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Best for expertly executed seasonal fare: Little Park
85 W Broadway
Chef Andrew Carmellini’s tidy 85-seat dining room is an ode to all things local and in-season, from weekday breakfast through dinner. Think coconut and spelt pancakes with roasted apples and cider syrup on a crisp autumn morning. The hearty evening entrees (preceded by a slew of vegetable-focused small plates) include roast chicken sourced from upstate and homemade pastas in slow-cooked sauces.
Best for old-school bistro vibes: The Odeon
145 W Broadway
A former hangout of Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and a few mountains of cocaine, this non-stop bistro dating to 1980 (and immortalized in the novel Bright Lights, Big City) is still very much a Tribeca icon. Nod to a celebrity if you must; you’re visiting for the retro vibes and the French classics made with a little bit of avant-garde flare, like steak frites with roasted garlic butter, a croque monsieur built on pullman bread, and niçoise salad.
Best for sushi: Takahachi
145 Duane Street
Skip that overpriced celebrity-backed sushi spot the Kardashians claim as their favorite. Instead, sit at the sushi bar or one of the black tables in this understated Japanese restaurant. For less than $20 at lunch you can feast on sushi, sashimi, and maki combos made with high-end Japanese fish, with daily side dishes, miso soup, and salad.
Best for Korean BBQ and karaoke: Gunbae
67 Murray Street
Exposed brick, modern chandeliers, and silver meat vents that blend in with the stylish decor characterize this unassuming paragon of grilled meats, cheap drinks, and karaoke. Choose from raw slices of wagyu brisket, pork belly, or dry-aged rib-eye to cook over the tabletop grills, or go for the slightly easier to eat hot pots and slew of sizzling bibimbap bowls. Add a carafe of flavored soju and fuel up to sing your heart out in one of the restaurant’s set-back karaoke dens.
Best for Laotian cuisine: Khe-Yo
157 Duane Street
Backed by Tribeca restaurateur and chef Marc Forgione (you may know him from his haughty eponymous restaurant and American Cut), one of Manhattan’s few true Laotian restaurants deserves a special visit, preferably when you have a sizable appetite. Portions are generous and layered with distinct levels of flavor, like in the red snapper, caramelized whole and served with sweet, tangy tamarind-peanut sauce.
Best for fried green tomatoes and pie: Bubby's
120 Hudson Street
A formerly favorite eatery for Tribeca residents Beyoncé and JAY-Z, this laid-back Southern food spot is welcoming to all, platinum record status or not. At dinner, go for the meat and three. You’ll choose from meats like fried chicken or seared organic salmon and sides like bacon-studded mac and cheese, creamy mashed potatoes, and potato latkes topped with feta. You’re here to indulge, maybe loosen your belt and listen up when a server recommends you go for your chocolate pudding pie à la mode.
Best for a wine date: Terroir Tribeca
24 Harrison Street
An offshoot of the beloved East Village wine bar of the same name, Terroir is best known for its annotated, illustrated, quirky wine bible. Dozens of wines are served by the glass (6 ounces) or half glass (3 ounces), should you want to taste your way through the eclectic menu, which ranges from obscure sherries to accessible Rieslings. Munch on bar snacks like chicken liver toast and deviled eggs, or upgrade to small plates like pork belly sliders. Or just opt for the cheese and charcuterie -- Terroir is a wine bar, after all.
Best for elegant French fare: Racines
74 Chambers Street
Paris after work may be a little bit too ambitious, but for that Parisian charm and the je ne sais quoi of being surrounded by fancy Frenchiness, step into Racines. The menu changes based on “market availability” and perhaps the best deal is found in the $75 five-course tasting menu, which ranges from raw seafood starters to more substantial mains such as a pillowy gnocchi served with artichokes.
Best for avocado toast: Two Hands
251 Church Street
The slightly more upscale full-service restaurant related to the beloved West Village café of the same name offers chill, Aussie vibes. The healthy breakfast bowls and smashed avocado toast ($14, plus $4 for a poached egg on top) are hard to resist, but of course you can just stop in for a flat white and a breather from the hectic city. Or resign yourself to staying at Two Hands all night, noshing on veggie-forward dinner plates like charred broccolini spattered in salsa verde and shredded pecorino.
Best for a big plate of pasta: Max
181 Duane Street
Open only for dinner, this dim trattoria seems to exist exclusively for you to drown your afterwork sorrows in a hefty plate of pasta, flanked perhaps by mashed potatoes, truffle fries, or a pizza. Soul-soothing homemade pastas include fettuccine in savory meat sauce (just a whiff of the steamy pile of will up your mood), lasagne dripping with creamy béchamel, and spaghetti in lamb ragu.
Best for ramen: Zutto
77 Hudson Street
Branded as a Japanese American pub, this casual gastropub serves a range of ramen, sushi, sake, and such semi-Japanese fare as fish tempura tacos. Pair a variety of Japanese beers with steamed buns stuffed with caramelized pork belly or panko-crusted miso cod, and you’ll be ready for the main event: ramen. A vegetarian lentil-soup based ramen served with fried tofu and potatoes is a meat-free carb fest. For carnivores the seafood tonkotsu, made with a creamy pork broth and served with head-on shrimp, steamed manila clams and scallops, is fantastically slurpable.
Best for late night Portuguese bar snacks: Macao Trading Co.
311 Church Street
Themed as a 1940s era Chinese opium den, this dim, bi-level drinking parlour and Portuguese restaurant is the epitome of Tribeca trendiness. Stop by after dinner for seasonal cocktails made with infused liquors and Asian ingredients, or for small bites off the late-night menu, like duck and chorizo fried rice or chicken and pork belly dumplings.
Best for a healthy lunch: Mulberry & Vine
73 Warren Street
Yet another fast casual lunch (or dinner, should you so choose) spot between office buildings, this stylish order-at-the-counter cafe gets it right. Choose between a plate or a bowl based on spinach or romaine and build your meal of flavorful cooked and warm veggies, noodles, curries and proteins such as chicken tomatillo pozole or chicken braised with capers and Mediterranean spices.
Best for coffee and a soup: Kaffe 1668
275 Greenwich Street & 401 Greenwich Street
A cozy nook amid chaos, this low-lit coffee shop simultaneously caffeinates and calms you with oddly soothing plush sheep decorating the space. The coffee is serious, with a slew of single-origin pour-overs to match to your palate. Chase it with a range of all-day breakfast foods or a cup of the daily-changing soup.