Photo Courtesy of Nicole Franzen/Pizza Beach
Photo Courtesy of Herminio Torress/Seamstress
Photo courtesy of Matthew Wells/La Contenta
Courtesy of Destrie Boyer/Lazy Point
Courtesy of Early
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1. Pizza Beach 1426 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10028 (Upper East Side)

Sadly, this isn't a beach made of pizza. What it IS though, is a breezy, bright, seaside-themed pie shop serving up classic pizza buttressed by more inventive takes on everyone’s favorite thing, like a purple kale & butternut squash option, and more.

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2. Belle Reve 305 Church St, New York, NY 10013 (Tribeca)

Opened by one of the founders of Employees Only, this lively Downtown bar and restaurant is rocking live music and eats from Chef Paul Gerard.

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3. Kiin Thai Eatery 36 E 8th St, New York, NY 10003 (West Village)

The sibling restaurant to Alphabet City's Somtum Der, Kiin serves northern and central Thai food in a sleek, modern space in Greenwich Village. The menu is varied in its selection of appetizers, curries, salads, and meat dishes, but the real superstar is the pad thai. The slightly sweet yet savory noodle dish comes wrapped in an omelet-like egg crepe, and is served with a topping of shrimp and a requisite side of crushed peanuts and pickled turnips. Available in chicken, beef, and pork variations, the signature is a prime example of how Kiin stands out for plating Southeast Asian flavors in an approachable but exciting way.

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4. Seamstress 339 East 75th Street, New York, NY 10021 (Upper East Side)

Seamstress takes an emphasis on all-American cocktails to unprecedented levels with a menu that features 50 classic drinks from across the country. Long Island Iced Tea, Cosmopolitans, Moscow Mules, and Whiskey Sours are all represented, as well as lesser known state favorites worth exploring. The rest of the drink menu is split into six distinct sections: fresh, spirit forward, low proof, elaborate, large format, and nonalcoholic. You won't find typical bar food here, which means you can expect to pair your New York Sour with a triple cream cheese smoked mutton burger.

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5. Dirt Candy 86 Allen St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

Amanda Cohen was one of the first downtown chefs to prove that vegetarian food can be cool. Dirt Candy, her five-time Michelin star restaurant on the Lower East Side, serves an outstanding vegetable-only menu that will make you ditch any and all of your carnivorous cravings. Expect some of the most creative plant-based dishes you'll ever taste, like Korean fried broccoli, jalapeño hush puppies, and Brussels sprouts tacos. Know before you go: there's no tipping, but menu prices are inflated about 20%.

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6. The Up & Up 116 Macdougal St, New York, NY 10012 (Greenwich Village)

This sexy, wallpapered spot in Greenwich Village is cranking out well-made tipples (the best of which is the Foster Avenue with Glenmorangie Scotch, Perucchi vermouth, pear eau de vie, honeydew melon, orange bitters). If you're going with a group, get one of the jacked-up bottles of Messier Manhattans. If you're not... probably still get one of those. Snacks like pork rillettes with chimichurri aioli ensure you won’t be leaving any time soon.

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7. La Contenta 102 Norfolk St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

Wanna be plied with all types of Mexican dishes/cocktails? In particular if those Mexican dishes/cocktails include stuff like poached lobster in chile morita butter sauce, a tostada loaded with plenty of blue crab meant, crispy kale, and celery root purée -- and the El Easy Rider cocktail loaded with reposed tequila, Ancho Reyes, star anise, grapefruit juice, and Mexican mole bitters? Thought so. Head here.

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8. The Camlin 175 Kent Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (New York)

Named after the river in Ireland where one of the owner’s husbands grew up fishing, this sleek Kent Ave spot is perfect for when you're not sure what exactly you want to drink (or eat). There's an impressive selection of 100+ bottles from all over the globe to choose from, plus a number of great by-the-glass options, and the menu offers plenty of small, interesting bites (there are lots cheese and charcuterie options, and oysters are just $1 all day every day). The Camlin also does brunch, serving up the classics like eggs Benedict and some of the city's best Bloody Marys.

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9. Lazy Point 310 Spring St, New York, NY 10013 (Greenwich Village)

This Downtown option rocks top-notch cocktails along with creative food to pair it with. Down a Beaten Gypsy with gin, fresh beet juice, and rosemary, then also-down the Buffalo pork belly and a grilled cheese with white truffle honey mustard, kimchi, aged cheddar, and gruyere.

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10. Early 967 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222 (Greenpoint)

Unlike most coffee shops, the major draw of this Greenpoint joint isn't just the strong brews (from Toby’s Estate, no less), but the speciality sandwiches. Made with Pain D'Avignon bread and house-roasted meats, Early's sandwiches are one of the more underrated meat, bread, and cheese combos in the borough. The sliced ham and pulled pork banh mi and the Gruyere Cubano are recommended for meat fans, while the Zappie, an open-faced vegetarian sandwich made with sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, Cheddar and fontina cheeses, and truffle oil is a solid option for the fancy plant-based eaters. The sandwiches are served all-day and can be eaten in the cozy back garden.

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11. Papa Poule 189 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10013 (Soho)

On the opposite side of the building from its sister spot Maman, this tiny takeaway joint is turning out some impressive rotisserie chicken along with sides like deviled eggs with shaved ham, tossed potatoes, and desserts in a jar (get the salted caramel brownie).

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12. Bricolage 162 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217 (Park Slope)

Bricolage exudes the intimate feeling that you're eating dinner at a Park Slope brownstone, albeit one decked out in princess chandeliers and dishing plates of modern, Vietnamese fare. The chefs and owners worked at The Slanted Door in San Francisco before setting up shop in Brooklyn, and you'll be pleasantly surprised at the inventive creations coming from Bricolage's open kitchen, like Sriracha butter wings, pork ribs in tamarind-hoisin sauce, and savory crepes with mushrooms and bean sprouts. While the dimly lit, exposed brick space has an irresistibly cozy vibe, we can't think of a better place to bite into summer rolls than on the gorgeous back patio.

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