What a difference a year makes. The World Trade Center complex in lower Manhattan is open for business, and it's as if overnight an entire world of food options has become available. And in a way it has. Brookfield Place—the mall area that connects the towers of American Express, Goldman Sachs, and others—added 14 "fast-casual" options like Mighty Quinn's and Dig Inn, in a cluster called Hudson Eats that just escapes feeling like an airport. Then there's Le District—a French-inspired market that has become a go-to place for workers willing to stand in line for specialities like hand-cut roast beef sandwiches. The restaurants themselves stretch out of the complex and into Battery Park City, which is starting to look more residential by the day. Suddenly, spots like El Vez that seemed desolate are surrounded by competition, and more shops and restaurants are coming. What's clever is there's something for everyone—from the worker who needs a fast lunch to the folks who have moved down there for good and want dinner.
Le District: The circular bar is great for a sit-down lunch, but the inside crowd heads to the rotisserie to get handmade sandwiches.
Tartinery: An excellent French sandwich/salad bar. The secret here is that all the comfy tables are located at this end of Hudson Eats, so you can have a quick lunch and get a table with a view of the Hudson.
Harry's Italian: Peter Poulakakos is the son of Harry, of Harry's (steak) fame on the east side of Wall Street. It was his vision that created Stone Street and now he's applied it to BPC.
The Odeon: Not officially in BPC, but the '80s Tribeca stalwart is near enough to get a new shot of energy from the reboot of the whole area. This is where to find the folks from Conde Nast and HarperCollins.
Northern Tiger: High-quality Chinese dumplings from the folks who own Yunnan Kitchen on Clinton Street.
P.J. Clarke's: A branch of the Third Avenue institution. It faces south over the marina, with a sheltered portico and outdoor jukebox. This has become the post-work hangout.
Loopy Doopy Rooftop Bar: Yes, it's a real name. On the 16th floor of the Conrad Hotel, with cocktails and a view of the Statue of Liberty. The only hotel in the complex, it definitely feels touristy, but you can get over it long enough to hang out on the deck.
The Bar Upstairs: Cocktails and nibbles above Tiny's (which is also the hot spot for power breakfasts).
Smyth: The lounge of the hotel is one of the more sedate options. No view or flashy mixologists, just a smart modern option.
2West: The restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton feels as close as you can get to the tip of Manhattan, but the lounge outside is also the most pleasant place to get drinks plus a view.
North End Grill: With a rooftop garden that supplies the restaurant, this has become Danny Meyer's replacement for Union Square Cafe. It was the neighborhood's founding resident and is now its go-to.
Beaubourg: Part of the Poulakakos empire, and adjacent to Le District, it feels both part of the marina and part of the market. You can choose to sit indoors or out. Solid bistro fare.
El Vez: A Mexican restaurant from Stephen Starr that, like North End, almost died for lack of a 24/7 community around it. Now it's hard to get a table.
Little Park: A vegetable-focused restaurant from Andrew Carmellini (also popular at breakfast/lunch).
L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon: The prime space above and beside P.J.'s goes to this soon-to-open outpost of the international chain. Likely the only four-star experience in the complex.