To get into Yopparai, you press a buzzer, then walk up some stairs in an apartment building on Rivington, and enter through a sliding door on the second floor. That might make this sound like a gimmicky speakeasy, but once you sit at the long chef’s counter and the food starts arriving, you’ll realize that isn’t the case at all. It’s a really good Japanese spot with a huge menu ranging from sashimi to barbecue to oden (small bowls of dashi broth with your choice of ingredients). The fried chicken with green tea powder is great, but our favorite thing here is the chef’s selection of three types of oden for $12. The two-person, cushioned stools at the counter are ideal for dates, and there are a couple larger tables if you come with a group. Either way, you should also explore the massive sake list.
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Spicy Village is not a romantic date spot. Unless styrofoam dishware gets you all hot and bothered. Take your friends, bring a bottle of wine, and prepare to spend $10 a piece on some delicious Chinese grub.
Freemans has been a key player in the restaurant renaissance we’re currently living in and ranks among our favorite restaurants of all time.
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Shalom Japan is what happens when two chefs from different backgrounds (Japanese & Jewish) fall in love and start making food instead of babies.
Riki is a casual Japanese restaurant near Grand Central where you can order some yakitori and okonomiyaki before your train.
Suggested by our writers
Kiki’s is a Greek place on the Lower East Side that’s packed every night, and serves good, affordable food.
Le French Diner
We like this tiny French restaurant on the Lower East Side so much we almost didn’t want to tell you about it.
Davelle is an all-day Japanese spot on the LES that’s unlike any other place in the city.
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