The granddaddy of New York City  delicatessens is Katz’s (205 Houston St., at Ludlow St., 212/254-2246, sandwiches $9), a huge, cafeteria-style place where you take a number at the door. Overhead hang WWII-era signs reading “Send a salami to your boy in the Army.”
Also in the neighborhood, ‘inoteca (98 Rivington St., 212/614-0473) offers small plate dining with a wide range of cheeses and a terrific wine list.
Paladar (161 Ludlow St., between Houston and Stanton Sts., 212/473-3535, $17) is a funky Cuban joint serving spicy sea bass and other favorite dishes.
Schiller’s (131 Rivington St., at Norfolk St., 212/260-4555, $16) is the newest Keith McNally (of Balthazar and Pastis fame) hotspot, done up in casual bistro style. On the menu is everything from Cuban sandwiches to pasta.
Russ & Daughters (179 E. Houston St., between Allen and Orchard Sts., 212/475-4880) is a bustling place filled with smoked fish and dried fruits, all arranged in neat rows.
Yonah Schimmel’s (137 E. Houston St., at Chrystie St., 212/477-2858) is a rickety old storefront selling some of the best knishes in New York.
Ludlow, Stanton, and Clinton Streets are the hub of the hip Lower East Side  nightlife, where you’ll find lots of laid-back bars and lounges; some of them holes-in-the-wall, others more upscale. One of the oldest is Max Fish (178 Ludlow St., between Houston and Stanton Sts., 212/529-3959), a long, comfortable watering hole that draws an artsy crowd.