by Thomas Rafael
As New York City emerges from its pandemic slumber, new restaurants and bars are popping up all over the place. At Rockefeller Center, Avra is the latest mega restaurant to emerge along with 53, a new Asian spot by the Altamarea Group. In Hell’s Kitchen, the vibrant Peachy Keen has arrived, along with El Cartel for Colombian and The Molly Pitcher Club for cocktails. At the Seaport, Jean Georges will soon be home to six new restaurants and a sprawling market at The Tin Building. But nowhere is city’s vibe on full display more than at East Broadway near where Canal and Division Streets intersect.
Cocktail Lounge at Nine Orchard
It is where you will find Ignacio Mattos’ (Lodi, Estela) new opulent cocktail bar with vaulted ceilings inside the swanky Nine Orchard Hotel, a Beaux Arts building at the corner of Canal and Orchard. Mattos is also overseeing the Corner Bar, attached to the hotel. It may have plaid curtains, but is far from a plain Jane, offering exciting bistro fare. A third restaurant will arrive this fall.
Corner Bar at Nine Orchard
But Mattos is joining a growing chorus of vibrant restaurants and drinking establishments that call the area, on the border with Chinatown, home. It is a magnet for groups of young people filling the open streets, as well as restaurants and bars lining nearby side streets.
Photo: Le Dive
Le Dive recently put its French stamp on the area. The sexy new spot for organic French wines and small bites is quickly filling up both indoors and out.
Next door, Clandestino (35 Canal St) is packing them in with the crowd spilling into the center of Canal Street. The bar has a lengthy list of of beers on tap. It also has a reputation for its Whisky Mac.
Steps away, Cervo’s (43 Canal St) is serving Portuguese tapas like cucumbers with marinated clams, Louisiana white prawns a la plancha, and spicy mussels escabeche. Cocktails come with names like Adonis and Spritz.
Other neighborhood haunts include Bar Belly (14 Orchard St) serving seasonal cocktails, oysters and small plates for sharing. There is Dimes (top), part restaurant and part market, along with the FMN General Store (136 Division St) where you can get everything from pantry items and old vinyl to coffee and cocktails.
You will also find some bars and restaurants incognito, like Kiki’s (130 Division St), a Greek restaurant that operates under a sign for Y.H. Printing, which is an actual printing company. Think Greek dips, spanakopita, and grilled lamb chops along with popular curbside dining.
Other spots include JaJaJa (162 East Broadway) for vegetarian. This corner spot is known for its street tacos, burritos and enchiladas mole, along with sexy cocktails, like Popcorn y Pasión, a mix of Cazadores Blanco, passion fruit, and vanilla bitters.
169 Bar (169 East Broadway) – formerly known as the “Bloody Bucket” – is a 100 year old bar, and one of the few remaining orginal places from the "hood," described as both funky and infamous. Its claim to fame is the Pickle Martini.
Rounding out our tour, other places worth checking out, include Little Canal (26 Canal St), which serves as a coffeehouse and bar; Mictlan (17 Orchard St) serving Mexican fair, cocktails and sangria; and LES Enfants de Boheme (177 Henry St) offering French bistro classics like steak frites and mussels in a white wine-mustard broth. Musicians can also be found here filling the streets with the sounds of live jazz.
LES Enfants de Boheme
For those looking for the area's traditional Chinese cuisine – a stop at Wu’s Wonton King offering succulent roast duck, BBQ and noodle dishes is in order, along with Tipsy Shanghai (19 East Broadway), a decade old establishment known for its ShenYu marinated pork ribs. The best way to get to all of these places is the East Broadway stop on the F Train.
Wu's Wonton King
Happy eating and drinking!