Ask a New Yorker what they think of when they hear the phrase “Lower East Side,” and you’ll hear everything from “great bialys” to “fancy boutiques.” One of the most historically rich and ethnically diverse neighborhoods in New York, the LES has transcended its working-class roots and evolved into one of the most fashionable areas in the city, home today to both old-school tenement houses and tasting menu-only hotspots.

While some residents bemoan the loss of the olden days, plenty more are reveling in the downtown renaissance, particularly when it comes to eating and drinking. In the area roughly bordered from the East River to the Bowery, from Houston to Canal Streets (and, lately, creeping even further south), you’ll find young Chinese-American chefs applying classic technique to fusion cuisine; a radical duo dedicated to capturing some of Paris’s neo-bistro magic; a legendary neighborhood appetizing shop’s first entrance into the sit-down restaurant game; and, of course, a New Orleans-themed dive bar with fake palm trees and a leopard-print pool table. Here are our favorite spots to eat and drink in the Lower East Side.