Six Lower East Side Food Stops, Old and New

See recent posts by Brendan Spiegel

Doughnut Plant

Hotels in this story


With swanky new digs like the Bowery Hotel and Thompson LES rising next to rundown tenement buildings, the Lower East Side is NYC’s ultimate dichotomy—it’s the new Manhattan plopped down right on top of the old Manhattan. For foodies, this means a wondrously schizophrenic smorgasbord. Here are three of the best classic LES food stops still standing, along with three newcomers that are worth the hype.

Old LES: Katz’s Famous Delicatessen. Sure, New York’s oldest deli has become a bit of a tourist trap ever since Meg Ryan had “what she’s having” here, but the circa-1888 salami shop deserves credit for keeping their sandwich prices relatively reasonable, unlike some other brand-name NY delis. 205 East Houston St.

New LES: Doughnut Plant. The Dunkin’ standbys get the avant garde treament at this Houston Street newcomer, with original flavors like crème brulee, Valrhona chocolate, and dulce de leche. They even invented the square-shaped jelly doughnut, a design that allows for less spillage of the (obviously homemade) jelly filling. 379 Grand St.

Old LES: Guss’ Pickles. Many a displaced New Yorker has returned for a take-home container of dills dished out of the giant orange barrels outside this simple storefront that serves as a reminder of what the Lower East Side was like a century ago. You’ll have to hurry—like many a displaced Manhattanite, Guss’ recently announced they’re soon moving to Brooklyn. 87 Orchard St.

New LES: WD-50. The immigrant Russian family who founded Katz’s would likely roll over in their graves if they saw the passion fruit-filled foie gras and scrambled egg ravioli that mad scientist chef Wylie DuFresne whips up here. But if you’ve got $100 to throw around, NYC’s most playful 10-course tasting menu is a worthy diversion. 50 Clinton St.

Old LES: Congee Village. Don’t look for General Tso’s chicken or egg rolls at this traditional Chinese spot. In addition to 26 varieties of the gloopy rice porridge that gives the restaurant its name, the giant kitchen here churns out far-out Cantonese dishes like roasted young pigeon, geoduck clam, and sea cucumber and goose web with abalone sauce. We don’t know what they are; we just know they’re delicious. 100 Allen St.

New LES: Dessert Truck. The LES officially nabs the mantle of hippest New York eating ‘hood by stealing this celebrated high-end food truck from the West Side. The $5 treats like rosemary-caramel goat cheese cheesecake will be rolling onto Clinton Street shortly. 6 Clinton St.

— Brendan Spiegel of Endless Simmer.

All products are independently selected by our writers and editors. If you buy something through our links, Oyster may earn an affiliate commission.