By now you all know I love supporting the concept of a side gig and people (especially females) that are pursuing their passion. However, I love this all even more when the person is someone I used to work with in the corporate world and is putting in that hustle of starting something on her own while also working what I know is an insanely demanding job. So, let me introduce you to Tori from ByToriB, who is the queen of all things NYC food and beverage scene. Think of her as a more personalized, organized, and useful version of The Infatuation (dreams, right!?). Lucky for us, she gave us an inside look to some of her favorite places in the Soho and Nolita area. It’s safe to say she knows what she’s talking about, so save this tab, get out there, and explore!
Place to order a strong cocktail: The Ship is an underground bar on Lafayette St. with commendable cocktails and a perfect place for a post-dinner drink. You can get the bartender’s choice by describing how you are feeling/what you like – I usually ask for a tequila/mezcal cocktail with some spice. The Ship isn’t noticeably advertised but look for a bouncer who’s usually standing outside and will direct you in.
Best pizza: I do love a good burger (including Freckled Foodie’s favorite, the Bar Sardine Fedora burger) but unfortunately, I haven’t found one in the Nolita/Soho area that I’ve loved… However, they have Prince Street Pizza, arguably the best pizza in NYC. Go to order: slice (or two…) of classic square pep.
If you are seeking out more sit-down and not by the slice, Rubirosa is a crowd favorite. Not only do they have some of the best pies in the city, but the appetizers are equally as appealing. My favorites are the mini rice balls (heaven), roasted brussels sprouts (actually unlike any other) and the meatballs. Make sure the Tie-Dye pizza is on your table and the rest is history. Plus you may even see a celeb here.
Parents are in town: When you think of Estela, imagine New American menu meets eclectic bistro meets wine-focused experts in a lively upstairs area. The menu is meant to be shared – some of my favorites are the fried arroz negro, lamb ribs, and ricotta dumplings. Your parents won’t be disappointed.
Date night that involves getting dressed up: Not only is Uncle Boons my favorite restaurant in Nolita, but it is one of my three all-time favorite restaurants in the city (plus, it has a Michelin Star). You technically don’t need to get dressed up (it’s very casual), but for the sake of this post I thought Uncle Boons fit best here. The restaurant is underground (and extends farther than you may think), dimly lit, and filled with different kinds of Thai posters art on exposed brick. The menu might seem daunting when you notice items such as “Gaeng Som” and “Kao Pat Puu” but the waiters help to steer you in the right direction while explaining each dish. My personal favorite is the Massaman Neuh, a short rib curry which is arguably one of the best dishes I’ve ever had. Tack on a couple small plates (the spicy rotisserie chicken & banana blossom salad is another favorite) and make sure there are at least two orders of roti on the table. They take very few reservations, so expect a wait if you walk in (go early to avoid the 2-3 hour wait during primetime).
Pasquale Jones is a small, sexy restaurant bridging Nolita and Soho that does Italian-American small plates (with a seasonal menu) and is best known for their pizzas (specifically the little neck clam). Reservations are hard to come by but they take walk-ins and usually you can get two spots at the bar without too long of a wait. My go-to order is the warm ricotta, the crudo, a seasonal salad, and a pizza (for two people). Pasquale Jones is by the same people behind the beloved Charlie Bird and Legacy Records and hospitality is included!
Date night where I can still wear leggings: Tacombi is your classic neighborhood favorite in an open air space. It’s great for groups but also an excellent spot for a casual date night. I suggest guac and corn esquites (grilled corn with cotija cheese and chili) for the table and then go the two taco route – my favorite are the shrimp and barbacoa (see what specials they have that night!). Did I mention how massive and delicious the guac is?
Girls night out: The La Esquina brasserie is located under the simple taco shop in Soho. Dinner reservations are required and once you enter, you’ll see a man standing by the elevator to go downstairs (where you then proceed to walk through the kitchen to get to the restaurant and bar). It’s sceney, loud, and the perfect spot to team up with your favorite girls for a couple too many margaritas and a fun night ahead. I love the queso fundido and few orders of tostadas for the table and then recommend splitting tacos with someone (they come in two) so you can try two different ones.
Takeout without feeling like garbage: Ruby’s is an Australian café serving up a solid breakfast menu that runs until 4pm daily (brekkie) with options like chia muesli, avocado toast, and a spinach soft scramble but also easy dinner salads and farrow bowls where you can add a protein (chicken, shrimp, smoked salmon). Pick this up when you want something yummy and filling that isn’t another chain.
Ultra-health focused: To be fair, I’ve only been to Honeybrains for a quick breakfast, but the lunch and dinner options look solid for an affordable weeknight dinner that also makes you feel good about what you’re putting in your body. The menu was specifically created by researching the science related to food and the human brain and they are also crazy about raw honey and protecting bees (their Honeybar actually has coffee and tea-based drinks that use the raw honey). I’ve heard great things about the daily catch bowl (salmon, kale, sweet potatoes, peanuts) and they also have juices, shots, and supplements!
Sweet treat: I have professed my love for Christina Tosi and Milk Bar over and over again…but I still can’t get over how much I love it. The cereal milk ice cream is controversial (you either love it or you hate it) but I LOVE it. Go to order: I usually get the swirl with sprinkles and cereal crunch (which adds up to about $7…) but my boyfriend loves the cake ball truffles (and they have gluten free ones!). Anything they have there is worth trying.
Little Cupcake Bakeshop is the cutest bakery on the corner of Prince and Mott Street (conveniently right next to Milk Bar). They have cupcakes, smores bars, cookies, and ice cream, but they’re best known for their cupcakes and cakes. Grab a slice on your way back from dinner and sit on the couch binge watching Billions. Get the blackout chocolate cake no questions asked (it’s actually famous).
All things brunch: Seasonal, organic, locally sourced egg dishes. That, my friends, is Egg Shop. Owned by a husband and wife, this small but charming breakfast spot is a must-visit. Plus, there’s an option for everyone. If you want something healthier (i.e., you’re not deathly hungover from the night before), The Reformer breakfast sandwich has egg whites, feta, kale and tomato on multigrain or The Spandex is a quinoa bowl with greens, pickled carrots, avocado and a poached egg. On the sandwich side, you can’t go wrong but I love the Egg Shop BEC, which has egg, Vermont white cheddar, black forest bacon, tomato jam, and fresh pickled jalapenos (YUM). If you can’t make up your mind, BYOBS (build your own breakfast sandwich). Wait times can get long and they don’t text you when your table is ready (so you have to linger) but it’s usually not as long as they say.
Atla is an all-day Mexican cafe run by Daniela Soto-Innes (the same person behind Cosme) with an excellent brunch menu if you are looking for something a bit nicer in the morning. There will definitely be a wait (somewhere in the 30 minute range for two people) but there are nearby places to grab coffee beforehand. Highlights include the guacamole goat cheese toast (not your average avocado toast), the enchiladas, and mole. Oh, and a mezcal cocktail.
If you’re looking for the most perfect NYC bagel, please go find Black Seed and order yourself a BEC on an everything bagel and then come talk to me. Bliss.