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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Kiki’s Grill & Rotisserie
Kiki’s Grill is across the street from Kiki’s on the Lower East Side and serves a very similar menu of Greek food, but with much shorter waits.
A former Infatuation favorite is a shell of its former self. Sorry, ápizz, but we're breaking up with you.
Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya
Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya on the Lower East Side is an ideal destination for impressing a big group of sushi, meat, or veggie-loving friends.
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Kubeh is a casual West Village Middle Eastern spot. The soups are the signature dish, but there are great mezze dips, platters, and shakshuka as well.
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.
Dar 525 is a great spot for bottomless brunch in Williamsburg without burnt french toast or obnoxious 20 somethings.
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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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