Hello! My name is Chris and I’m currently an NYU senior in the College of Arts and Science. As an Admissions Ambassador who gives campus tours, I’m often asked by visiting guests for food recommendations close to NYU’s Washington Square campus.
As you plan your visit to NYU, I hope you find these recommendations helpful! I’ve listed some of my favorite restaurants within walking distance of NYU’s campus in New York City.
Village Taverna is one of my favorite restaurants in the city. It is a short walk (about fives minutes) north on University Place, which runs along the east side of Washington Square Park. The cuisine is great and the restaurant also has outdoor seating. Before coming to NYU, I didn’t often eat Greek food, but this restaurant has definitely made me a huge fan of the cuisine! As far as what to eat, I recommend the silogi, a selection of Mediterranean spreads, as an appetizer and the chicken or shrimp souvlaki as an entree.
San Marzano is an NYU student staple. Located in the East Village, the restaurant is a short walk from most buildings and NYU residence halls on the Washington Square campus. I recommend ordering the create-your-own pasta: you can choose from six different types of pasta that can be paired with eight signature sauces. This meal will definitely revive you after all the walking on your NYU tour. 😁
12 Chairs Cafe
12 Chairs Cafe sits a few blocks south of Washington Square Park. Their SoHo location features a variety of Israeli dishes, all of which are amazing. To illustrate, I have taken my parents here, celebrated friends’ birthdays here, and even brought first dates here. Even if the relationships didn’t last, it certainly couldn’t be blamed on the food! I recommend the chicken schnitzel.
If you’re feeling bougie during your visit to NYU, head north from campus to Soothr on 13th Street, a Thai restaurant with an extensive food and drink menu.
Undoubtedly, I recommend their lunch special, which is offered during weekdays from noon to 3:45 p.m. and includes an entree, side, and discounted drink. But remember to make a reservation beforehand, tables can fill up quickly!
Right next to NYU’s Third North residence hall sits Ruby’s Cafe—East Village. This cafe is a great spot for breakfast items served until 4pm and lunch and dinner served all day. As far as breakfast, I would recommend their spicy pork breakfast sandwich. As for lunch or dinner? I’ve often ordered the fried chicken burger. That said, the best thing you can get at Ruby’s Cafe are the truffle fries! It’s undeniable—they’re the best thing on the menu.
Located a short walk up Fifth Avenue from Washington Square Park, Da Andrea is a great place to enjoy some Italian food. You can easily spot the restaurant from the many vines and pink flowers surrounding the outdoor seating area. And if the weather is nice, you should sit outside! Now for the important part—the food!—I recommend the spaghetti bolognese, gnocchi, or salmon.
Lafayette Grand Café & Bakery
Lafayette Grand Café & Bakery is a short walk west from the Washington Square campus. The bakery section is mostly known for their supreme croissants. At the hours of 8:00 a.m., noon, and 4:00 p.m., the bakery “drops” fresh croissant batches. New Yorkers and visitors form a line around the block for their uniquely shaped croissant.
Also, there is a beautiful restaurant inside of the cafe section, and you don’t have to wait for an entire block to get enter! Go for their French-style brunch. My favorite items are the lemon ricotta pancakes and the smoked salmon Benedict.
Rosie’s is a short walk from Washington Square Park. I currently live a couple of blocks from Rosie’s, so my friends and I frequent the restaurant to get great tacos! In the East Village, the restaurant offers a very fun atmosphere with a lot of covered outdoor seating when the weather is warm. I recommend their pork tacos and chicken enchiladas.
Shuka is a great place to stop by for some tasty Mediterranean food. (It’s also close to the 12 Chairs Cafe). Their menu offers a wide variety of dips and kebabs, all of which are fantastic. If they are offering it during your visit, I highly recommend their beet hummus.
Karakatta brings up memories of my first year when I lived in Weinstein Hall, a dorm which borders the northwest corner of Washington Square Park. It is a great spot for bowl of ramen, any time of the day. Before coming to NYU, the only ramen I was eating was instant ramen from the microwave, so I’m sure you can imagine my love for authentic ramen at Karakatta.