Ever see a crew of smokin’ hot models - female or male - walking down the street and wonder, “Where have these fine human specimens been all my life?” Lunching at Cafe Gitane, that’s where. There are so many European runway jockeys and uber-cool celebs in this place, you’d think they’re giving away free Diet Coke and cigarettes. Nope, they’re just serving avocado toast, dusted with pepper flakes.
Cafe Gitane is the epitome of the “it” downtown cafe - a quintessential Nolita eatery and place to See And Be Seen that so many places try (and fail) to replicate. The food is actually pretty good. Dinner can be underwhelming, but brunch is solid, and the prices aren’t as bad as you might expect. But Cafe Gitane isn’t for everyone. The place is tiny, and staring down a bunch of really hot people while you cram your fat ass into a little chair isn’t always awesome. You are also pretty much guaranteed to face long waits, but during the summer it’s a great warm weather dining destination, and can be worth hanging around for a table on the street or near one of the big windows. Especially if you’re looking to drink some coffee and watch the action go by.
Served with basil, tomato, and cream, it’s the tangy tomato sauce that makes this dish. The eggs get nice and crisp on the outside edges and absorb the sauce and flavor in the middle. It’s a must to get some crusty bread for dunkage.
Orange blossom waffle? What? Don’t worry about it. Just order it. Topped with bananas, blueberries, and strawberries, this big circular waffle looks like it came out of the same waffle maker you got off your wedding registry. You’re welcome.
I admit there is nothing unique or original about this dish. You can find it on pretty much every brunch menu in town, but Cafe Gitane does good work with the basics.
Every restaurant in NYC has some play on this salad, and this one is head and shoulders above the competition. Everything about it is on point, from the fresh ingredients to the portion size. If you’re going salad, get this one.
Served with capers, thyme, olives, and tomatoes, this is one of the better “petit plats” on the menu. This part of the menu is straightforward; what you see is what you get. Brie & Apple? A couple slices of cheese, a couple slices of apple. The plats are a great way to start the meal or snack on while enjoying a coffee, just don’t expect to have your mind blown.
Another “plat” (I really like writing that) not to miss. An excellent dish to share, this toast is topped with avocado, lemon juice, olive oil, and chili flakes. Excellent.
One of their more popular specialties, this (sometimes leaning) tower of couscous is served with red peppers, raisins, toasted pine nuts, hummus, and eggplant. We prefer the chicken add-on as opposed to the Merguez sausage, although both are pretty solid.