Lower East Side luncheonette and coffee hub
Tipple of choice: Single-origin espresso by day; michelada-inspired El Rey Delfina by night.
Popular plate: An all-day menu showcases everything from light lunch plates to satisfying dinner dishes, but the vegan chicharrónes locos with hot sauce, cashew crema, chamoy sauce, and peanuts is an early evening winner.
More than just a run-of-the-mill java joint, El Rey ups the ante when it comes to Manhattan café culture. Whilst early mornings begin with baked treats and impressive brews using Brooklyn’s Parlor Coffee, colourful plates start appearing from a tiny kitchen counter after 11am, explaining El Rey’s popularity with the brunch bunch.
The crisp, clean décor of this miniature diner gives an indication of the ethos of the place, whose tapas portions of Southern Californian-style cuisine offer fresh flavours with plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. The low-key West Coast vibe continues in the alternative drinks menu, with homemade Aguas Frescas, beers, and wines catering to a crowd looking to wean off the coffee.