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“A rare oasis in a corporate wasteland”

Cornelia Street Cafe
Ranked #667 of 14,744 Restaurants in New York City
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $31 - $40
Cuisines: American, Mediterranean
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Bar scene, Special occasions, Local cuisine, Romantic
Dining options: Late Night, Breakfast, Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Neighborhood: West Village
Cross street: Between W4th & Bleecker
Transit: A, B, C, D, E, F, V trains to West 4th Street. #1 to Christopher Street-Sheridan Square
Description: In 1987, on its tenth anniversary, New York City proclaimed Cornelia Street Cafe "A CULINARY AS WELL AS A CULTURAL LANDMARK." Founded by three artists, it provides food for the soul as well as the body. Upstairs there are three dining rooms, a beautiful hundred-year-old oak bar, a sidewalk cafe on one of New York's most picturesque streets, and a wood-burning fireplace for the winter. The cafe has received numerous awards for its food: Time Out's TOP 100 RESTAURANTS; the Village Voice's BEST OF NEW YORK FOOD; and a special award from the Village Arts Society for INSPIRED CUISINE. Most recently it received the Waterford Crystal Award of Distinction for BEST BY-THE-GLASS WINE PROGRAM--there are more than thirty wines available by the glass. Downstairs (honored with Zagat Nightlife's Award of Distinction) there are more than 700 performances a year. RESERVATIONS ARE FOR DINING UPSTAIRS. RESERVATIONS FOR THE DOWNSTAIRS CABARET CANNOT BE MADE ONLINE.
Reviewed July 10, 2016

People will talk of the Cornelia Street Café in 50 years. They'll tell you it was one of the last redoubts where culture and food existed in perfect harmony, and that it was the place where conversation never died. They'll speak of the owner, Robin Hirsch, as a remarkable man who defied the creeping homogenisation of the 21st century to create a place where you could eat well, drink wonderful wine and see the most astonishing variety of shows. Oh yes, and if you're lucky, you may also meet brilliant poets, thinkers, scientists, musicians and artists into the bargain. It's that kind of venue.

The food is really pretty good. No, not Michelin standard, but reasonably priced and reliable. If you don't try the coconut shrimps, you're either allergic or perverse - they are absolutely gorgeous. The wine is exceptional - a really interesting and far longer list than in many a posh establishment. The staff are a delight - chatty, funny, clever - and they seem awfully glad to serve you.

And downstairs, in their long tunnel of a cellar/theatre/speakeasy/bar - er, performing space? - you can hear and see the most bamboozling array of events. Events is a dull word, but I don't know what else to call them, because they range from talks on science through jazz and cabaret to Romanian poetry. But all accessible to mere mortals. And 700 shows a year. Yep. 700 shows a year. And a sound system of such perfection that even this grumpy old performer was blown away.

So go go go. And don't just go to eat. Go to hang out, and imagine what New York might have been like when Kerouac was just around the corner and Lenny Bruce was giving his schtick up the road. Go to save your sanity and defy the Trumpification of New York. The world needs the Cornelia Street Café and its like.

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7  Thank MIssDillie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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77 - 81 of 342 reviews

Reviewed June 23, 2016

By now the Cornelia St Cafe is an institution. It has stood the test of time and continues to not only serve excellent food (brunch is great!), great wine AND have one of the best live music venues in the city. Tourist and local will enjoy. Sit on the sidewalk cafe for a true NYC experience and soak in the sights and sounds of the village. Won't disappoint.

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Thank BradyNYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 22, 2016 via mobile

We went for a poetry reading. The poets were thought-provoking and passionate. The food was ok. Hummus tasty but could have used more lemon. Chicken was dry. The meat was well prepared. I'd go back in a heart beat, but stick to appetizers and drinks.

Thank Leela F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 30, 2016

My son and I enjoyed a delicious brunch here yesterday. Many choices - hard to choose - we loved the eggs benedict and the french toast. We were lucky to get an outdoor table which was rare on a beautiful sunny day! The iced coffee they served us really hit the spot too. I've been here a few times before for lunch and always happy with the salads and entrees. Great service too. The downstairs restroom is tiny to say the least but manageable. Love the neighborhood there too. We will be back!

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Thank JaneyJune19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 26, 2016

Came here for brunch on a weekday, it was quiet and the service was good. The prices are reasonable for New York, they have a brunch special for 14$ that includes fresh orange juice, coffee, baguette and eggs any style with rosemary potatoes and salad. I liked the relaxed atmosphere, they opened their whole front to the sidewalk and you can sit inside or out - it feels very relaxed. The food was good though not outstanding. The only slightly irritating thing is that they have tourist and student groups coming to look at the downstairs stage/bar area every so often and if you sit outside, they all squeeze past you... But other than that it was a cute little place for a brunch at good value!

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Thank Ange516
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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