We’ve created this self-guided Greenwich Village food tour to help you narrow down the overwhelming options to sample the best of the best while keeping an eye on your budget. The tour includes six “must-try” foods, the ones that New Yorkers have been eating forever. And in between the food, we’ve included a few historical sites you won’t want to miss. You could do this tour for under $10/person, depending on your appetite. The information from this post is on our interactive map, which you could use while walking the route.
Greenwich Village is known for its wide range of cuisines that reflect the ethnic diversity of NYC. Some of the neighborhood’s food shops, cafes and restaurants opened up almost a century ago and are still every bit as popular as they were then. Greenwich Village also keeps up with the modern trends in cuisine and you can dine in the area every night of the year and never eat the same food twice. Let us show you all the things to eat in Greenwich Village.
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Note: Recommended portions are for 2 people so adjust your order to suit the number of people in your group. Most items we recommend do not include meat. Prices listed are as of April 2016.
(A) Mamoun’s Falafel, at 119 MacDougal Street. This tiny shop opened in 1971 and was the first falafel restaurant in New York. The falafel here is so fantastic that Mamoun’s is featured in the book “1000 Places To See Before You Die.” If you aren’t familiar with falafel, it is a traditional Middle Eastern food made from ground chickpeas (garbanzo beans), seasoned lightly with garlic and enough parsley that your falafel may look a little green inside. That’s both normal and tasty. We recommend that you order a side portion of falafel which comes with 4 falafel balls and ask for some tahini, a mild sesame seed paste. There is spicy hot sauce in bottles on the counters but be warned: this is VERY,VERY hot sauce so do not pour it all over your falafel until you have tasted a tiny bit. If you like it, Mamoun’s sells bottles of it inside. ($2.00 and up)
While noshing on your falafel, take a look over at (B) Café Reggio who claim to have served the first cappuccino in the united states in 1927. Several films have been shot here including The Godfather II, Serpico and Inside Llewyn Davis. Across the street at 130-132 MacDougal Street is a double-wide red brick townhouse with a delicate iron gate surrounding the doorway. In 1868, Louisa May Alcott reportedly wrote part of Little Women while visiting her uncle here.
Walk a few hundred feet away to the corner and you will be standing in front of (C) Café Wha (read our post) where 1960s musical legends like Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix got their start.
Cross Minetta Lane and a few yards away is (D) Artichoke Pizza at 111 MacDougal Street. All their pizza is great, but we recommend you try the slice that made them famous, their artichoke slice. With a thick crust and rich, creamy white sauce layered with pieces of artichoke then covered with a generous portion of mozzarella cheese, one slice is enough to split among two or three people. The sauce recipe is a guarded secret, known only by a few members of the family who opened the first of several locations in 2008. ($4.50-5.00 per slice)
Walk back to Minetta Lane and make a left. When you come to the intersection of Minetta Lane and Minetta Street you’ll be standing above what remains of a creek. (E) Minetta Creek was a source of fresh water and fish for Native Americans and Dutch Settlers three centuries ago. Short and curved Minetta Street follows the bend in the creek underneath the paved street. Before our next food stop cross 6th Avenue and take a break in (F) Father Demo Square which oddly enough is triangle-shaped.
Once you have found room in your tummy for a traditional Italian treat from (G) Faicco’s Italian Specialities walk west on Bleeker Street to 260 Bleecker Street. This old-school ‘mom and pop’ meat shop opened in the 1940s and is still family-owned. The shop’s loyal customers have been coming for years to get homemade sausages and other meats and cheeses. At the rear of the shop you can order authentic fried street snacks as good as any you’ll find at a friggitoria in Rome.
We recommend the Arancini, a rice ball lightly seasoned with pepper, rolled in breadcrumbs then pan-fried. If you eat meat, the prosciutto balls are also delectable. Ask the shop clerk to heat the balls up. ($1.00-$2.00 per ball)
Give yourself a moment to digest by taking a peek in (H) Murray’s Cheese, one of the top cheese shops in New York City. You can find well over 100 cheeses here from around the world and at reasonable prices.
