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Jackson Heights, an ethnically diverse immigrant neighborhood nestled in the heart of Queens, New York, is known for its numerous eclectic restaurants featuring cuisine from countries all across the globe. Here are the best ones.
From the richly colored walls, to the dark, polished wooden floors and tables with leather chairs and draped banquettes, the eye-catching décor and friendly, attentive staff at this contemporary Indian restaurant welcomes visitors in for an aesthetically pleasing, refined dining experience. Tawa Tandoor, named after the metal grill which traditional Indian cuisine is cooked upon as well as the clay oven in which the savory bread is baked within, blends authentic Indian spices to create dishes which appeal to all the senses and leave customers salivating for second helpings. This restaurant offers diners the choice of ordering delectable vegetarian or meat options off of the menu, or enjoying a pre-made selection of curries and grilled meats from the lunch and dinner buffet which is available at all hours of operation. Especially known for their exquisitely made, succulent chicken tikka along with their buttery saag paneer, the ideal blend of savory spices and herbs Tawa Tandoor has to offer is hard to match, even in this neighborhood teeming with Indian cuisine options.
Tawa Tandoor, 37-56 74th Street, New York, NY, USA, + 1 (718) 478-2730
Pad Thai is one of New York City’s most-loved dishes, but Zabb Elee casts this choice aside. It raises the bar by serving up countless other equally divine Isan Thai dishes which are not always offered within the city. They are cooked and seasoned to perfection under the Zabb Elee brand. The dishes hailing from the region of northeast Thailand are brought to the city with spicy flavors and combinations of cilantro, chile, lime, and mint. The larb, a minced meat salad with shallots and scallions tossed on top, competes in flavor with the tender grilled chicken and squid. Also served is sour pork sausage covered in ginger, peanuts, and chiles for a taste that is both sweet and sour – and insanely delicious. To wash down these heavenly dishes, Zabb Elee’s offers a drinks menu which is almost as extensive as the food menu. It features dark Beerlaos, glasses of sweet green palm juice, the well-known and loved Thai iced tea, and warm coconut milk with bits of pumpkin floating atop.
Zabb Elee, 71-28 Roosevelt Ave, New York, NY, USA, + 1 (718) 426-7992
This lively southeast Asian venue is constantly bustling with locals and tourists drawn in from the streets by the mouthwatering aromas floating outwards from the open doors of Delhi Heights. Although the dishes are authentically spiced and crafted to perfection by chefs straight from the Indian subcontinent, they lure in diners of all backgrounds. These diners put aside their hesitations of trying foreign dishes to sample a serving of biryani or expertly prepared chicken Manchurian. The dimly lit space, accented by beaming lights traveling down the walls of the room as well as natural lighting gravitating in from the open glass walls, adds to the room’s modern design elements. There is also a full-service bar. Also, for those on a tight budget, Delhi Heights caters a seven-day lunch buffet which features a wide array of delicious dishes for under $10 per person. Pop in for a quick snack of samosas and a bowl of crispy papri chaat. Or, settle down and experience a flawlessly prepared full-course Indian meal at Delhi Heights.
Delhi Heights, 37-66 74th Street, New York, NY, USA, + 1 (718) 507-1111
This family-style Peruvian joint has gained city-wide fame for its magnificent rotisserie poultry marinated to perfection in a special sauce combination of cumin, garlic, and several secret ingredients. Pio Pio offers the flavors of South America in New York City with a menu which covers all bases. It includes empanadas, calamari, camarones, sizzling meat dishes, flan, sangria, and the classic rice and red beans. Spaciously decorated, with oakwood walls and even a one-of-a-kind restaurant mascot, perhaps Pio Pio’s greatest asset is its famous green sauce which can be drizzled over any dish to amp up the palate’s satisfaction.
Pio Pio, 84-02 Northern Blvd, New York, NY, USA, + 1 (718) 426-4900
In a neighborhood which predominantly features South American and Asian restaurants, Uncle Peter’s excels in shifting this trend to the European continent’s influences. It does this by catering to locals’ Italian food cravings. The menu suggests influences from Spain, Italy, and France, with homemade meatballs, grilled pork chops, chicken entrees, stuffed mushrooms, and endless options of pasta, salmon, crab cakes, salads, and more. After a hearty meal, the dessert menu does not disappoint your sweet tooth, and offers a gratifying vanilla panna cotta, tres leches cake, chocolate lava cake, and an Uncle Peter’s sundae. This place contains a relaxing atmosphere, brick walls, affordable prices, and convenient lunch special for those popping in for a quick midday bite. As such, Uncle Peter’s is undoubtedly a must-try dining experience for any food lover.
Uncle Peter’s, 83-15 Northern Blvd, New York, NY, USA, + 1 (718) 651-8600