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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Hotel Chantelle is where you go when it's your 21st birthday and you need to dance because your internship is totally stressing you out.
Public Kitchen is the restaurant on the ground floor of Public Hotel. It has Jean George’s name on it, but it’s not very good.
Blue Ribbon Kanpai Garden
Located on the roof patio at the Thompson Hotel on the Lower East Side, hit Blue Ribbon Kanpai Garden with a group for beer slushies and ping pong.
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The neighborhood sushi joint of the East Village, Takahachi is affordable and filled with regulars.
Katana Kitten is a two-floor Japanese cocktail bar in the West Village where you can get a great cocktail and fries with seaweed flakes on them.
Ronin’ Stones is a speakeasy-type bar on the LES that plays great music and serves yakitori skewers.
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.
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