Restaurants have always been a vital part of any New York City neighborhood. One of the greatest perks of being a New Yorker is the vast array of places we have to eat on any given night, even during a global pandemic--but during 2020, they did even more, banding together to feed those in need in their community and sending countless meals to frontline workers during COVID's darkest days here last spring.
Even though winter weather is inevitably forcing us to gather less frequently outdoors at our familiar spots, through Seamless we can keep the feeling alive with a great meal, made with love, delivered directly to our home. The choices of cuisine are staggering. The ordering couldn't be easier. And it's definitely the most delicious way to support your local favorites, or try something new, and help ensure they'll all still be around when springtime comes again. Plus, when you donate the change on your Seamless order, it supports restaurants, drivers and communities in need through the Seamless Community Relief Fund.
Gothamist and Seamless have teamed up to celebrate amazing restaurants over the next few weeks that, whether they’re two blocks from your apartment or a bike ride away, are NYC favorites that we think you’ll love too. First up: the Lower East Side.
It's not like the Lower East Side hasn't been around the block a few times. After all, in the early 1900s this neighborhood was the most densely populated place on the planet, bursting with energy and hustle. These streets have seen plenty. So even though 2020 has been a year unlike any other, the LES was one of the first neighborhoods to really come back to life this summer, with restaurants leading the way. It was all a bit rogue at first, but now the area has fully embraced the city-sanctioned curbside dining and Open Streets programs, with some of NYC's best restaurants committed to staying open, and serving the community, through a combination of outside dining, takeout, and delivery via Seamless. As the weather gets colder, now is the perfect time to support and enjoy local spots by ordering takeout and delivery. There are literally dozens of great spots to order from down here, from iconic classics like Katz's to scrappy newcomers like Fat Choy, but here are a few of our favorites.
One of the city's great ramen restaurants sits on the northern end of Clinton Street and, as befits the neighborhood's melting pot past, it's run by a Jewish kid from Long Island, the peerless Ivan Orkin. The thin, earthy noodles at Ivan Ramen are made from rye, and they're always perfectly prepared, with plenty of substance. Any of the broth choices, whether chicken-, pork-, or vegetable-based, will make you happy (the Spicy Red Chili Ramen is a personal favorite, though it's definitely not for the heat-averse), but don't sleep on the Triple Pork Triple Garlic Mazemen, Orkin's brothless creation that's as rich and delicious as it sounds. Like a lot of places around here, Ivan Ramen is known for cranking killer mixtapes, so make sure you turn up the volume at home, too, while you slurp these beautiful noodles down. Other very solid LES ramen options include Mr Taka on Allen Street, and Ramen Ishida On Ludlow.
Slice Joint is not your typical NYC slice joint in that, instead of slinging pizza from a no-frills, fluorescent-lit storefront, it resides in the subterranean level of the sprawling Essex Market/Market Line complex on Delancey Street. But make no mistake: Rachael Marie's slices are excellent examples of the classic NYC fold, acing the balance between cheese and not-too-sweet tomato sauce, with a soft, chewy dough that stands up to street-eating. Marie, who worked the ovens at Roberta's for years before opening her own place, also makes first-rate Grandma slices and pies. There are plenty of other good pizza places in the neighborhood too, including Sauce on Rivington Street and Williamsburg Pizza on Broome.
There's no shortage of terrific vegan restaurants around these parts, but the nearly four-year-old, hugely popular Mexican spot Jajaja is hanging in there nicely, bringing some of that party vibe out onto the streets via their curbside setup on East Broadway, and delivering all of their signature tacos, quesadillas, burritos, enchiladas... you name it, they do it up vegan style. There's a few Brunch All Day dishes for those of you whose usual routine has been upended by the pandemic, plus a bunch of fantastic plant-based desserts, including one of the best Caramel Flans in the city. For more LES vegan delights, check out Dirt Candy on Allen Street, the abovementioned Fat Choy on Broome, and Orchard Grocer on, obviously, Orchard Street.
Regina's Grocery totally nails the old-school Italian deli vibe, which, considering it's run by an old-school Italian family from Brooklyn (Regina is the mom), isn't a big surprise. And although it's lost a little of the social-club atmosphere it harbored pre-pandemic, on warm days it's not uncommon to see people wolfing down these sandwiches at stoops and benches on lower Orchard Street. Everything's great, from meaty monsters like the Uncle Jimmy (starring prosciutto, soppressata, and smoked ham) and the hot Chicken Parm, to the three different takes on the tuna hero, so follow your cravings and you'll definitely walk away satisfied. More great sandwiches can be had at the NOLA-ish Cheeky a few storefronts away on Orchard, and the legendary Katz's Delicatessen up on Houston Street.
A Sichuan noodle house is a welcome sight in any neighborhood, and when it's as good as Essex Street newcomer Public Village, which opened mid-pandemic and has been cranking out excellent takeout ever since? It's the sort of thing that makes you grateful that you live here, and not anywhere else. Jia Song and chef Kiyomi Wang serve up lots of traditional, loaded-with-flavor noodle dishes (the Chengdu Dan Dan is exceptional), but there are sleeper hits throughout the menu as well, including the Grill Chilled Noodle Wrap, filled with hot dogs and melted cheese. One of Public Village’s founding principles was to provide a place to “eat, drink, and gossip like Sichuanese,” so crack open a Tsingtao or three and get on a Zoom with your crew while you eat. With Chinatown right next door, there are many other good Chinese restaurants on the Lower East Side as well, including Kings Co. Imperial on Delancey Street and an outpost of the iconic Nom Wah Tea Room inside the Market Line.
This Rivington Street pastry shop, a spinoff of San Francisco's cult favorite Mr Holmes, is perhaps best known for its decadent croissants, which come filled with about a pound of rich, gooey custard in all sorts of crazy flavors, and their equally outrageous "Cruffins," and you should definitely order all of these things because they are always amazing. Turns out, though, that the Supermoon bakers are equally adept at more serious endeavors, and their loaves of sourdough are among the best in town. Preorder a lavish Care Pack filled with treats--this was a wonderful early-pandemic initiative, and the menu changes every week--or buy your breads and pastry a la carte. And even though your apartment probably doesn’t have an upside-down smiley-face neon sign for a backdrop, everything here will still look great on Instagram. There are several other stellar pastry places nearby as well, including Michaeli on Division Street, and Peete's Pie on Delancey.
By ordering our favorite meals or branching out to explore new spots with Seamless, New Yorkers can support the institutions that have been there for us throughout the ups and downs of this year. As we continue to celebrate this holiday season, consider supporting a neighborhood business and treat yourself to some delicious food delivered right to your door.
This post is a sponsored collaboration between Seamless and Gothamist staff.