When you’re ready for your next bite continue down Bleecker Street to (I) Bantam Bagels at 283 Bleecker Street for one (or many) of their mini stuffed bagel balls. This shop is included in Oprah Winfrey’s “Favorite Things” list for 2014. Her favorite is the Hot Pretzel ball, a pretzel bagel filled with mustard and sharp Cheddar cream cheese.
We like Cinnamonster and the aptly-named Bleecker Street but you can’t go wrong with any of their 15 flavors. ($1.50 per bagel ball). After eating Bleecker Street, keep walking west on Bleecker Street and discover the leafy, quiet streets of the West Village are an ideal place to walk off some of that food. At (J) 45 Grove Street stands a once privately owned townhouse built in 1830, now divided into several apartments. In 1865 John Wilkes Booth visited the then-owner of the house, Samuel Chester. Booth had gone there to try to persuade his friend join in a conspiracy to take over the government and kidnap President Abraham Lincoln. Chester declined but Booth went above and beyond the original mission.
Walk west block to the northwest corner of Bedford and Grove Streets and look diagonally across the street where you will see a six-story apartment building with a café at street level. If you were watching TV back in the 1990s, the building might look familiar to you. It served as the exterior for Monica and Rachel’s apartment from the popular sitcom (K) Friends. The café on the street level is reminiscent of the show’s Central Perk coffee house. Check out our blog post on the Friends Apartment Building.
Continue a little farther along Grove Street and across the street you’ll see four brick row houses. These are among the most well preserved Federal-style houses in New York City and date back to the 1820s. Cross the street to get a closer look and as you head back to Bedford Street take a peek through the narrow iron entrance gate to (L) Grove Court. Originally built in 1848 as modest housing for middle-class families, it was transformed in the 1980s into several private residences.
Walk south on Bedford Street to (M) No. 75 ½ Bedford, the skinniest house in New York City. At just 9.5 feet wide and 30 feet deep, this 1873 townhouse is small in size but big on celebrities. Among its many past residents were poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, Margaret Meade, Cary Grant and John Barrymore.
Head back east on quaint Commerce Street lined with several more federal houses and get ready for another slice of pizza from (N) Bleecker Street Pizza at 69 7th Avenue. It’s been named “Best Pizza in New York” by the Food Network three years in a row. Their Nonna Maria slice represents the best of New York-style pizza – a thin, crispy crust, a juicy sauce of crushed tomatoes seasoned with basil, topped with splotches of fresh mozzarella cheese. There’s seating inside as well as a restroom. In nice weather you can grab a table outside. ($3.00-$4.00 per slice)
We know you may be full by now, but find space in your stomach for dessert at (O) Pasticceria Rocco at 243 Bleecker Street. Opened in 1974, this Italian dessert shop serves the best cannoli in New York City. Cannoli are tube shaped crispy shells filled with a sweet, rich ricotta cheese cream. What makes Rocco’s unique among the city’s pasticcerias is that the cannoli shells are filled when you order them. You cannot get fresher than that! Fortunately they have a mini-Cannoli if a full-size seems too large to conquer. They also serve a dense, delicious Italian-style cheesecake (made with sweet ricotta cheese) and New York-style cheesecake made with silkier, lighter cream cheese. There are dozens of sweets to choose from such as mini-pastries, fresh fruit tarts, biscotti, cookies and pies. It’s a lovely place to sit in and enjoy a cappuccino or take your treats to go. ($2.00 and up)
Backtrack by walking east on Bleecker Street until Sullivan Street. Turn left and walk up two blocks to (P) Washington Square Park, the heart of Greenwich Village. This site was once marshland, later used as a cemetery for the city’s poor and eventually transformed into a park in the late 1800s. Inside this down-to-earth park you’ll find people from all walks of life. It’s a feast for the eyes and ears and the perfect way to relax after your edible feast.
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