A Sardinian-inspired café that makes a solid case for taking the rest of the afternoon off

By Claire Carusillo

Epistrophy Cafe in Nolita is the kind of place where you’d hardly notice that your lunch date showed up an hour late. The eminently comfortable Mott Street space, which transforms into an Italian wine bar when the sun sets—and a music venue on Sunday evenings—seems like it’s designed specifically for lounging. It’s hard to feel like you’ve overstayed your welcome in a cafe composed for maximum coziness, full of warm details, a gorgeous marble bar, and comfortable window-side couches.

The decade-old cafe has its roots in Sardinia; the team of owners grew up together on the Italian island before making their way to New York City and joining together to deliver recipes inspired by the cuisine of their upbringing, with mostly healthy and always fresh, modern twists. They know what they’re doing with burrata and house-made pastas, but the kitchen also delivers dishes like free-range chicken roulade wrapped in prosciutto, and short ribs on polenta with equal prowess. Needless to say, the espresso is excellent at any time of day—it’s no wonder Epistrophy just won a Time Out New York Love New York Award.
While grazing over bruschetta pomodoro e mozzarella and quinoa salad—with squash, watermelon radish, avocado, and kale in a beet tahini dressing—diners can feel free to take a moment or two longer to savor their workday lunch break. Catch up on news via Epistrophy’s excellent selection of magazines rather than scrolling on a phone, gossip with a friend, or enjoy a glass of wine solo, taking in the ambiance while looking out on Mott Street from a perfectly situated people-watching table. When you’ve got nowhere to be in New York, and would rather be in a café in Italy, head to Epistrophy.


Sun–Thu 9 AM–midnight; Fri–Sat 9 AM–1 AM

price range

$20 (organic free-range chicken breast roulade) to $26 (grass-feed beef tagliata)