Cafes in NoLita

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For those who might be unfamiliar with Roman-style pizza, the New York Daily News provides an easy solution to the problem: “If you don’t know what a Roman pie tastes like, visit Emporio.” Here, chefs top “wafer-thin” crusts with cheeses imported directly from Italy, locally grown veggies, and hormone- and antibiotic-free meats. A brick oven bakes the dough, melts the cheese, and fuses each pie with robust flavor. Chefs crack organic eggs to make their housemade pasta, including yellow-potato-and-ricotta gnocchi topped with wild mushrooms and artichoke ragu. They make sure to work hearty proteins into the equation, as well. No dish better represents this than the 32-ounce Black Angus rib eye, served with enough meat, fingerling potatoes, and shishito peppers for two to enjoy. Just like its menu, the restaurant itself exudes a rustic Italian feel. Huge skylights drench the dining room in natural light, illuminating the pumpkin-colored walls and exposed beams to make Emporio a cozy respite from the screaming-newborn-baby-filled city outside.

231 Mott St
New York,
NY
US

Though it's a relatively new spot, YN's history is already accumulating on the ceiling, which is covered in corks from wine bottles well spent. What you see on the ceiling isn't necessarily what you'll get, though, as the wine list is constantly changing. According to Time Out New York, about 25 wines by the glass and 25 by the bottle pair with a selection of "cheese and charcuterie from nearby Di Palo's Fine Foods." Guests can sidle up to the cozy wine bar for a glass or two, or settle into a table in the back.

227 Mott St
New York,
NY
US

While the front section of Prince St. Café is a laid-back coffee shop with baked goods and free WiFi, venture to the back and you’ll find a proper dining area where guests dig into artfully plated salads, pastas, and sandwiches. Using fresh ingredients, Chef Gary creates gourmet menu items such as duck confit salad, gnocchi with wild mushrooms, and sirloin burgers piled high with premium ingredients. And like a dentist who specializes in vampires, the breakfast menu is available all day and night, and includes items such as frittatas and banana-stuffed french toast.

26 Prince St
New York,
NY
US

In the candy-hued interior of The Pan American, American and Latin cuisine draws strength from locally sourced ingredients beneath the helm of executive chef Harry Stoehr. As salsa tunes and renditions of "Free Bird" played with the spoons serenade ears, dining duets peruse brunch dishes such as the chorizo-studded and tomatillo-topped Peruvian hash, or the eggs benedict, which entraps serrano ham and pimento hollandaise betwixt corn cakes. Cold and hot plates, such as the duck breast robed in pineapple-gooseberry glaze, satisfy breakfast scorners, and the grilled-octopus-and-squid plate capsizes appetites with the aid of Peruvian potatoes and piquillo peppers. Upscale bloody marys delight palates between bites with house-infused horseradish vodka, and the Dark and Stormy elixir recalls tumultuous nights and the beginnings of midnight weather reports with Gosling’s Black Seal rum and house-brewed ginger beer.

202 Mott St
New York,
NY
US

The quarters are cramped inside Café Habana, a tiny Cuban eatery off Elizabeth Street. But the wait to snatch a seat is worth it, declared New York Magazine, thanks to perfectly seasoned pork, sautéed chicken, and a delightful cuban sandwich. The ultimate messy crowd pleaser, the Mexican-style grilled corn delivers a “gooey mixture of fresh corn topped with chili powder, melted cheese and lime.” And if that’s not enough, fans of Lenny Kravitz will recognize the dive for its star turn in his music video, “Again.”

17 Prince St
New York,
NY
US

Antojeria La Popular is not a typical Mexican eatery. UrbanDaddy calls it "subversive," Zagat says it "took a little risk." There is no better dish to confirm this fact than the Oaxaca tostada, a mildly named menu item with an unorthodox ingredient: deep-fried crickets, seasoned with lime and piled with guacamole and crema. This is but one of the dishes that populates a menu inspired by the kind of food you'd find by simply walking the streets of Mexico. More familiar flavors lie in the Colima, a blue-corn tostada adorned with raw tuna, avocado, chipotle mayo, and salsa verde, and the Monterrey, a taco filled with chorizo, chicharrón, and sirloin with salsa roja. The drinks are just as authentic as the food, as mixologists blend cocktails of horchata with white wine and guava nectar with prosecco, and create four styles of micheladas by mixing beer with a range of exotic ingredients. Like having dinner in a gingerbread house with no doors, it would be unwise to skip dessert—Antojeria La Popular honors street-food tradition right down to the sweets with a trio of paletas, small popsicles in a variety of seasonal flavors.

50 Spring St
New York,
NY
US