The next time you have a “catchup” dinner with someone, but you’d really rather catch up with your couch, remember Lil’ Gem. This new spot on the Lower East Side is designed to feel like a house (complete with couches and windows with shutters), and is a comfortable spot to meet a friend or two. The food is a take on Lebanese, so you’ll eat stuff like hot and cold mezze, flatbreads, and shawarma, and it’s all tasty and not too expensive. In other words, this is a new SCRFCUWFF to add to your rotation.
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A tiny little ramen spot on the Lower East Side, serving up some very good soups that aren't as heavy as many others.
Russ & Daughters Cafe
Russ & Daughters has finally expanded, after 100 years in business. Now you can sit down in a comfy booth while you enjoy your lox, and it’s glorious.
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Celestine feels like a casual neighborhood restaurant, but this Mediterranean spot is on the water in Dumbo and has excellent views.
Kashkaval Garden is a neighborhood spot in Hell’s Kitchen with Mediterranean food that’s good for sharing and a nice back room for dates.
Miss Ada is a small, comfortable spot in Fort Greene with great Israeli food and an outdoor garden in the back.
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Via Carota is a walk-in only Italian spot in the West Village, and there’s a good chance you’ll have to wait a few hours for a table. It’s worth it.
Lovely Day is one of the most reasonably priced restaurants where you can still feel like you've had a fun night out.
Off the main stretch in Williamsburg is Aurora, a place charming enough for a First/Early in the Game Date, calm enough for Dinner with the Parents, and with an insane, well-greened Outdoor/Patio Situation.
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