The Best Places to Eat off the L Train
The L-pocalypse is seemingly behind us. Aside from not having to face a massive commuting headache, there’s another perk to the thwarted shutdown: You won’t need alternative methods of transportation to eat at the top-notch restaurants all along the line. From Manhattan’s West Side to Bushwick, the food on the L is as diverse as the neighborhoods it runs through.
Eighth Avenue: Chelsea Market
The OG food hall continues to get better. Yes, you will have to elbow through hordes of tourists, but there are legitimately good meals that make it worth the effort. From the al pastor at Los Tacos No. 1 to the hand-pulled strands with cumin lamb at Very Fresh Noodles to the newly opened purveyor of all things cheesy Big Mozz, there’s truly no shortage of things to try.
75 Ninth Ave.; chelseamarket.com
Union Square: Breads Bakery
Babka may be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Breads Bakery, and that’s no surprise considering how magnificent the chocolate-laced loaf is. But the always-bustling caféhas more to offer. Thanks to its crème brûlée Danish, Tunisian tuna sandwich and addictive flaky cheese straws, we find ourselves here at all hours of the day.
18 E. 16th St.; breadsbakery.com
First Avenue: Raclette
There are two ways to make almost any dish better: Put an egg on it or smother it in cheese. Raclette takes the latter to the extreme, sliding melted French cheese table-side onto plates of roasted potatoes and charcuterie, into croque monsieurs and atop open-faced tartines.
511 E. 12th St.; raclette.nyc
Lorimer Street: Llama Inn
By now, everyone has a Bedford Avenue favorite, but just one stop down is this Peruvian restaurant known for its bold interpretations of the South American cuisine. Whatever you do, don’t miss the beef tenderloin stir-fry, a take on lomo saltado that involves beef, french fries and avocado that you bundle inside chive crepes.
50 Withers St., Brooklyn; llamainnnyc.com
Jefferson Street: Faro and General Deb’s
Helmed by chef Kevin Adey, Faro has received a Michelin star for its top-notch Italian cooking. Its tagline is “Earth Wheat Fire,” an apt summary of its menu featuring handmade pastas and wood-fired meats. In 2018, Adey shifted his focus to Chinese noodles at his latest spot, General Deb’s, where he applies the same farm-to-table mentality to the mouth-numbing, peppercorn-laced cuisine of Sichuan.
Faro: 436 Jefferson St., Brooklyn; farobk.com
General Deb’s: 24 Irving Ave., Brooklyn; generaldebs.com
Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenue: Lucy’s Vietnamese Kitchen
This pint-sized Brooklyn spot was slinging attention-worthy pho years before New York’s recent Vietnamese restaurant boom. The menu is small—just a few variations of the noodle soup and banh mi—but the long-simmered broth (which happens to be vegan) packs a big punch of flavor.
262 Irving Ave., Brooklyn; lucysvietnamesekitchen.com
Halsey Street: Houdini Kitchen Laboratory
The L line has plenty of stellar pizza spots (see: Roberta’s and Ops), and Houdini Kitchen deserves a share of the recognition. Not only is the industrial-chic space great for hanging out but the wood-fired Neapolitan pies rival some of the city’s best, featuring combos such as the Queen, with house-made stracciatella, and the spicy pork and pepper oil–topped Habanera.
1563 Decatur St., Brooklyn; houdinikl.com
Wilson Avenue: Bushwick Taco Company
The modern taqueria serves up all of your Mexican favorites. Tacos, burritos, rice bowls and more come packed with your choice of protein, like tender juicy pollo asado, carne asada or chorizo.
839 Knickerbocker Ave., Brooklyn