restaurants
Paprika
110 St Marks Place
212 677 6563

This secret one-room spot has been a hidden gem on St Marks, but after years of serving non-regional Italian food, Paprika's owner and chef Egidio Donagrandi's decision to focus on Valtellina, a region in Northern Italy bordering Switzerland, means that you can expect to rush here or have to fight the crowds discovering this spot. Winning dishes, such as a melt- in- your- mouth buckwheat and cornmeal soft polenta and pan crisped gnocchi with mushrooms and sage, would have been winners at any spot, but the dotting of Austrian touches all over the menu such as pickled red onions in a kale salad, red cabbage with the bacala and potato fritters, juniper berries with a steak and potatoes, make this menu unlike any other in Manhattan. Some dishes are downright Swiss in feel, such as a wonderful spaetzle with brussel sprouts and fava beans that will make a bean lover of any bean hater, and a roasted wild bass with crunchy carrots and parsnips. With many dishes not breaking the $20 mark, the spot stays true to its affordable neighbourhood. The room looks just like any other restaurant, but as the saying goes, looks can be deceiving.

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