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Great Escapes

Escape To...Downtown NYC with Ali Cayne

The chef/author and owner of Haven’s Kitchen shares with us her very local guide to the best of lower Manhattan.

In the heart of winter, getaways are on everyone’s mind. Our new series, Escape To... asks some of our favorite tastemakers to show us around their towns, cities, and neighborhoods.

First up is New York. With so many unique and charming nooks around the city, we are starting with downtown NYC. Neighborhoods like Soho, West Village, Nolita and Tribeca are brimming with cobblestone streets, centuries old loft buildings and some of the chicest shops and eateries around.

We couldn’t think of a better guide than Ali Cayne, chef and owner of Haven’s Kitchen—a cooking school, café and event space situated in a stunning West Village townhouse that focuses on seasonal, sustainable food. Cayne lives on the floors above with her busy brood of five children. Making her commute and carbon footprint quite small.

Even with her busy schedule (She recently published her first cookbook, The Haven’s Kitchen Cooking School and launched Haven’s Kitchen Sauces—a line of globally inspired recipes made with fresh, natural ingredients.), this busy modern mom entrepreneur shared this curated neighborhood guide, from cozy breakfast spots to chic boutiques to her favorite places to renew, refresh and have fun.

Vegan food like you’ve never known before, AbcV space feels as fresh and light as the dishes they serve. Photo: ABC Carpet & Home.
Elevated, comforting baked goods, Cayne loves Mah-ze-Dahr's chocolate croissants still warm from the oven. Photo: Stephen Kent Johnson.
Cayne loves Té Company for its transformative experience. Photo: Té Company.


AbcV (38 East 19th Street | 212-475-5829) "is a beautiful space, and I love the poached eggs with rye and chives, or the bowls. I am not a millennial but kind of feel like one when I’m there. For lunch, I love Té Company (163 West 10thStreet | 929-335-3168). It’s a jewel box of a place, always has interesting people, and is a special treat. Sipping tea there feels transformative. I recently had dinner at Ato (28 Grand Street | 646-838-9392) and I haven’t had a meal like it in a long time. Every bite was perfect. Sit at the sushi counter so you can see chef William Shen work his magic. Have the omakase and let him feed you his perfect blend of traditional Japanese sushi enhanced by French technique and flavors he learned with Jean Georges. Mah-ze-Dahr Bakery (28 Greenwich Avenue | 212-498-9810) is known for impeccable pastries, but they just started making croissants and it’s worth the trip, especially if you get a warm one. I’m no expert, but they taste like Paris to me.”

For Cocktails...

“I will never turn down an opportunity for a Negroni and fried artichokes at I Sodi (105 Christopher Street | 212-414-5774) It’s a spectacular place just to sit and touch the glasses and the leather stools. Everything is spot on. Loring Place (21 West 8th Street | 212-388-1831)—the restaurant is fantastic, Dan Kluger is one of those chefs that just feels like he has a gift. But I also love popping by the bar for a drink and a nibble! It feels a bit like a more elegant version of Cheers.  I always get a Paloma (tequila & grapefruit) and the fluke appetizer is in my dreams sometimes. The house made hummus and crackers are aces too.”

Cayne favors local talent and timeless, natural style like CAP Beauty. Photo: John von Pamer.
Jenni Kayne's Tribeca outpost is a new favorite Photo: Heather Moore.
Warm on Mott Street is a one-stop shop from clothing to jewelry to home. Photo: Warm NY.


CAP Beauty (238 West 10th Street| 212-227-1088) has a great selection of natural beauty and just walking in there relaxes you. I really like the new The Apartment by the Line (76 Greene Street | 917-460-7196). It makes me optimistic that brick and mortar retail is alive and well! Warm (181 Mott Street | 212-925-1200)—is one of those shops that create a whole world for you—from jewelry to furniture and everything in between. The new Jenni Kayne store (20 Harrison Street | 646-968-9995) in Tribeca is fun too! I saw a sneak preview of the spring line and it looks pretty stellar.”

Cayne’s first cookbook was published last year. Photo: Artisan Books.
Cayne filled her home above Haven’s Kitchen with subtle shades of cream, gray and black. (Photo: Lesley Unruh)
Scenes from around the very busy Haven’s Kitchen which offers cooking classes, private events and a cozy café. Photos: Haven’s Kitchen.


Recently I went on a gallery tour of Chelsea and LES with David Behringer who has a company called The Two Percent. They do really fun, engaging, educational art tours. In my humble opinion, the best facialist in NYC is Lidia Tivici at Maris Dusan (629 Park Avenue | 212-879-1313). I’ve been going there for 20 years and schlep uptown each month just to see her. The Piper Center (73 Spring Street | 212-925-0203) has lymphatic drainage massage, it’s not like Swedish, it’s much lighter, but I swear it flushes unwanted stuff out of my body—I always leave feeling five pounds lighter. On Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, there is no better place to reignite a love of food and nature than the Union Square Greenmarket (Union Square Park). Of course, once you rediscover how much you love seasonal produce, you need to come take a cooking class at Haven’s Kitchen (109 West 17th Street | 212-929-7900)! Our class calendar is online so you can sign up easily :)

Of course, once you rediscover how much you love seasonal produce, you need to come take a cooking class at Haven’s Kitchen (109 West 17th Street | 212-929-7900)! Our class calendar is online so you can sign up easily :)

Cayne often takes the short trip with her kids to Jersey City, New Jersey to visit the Liberty Science Center. Photo: Metro New York.


“Young and old alike should make the trip over to New Jersey for a visit to the super interactive Liberty Science Center (222 Jersey City Boulevard| 201-200-1000). It’s also worth going all the way uptown to explore the gardens at the tiptop of Central Park—amazing.”

The Crosby Street Hotel has several idyllic outdoor spaces like their Crosby Terrace, above. Photo: The Crosby Street Hotel.


The Crosby Street Hotel (79 Crosby Street | 212-226-6400) is a great place for meeting friends or clients. The design has such charm and wit. And the Sculpture Garden and Terrace are especially lovely. Like an oasis in downtown NY.”


“My perfect day was last Sunday. I took my dog for a nice walk on the water just off the West Side Highway. We like to walk and then run the piers. Then I went to Nourish for my oatmeal and Americano. I headed to Soho Strength Lab on Mulberry Street to work out with the Best Trainer in the World, Beth Lewis. I almost don’t want to mention her name lest too many people try and book her time. She’s amazing—I don’t hate exercise anymore! After the gym, my daughter picked me up and we headed two blocks south on Kenmare to De Maria for brunch. I had a delicious tiger bowl with coconut rice and grains, cured salmon, avocado, hijiki, black sesame, and this insane sauce. Then we walked up and down the streets of Nolita—Clic Gallery, Love Adorned, Clare V., Warm…all the shops on Elizabeth, Mott and Mulberry. We ended with a yoga class at Golden Bridge on Centre Street and met the family for chicken tortilla soup and (for me) margaritas at La Esquina.”