As a resident of FiDi for the past three years, I've tried a ton of restaurants around the area. People ask me for my favorite places all the time, so I decided it was high time to create a restaurant guide for Lower Manhattan. Mostly to avoid all the DMs, but also for the greater good haha.
I've noticed that restaurants have been slow to open up around the area. Pre-pandemic, I watched the Seaport District go from fairly empty to pretty poppin'. With restaurants like Momofuku and Malibu Farm adding locations, New Yorkers from around the city and locals had more options.
Fast forward to peak pandemic... Lower Manhattan is more dead than usual. Everyone is working from home and there aren't any tourists to visit the Wall St area and Freedom Tower. I have been keeping my fingers crossed that FiDi doesn't become the food desert I remember in 2014 when I interned near City Hall. I was getting used to scrolling through Yelp for nearby restaurants like okkkk ya girl has a few options!
Note: This list is *mostly* limited to places I have personally been to and would recommend in no particular order. A majority of them have outdoor dining available, but check their Instagrams/websites beforehand to confirm if a reservation is required. Feel free to leave comments or reach out to me about places to add to this restaurant guide!
I think I order from Benares for pick up once every two weeks for the butter chicken. Benares has an extensive seafood and vegan menu, the meat is zubihah halal, the cocktails are well-priced and good, the service is fantastic, and the chef has worked at several Michelin starred restaurants. They also have an amazing brunch menu with chicken tikka naan pizza and mango mimosas! Need I say more?
2. Lekka Burger
Lekka Burger is your local burger, milkshake, and fries spot. Except that it's entirely vegan! Amanda Cohen, the chef of Dirt Candy and Lekka Burger, based the burger on a 900 year old recipe and it's incredible. The space is sustainably and gorgeously decorated which alone makes it worth a visit.
We are sooo blessed to be within walking distance of so many amazing restaurants in Chinatown. However, Old Xi'an is by far my favorite spot to takeout from and it just so happens to be in FiDi. I've been guilty of ordering from them twice a week at times! My absolute favorite thing to get is their Grilled Cumin Chicken Hand Ripped Noodles in Soup.
4. Crown Shy
Crown Shy was such a welcome addition to our neighborhood and it has the best house bread ever! Indoor dining at Crown Shy is beyond gorgeous. The entrance is a bit hidden inside a gorgeous residential building. You walk through the restaurant to a neon sign that says "CROWN SHY", to a bar with drinks that you don't want to miss, to very tall ceilings that give way to tons of natural light and a picture of Biggie in the kitchen. They were also recently awarded a Michelin star so you know it's going to be a special experience.
Their sister restaurant SAGA is on the 60th floor of the same building which will be opening soon!
When I'm looking for a quick New York slice or pasta and other various things, Justino's has got to be my go to. I've NEVER had a bad slice.
Okay, I know Sarabeth's is a chain around the city but c'mon, how can you pass up that grilled cheese and tomato soup? Not to mention their space in TriBeCa is gorgeous! No restaurant guide is complete without Sarabeth's.
7. The Cauldron
While The Cauldron is currently not open, you can still buy vouchers for this magical Harry Potter potion making experience! I went for my birthday on a rainy night and it's so much fun, the cocktails are great, and it's the perfect photo opp for any Harry Potter fanatic. You can also make virgin cocktails if need be.
Brookfield Place is huge center in Battery Park City with tons of restaurants, shopping, and entertainment. For Five is one of my favorite quick stops for coffee or their colorful cookies!
You know when a celebrity randomly owns a restaurant and you get a little excited for no reason? Well, Robert DeNiro owns Tribeca Grill and it was definitely a bit of a bucketlist item for me.
10. Black Fox Coffee
Black Fox is an incredibly chill space to get a coffee, a brunch item, and post up with a laptop or book for a bit. It's a great place to get breakfast in Lower Manhattan.
Broadstone is a great place for fun drinks and a few bites to eat with your friends. Make sure to get their sparkly Purple Unicorn GT cocktail and some Mac and Cheese Bites! YUM!
12. Dead Rabbit
Dead Rabbit is a beloved Irish multi-level themed bar that's been voted the Best Bar in the World. When you walk in the door, give the bouncer your name to add to the list. Then, you'll be given a buzzer while you wait in the Taproom. Once it buzzes, you'll be taken to the Parlor upstairs where you can order drinks based off the Dead Rabbit comics!
Conveniently located on the Hudson River, Merchant River House gives you a great view for brunch and serves creative dishes like mac and cheese cones and yummy cocktails. Their umbrella-ed outdoor seating is dog friendly!
Felice has several other locations around the city! It'd be a mistake to skip out on their cacio e pepe and especially their hazelnut cake!
Luchadores a great outdoor spot to sit and eat your tacos, or you can take them to go and walk to the pier across the street where there is plenty of seating to enjoy your food with a view of the Brooklyn Bridge.
The below mentions are just as good as everything above! I couldn't have a complete restaurant guide without including some of these gems.
Battery Park City
- Parm Downtown - Italian-American classics and sandwiches by Major Food Group
- Blue Smoke Downtown - Soulful Southern inspired BBQ with a New York twist. Get the Alabama White Wings!
- Boundless Plains Espresso - Australian cafe with light bites, pastries, and great coffee.
- Clinton Hall FiDi - Fashioned after a beer hall with Instagram viral dishes and plenty of outdoor games to play.
- Brooklyn Chop House - An American steakhouse with tons of Chinese fare.
- Adrienne's Pizzabar - Located on the ever gorgeous Stone St, their square pizzas are a favorite to split with a friend.
- Indian King Biryani House Cart - The cheapest, most delicious Biryani you'll find in Manhattan. There's almost always a line.
- Manhatta - A 60th floor high-end restaurant with insane city views.
- Delmonico's Steak House - So famous that it even has a Wikipedia page for it!
- Harry's - Well known for it's delicious classic pies
- Caravan Uyghur - Amazingly enough, Caravan opened during the pandemic. They serve Uyghur cuisine from the Xinjiang province in China.
- Field's Good Chicken - Quick and delicious chicken meals to fuel your day
- Call Me Pasta! - A quick service Italian restaurant where you can choose your pasta shape, sauce, and extras.
- City Acres Market - Grocery store on the bottom and teeming with vendors like Beyond Sushi, Vanessa's Dumpling House, Artichoke pizza on the first floor.
- Leo's Bagels - Your classic New York hand-rolled bagels with all the traditional deli spreads and meats.
- Federoff's - Craving a Philly Cheesesteak on your work break? Federoff's has your back!
- LA PARISIENNE - A cute French-style cafe with breakfast, salads, sandwiches, and drinks.
- Nobu - World-renowned Japanese sushi restaurant
- Malibu Farm - Bright and airy LA vibes with a delicious brunch menu and a view of the Brooklyn Bridge. They also have an area sectioned off that's dog friendly!
- Il Brigante - Delicious Southern Italian food that's great for a date night
- Los Tacos #1 Tribeca - Best tacos in Manhattan, hands down.
- Ring Ding Bar - Hand-held desserts that are almost like scrumptious mini cakes that come in a ton of different flavors.
- L'angolo - Gorgeous airy Italian restaurant with fresh pastas
- Bubby's - Most New Yorkers have been coming here for most of their life for their comfort food. Don't skip the pie.
- Locanda Verde - Located in Robert DeNiro's hotel, this is your classic bustling neighborhood Italian restaurant
- Two Hand's - Airy Australian restaurant for sandwiches, toasts, and breakfast.
Want to see a restaurant guide for any other neighborhoods? Leave a comment and let me know!