Heading to Greenwich Village? Try these Cornelia Street Restaurants.
Cornelia Street in the Village is one of New York’s best-kept secrets. Resembling more of an alley than a street, the foodie destination is one of the quaintest and quietest in all of Manhattan. One of the beauties of dining on Cornelia is the flexibility. If one restaurant’s wait is too long for your hunger pangs to handle, another option is ten feet away. If you’re not in the mood for French, then Italian may strike your fancy. From lobster rolls to Tandoori chicken, the menus are varied, interesting, and offer something delicious for every palate. Is your appetite calling? Here are five restaurants to try on Cornelia Street.
Escape to an Italian village if only for a night when you dine at this romantic spot that overflows with charm. Menu highlights include arancini risotto bites, fritto misto, fettuccine with wild mushrooms and black cod with braised escarole and cannellini beans. The hidden gem, though, is the back garden. This outdoor haven will make you feel as if you’ve escaped New York City. Besides dinner, Palma also serves lunch and weekend brunch.
Cornelia Street Cafe
A quintessential downtown hangout since its opening in 1977, Cornelia Street Cafe is a restaurant-meets-music and poetry venue that throws back to the time when Greenwich Village was an epicenter for art, music, politics and literature. The food is consistent, decor is simple, and the energy still feels slightly Bohemian. Meat dishes are always good, as well as the black sesame-crusted salmon (my personal favorite). Wines by the glass are excellent and the desserts don’t disappoint either. It’s impossible to visit Cornelia Street and not immerse yourself in this piece of Village history. Check out the music club in the basement.
Pearl Oyster Bar
Using her wealth of experience in the kitchen, chef and owner Rebecca Charles takes “beach food” to whole other level at Pearl Oyster Bar. Raw and fried oysters along with other seafood specialties give pescatarians good reason to love the casual Maine-inspired oyster house. Salt-crusted shrimp, New England clam chowder with smoked bacon, and the famed lobster roll (said to be the first to hit Manhattan) accompanied by shoestring fries round out the offerings.
The Drunken Munkey
This 45-seat Indian bistro focuses on the flavors and style of cafés in Old Bombay from 1910 to 1940 along with a touch of old Raj. The chefs at Drunken Munkey fuse Indian and European flavors and cooking techniques and pair traditional dishes with their “East India Cocktail Collection.” You should expect classics like Tandoori chicken, curry shrimp and Masala Bombay lamb chops plated alongside libations such as the Bombay gin fizz, Singapore sling, and Dark N’ Stormy. If you’re feeling adventurous with your drink choice, opt for the “Paanch (five in Hindi)” or punch of the week, which includes five ingredients: sweet, sour, spice, fruit and alcohol.
This cozy French bistro feels more like Provence than Greenwich Village. While lamb is the signature dish, the beef Bourguignon is also delicious. The weekend brunch is not to be missed, as the kitchen whips up the best scrambled eggs I’ve eaten in New York City. When I asked for their secret, the answer was, “Fresh organic eggs and butter.” Sounds like a winning combo to me. Le Gigot is tiny, so I recommend making a reservation on OpenTable.
How to get to Cornelia? Take the A, B,C.D,E, F and M lines to the West 4 St Station. Exit the subway and walk north on Sixth Avenue toward West Fourth. Turn left (west) at Cornelia Street.