10 Long Island City Restaurants That Prove the Neighborhood Is a Serious Food Destination
There are plenty of reasons to check out the eclectic Queens neighborhood just across the East River: an abundance of green spaces, dazzling skyline views, funky breweries and, of course, a great food scene. Here, ten Long Island City restaurants to add to your list.
1. Casa Enrique
This LIC gem, which boasts a coveted Michelin star, makes our short list for the best Mexican food in the city. Upscale yet laid-back, a meal here rivals anything you’ll eat at Cosme or Claro, but at a more affordable price point. Chef Cosme Aguilar uses traditional ingredients and assembles them into artfully crafted dishes full of flavor. Take, for example, the light and delicate tacos topped with tender carne asada or the fluke ceviche laced with chili and lime. The star of the show, however, is the chicken enchiladas served over a rich and complex homemade mole sauce.
5-48 49th Ave.; henrinyc.com
Inside Adda’s funky interior, Indian newspapers serve as wallpaper and the smells of tamarind, cumin and coriander waft through the air. The small menu is made up of home-cooked Indian comfort food like crispy kale pakodas, slow-cooked goat biryani with saffron and rice, and coconut curry prawns. We’d eat just about anything on the menu—and you might be tempted to do just that, especially since almost every dish is under $25.
31-31 Thomson Ave.; addanyc.com
3. Mu Ramen
You could wait hours for a table at Ippudo, or you could walk right into Mu Ramen for an equally delicious experience. The chef comes from the fine-dining world (he’s a Per Se alum), so you can expect a memorable meal. To call this place a ramen shop would be an understatement considering the fusion menu, which spans everything from Katz’s pastrami fried rice and crispy chicken wings stuffed with foie gras to a dry-aged burger topped with caramelized onions. But of course, you’ll also find some absurdly good ramen to slurp down on chilly nights.
1209 Jackson Ave.; muramennyc.com
This New American spot on Vernon Boulevard is a must for fans of veggie-forward temples like Loring Place and ABC Kitchen. The interior is bright white with a moss wall surrounding the built-in bar area, but Bellwether isn’t just Instagram bait: The food here is great, and it’s one of those rare places where you can actually find plenty of healthy options like fresh yellowfin aguachile, garnished with paper-thin lemongrass and jalapeños, and summery beet risotto topped with juicy peaches and creamy goat cheese.
47-25 Vernon Blvd.; bellwethernyc.com
5. Domaine Bar a Vins
Every neighborhood needs a good wine bar, and in LIC, that wine bar is Domaine Bar a Vins. Conveniently located near the 7 train, it’s ideal for happy-hour drinks and a light bite or an after-dinner nightcap. There’s a great selection of wines by the glass from all over the globe—everything from French Châteauneuf-du-Pape to Argentinian Torrontés—and most nights you can enjoy your vino and charcuterie to the sound of live jazz music.
50-04 Vernon Blvd.; domainewinebar.com
6. LIC Market
Come for the intimate atmosphere, stay for the creative dishes made with seasonal ingredients. Our absolute favorite time to visit LIC Market is on sunny weekend days when we can take advantage of the patio seating and great brunch menu, which includes hearty plates like slow-roasted duck hash and pastrami and eggs. We especially love the natural wine list, which touches upon interesting and unusual wine regions like the Canary Islands, Mosel and the Finger Lakes, for starters.
21-52 44th Dr.; licmarket.com
This lively gastropub is usually packed—much like the Tokyo izakayas it’s modeled after—but it’s well worth waiting for the excellent ramen and Japanese small plates. There’s an eclectic menu of dishes like maitake mushroom tempura salad, spicy tuna poke and savory ramen with shrimp and pork dumplings. And while you can order à la carte, we prefer the (totally affordable) tasting menu. For $50, you’ll get six courses of dishes like hamachi sashimi and grass-fed beef with fried shishito peppers served family-style.
5-50 50th Ave.; takumenlic.com
Pop into this restaurant in the Boro Hotel for a casual, pizza-centric meal. The brains behind Beebe’s is Lou Tomczak, an ex-chef at the popular Detroit-style pizza joint Emmy Squared, but the pies here are round and thin-crust, featuring extra charred edges and fresh toppings like fennel sausage and mushrooms or vodka sauce and mozzarella. And while we always have at least one pizza on our table here, we can’t stay away from the namesake burger, which just might steal the show.
38-28 27th St.; beebesnyc.com
9. John Brown Smokehouse
This Kansas City–style barbecue joint serves fall-off-the-bone smoked meats in a super-relaxed, counter-service setting. There’s a big backyard garden complete with picnic tables where you can devour your burnt ends, brisket or half rack of ribs alfresco, and there’s a music stage where you might catch live jazz if you’re lucky. While the smoked meat is the star of the show here, don’t skip the collard greens, smoky baked beans or super-creamy mac and cheese.
10-43 44th Dr.; johnbrownseriousbbq.com
We’re always looking to add to our list of affordable, quality neighborhood sushi spots, which brings us to Hibino. You’ll find all your favorite rolls in addition to a handful of homemade tofu dishes and obanzai, daily specials of Kyoto-style tapas like miso fried eggplant, yams simmered in butter and soy sauce, or grilled chicken wings with yogurt and curry. If you’ve never had box pressed sushi—fish, rice and toppings that are layered and pressed in a mold—Hibino is a great place to try it.
10-70 Jackson Ave.; hibino-lic.com