The Best Restaurants At Essex Market

Eat and drink your way through these eight spots in Essex Market.

Essex Market has been a central part of the Lower East Side since the early 19th century, when the city was covered in mud and manure. The market itself has changed over the years, having moved locations in 2019 to a large complex on the corner of Essex and Delancey. It shares a building with a movie theater, luxury condos, and until its recent closure, even more vendors downstairs at The Market Line. Whether it’s Oreo pancakes, stewed goat testicles, or one of the best breakfast sandwiches in the city, Essex Market is home to some of the tastiest food you can find on the Lower East Side.


photo credit: Carina Finn


Lower East Side

$$$$Perfect For:BreakfastBrunchClassic EstablishmentKidsLiterally EveryoneLunch
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Perhaps no place is as synonymous with Essex Market as Shopsin’s, the enigmatic breakfast and brunch spot. Opened by Kenny Shopsin back in the ’80s, the restaurant became a destination for creative dishes like mac and cheese pancakes, and more sandwiches varieties than you can imagine. In addition, people came to interact with and experience Kenny and his family’s vocal personalities (check out Kenny’s documentary, I Like Killing Flies). Although Kenny passed away in 2018, the restaurant lives on, with its large menu, tremendous breakfast food, and a strict no-substitutions policy. Make sure you get the ebelskivers, Danish stuffed pancakes that come with jam.

​​This sit-down spot is from the chefs behind two of our favorite Indian restaurants in the city, Semma and Adda, and it focuses on regional specialties that are hard to find elsewhere in NYC. Try their version of subzi pulao served directly in a pressure cooker, or the tender goat kidneys and testicles in a fragrant onion-tomato stew, and pao shimmering with ghee on the side. The energy in both the indoor and outdoor seating areas is always rambunctious, and at times, feels like you’re not even at Essex Market at all.

Dominican Cravings makes one of the best breakfast sandwiches in the city: the tres golpes patacon. Between two crispy patacones you’ll find a combo of fried salami, fried cheese, a runny sunny side up egg, and a slathering of mayonnaise-y pink sauce that cuts through all the salty and rich elements. This sandwich confirms that any breakfast sandwich can be improved if you add fried salami. Grab a couple of empanadas from this counter-service spot if you’re looking for something besides breakfast.

Kotti Berliner Döner Kebab serves slow-roasted meat cooked on a rotisserie that’s stuffed into fluffy pide bread full of air pockets. Their Turkish-style sandwiches, loaded with juicy chicken, crispy pickled vegetables, a lemony yogurt sauce, and a spicy harissa-based sauce, deserve your full attention, have so many different textures, and cost under $15. This is one of the best things you can eat in the whole building.

This Peruvian spot has rotisserie chickens spinning at all times, and that’s exactly what you should order. Get a half chicken combo over fries, greens, and avocado salad, or take home a  whole bird to make your weeknight meals easier. If you’re into ceviche, the mixto is worth ordering—it has calamari strips mixed in, and if you get your bowl spicy (which you should), the leche de tigre will clear up your sinuses. We love the large chunks of choclo corn, corn nuts, and soft sweet potatoes that help balance out the whole dish.

If you’re looking for breakfast tacos or burritos on the LES, check out the Puebla Mexican Food counter. While they also serve great tortas, Puebla is one of the few places that offer breakfast tacos in the neighborhood. There are so many options to choose from, and the eggs are always fluffy and come intermingled with cheese. Go for the combo of the slightly spicy chorizo and eggs, whether that’s in a burrito or on some corn tortillas with some black beans.

$$$$Perfect For:Kids

This is where you’ll want to get ice cream in the market. This offshoot of the Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory has a ton of flavors, including pandan, Thai ice tea, and ube. Just know this location is only open until 6pm and closes during the winter.

Sugar Sweet Sunshine should be your go-to dessert spot in the market. This bakery has a large selection of cupcakes, including a delightful Oreo version with an actual cookie on the bottom, and does a bunch of different pudding varieties. Their banana cream pudding is especially good, and will probably have you wondering why you don’t eat more pudding.

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