Visit the far west corner of West Village today and it’s hard to believe this was one of the most run-down neighborhoods in Manhattan just 25 years ago. Now, it’s home to spots like the French-Moroccan Cafe Gitane, located in the Jane Hotel. Restored in 2008 by legendary hoteliers Eric Goode and Sean McPherson, the hotel was once a budget accommodation for sailors.
Designers, artists and downtown New Yorkers pile into the twenty-odd tables scattered across the restaurant’s black and white tile floor. They come for the Middle Eastern fare like spicy organic meatballs (turmeric tomato sauce, cucumber yogurt, cilantro) or dishes with more of a French flair, like the roasted chicken sandwich (chipotle mayonnaise, fresh parmesan, roasted tomatoes, French baguette). And at $ 14 for a main dish, these are some of the most reasonably priced tables in town.
For a quick bite, the avocado toast (lemon juice, olive oil, chili flakes, seven grain toast) is not to be missed. Speedy service at the bar, meanwhile, includes a range of gin cocktails and a generous wine and beer list at affordable prices, which help keep things surprisingly slow-paced for such a spot with so much buzz.