Best Restaurants in NoLIta

July 31, 2018
by Zagat Staff

The (slightly) quieter neighborhood to the east of SoHo, NoLIta has a good number of casual, not-too-expensive restaurants, with a few upscale options thrown in. This is the area to head to if you’re looking to spend less than $30 on dinner, want to try some of NYC’s best pizza, or are in need of a good brunch.

Pizza · NoLita · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.5 · Service 3.7

This 1905-vintage NoLita pizza “shrine” , which claims to be America's first pizzeria, still draws throngs with its “real-deal” coal-fired pies; it doesn't take plastic or reservations, and you may have to “tussle with the tourists to get a table” , but it's a true “slice of NY” – even though it “doesn't do slices.”
Uncle Boons
Thai · NoLita · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.0

This “cutting-edge” NoLita hangout offers a “new-school” take on Thai cuisine via “vibrant flavors” and very “serious spicing” ; an “attentive” team tends the “knickknack” -filled basement space, where “must-try” beer slushies can be ordered from the “cozy” bar; its tiny Mott Street sib is a counter-serve, credit card–only outfit offering a takeout menu based on the original, with some seating available.
Brunch · NoLita · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.0

“Amazing” thin-crust pizzas and “to-die-for” meatballs are the fortes of this “charming” NoLita Italian done up in “rustic-chic” style; “cozy” turns “tight” during prime times, and it can be “hard to get a table” , but “cool” vibes and “reasonable” tabs compensate.
The Musket Room
NoLita · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.4

A “wonderful” Down Under “experience” , this NoLita “find” rates “excellent on all fronts” with “serious” New Zealand cuisine matched with a “Kiwi-focused wine list” , dispatched by a “top-notch” team; fans of its “sophisticated” yet “comfy” style are “hooked” despite the “high prices.”
Emilio's Ballato
Italian · NoLita · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.1

The “food sings” at this “back-in-the-day” NoLita “red-sauce” joint that “looks like an Italian farmhouse hallway” and is “one of the last of a breed” (it's been around since 1956); owner Emilio is “always there” , and his presence “makes the evening complete.”
American · NoLita · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.1

You “can’t go wrong” at this NoLita “hot spot” from Ignacio Mattos, where the “beautifully executed” American menu includes “highly original” Med-influenced share plates; the “small” , “loud” space is “less than thrilling” and bills do “run up” , but scoring reservations is still a “challenge.”
Italian · NoLita · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.0

From the “warm” , rustic setting to the “fabulous” , wood-fired cuisine, this “unforgettable” Italian “outshines” many of its NoLita neighbors; “romantic” types on a “dinner date” finish up the meal in the “civilized” cellar wine bar for after-dinner drinks.
Pasquale Jones
American · NoLita · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.4

“Another winner” from the Charlie Bird team, this “hot” NoLita Italian “lives up to the fanfare” with “exceptional” pizzas and other “inventive” dishes from a wood-burning oven; there's a “nice buzz” in the “relaxed” space courtesy of a hip-hop soundtrack and a staff that’s like a “well-oiled machine” – but “good luck getting a table.”
Tacombi Fonda Nolita
NoLita · $$
Food 4.0 · Decor 4.0 · Service 3.7

These “chill” Mexican joints offer “tasty” tacos with “big flavor” in digs that evoke a “vacation in the Yucatán” ; the “fun” NoLita location stands out with a “cool, old VW van” parked inside, but the others are just as “lively” , and all are “reasonably priced.”
Ruby's Cafe
Breakfast · NoLita · $$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.0

“Amazing” burgers and “delicious” Aussie-inspired dishes top the blackboard menu at these “trendy” yet “unpretentious” “hot spots” ; “tiny” ]digs mean you may have to cozy up to your mates at shared tables but never mind, most just “love the vibe.”
Seafood · Little Italy · $$
Food 4.0 · Decor 4.0 · Service 3.9

Bringing a bit of the “Hamptons” to NYC, these “modern” fish shacks from Michael Chernow (The Meatball Shop) spotlight sustainable seafood served in “awesome” fish tacos and other “tasty” bites; the “light, airy” settings have a “beachy” feel, but because they're “super-trendy” , don’t be surprised when they're “noisy" ; P.S. look out for lots of rums at the Chelsea branch's downstairs bar.
La Esquina
Mexican · SoHo · $$$
Food 4.3 · Decor 4.0 · Service 3.9

“Straight-up delicioso” describes both the food and the scene at this ever- “trendy” SoHo Mexican comprising a “dive” -like taqueria, casual indoor/outdoor cafe and “ultracool” , hard-to-access underground grotto; the Williamsburg spin-off set in a “futuristic retro diner” comes equipped with a moody back room and “huge outdoor patio.”
Asian · NoLita · $$
Food 4.3 · Decor 3.2 · Service 3.5

For “amazingly delicious” soba “done right” , fans command you “go immediately” to these tiny noodle shops set in “unpretentious digs” just like “you'll find in Japan” ; while the staff is “friendly” , be prepared “for long waits at peak time” ; P.S. the NoLita outpost's next-door sib, Goemon Curry, focuses on Japanese curry.
Café Habana
Cuban · NoLita · $$
Food 4.0 · Decor 3.4 · Service 3.5

“Must-have” grilled corn, “addicting” Cuban sandwiches and “strong” margaritas are highlights on the “tasty, affordable” menu at these “buzzy” Cuban-Mexican kitchens with sister to-go outlets; the “tiny” “dinerlike” NoLita original is “usually packed” with a “young” crowd, while “it’s all about the garden” at the seasonal, solar-powered Fort Greene outpost.
Osteria Morini Manhattan
Brunch · SoHo · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.1

The “fabulous pasta” is a “real draw” at Michael White’s “low-key” SoHo Italian where the rest of the Emilia-Romagna menu is “spot-on” too; “space is tight” in the “rustic” room, but “consistency” from the kitchen means it’s still a “winner.”