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A black plastic carryout container of pale pork roast and bronze skin.
A serving of pernil at Los Primos in the Bronx.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

40 Inexpensive Dining Destinations in NYC

Eater critic Robert Sietsema tracks down some of the city’s best food deals in the five boroughs and beyond

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A serving of pernil at Los Primos in the Bronx.
| Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

For many New Yorkers, dining on a budget the past two years has been more important than ever. Luckily, there are options throughout the five boroughs that don’t require saving up for a fancy, sit-down meal. While the coronavirus pandemic has tossed a brick into the machinery of New York City restaurants, I have seen small, inexpensive, often immigrant-run restaurants continuing to stay open and in some cases, even flourishing. Here are 40 great dining establishments, including some old standbys as well as some new favorites, where you can dine well for $15 or less — or occasionally more depending on the meal size, cost of ingredients, or location, since overhead is often higher in expensive neighborhoods.

New to this edition of the map are Al Aqsa, All’antico Vinaio, Bedawi Cafe, Ethel & Annie Mae’s, Kotha Grill, Los Primos, Pilsener Haus, Taiwan Pork Chop House, Taqueria 86, Teranga, and Tortas Morelos.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Los Primos Resturant

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698 Allerton Ave
Bronx, NY 10467
(347) 449-5680

This Latin-Caribbean diner is home to the most gorgeous steam table you’ve ever seen, and there’s an expansive dining room right next door. The menu offers classic breakfasts of green plantains, eggs, and longaniza, plus lumberjack pancakes and three-egg omelets, then moves on to lunches and dinners of rotisserie chicken, pork chops, kingfish or salmon, mofongo in several permutations, meal-size soups like sancocho and mondongo, and pernil so good it might make you weep.

Two hands trim a pork roast with scissors.
Carving the pork roast at Los Primos.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

2. Calle 191 Pescaderia

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1609 St Nicholas Ave
New York, NY 10040
(212) 740-8999
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Located in the northern reaches of Washington Heights near Highbridge Park, this Dominican establishment handily combines a fish market with a restaurant a tad more formal than most fish market eateries. Decorated with artificial palm trees, it also boasts a bar, and the lengthy menu features nearly every Spanish and Latin-Caribbean seafood dish imaginable. One favorite is the marvelous asopao, a tomatoey and vinegary rice soup flavored with garlic and cilantro, generously dotted with large shrimp.

A hand lifts up a spoonful of red soup with shrimp.
Shrimp asopao at Calle 191 Pescaderia.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

3. Jerk House

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2143 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd
New York, NY 10027
(917) 675-7477
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Harlem has rarely seen a Jamaican steam-table restaurant with such a broad, pristine selection of island dishes. Sure, the jerk chicken is great, finished over a flame right before being served, but you’ll also find jerk pork, jerk ribs, and even jerk fried chicken. There’s also escovitch fish, curry chicken, and, perhaps best of all, curry goat. The restaurant is an offshoot of an earlier Jerk House in the Bronx, both operated by Sideon Stewart, affectionately known as “Jerk Chicken Jackie.”

Goat curry with plantains in a small Styrofoam container.
Goat curry at Jerk House, served with plaintains.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

4. Santa Clarita

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237 Willis Ave #2
Bronx, NY 10454
(718) 292-9399

Santa Clarita was a Puerto Rican restaurant and night club when it was founded back in 1971, but now it’s among Mott Haven’s best Mexican restaurants. The spacious, barely renovated premises may induce nostalgia, and a broad carryout window directs your attention to a rotating al pastor cylinder. Step up and grab a taco or two and sit on the restaurant’s shady front porch. Other antojitos and bargain one-plate meals available.

A restaurant with a brownish red awning with the name of the restaurant and an giant order window visible on the left.
Mott Haven’s Santa Clarita was once a Puerto Rican restaurant.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

5. Teranga

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1280 5th Ave
New York, NY 10029
(646) 663-1935
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Via Senegalese chef and cookbook author Pierre Thiam, this lively place at the northeast corner of Central Park in the Africa Center manages to catch the spirit of West African cooking with a brief menu in the fast-casual mode. That doesn’t mean there isn’t lots of seating, and you’re encouraged to relax either indoors or out. Senegalese grilled chicken yassa, with a relish of mustard and sauteed onions, is a high point.

A bowl of grilled chicken and blackeyed peas with a green relish on the side.
Senegalese chicken yassa at Teranga.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

6. Taqueria 86

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210 W 94th St
New York, NY 10025
(917) 675-7727
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No, this new and splendid Upper West Side taqueria, replete with a full bar, is not located on 86th Street as one might expect from the name, but rather on West 94th. The “86” commemorates the year the FIFA World Cup was held in Mexico. Ten taco fillings are available, using tortillas and colorfully named by point of origin, including birria attributed to Guadalajara, as well as Sonoran shrimp with sautéed pepper and grilled chicken in the style of Tampico. Burritos, quesadillas, and tortas round out the menu.

