The Smile

Sliced flank steak (Photo credit: Adeline Ramos)

Your own private dining room at The Smile in Noho

By Erik Mathes

For six years and counting, this popular subterranean, Mediterranean cafe has lured ravenous, loyal patrons to an otherwise quiet, cobblestoned block in Noho. Happy, hungry customers descend upon it day and night for fresh-ingredient-driven, farm-to-table fare that is sourced as locally as possible. Dishes like creamy, mildly salty burrata with half-moon-shaped slivers of peaches, roasted red pepper slices with a drizzle of balsamic glaze, and roasted arctic char with sauteed zucchini, golden beet salad, and pea shoots are just the beginning of what’s being served this summer.

The upstairs dining room and bar provide plenty of rustic charm with exposed brick, plants, and different shaped tables constructed from various types of wood, but there’s something extra-special about the private dining room downstairs: A large, rectangular communal table is flanked on one side by two stone-walled nooks that hold an assortment of interesting wine bottles, such as Austrian Grüner Veltliner, Spanish Tempranillo and Italian Valpolicella, and the surrounding space is filled out with vintage furnishings and enhanced by dim, romantic lighting.

The room’s ambiance serves equally well for intimate special occasions or a night out with a raucous group of friends, and you can bring your own tunes to set the mood any way you want. Not that the mood could possibly veer into anything but the happiest of territories: Some of the family-style dishes look almost too pretty to eat—until you give in and have a taste, and then you just can’t stop yourself.

Some particular standouts include the plum with house-made ricotta and sea salt on sourdough toast, the roasted balsamic chicken with lemon and thyme roasted potatoes, and the sliced flank steak with fresh tomato salsa and sautéed corn with kaffir lime and coconut.

Is there anything cooler than having a private dining room like this all to yourself? Maybe just starting off the festivities with a sparkling glass of prosecco for you and your group, further cementing your status as an NYC dining boss.


Mon–Fri 8 AM–11 PM; Sat 9 AM–11 PM; Sun 9 AM–10 PM

price range

$16 (spaghetti with heirloom cherry tomatoes) to $24 (roasted arctic char)