The Best Neighborhoods for Every Type of Food in NYC
Five boroughs of international deliciousness
Oh NYC, you glorious melting pot. With a population of over 8 million, the five boroughs are teeming with people from every corner of the world. And lucky for us (and our taste buds), they brought their native cuisines with them. Here, the best neighborhoods for every type of food, from Argentinian to Vietnamese.
ARGENTINIAN: ELMHURST, QUEENS
When you enter El Gauchito--the long-standing butcher and restaurant on Corona Avenue--you’ll know you’ve made it to the Argentinian enclave in Queens. Unleash your inner gaucho at the family run La Fusta, where you’ll find NYC’s best parrillada, a heaping portion of mixed grilled meats that we dare you to try and finish.
CARIBBEAN: CROWN HEIGHTS, BROOKLYN
If you’re missing Montego Bay this summer, settle for some jerk chicken and a Red Stripe in Brooklyn. In this Caribbean food mecca, you’ll find spots like Food Sermon, serving the local dishes of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Gladys, a must-visit for authentic Jamaican jerk chicken and fish. From Bajan (bites from Barbados) to Panamanian plates, you’ll find it in Crown Heights.
CHINESE: FLUSHING, QUEENS
Thanks to its rapidly growing Asian population, Flushing is home to some of the best Chinese food in America. Don’t expect upscale restaurants and celeb spotting--we’re talking shopping mall food courts and ramshackle storefronts, but don’t let the atmosphere deter you. Standouts include Dumpling Galaxy, where cheap and delicious dumplings are filled with everything from duck to yam, and White Bear, for the super-spicy wontons in hot sauce.
FILIPINO: EAST VILLAGE/LOWER EAST SIDE
Venture to lower Manhattan for a taste of Manila. You’ll find a delicious fusion of all your favorite Asian flavors like longanisa (cured pork sausage), chicken adobo, lumpia egg rolls and rice cakes. Jeepney, Maharlika and Pig and Khao are a few of the “Pinoy” restaurants that have helped make Filipino (almost) mainstream in NYC.
GREEK: ASTORIA, QUEENS
The last stop on the N train will drop you off in a Mediterranean paradise. OK, Queens may not look like Santorini, but bear with us. Enjoy a traditional mezze followed by grilled octopus at Telly’s or Gregory’s 26 Corner Taverna. For a quick snack, the pork gyro at BZ Grill can’t be beat, and make sure to pop into Titan, a mega-market for all things Greek.
HAWAIIAN: WILLIAMSBURG, BROOKLYN
News flash: Poke is huge in NYC right now. To get in on this new trend, hop on the L and check out Onomea, where you’ll find everything from spam musubi to ahi tuna poke. Then pop over to Smorgasburg and grab a bowl of spicy mayo tuna poke at East Coast Poke’s new stand.
INDIAN: MURRAY HILL
FYI, that Trader Joe’s garlic naan you defrosted last night does not count as Indian food. Head to Manhattan’s Murray Hill (appropriately dubbed “Curry Hill”) instead. Bhatti Indian Grill boasts awesome kebabs and an excellent lunch special, while Chote Nawab is our favorite Indian spot in the area. It specializes in meat and curry dishes, but don’t overlook the tandoor broccoli.
ITALIAN: ARTHUR AVENUE, BRONX
If you’re eating soggy spaghetti next to a cannoli stand on Mulberry Street, you’re doing something wrong. New York’s real Little Italy can be found on Arthur Avenue in the Belmont section of the Bronx. Begin your Italian food tour with homemade burrata at Casa Della Mozzarella and hot sopressata at Calabria Pork Store, followed by pasta with red sauce at Tra Di Noi or thin-crust pizza from Zero Otto Nove.
JAPANESE: WEST ’40S/HELL’S KITCHEN
Everyone knows there’s no shortage of damn good Japanese food in NYC. Between Ippudo, Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop and Totto Ramen, Hell’s Kitchen is literally a ramen lover’s dream. Nearby, you’ll find some of the best upscale sushi restaurants in the city like Sushi of Gari and Sushi Seki, then hit up a late-night izakaya like Hagi after hours.
JEWISH: LOWER EAST SIDE
The Lower East Side, original home to NYC’s immigrant Jewish population, is delicatessen central. Brave the line for one of Katz’s legendary pastrami sandwiches or a bagel with smoked fish from Russ and Daughters (remember, people: all bagels are not created equal). When you’re hungry for a snack, grab a Kossar’s bialy and a cured dill from The Pickle Guys.
MEXICAN: SUNSET PARK, BROOKLYN
Sunset Park is the only neighborhood you need to know when looking for authentic Mexico food. Start your taco tour with chorizo tacos at Tacos Matamoros and end on a strong note with tacos al pastor at Tacos el Bronco. If you get taco’d out (something we’ll never quite understand), opt for a fried meat torta filled with beans, mayo, lettuce and pickled japaleño from Ricos Tacos.
MIDDLE EASTERN: COBBLE HILL, BROOKLYN
Just over the Brooklyn Bridge, you’ll discover a stretch of Atlantic Avenue lined with Middle Eastern markets and restaurants. Sahadi’s, a Middle Eastern superstore, is filled with hundreds of kinds of olives, nuts, cheeses, spices and sweets, while Damascus Bread and Pastry Shop is known for its savory spinach and meat pies. Take a seat at Yemen Café and order Yemen’s national dish, a thick stew called lamb saltah, served “volcano-style.”
RUSSIAN: BRIGHTON BEACH, BROOKLYN
Hop off the Q train in Brighton Beach and you’ll find yourself in Little Russia. First thing’s first: Grab a cheap pirozhki (a snack made with fried dough and filled with meat and potatoes) from a street vendor. Save room for pelmeni (boiled dumplings) and kielbasa from the many markets that line the streets of the neighborhood.
Everyone needs a little soul food every now and then, and Harlem is where to find it. Don’t miss Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster for fried yard bird and corn bread, The Cecil for specialties like gumbo and jerk bass or the legendary Sylvia’s Restaurant for hot ribs that practically fall off the bone.
THAI: WOODSIDE AND ELMHURST, QUEENS
Over the last few decades, the adjacent neighborhoods of Woodside and Elmhurst have transformed into a haven for Thai food. SriPraPhai and Chao Thai are two OGs, both unbeatable spots for classic Thai dishes like beef larb, pad see ew and curries. For a more modern twist, check out Sugar Club and Khao Kang, two noteworthy newcomers to Queens’s booming Thai scene.
VENEZUELAN: LOWER EAST SIDE
If there’s one Venezuelan food to get on your radar immediately, it’s the arepa, and Caracas Arepa Bar is the place to get 'em. These white, fluffy maize dough buns are stuffed with anything from shredded chicken and black beans to sweet plantains and jalapeños. Nearby, Patacon Pisao serves Venezuelan burritos and patacones, a different type of sandwich that uses crisp green plantains instead of bread.
Skip the dim sum parlors and Peking duck houses and sample some Vietnamese treats instead. Pho Vietnam 87 serves up plates like you’d find in Hanoi, while the beef noodle soup at Pho Bang is some of the best around. And to offset that $14 martini you ordered last night, grab a BBQ pork sandwich with pickled veggies from Bánh Mì Saigon for lunch. At $4.50, it’s the best deal in town.