Kura is a very unexpected restaurant. It’s behind an unmarked white wall that you would definitely walk past if you weren’t looking for it, and it’s an absolutely incredible sushi restaurant. It’s omakase only, starting at $65 per person, and the experience will take you right off St. Marks and directly to Japan.
Cafe Mogador is a St. Marks classic. It’s the perfect neighborhood restaurant with exceptional Mediterranean/Moroccan food, and the outdoor seating only makes it better. It’s very popular for brunch, but the lunch and dinner options are not to be missed, either. Come any time of day and prepare for friendly service and simple but delicious food.
If you’re not careful, you might mix up Cafe Orlin and Cafe Mogador. It would be understandable, however, seeing as they’re owned by the same bunch, serve similar menus, and have similar atmospheres. Cafe Orlin is another brunch classic with outdoor seating, and it’s just as good as Mogador. As strange as it may sound to have two nearly identical restaurants on the same street, they’re both always delicious and always popular, so you’ll be glad to have both choices.
Xi’an Famous Foods
Xi’an Famous Foods has exploded across NYC, but it started in Flushing, Queens and now has a location on St. Marks. A small noodle shop known for its huge bowls of spicy noodles, Xi’an is perfect for a cheap but filling meal. Prepare for long lines and minimal seating, but the food is worth it. We recommend the spicy cumin lamb noodles.
If you’re looking for a classic New York hot dog, don’t come to Crif Dogs. Come here if you’re looking for a unique hot dog topped with things like pineapple, a fried egg, or cream cheese and everything-bagel seeds, or go for the “chihuaua” – a bacon-wrapped hot dog with avocados and sour cream. Aside from its crazy dogs, Crif Dogs is known for being attached to Please Don’t Tell, a speakeasy that you enter through a telephone booth in Crif Dogs.
Empellón al Pastor
At the very end of St. Marks, just on the corner of Avenue A is Empellón al Pastor, an excellent Mexican restaurant. Come here when you’re looking for something more than a takeout taco joint, but make sure not to skip their al pastor taco. You order your food at one end of the bar and drinks at the other and then take a seat; and the drinks here are just as much of a draw as the food.
You go to The Bao for soup dumplings. They come in multiple varieties here and the rest of the menu is also delicious, so everyone will be happy. But still, anyone who’s has soup dumplings knows they’re one of the world’s greatest foods, and anyone who hasn’t tried them should go find some ASAP. And in NYC, The Bao might be the best place to get them.
You may have noticed that there are quite a few Mediterranean restaurants on this list, but Timna is the most upscale and adventurous of them all. Here, you’ll still find staples like hummus, lamb, and yogurt sauces on the menu, but Timna is really about modern twists on classics. They call themselves a ‘modern Israeli‘ restaurant, so come here if you’re up for trying things like ‘Mediterranean sashimi’.