This Italian joint embodies the New Yorkiest of rough-around-the-edges charm. John’s is a staple since 1908, a rarity these days where restaurants seem to be in and out within five years.
Image: Courtesy Papermag
The ambiance here is clearly that there isn’t supposed to be any, it looks like it’s been the same since it was opened and that’s what I really loved. The shabby, original tile floors, the candles in the back whose drippings have been piling up for nearly 100 years, and the old-school waiters who make it seem like they’re all in the family.
Don’t come here on a diet. This restaurant serves up heavy fare and plenty of it. Chow down on spaghetti and meatballs, a margarita pizza, chicken parm, or their famous saltimbocca alla Romana. While John’s of 12th Street generally serves up traditional dishes, they surprisingly have an extremely extensive vegan menu for the discerning vegetarian or hardcore vegan. They offer up inventive dishes like ravioli with a cream sauce composed of cashews or a pizza featuring Daiya cheese (tapioca based cheese).
Check out John’s of 12th Street‘s menu out online.
302 E. 12th St., New York, NY 10003
nr. Second Ave.