Panya is the type of place that’s a rare find in the US. It’s a Euro-Japanese style bakery that’s located in the East Village and it’s the kind of place you see in many European and Asian cities, but not here. They offer everything from freshly baked pastries to Japanese hot meals and have been around for almost two and a half decades. It’s very casual and most people go there for the pastries, desserts, and snacks as opposed to the hot food, but they do have a full menu. Either way, you order at the counter and grab a seat. It’s never very crowded, so you won’t have to worry about space.
They have the typical assortment of Euro-Japanese bakery desserts, which include plenty of green tea inspired desserts as well as the standard classic cheesecake, strawberry shortcake, and chocolate cake. I’m not sure these would be more than decent, and it’s probably not worth coming here specifically for dessert. It’s not like chocolate cake is a Japanese specialty. Instead, I’d recommend trying some of the actual Japanese cuisine.
For hot meals, they are one of the few places to offer both Japanese curries and noodle dishes. A Japanese curry is pretty hard to find, and when you find a place with it, it tends to be a place that offers only curry dishes. Their curry here is quite delicious, by the way. You can get it spicy if you’d like and you can order it with any type of protein. Bold, comforting flavor. As far as noodle dishes, they have the classic soups, but also your standard yakisoba. And plenty of katsu sandwich options, too.
They also serve a classic Japanese breakfast. If you’re looking for something different in the morning, definitely consider trying this. It comes with broiled fish (salmon or white), rice, miso soup, veggie or fruit salad, pickles, nori, natto, and 2 sides. I’d recommend giving this a try. It’s not often you find a place that serves authentic Japanese breakfast, and it happens to be healthy and filling.
But perhaps the best part about this place is the pastries, and in particular their pans (as the name of the establishment would imply), which are stuffed sweet or savory breads. Pan options include ogura (red bean paste), koshian (sweet jelly), cream, green tea, and for a savory option, the curry or spicy curry pan.
You will not regret getting the spicy curry pan, which I very highly recommend. The bread is deep fried and stuffed with a spicy veggie curry. How often do you get to have curry in pastry form? And the spice kicks the flavor up to another level. Definitely one of the better curries I’ve had.
If you’re looking for some cheap, casual Japanese fare, then I’d recommend this place. If you’re looking for desserts or regular American pastries, I would recommend eating them elsewhere.