The Financial District is an area full of contradictions. On one hand, it’s New York’s oldest neighborhood, with plenty of historic landmarks and winding cobblestone streets. And our country’s economy is figuratively, if not literally, run here. On the other hand, it’s filled with nondescript tall buildings, a million weird delis that definitely don’t change their salad bar contents frequently enough, and tourists with Statue of Liberty souvenirs.
All that aside, many of you seem to find yourselves down here during meal times, unsure of where or what to eat that’s neither Pret A Manger nor The Capital Grille. This list consists of the places we think are actually worth your time – no prepackaged sandwiches or overpriced steaks allowed.
Dead Rabbit tends to be the first place we send people looking for a good time in FiDi. It’s part cocktail bar, part restaurant, located across a few floors in an old building on Water Street. The space feels very old New York (like, 1700s old), and many of the cocktails are served in fancy little teacups. Did New York’s settlers drink whiskey out of teacups? Unclear, but we’ll take it. This place gets crowded, but it’s one of the best around.
Pisillo is one of the hands-down best Italian sandwich shops in Manhattan, and we endorse making your way over here if you’re anywhere in the vicinity. The Italian news blasting on the TV is a good sign of authenticity, and it’s statistically proven that watching Silvio Berlusconi’s face flash across a screen makes your prosciutto and mozzarella better. The sandwiches are simple, but made with extremely high-quality ingredients. They’re also huge.
Allow us to share a piece of knowledge you may not have been previously familiar with: you don’t actually have to wait in line for two hours at a music festival/Smorgasburg to acquire a ramen burger. The original ramen burger inventor from Smorgasburg actually has a shop called Ramen Co. in FiDi that serves ramen burgers all day. Dare you to get one and not Instagram it. They also make some pretty decent regular old ramen in bowls – we like the garlicky “Brooklyn Blend.”
The best lobster roll shop in New York has an outpost on William Street. It’s pretty much the same as all the others, which is to say: simple, excellent, and probably bound to raise your cholesterol slightly.
A very pleasant Italian restaurant/wine bar with salads, crostinis, pastas, and so on, that’s actually owned by the people behind Sant Ambroeus. Both the vibe and the food are on the top end of what you’ll find in the area.
GRK fits squarely into the “Chipotle of X” category, with Greek food as the “X” here. It’s one of the best of the many, many fast casual options around, but we come back mostly for the excellent frozen Greek yogurt. Because yes, your gyro does need some ice cream with it.
Certainly the coolest spot in the area around the South Street Seaport, El Luchador is a little Mexican place where you can eat your burrito in an old Airstream. The fish tacos are great.
A surprisingly good lobster roll exists in this beer hall right in the heart of The Seaport. If you want to eat seafood and drink beers and bourbon with a big group, this is your destination.
A sushi place at the northern edge of The Seaport serving quality fish in a sleek, modern environment. It’s not going to compete with the top tier of sushi, but it’ll do for when you need a spicy tuna roll topped with avocado and some tempura flakes.
Bagel enthusiasts: meet Leo’s Bagels, a sleeper high-quality bagel pick. The bagels here are gooey and chewy in the way that the rare really good NYC bagel is. This is where you should be getting your egg and cheese bagel in the AM.
The main reason to come to Pier A Harbor House? The views. From the many outside tables, you’ll look right out at the Statue of Liberty, and the inside is massive as well. Stick to the cooked food, like mini oyster po’ boy sliders.
For a slightly more refined option at the very edge of Manhattan, check out this outpost of the popular Tribeca Italian restaurant Gigino. It’s classic Italian food, located mostly in a tent in Wagner Park – the outdoor space is great if you happen to have kids, or are with adults who for whatever reason need to run around excessively.
The Stone Street main drag is littered with bars and restaurants, all of which have outdoor seating areas that bleed into one another. It’s an appealing place to hang out in the area, certainly. So which of the many restaurants should you pick? Sure, the Bavaria Beer Haus will do if you want to drink hefeweizen out of a boot, and the Mexican restaurant “Mad Dog and Beans” is an option if you want to patronize a place called “Mad Dog and Beans.” But if you actually want to eat, do it at Adrienne’s Pizza Bar. The large pies are pretty good (no slices, FYI), and the inside area is pretty nice.
If you find yourself on the western side of FiDi, the massive floor of vendors inside Brookfield Place should be your first line of defense. There’s a Black Seed Bagels, there’s a Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar, there’s a Num Pang, there’s a Mighty Quinn’s. There are burgers, and tacos, and dumplings, and even some vaguely healthy things. Get into it.
Yes friends, there’s a Shack Shack here. It’s right at the edge of the Goldman Sachs/space age movie theater death star corridor. You know the rest.
Another classic burger is located right around the corner in this new outpost of PJ Clarke’s. They do a good job replicating the classic original down to the red checkered tablecloths, and when it’s warm, the outdoor seating overlooking the water is key.
Also attached to Brookfield Place is a new location of Parm. (In case you haven’t realized, they’re really good at colonizing great stuff from further uptown in this little area.) All the chicken parms and turkey sandwiches you’ve come to love are here, and as a bonus, the space is huge.