Unique and Quirky Restaurants in NYC You Need to Visit

January 12, 2021
GiftYa
jason wolfe

New York City. There’s no other place quite like it. The Big Apple is home to an exciting arts and entertainment scene. The hundreds of bars and restaurants that reside in the city also build and define its bustling nightlife. While you can easily find a TGI Fridays or Olive Garden in New York City, you would be doing yourself a disservice if you visit one of these chain restaurants. Instead, you need to dine at one of these 7 unique and quirky restaurants featured below. 

Looking for a fun gift to surprise your loved ones with? Send them a virtual GiftYa card! Within seconds, you can send a virtual GiftYa to your friends and family members. They can use their GiftYa cards on a number of different restaurants, including the ones we featured below. 


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1. Apotheke 

Popular cocktail bar that serves up inventive drinks “pharmacy-style”

Photo of Apotheke - New York, NY, United States
Enjoy a delicious cocktail inside this “apothecary” for drinks. Image courtesy of Yelp

9 Doyers St. | Chinatown, Civic Center | apothekemixology.com

Whether you consider yourself to be a cocktail expert or you just enjoy a fine mixed drink, you need to visit Apotheke. Inside this “apothecary,” you will be greeted by a professional mixologist dressed in a pharmacist-style uniform. They will walk you through Apotheke’s extensive drink menu, which includes sections like “Euphorics” and “Stimulants.” All of the drink ingredients are made in-house using organic produce, herbs, and botanicals. 

“I recommended you order the Blind Tiger. It's made with aged rum, bananas, vanilla essence, and agave. It definitely helped me unwind. Took less than 15 minutes for it to kick in. You might want to consider signing up for a class in their academy where you'll receive hands-on lessons on how to make your own cocktails.” - Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa card for Apotheke. 

2. Please Don’t Tell

Small and cozy bar that offers hearty plates of classic comfort food

You’ll find some of the best food in NYC at this cozy hideaway. Image courtesy of Google Business Listing

113 St. Marks Pl | East Village, Alphabet City | pdtnyc.com

Can you keep a secret? Hidden away in the East Village is a small and cozy cocktail club by the name of Please Don’t Tell. Inside this cozy hideaway, you’ll find a dimly-lit bar offering a wide assortment of inventive cocktails and delicious appetizers. From fruity cocktails to dry wines, Please Don’t Tell is the perfect spot for some drinks with friends. If you’re hungry, you can also order one of their signature hot dogs. 

“I love the vibe of this place. Small and sleek is the best way to describe it, with a strong emphasis on SMALL. Each time I try to visit, there is always a long wait, but that's because they have a no standing policy, which is really quite nice if you're one of the people to score a seat.  It's not crowded, it's not noisy, it's not a place to go to party. It's a spot to drink some darn good cocktails and chill out.” - Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa card for Please Don’t Tell. 

3. La Caverna

Basement lounge where guests can enjoy hookah under stalactites

La Caverna is known for its cool cave-like atmosphere. Image courtesy of Yelp

122 Rivington St. | Lower East Side | lacavernanyc.com

Take a short break from the city and hang around the caverns at La Caverna. When you descend into the bar, you will enter a deep, cavernous space filled with stalactites and low lights. 

La Caverna offers several different menus, including the main La Caverna menu, prix fixe menu, and daily specials. Some of the bar’s most popular dishes include the House Churrasco and Turkey Avocado Burger. An extensive drink menu filled with wine, beer, and cocktails is also available. 

“Soooo happy to see such a cute bar operating during COVID and the service was amazing! Lydia and Linda were fantastic, attentive, nice, and caring! Best part is this is the only place that has a happy hour. Great move to come here!!! We both had the churrasco and tequila shrimp. Delicious!” - Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa card for La Caverna. 

4. Burp Castle

Laidback taproom known for its exotic imported beers and dedication to ensuring a quiet atmosphere for guests

Burp Castle is a prime destination for beer lovers. Image courtesy of Yelp.

