lose yourself in the streets of nolita, nyc

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Nolita NYC travel guide by Heather Cox of Eat Real Food

Nolita is one of my favourite neighbourhoods in the city. It's bustling with cute and quirky boutiques, street side market stands and a lot more restaurants to choose from than its neighbouring 'hood, Soho. 

It really comes alive in the Spring and Fall when many of the restaurants have outdoor seating and you can spend an entire day drinking wine, eating good food and watching the world go by. This 'hood has so much to offer but below are some of my all time favorite spots, to start with. Take a wander around the streets and hopefully you'll find some of your own too. 

Nolita NYC travel guide by Heather Cox of Eat Real Food

FOR BREAKFAST/BRUNCH:

RUBYS CAFE

The first of the Aussie cafes to invade NYC, Ruby's has been around since i landed in New York almost 13 years ago and is still going strong. With an expansion into the space next door (formerly Convicts and before that Ksubi) and a brand new spot in Murray Hill, they are still the place to be for real, Aussie food and of course, Aussie made coffee. Just beware that if you're looking for an authentic New York experience, this isn't it! Every second accent you hear will be Australian. Oh, and it's cash only so don't forget to hit up the ATM on your way. 

219 Mulberry Street | http://www.rubyscafe.com

 

MAMAN

A gorgeous little spot offering delicious french pastries, coffee and small bites like quiches, salads and sandwiches. It's also only a few doors down from my favourite homewares store, Clic too, so you can kill two birds with one stone. Perfect!

239 Centre Street | mamannyc.com

 

TWO HANDS

These guys came on to the NYC cafe scene at just the right time. Luring customers in when Instagram was at it's peak (before it got completely over-saturated) with delicious photos of avocado toast and perfectly made coffee, they've had no trouble sustaining a loyal fan base. And for good reason. The space is gorgeous and comes complete with its own classic New York City feature brick wall.

164 Mott Street | twohandsnyc.com

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Nolita NYC travel guide by Heather Cox of Eat Real Food

FOR LUNCH:

TACOMBI

A fun, casual and relatively cheap spot for delicious tacos served out of a converted VW bus. No hormones, no antibiotics, no additives and no preservatives is what these guys are all about. Bringing you a real, authentic Mexican experience... that's as healthy as Mexican can be. 

267 Elizabeth Street | tacombi.com

 

CAFE GITANE

One of my all time favourite spots in NYC, hands down. There is something about sitting out on the pavement under the striped umbrellas on such a gorgeous corner of Nolita enjoying avo toast and coffee for brekkie or a glass of rosé and my favorite smoked trout and lentil salad for lunch. Expect to wait a while for a table or beat the crowds and turn up a little earlier than everyone else to secure a seat. Cash only.

242 Mott Street | cafegitanenyc.com

 

TARTINERY

You might be sensing a bit of a French theme here and you are totally correct! I'm a sucker for all things French. This cute spot in prime Nolita is a great place for a quick bite or a long weekend brunch. My fave tartine? The organic smoked salmon on sourdough, for sure. 

209 Mulberry Street | tartinery.com

 

JACKS WIFE FREDA

Expect to wait a while at this small but popular little restaurant serving simple dishes like a greek or tuna salad, roasted cauliflower with parsley and capers and my favourite, grilled haloumi with marinated grapes and mint. Dubbed "South African Israeli Jewish Grandmother Cuisine" (whatever that means!) by New York Mag, this place is definitely worth a visit.

224 Lafayette Street | jackswifefreda.com

 

Nolita NYC travel guide by Heather Cox of Eat Real Food
Nolita NYC travel guide by Heather Cox of Eat Real Food

FOR DINNER:

PUBLIC- CLOSED

This has been a go-to spot of mine FOREVER, 13 years in fact. Whenever any of my friends have visited me i have always taken them here. The space is stunning and the food is incredible but sadly at the time of writing this i found out that is has closed it's doors. After 14 years! Devastated 

 

ESTELA

There was so much buzz around this restaurant when it first opened, reservations were impossible to get. I even heard rumors that Barack Obama ate here on one of his visits to the city, which probably didn't help. Innovative Mediterranean cuisine and a pretty extensive wine list (not surprising, seeing as one of the owners used to be the head sommelier at Blue Hill at Stone Barns), this restaurant is a must visit for all the foodies out there. Thankfully the buzz has died down a little now so it should be an easier reservation to get. If not, head up there early and eat at the bar. It's just as good. 

47 East Houston Street | estelanyc.com

 

LA ESQUINA

A trip to NYC is not complete without dinner or drinks at this super hip hot spot that again, has been around forever. The food is cheap but the reservation is still a pretty tough one to get. I'd recommend putting on your best outfit, turning up early and trying your luck at the door. If they won't give you a table, head down to the bar for a drink anyway. It's so much fun. 

114 Kenmare Street | esquinanyc.com

 

CHEFS CLUB

A girlfriend of mine chose this restaurant for us on a recent girls night out and i was beyond impressed. If anything, the space is so stunning that even if you just go for a drink, it's worth it. The idea here is that you get to taste signature dishes created by some of the worlds top chefs, including our very own Curtis Stone, amongst others. If it's still on the menu, try the broccoli pizza. SO GOOD.

275 Mulberry Street | chefsclub.com

 

DE MARIA

Another newcomer to the area but one i fell in love with straight away, De Maria offers a limited menu but the two things i tried on it were so damn good i'm salivating just thinking about them! I started with the Radish and Jicama salad (without the lamb) and followed with the Halibut Tostada. A dish i will never forget. Awesome spot when the weather is nice as they have tables set up outside on the pavement, if not, the space inside is just as sweet. 

19 Kenmore Street | demarianyc.com

 

Nolita NYC travel guide by Heather cox of Eat Real Food
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FOR SUPER HEALTHY:

JUICE PRESS

One of the first stores that Juice Press opened when they started their empire a mere 6 years ago and cold pressed juices were only just becoming a thing. Since then they have grown to a whopping 54 stores on the East Coast alone and, for that reason, they are going to feature in all of my neighborhood healthy recommendations! Great for on-the-go juices, smoothies, raw food and snacks. Means more time for shopping. 

250 Mott Street | juicepress.com

 

BUTCHERS DAUGHTER

It's hard to find someone that doesn't love this spot. A 100% plant based and locally sourced menu featuring everything from kale salads to green tacos. Oh, and a list of interesting smoothies and juices to boot. Another place that gets super busy, especially if the weather is nice as everyone fights to be outside. Try the spicy kale caeser. It's a fave of mine. 

19 Kenmore Street | thebutchersdaughter.com

 

SWEETGREEN

I was SO happy when these guys came to the hood. Finally a 'fast food' chain doing it right. Supporting local farmers with total transparency (you can see where your spinach comes from as it's written right there on the board). Food is prepped on site and is always in season so it actually tastes like something! Incredibly forward thinking, Sweetgreen even has it's own app that you can pre-order your lunch from, dictating the time you wish to pick it up. No more waiting in line. Perfection on every level. 

100 Kenmare Street | sweetgreen.com

Nolita NYC travel guide by Heather Cox of Eat Real Food

FOR SHOPPING:

There are so many cute little boutiques in this 'hood but as you wander around, look out for a few of my faves like the McNALLY JACKSON BOOKSTOREWARMCREATURES OF COMFORT, INA, MALIA MILLS and for something really naughty, try a 'Brooklyn Blackout' cupcake at THE LITTLE CUPCAKE BAKESHOP. I didn't just tell you to do that by the way. Hehe. 

 

Photos shot in Nolita, NYC by Morgan Ione Yeager