My Neighborhood: Tribeca

Tribeca: Triange Below Canal

Tucked away at the lower end of Manhattan, Tribeca is a real gem of a neighborhood. Though it backs up to some really busy areas – the Financial District to the south, Soho to the north, and Chinatown to the east – Tribeca is nevertheless calm, a serene oasis in the bustling city.

While it can definitely be an elite neighborhood, there’s a lot to love about Tribeca. In the span of just a few blocks you can find Michelin-starred restaurants to visit once and remember forever, but also more casual places so good they’ll make you want to become a regular. Wander through the neighborhood’s cobblestone streets, stop into its artfully curated boutiques, or hop on a Citi Bike and take a ride down by the Hudson River.

Where to go in Tribeca…

for pancakes: Bubby’s

Bubby’s is a Tribeca institution, having been the go to spot for group brunches and family dinners for over two decades. They’re well known for their pies, which sit temptingly on an old-fashioned diner carousel, and I’m sure their entire menu of carefully sourced dishes is delicious, but I wouldn’t really know from experience because all I’ve ever ordered at Bubby’s is the pancakes. These are the best pancakes in New York, hands down – and I would know, I’ve tried them all. They don’t take reservations, but I’ve never had to wait more than ten minutes for a table, even though it’s always jam packed. Go early, go late, go whenever – this place is open 24 hours a day.

on a date: Weather Up, then Marc Forgione

If you’re needing a dark, romantic bar for your next date, look no further than Weather Up. This place is pleasantly buzzy, though never loud, and I hear they make a fine cocktail (confession: I always order ginger ale in a champagne glass). If things go well, head one block over to Marc Forgione. Here, at the Iron Chef’s eponymous restaurant, you can linger in the candlelight and share an amazing meal. I particularly like to go for small plates to share here – the Foie Gras and Chili Lobster on Texas Toast are not to be missed.

for a perfect Saturday Morning: Zucker’s and Hudson River Park

Zucker’s feels like such a classic New York City bagel spot, it would be easy to imagine its been in operation for ages. With dozens of bagel options and a seemingly infinite variety of spreads and smoked fish, deciding what to order can be a somewhat dizzying prospect – I recommend studying the menu outside before walking up to the counter. After you’ve grabbed your bagels and lox, head to Hudson River Park, the gorgeous stretch of greenery that runs for miles up Manhattan’s west side. Find a sunny patch of grass and enjoy breakfast while people watching or reading the newspaper. I usually then head to one of the several dog runs found in the park and let my dog, but there’s so much more to do here. Go play mini golf, rent a kayak, skateboard in one of the skate parks, take a bike ride… the possibilities are endless.

to do some shopping: Steven Alan, Adeline Adeline, Balloon Saloon

I could spend days in Steven Alan, flipping through their racks of beautiful (and, cough cough, expensive) clothing from hard to find designers like Acne, Rachel Comey, Isabel Marant, and A.P.C. Head down the street and wander through their recently opened home goods store, which is filled with handcrafted ceramic dishware, over-sized flannel blankets, and candles scented with foresty eucalyptus and pine. Another store worth wandering through is Adeline Adeline, the design-minded bike shop on Reade. This airy shop is well stocked with beautiful bicycles worth showing off, as well as useful and attractive accessories like baskets, bells, and helmets. If you’re in the mood for a little something silly, pop on in to Balloon Saloon. This store, packed floor to ceiling with toys and trinkets, is kind of impossible to resist. And, as advertised, they have a balloon version of everything – I might just have a plastic t-rex in my apartment as proof.

for coffeeKaffe 1668 or Laughing Man

I’m on a mission to try all the amazing coffeehouses in New York City. Still, despite having tried dozens of places, my neighborhood coffee shop, Kaffe 1668, still ranks highest in my book. I should actually say coffee shops, because there are two Kaffe 1668s – both on Greenwich Street in Tribeca, both amazing. Don’t bother getting some fancy cappuccino here – single origin pour-over is what they do well. Laughing Man is my other regular coffee spot in the neighborhood, though this place is strictly to-go. In addition to selling great coffee and tasty pastries from local artisans, Laughing Man commits 50% of its revenues back to Laughing Man Worldwide, a program which helps to support entrepreneurship in developing nations. If you see the shop’s owner, Hugh Jackman, tell him I said hello.

for a weeknight dinner: Zutto and Nish Nush

Every neighborhood has its hidden gems, and Zutto is Tribeca’s. I had ordered in sushi from Zutto maybe a dozen times before ever venturing in, but I sure am glad I finally made the effort to stop by. Though the storefront portrays a Japanese pub, what you’ll find inside feels more like a candlelit bistro. I still order in from Zutto a lot, but it’s also a favorite for date night now, too. Go on Mondays, when the Tonkatsu Ramen is marked down to $10 a bowl, and make sure to order the spicy grilled Shishito Peppers as an appetizer. My other favorite place for a quick meal is Nish Nush, our local falafel joint. The ingredients used here are fresh and high quality, and as a result the falafel is several notches above average. The portions are big, so bring someone along to share.

to see celebrities: The Greenwich Hotel

Tribeca is known for being home to many celebrities, but to tell you the truth I rarely see anyone here… unless I’m at The Greenwich Hotel. This place is super exclusive, but if you’re a guest they’ll let you into the private bar where all the cool people hang out. If you can’t manage to book a room, check out the adjacent restaurant Locanda Verde. Helmed by one of New York’s best chefs, Andrew Carmellini, Locanda Verde serves the most amazing rustic Italian food. I recommend going for lunch when it’s less busy and ordering the massive Porchetta Sandwich.

for the best steak in the city: American Cut

It’s a pretty bold and divisive statement to declare a steak best in all of New York, but I nevertheless stand by my recommendation of Marc Forgione’s American Cut. The steaks here are dry aged and beautifully charred to produce meat that is incredibly flavorful. Add to this already perfect meal the everything-bagel-seasoned biscuits and the gorgeous Art Deco environs and you have the ideal special occasion restaurant.


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  1. Pingback: New York City Guide | Cooking With Bells On

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