41 E 7th St. | East Village | burpcastlenyc.wordpress.com

Despite what the name might suggest, Burp Castle is actually a pretty quiet room. Inside, you will find a quiet and relaxing atmosphere perfect for trying some new beers. The restaurant’s expert bartenders will lead you through their extensive beer list while also ensuring a quiet room for everyone. 

The tap list does change every time an ale kicks, but the bar usually has plenty of Belgian ales, wheat, and a lager on-tap. On Sundays, Mondays, and Wednesdays, the Burp Castle also offers patrons free french fries. 

“The atmosphere is unique and the service is attentive. (Note that the staff insist that guests speak in a quiet voice, and will, gently, shush you if you get too loud.) The selection was decent and Belgian centric. I'm actually not sure if they had bottles, everyone seemed to be drinking draft. They also had a tasty mead on tap. The space is cozy, and the upper walls are decorated with painted scenes of Trappist monks.” - Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa card for Burp Castle. 

5. Dirt Candy

Stylish and upscale restaurant that is a haven for vegetarians

The restaurant’s signature omelette makes the perfect brunch dish. Image courtesy of Yelp

86 Allen St. | Lower East Side | dirtcandynyc.com

Located on the Lower East Side, Dirt Candy is a prime destination for both vegetarians and omnivores who are looking to branch into the vegetarian lifestyle. Along with a photo-worthy interior space, Dirt Candy also offers a fun and appetizing menu. Guests can order off the prix fixe menu from 5:45pm to 8:45pm or a la carte. 

Not sure what to order? Our favorite dishes include the Beet Reuben Sandwich, Kitchen Sink Salad, and Korean Fried Broccoli. You can also order off the prix fixe menu, which features three courses and can be turned into a vegan course. 

“I am an unapologetic omnivore.  My wife is a vegetarian, so we tend to try to find places that she will enjoy, and I can usually find something that I like as well.  I have to say that our meal at Dirt Candy (pre-pandemic) was just amazing.  Every single course was delicious, some were whimsical, but all were well thought out and executed with great care and skill.” - Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa card for Dirt Candy. 

6. American Girl Restaurant

Spend a fun girls day out with your daughter or younger sister

After you and your daughter finish dressing up her American Girl doll, the two of you can enjoy a delicious meal inside the shop’s restaurant. Image courtesy of Yelp

75 Rockefeller Plaza | Midtown West | americangirl.com

Planning a girls day out with your daughter or niece? Take them to the American Girl place! You can shop for different clothes and accessories for their American girl doll. There’s even a salon that your little one can pamper their dolls with. After a long day of shopping and pampering, you can fill refuel at the American Girl cafe. If you’re coming to celebrate a birthday, we recommend the Birthday Package. This meal selection includes a full-course meal, cake, and goody bag. 

“The decor is upbeat, happy and consistent with the American Girl place, wonderful for kids. The staff is friendly and seems the know it really is all about the children. And the food was fresh and delicious, with diverse enough menu selections to satisfy everyone from children to senior citizens; our party ranged in ages from 10 to 70, and everyone enjoyed their meal.” - Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa card for American Girl Restaurant. 

7. Jekyll & Hyde

Chic and swanky bar made for eccentric explorers and mad scientists

Who said spooky decorations can only be brought out for Halloween? Image courtesy of Yelp

91 7th Ave S | West Village | jekyllandhydeclub.com

Even though we celebrated Halloween months ago, that doesn’t mean we can’t dive into the spooky and creepy every now and then. At Jekyll & Hyde, you can even enjoy a “Haunted Christmas” meal! Featuring live entertainment and spooky special effects, this unique restaurant will transport you to a terrifying new realm. 

As for the food, you need to try one of their famous burgers. You can either create your own burger or order a special. Frankenstein's Favorite, which is topped with cheese, mushrooms, onions, and bacon, is a popular choice among guests. 

“This place ROCKS. You aren't going to find another restaurant as campy and fun as Jekyll & Hyde. The actors are top notch and the food is good bar food. They've got french fries and burgers and booze- what else do you really need?” - Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa card for Jekyll & Hyde. 

What restaurants do you plan to visit the next time you’re in New York City? Let us know!

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