cafe gitane: a new sunny spot for a few great dishes

j and i have been going to café gitane for ages, maybe since it opened about 10 years ago or so.  the super euro “elite” nolita spot with french-moroccan food has become a bit overrun and maybe overused (at least based on a lot of comments i read), with lots of tourists, reflecting perhaps the general decline in appeal of that neighborhood (just way too popular for its own good).  the service has generally not been great for a few years with just too much attitude.  but j and i have a few huge favorites food items from café gitane so we have been loyal, and more recently we tried out their new digs at the jane hotel with friends and kids in tow.

first, the space is great. light and airy, and spacious (and if you’ve checked out their mulberry street location, you know how cramped that place is).  lots of seating, super friendly staff (j. was about 1/2 hour late and they still let us sit down and start drinking coffee).  and best of all, the menu still features our food favorites.   first, and foremost, café gitane is the only place to get the absolute best avocado on toast.  their version comes on thick multi-grain toast, with lemon juice, olive oil and chili flakes.  while we’ve had other renditions, nothing beats café gitane’s version — a little salt and heat mixed with the creaminess of the avocado makes it extremely satisfying. 

my other all time favorite food at café gitane is the couscous.  served in a heaping tower topped with the most luscious hummus and filled with bits of red peppers, egg plant, pine nuts and raisins, this stuff is glorious. i always get it with a side of merguez sausage.  and even though i’m usually stuffed after that toast (or even just half), i try to make my way through the couscous mountain – not such a good idea if you cannot take a nap.  j. has also enjoyed their baked eggs, but i haven’t had much else here so cannot recommend it (i might stay away from most sandwiches as they just don’t look that spectacular).  the coffee is fine (it does the trick) but the real reason to come here are for the couscous and toast, and that my friends, is reason enough.  café gitane, at the jane hotel,  113 jane street, 212.255.4113. 242 mott street at prince street, 212.334.9552.

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