On our last visit to Veselka, we sat next to a couple furiously making out, who looked like they’d just left a CBGB show in 1980. When you’re there, depending on the hour, you’ll likely also see older an Eastern European woman who has probably lived in the East Village for decades, as well as a family of tourists, and a table of hungover NYU sophomores. As the light comes in through the windows and reflects off your cup of borscht, you may think to yourself, you can get a real slice of New York City life here. That’s one of the fun things about a place like Veselka that’s been around for 60 years and which is open 24 hours a day.

Veselka holds a place in a lot of people’s hearts, and I think that’s because they serve comfort food like your grandmother used to make, especially if you used to go to grandmother’s house after a night at Continental bar.

Like many of you, we are Team Veselka. Veselka has managed to keep it going for 60 years, as many of the city’s classic diners and other nearby Eastern European restaurants, have closed down, and they deserve some serious cred for that. They also serve a pleasing combination of greasy spoon staples, including a beloved burger, and Ukrainian specialties like borscht and pierogies, which are a big part of what’s kept everyone coming back.

Veselka works any time of year, but it feels particularly welcoming on a snowy winter day, which it just so happens to be as we write this, when the windows fog up. Get your parka and go get some borscht.

Food Rundown


The dumplings of Eastern Europe, and one of Veselka’s signatures. They come either fried or boiled and filled with cheese, potato, and a selection of other fillings. Get a plate to share.

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The deep red beet soup cures all illnesses, even if it is a bit sweet at times. We like the Christmas Borscht, which comes with little mushroom dumplings.

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The Veselka burger has legions of fans, and it’s certainly a tip-top rendition of a diner-style burger.

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Matzo Ball Soup

Have you ever considered there are actually NOT that many places to get a great matzo ball soup, even though it seems like such an NYC staple? Good thing Veselka’s is good.

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Potato Pancakes

Greasy, and obviously good.

Pretty Much Anything Else

The menu here is quite large, but we certainly also endorse any orders of pancakes, eggs, sandwiches, bacon, and so on.

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