(1.) Beard Papa Sweets Café
740 Broadway, nr. Astor Pl. 212-353-8888
Green-tea cream puffs!
23 Third Ave., nr. St. Marks Pl.; 212-254-9500
Not your average pita parlor, Chickpea is home to the “Shawafel,” the overstuffed love child of the shawarma and the falafel, and the brand-new “Chickplant,” a tasty hard-cooked egg-eggplant-and-hummus concoction.
7 St. Marks Pl., nr. Third Ave; 212-505-9955
As industrial-chic as the current Thai crop and twice as loud, but to its credit the creative kitchen doesn’t stint on spice (ubiquitous pink peppercorns included).
(4.) St. Marks Market
21 St. Marks Pl., nr. Third Ave. 212-253-7777
An unassuming 24/7 Korean-deli-style market from the outside; inside lurksa wealth of unexpected and welcome surprises, like good beer and a great selection of bread culled from the city’s top artisanal ovens, Orwashers, Balthazar, and Tom Cat among them.
(5.) Grand Sichuan
19-23 St. Marks Pl., nr. Third Ave.; 212-529-4800
Don’t let the uncharacteristically friendly service fool you: This is a fully licensed branch of the fabled Chinese chain, and maybe the best. Red cooking pork with chestnuts, tea-smoked duck, braised pumpkin with ginger and scallion—and some of the worst karaoke performances known to man.
25 St. Marks Pl., nr. Second Ave.; 212-254-6363
Of all the St. Marks izakayas—and they have become legion—this one’s got the biggest buzz, the brightest lights, and the kookiest music. The food’s not bad either.
(7.) Cacio e Pepe
182 Second Ave., nr. 12th St.; 212-505-5931
We recommend—yes—the cacio e pepe.
203 E. 10th St., nr. Second Ave. 212-995-9511
This dessert café built on a sushi-bar premise fills up fast, and celebrates sweets with a $12 three-“course” prix fixe.
(9.) Angon on the Sixth
320 E. 6th St., nr. Second Ave.; 212-260-8229
Begum Mina Azad is that rare thing in New York’s Indian-food world—a celebrity chef who happens to wring astounding flavor from ingredients as mundane as spinach (in palak paneer) and lentils (in dhal fry).
(10.) Miss Williamsburg Portavia
228 E. 10th St., nr. First Ave.; 212-228-5355
In an open kitchen without the luxury of gas, Max Bartoli still manages to turn out lasagna so delicious it made its national debut on the Food Network.
(11.) Una Pizza Napoletana
349 E. 12th St., nr. First Ave. 212-477-9950
With his limited hours and even more limited menu (four pies, minimally topped), Anthony Mangieri might be the world’s most quixotic pizzaiolo. He’s also one of New York’s best.
81 St. Marks Pl., nr. First Ave.212-979-9300
Vegetarian-friendly, seasonally driven Seoul food like autumn rolls and kimchi noodle soup have garnered this cozy nook a cult following.
(13.) Momofuku Noodle Bar
163 First Ave., nr. 10th St.; 212-475-7899
Ramen purists might quibble about the noodles, but the pork belly has no rival. Kudos to the Korean-American chef for expanding the parameters of the New York noodle bar.
406 E. 9th St., nr. First Ave. 212-777-2425
This cozy, romantic date destination is run, fittingly, by a couple. She cooks, he hosts—uncommonly graciously, we might add.
(15.) Dumpling Man
100 St. Marks Pl., nr. First Ave. 212-505-2121
Fried or steamed Chinese dumplings, rolled and stuffed before your eyes and best doused with the heady new “Red Monster” chili sauce.
(16.) Hummus Place
109 St. Marks Pl., nr. Ave A; 212-529-9198
Chickpea nirvana and a terrifically filling vegetarian meal. Arriving soon: pita baked on premises.