broadway and whose beatnik mother opened a vintage store nearby in the sixties.
27. The Sweet Life
63 Hester St., at Ludlow St. 800-692-6887
Sugar aficionados get hives just looking at the buckets and buckets of honey-glazed pecans, giant swirl lollipops, Pez dispensers, halvah, and Turkish delight in the window.
61 Hester St., at Ludlow St. 212-477-2427
The epicenter of LES life below Grand Street serves remarkably fresh salads, baked eggs, and sandwiches (try the mortadella-and-Garrotxa on ciabatta) to local hipsters, who linger over rich espressos and Wallpaper*. Next door is Orange, a grocery, and across the street is Green, the catering wing.
29. A NY Thing
51 Hester St., nr. Essex St. 212-777-0919
Everything a skateboarder needs—baggy clothes, LPs, stickers, and ’tude—except actual skateboards.
30. Classic Coffee Shop
56 Hester St., nr. Ludlow St. 917-685-3306
“Classic” is right—with Rocky Marciano photos on the wall and post-bebop jazz on the stereo, Carmine Morales’s tidy hole-in-the-wall is just the place for a tuna melt and an egg cream.
31. 48 Hester
48 Hester St., nr. Essex St. 212-473-3496
This minuscule boutique carries Trovata, Rag & Bone, sass & bide, and Nobody jeans—the same brands at owner Denise Williamson’s Mercer Street showroom. Now in: Williamson’s own women’s line, Franck.
32. The Main Squeeze
19 Essex St., nr. Hester St. 212-614-3109
Walter Kuehr’s squeezebox emporium—he offers his own line of accordions and lessons in how to play them—looks like a relic of the 1890s, even though it opened in 1996.
33. Organic Avenue
23 Ludlow St., nr. Hester St., second floor; 212-334-4593
A treasure trove of materials for natural living: wild jungle peanuts, cruelty-free silks, and a hemp Brazilian bikini.
34. Les Enfants Terribles
37 Canal St., nr. Ludlow St. 212-777-7518
An exquisitely designed French-African restaurant (worn leather banquettes, gold leaf ceiling) that’s hybrid in every sense. By day, locals munch on merguez sandwiches; by night, it’s a sexy multiculti scene. Try the Ivorian sliced-steak korhogofefemougou (a mouthful in more ways than one).
35 Canal St., nr. Ludlow St. 212-475-5505
A gloriously simple French-owned bar that opened in early February with the kind of stealth that usually produces La Esquina–level buzz. Expect it to be mobbed by . . . oh, right about now.
36. Happy Joy Restaurant
25 Canal St., nr. Ludlow St. 212-388-0264
Everyone from families to construction workers loves the friendly waiters and very tasty Chinese-Malaysian food here. Eggy tofu is house-made; kuey teow noodles a filling standby; curried skate wing a sour-spicy marvel.
37. Good World Bar & Grill
3 Orchard St., at Canal St. 212-925-9975
The pioneer. In 1999, Annika Sundvik converted a sketchy barbershop (i.e., brothel) into a wood-floored bar and Swedish restaurant. Then the world discovered Good World’s long beer list, house cocktails (the Berzerker: aquavit, Absolut Citron, ginger ale, dry vermouth, and a cucumber slice), and Scandinavian staples. Now weekends are uncomfortably crowded; Sundays with a pint of Hoegaarden in the rear courtyard, however, remain perfect.