Shanghai Café is a classic Chinatown restaurant with delicious soup dumplings. The pork soup dumplings, also known as xiao long bao, are warm, fatty and juicy, everything soup dumplings should be, and more. The street outside Shanghai Café may be busy, but the restaurant itself is quiet and comfortable.
Shanghai Café Deluxe, 100 Mott Street, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 966 3988
Walking into Piccolo Angolo is like walking into a room filled with family members. It’s pretty crowded and can be difficult to get a seat without a reservation, but once you’re in, you’ll never want to leave. The portions are big and the food is delicious. The lobster cannelloni (lobster-stuffed pasta with vodka, puttanesca, and marinara sauce) is amazing. The complementary bread basket is packed full of hot, fresh garlic bread. The tiramisú is maybe, dare we say, better than the one your Italian grandmother made. The restaurant itself is small, but the owners and staff are very kind and accommodating.
Piccolo Angolo, 621 Hudson Street, New York, NY, USA, + 1 212 229 9177
Woorijip Korean Restaurant
This authentic Korean buffet is not typical. During peak hours, the food is hot, fresh, and delicious for a very low price. Woorijip also has pre-packaged items, like the kimchi fried rice, which is very good. They have all of the Korean favorites, as well as more obscure dishes, some of which can’t typically be found at the other restaurants in Koreatown.
Woorijip Korean Restaurant, 12 W 32nd Street New York, NY, USA, +1 212 244 1115
Queen of Sheba
Queen of Sheba is a little piece of Ethiopia, which can be seen just by the décor of the restaurant. The pictures on the walls, straw stands to eat food on, and intricately carved chairs all take you back to Ethiopia, as does the constant smell of curry. The food is warm and comforting, and the injira (a slightly spongy sourdough-risen flatbread) is complementary.
Queen of Sheba, 650 10th Avenue, New York, NY USA +1 212 397 0610
This mom and pop joint in Hell’s Kitchen is to die for. Lali’s menu changes daily, although the baked chicken is always there. The chicken, which is so tender it falls off the bone, is served with lots of rice, beans, avocado, and/or sweet plantains. The mango drink and the morir soñando (an orange-milk drink which tastes like an orange creamsicle) are both sweet and satisfying. All the food is amazing and homely, and you get a bang for your buck. The staff is very kind and welcoming. The food from this tiny Dominican place tastes like it’s straight from your mother’s kitchen.
Saravana Bhavan may not be the most luxurious place, but the food is excellent. They offer real Southern Indian, vegetarian food that is served fast and hot. The restaurant is very minimalistic with a few decorations and figures, and the service is adequate. With all of that, the price and value cannot be beat. Many of the other customers dining at the restaurant are Southern Indians as well, which is a mark of authenticity. Saravana is known for their dosas, which are like fermented crepes made with rice batter and black lentils.
Perogies, borscht, and stuffed cabbage are all staples at Veselka’s. This East Village institution has been around for more than 60 years. Their potato pancakes are hot, crispy and delicious, and served with apple sauce. For brunch, lunch, or dinner, Veselka’s is comforting and delicious. There are old, Ukrainian men drinking coffee and eating breakfast on the weekends: it really doesn’t get more authentic than that. It looks and feels like a classic diner, with the kitchen visible from the dining room, bar stools that are all different lengths, and comfortable tables and chairs.
La Grenouille is a classic, old-school French bistro. The restaurant is ritzy but not gaudy, with flower arrangements, large mirrors in gold frames, lush carpeting, and comfortable seats. The soufflés are light, fluffy, and served fresh. The wait staff is friendly. The foie gras is out of this world, and they have all the best French classics, like frogs legs and oxtail bourguignon (akin to a beef stew).
La Grenouille, 3 E 52nd Street, New York, NY, USA, + 1 212 752 1495
SriPraPhai Thai Food
With a large, extensive menu, SriPraPhai Thai Restaurant has some of the best Thai food in the city. The food comes out quickly and still hot, and depending on the timing, seating is very quick. If the weather is nice, the garden outside is beautiful: lush with greenery, and surrounded by growing vegetables. The tom-kha soup, pad see ew (sauteed noodles), and papaya salad are all tasty and well-prepared. There are plet of delicious options for the meat-eater and the vegetarian. SriPraPhai used to be a small hole-in-the-wall place, but it has evolved into a real establishment over the years.
With large portions, fresh food, and complementary bread, Taverna Kyclades is some of the best Greek food out of Astoria, Queens. This Zagat-rated establishment offers fresh seafood, but all of its food is very good. This East Village establishment has a top notch staff that is very kind and attentive, offering suggestions, and making substitute dishes on request. The food is very flavorful and well seasoned. Also, they will occasionally give you a free dessert: a Greek tart or yogurt with fruit.