Move aside, Manhattan: foodies are flocking to a surprising new source for New York City’s best eats. While you’ve been living in lines of crowded city restaurants, the oft-ignored borough of Staten Island has been cooking up great things. Here are nine of the best eateries on your soon-to-be favorite island.
Drunk-food dreams come true at The Hop Shoppe, a locally-beloved gastropub promising “burgers so fresh they talk back to ya.” Patties here come piled high with mac and cheese, beer-battered onion rings, and, because it’s Staten Island, pepperoni and housemade marinara. Decadent menu options like fried potato chip-crusted chicken, garlicky Old Bay wings, and a first-rate selection of craft beers make the Shoppe a popular destination among late-night diners.
Candle-topped tables and sharable plates make Staten Island’s Beso an excellent date-night pick. Linger with your loved one over wine-grilled chorizo, cheesy saffron rice, ginger-mojito steak, and more at this Spanish tapas bar. Offering beers and wine hailing from just about every hispanic country on the map, your date’s sure to say salud to both you and Beso.
Not many restaurants can deliver a fresh experience with every visit, but Enoteca Maria has a secret weapon: nonnas. Bowing to experience, the restaurant entrusts its kitchen nightly to nonnas, or grandmothers, from Italy and beyond. Here, you’ll dig into menus from two different grandmothers, one from Italy and the other from countries such as Greece, Bangladesh, and Turkey, rarely encountering the same dish twice. Serving beautifully-plated, gourmet home-cooking, the restaurant’s “nonnas of the world” will warm your heart and belly.
Come to Mar Mar Restaurant for Mediterranean classics like hummus and fattoush, and stay for less commonly-encountered delicacies, such as garlicky raw meat, lemon juice-sautéed Syrian sausage, and marinated feta cheese. Serving up generously-portioned plates at unbeatable prices (tip: the spot also boasts a BYOB policy), Mar Mar makes fine, adventurous eating accessible to all.
From its opulent interior complete with elaborate chandeliers and décor to its authentic Creole cuisine, Bayou transports its diners to decadent N’awlins. Here, mussels come splashed with LA-sourced beer and spices, red snapper is soaked in gingery onion broth, and hot chicken wings are tossed in classic Louisiana Red sauce.
Take a cue from the island’s largely Italian-American population and run, don’t walk, to Bin 5. A well-kept local secret, Bin 5 is a Michelin-starred restaurant cooking up creative Italian cuisine. Spring pea ravioli, red wine-glazed ribs, and bone marrow with drunken onions are gobbled with gusto by Staten Island locals—a ringing endorsement if ever there was one.
From its seafood-focused menu to its waterfront dining area, everything about Blue nods to the Mediterranean Sea, the inspiration for the spot’s cuisine. Sample mussels flambéed with Greek wine, balsamic crab and strawberry salad, and spaghetti with white wine-garlic clams as you enjoy up-close views of the island’s “parade of nautical traffic.”
Of the many pizza joints on this predominately Italian-American island, families, couples, and “girls night out” groups can all agree on Lee’s Tavern. Crisped-to-perfection pies topped with clams and calamari, pesto-mozzarella garlic bread, and all the parm hero varieties you could ask for await at this local hotspot.
Craving Bavarian bites? Save your miles, and head over to Nurnberger Bierhaus, a German eatery serving up imported craft beers and regional home-cooking. Fried garlic-butter chicken cutlets and spaetzle are popular picks here, but it’s the spot’s hearty brunch options that’ll have you on your feet (or flat on your back once the food-coma kicks in). Potato pancake salad, cheesy wurst and kielbasa omelets, and German home fries with bratwurst pack enough flavor—and calories— for your whole day.