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BEST 4: VEGETARIANS
Perfect for a gourmet vegan feast after a day at the Met and/or Whitney, Candle 79 (154 E. 79th St., btwn Lexington & 3rd Aves.; 212-537-7179; $18-22) is a bit pricier than other herbivore options, but well worth it with delectable dishes even meat-lovers will savor.
Only in New York: Eastern European Jewish vegetarian, courtesy of B & H Vegetarian Restaurant (127 2nd Ave., btwn 7th St. & St. Marks Pl.; 212-505-8065; $4-10). Local hipsters love the meat-freeness, neighborhood elders cherish the old world authenticity, and everyone loves the prices.
Consciously contrasting the across-the-street McDonald's in every manner possible, Counter (105 First Ave., at 6th St.; 212-982-5870; $13-19) is a sleek and trendy East Village bistro serving fabulous vegetarian victuals, as well as a dizzying array of organic wines and martinis.
Still believe veggie fare must equal bland and dull? Try the Village's Red Bamboo Soul Caf? (140 W. 4th St., btwn Sixth Ave. & MacDougal St.; 212-260-1212; $8-13), where spicy southern selections such as Cajun fried "shrimp" and honey lemon "catfish" will set your mind forever right.
BEST 4: CHEAP LOCAL FAVES
Ask a hundred New Yorkers where to get the best slice and you're liable to get 90 different answers -- but at least 10 votes will surely go to John's of Bleecker Street (278 Bleecker St., btwn Sixth & Seventh Aves.; 212-243-1680; whole pizzas $12-23), the brick-ovened West Village fave of the likes of Al Pacino.
So many similar and frankly unremarkable Indian restaurants crowd 6th Street between First and Second avenues in the East Village that the running joke is that they're all served by one huge underground kitchen. Standing out among them for consistently great taste at bargain prices is Panna II (93 First Ave., btwn 5th & 6th Sts.; 212-598-4610; $5-7). Be sure to go to your right up the stairs, as staff from the lesser joint to the left will try to convince you otherwise.
A cherished local favorite for over 50 years, Veselka (144 Second Ave., at 9th St.; 212-228-9682; $8-13) is an East Village classic, serving hearty, authentic and delicious Ukrainian fare to several generations of artists and Soviet expats alike.
Mother stands for comfort at Mama's Food Shop (200 E. 3rd St., between Aves. A & B; 212-777-4425; $9-10), a no-frills neighborhood fave beloved as much for its almost ridiculously huge a la carte portions as its uber-artsy (but extremely friendly) East Village vibe. Choices run the gamut from healthy (grilled salmon, roasted brussels sprouts) to not so much (meatloaf, mac & cheese).
Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five
New York City: Introduction
New York City: Where to Stay
New York City: Where to Play/Meet
New York City: What to See and Do
New York City: Where to Shop
New York City: Neighborhoods
New York City: Resources