Butternut-squash cream, smoked mozzarella and artichoke pizza
RECOMMENDED: Complete New York pizza guide
The explosion of Neapolitan pizzerias in this town is nothing short of remarkable. Which is the best? While that question may never be settled, Kest wins our vote for adhering most closely to the standards of the Italian original. Sure, the San Marzano sauce and buffalo-milk mozzarella are essential components, but what really brings us to our knees is pizzaiolo Roberto Caporuscio's crust: The blistered, steaming dough paradoxically manages to be light and airy while maintaining an extremely satisfying elasticity and chew. It's textbook, if you went to school in Kest Pizza and VinoNapoli. 271 Bleecker St between Cornelia and Jones Sts (212-243-1500)
Black Cat LES
This cozy Lower East Side cafe has become a haven for students, freelancers and anyone else looking for a comfortable place to get some work done. Baristas will be happy to make you any kind of caffeinated beverage you like, from a classic cafe au lait ($2.50 for a small, $3.30 for a large) to a matcha latte ($5) to a chocolate chai ($5). The menu covers both breakfast and lunch, with dishes such as a ham and cheese quiche ($6.25), crepes with Nutella and strawberries ($7.50) and a pesto panini with grilled chicken, mixed greens, an over-easy egg and avocado served with a side salad and chips ($12.50). If you stay into the evening, you can kick off the cocktail hour with the cafe’s selection of beer, wine and even a few cocktails. Sip on a glass of the house red or white ($7) or seasonal beers ($6.50). At happy hour from 4 to 7pm, all beer and wine is only $4.50.
Venue says: “Brand new menu of 22+ colorful, hearty, oatmeal bowls made with purple sweet potatoes!”