A green awning with a soccer ball theme.
Taqueria 86 is quizzically located on 94th Street.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

7. Bilao

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1437 1st Avenue Store 1
New York, NY 10021
(212) 650-0010
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This Filipino cafe owned by three nurses and led by chef Boji Asuncion serves all three daily meals, and the breakfast selection includes a fish congee called goto, plus many “silog” dishes that feature fried eggs, garlic rice, and a main meat. Other standards served here include a peanutty oxtail kare kare and a sizzling sisig rich in various cuts of pork.

A big bowl of peanut butter stew with green beans visible and a dark red relish poised overhead.
Oxtail kare kare at Bilao.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

8. Ugly Donuts & Corn Dogs

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136-84 Roosevelt Ave
Queens, NY 11354
(347) 506-0425
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You’re going to have to sit in the park across the street from this new Korean carryout window in the midst of Flushing’s transportation hub. But the one-two punch of misshapen doughnuts and Korean corn dogs (really, rice dogs, since the batter is made with rice and not corn) makes a very enjoyable meal. The dog-on-a-stick that comes with potato cubes implanted in the batter is particularly enticing, making french fries unnecessary, .

A corn dog dotted with potato cubes with a pair of blue jeans with legs in them in the background on a sunny day.
“Corn dog” with potato cubes at Ugly.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

9. All'antico Vinaio

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729 8th Ave
New York, NY 10036
(917) 970-0033
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Italian-American heroes can be found almost anywhere in town, but All’antico Vinaio offers something different. It’s a branch of a Florentine shop that specializes in very lush focaccia sandwiches. Fillings run to the mozzarella, tomato, and basil; the herb-stuff pork roll called porchetta; and pungent Tuscan salami slathered with artichoke cream. Sandwiches tend to be large enough to split between two people, but not much space to eat is provided, other than the sidewalk outside — just as it is in Florence.

A sandwich cut in half to reveal layers of slice meat, arugula, and pureed salami.
A focaccia sandwich at All’antico Vinaio.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

10. Pilsener Haus & Biergarten

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1422 Grand St
Hoboken, NJ 07030
(201) 683-5465
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Located in a 19th century industrial setting up against the cliffs in northwestern Hoboken (yes, it’s a slog from the PATH, but a cab is cheap), Pilsener Haus feels like an actual Munich biergarten, with ample seating inside and out. In addition to a lavish selection of suds, the food is agreeably priced, including crisp schnitzels, a catalog of sausages, lamb burgers, kielbasa wrapped in phylo, and a pretzel pudding resembling bread pudding.

A darkly crumbed pork cutlet sprawled over a red-potato salad.
Wiener schnitzel is made with pork.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

11. Nurlan Uyghur Restaurant

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43-39 Main St
Queens, NY 11355
(347) 542-3324
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Nurlan is one of the few Uyghur restaurants in the city presenting the food of an ethnic minority in far northwestern China. The menu is influenced by Middle Eastern and Central Asian fare with its kebabs, pastas, and rice pilafs, but then there’s also the fabled “big tray” of chicken or lamb, which features those meats swimming in chile oil with potatoes. The charmingly decorated cafe is run by Adil Nurdun and Arkin Ali, and you might be surprised to find that the kebab list includes that most New York of meats — the hot dog.

Four brochettes, one with eggplant another with a skewered hot dog.
Uyghur kebabs from Nurlan.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

12. Voilà Afrique

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844 2nd Ave Enter through 45th Street Between 1st and, 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10017
(917) 327-3510
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This West African café located just uphill from the United Nations is from Ghanaian owner George Quainoo and Nigerian chef Margarete Duncan, and the menu is a pleasing collection of culinary commonplaces from both countries. Suya is a fistful of peanut-crusted halal beef kebabs, while egusi is a sauce of greens and ground pumpkin seeds that looks something like scrambled eggs. You can never go wrong with the vegetarian peanut sauce, served with mashes such as white yam fufu or the fermented cornmeal loaf called kenkey.

A bowl of red, a tray of green and yellow, and a loaf of cornmeal mush wrapped in corn husk.
Egusi and fufu at Voilà Afrique.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

13. Kotha Grill and Kabab

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72-27 37th Ave
Queens, NY 11372

Kotha Grill is the latest in a string of Bangladeshi eateries aimed at grocery shoppers surrounding the corner of 73rd Street and 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights. Boasting a small dining room and outdoor dining shed — a bit unusual for this neighborhood — the focus here is on the steam table, which usually contains a choice of biryanis, plus chicken and goat curries, river fish dishes, and a number of roasted vegetables and mustard-oil-laced vegetable purees, often including potatoes, eggplant, orange squash, and okra.

Slices of eggplant covered with chile peppers on a meatal tray.
Spicy roasted eggplant at Kotha Grill.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

14. Amazing Grace Restaurant

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6902 Roosevelt Ave
Woodside, NY 11377
(718) 335-7036

A successor to neighborhood mainstay Krystal’s, Amazing Grace took over the same Little Manila space not long ago, offering a similar mix of Filipino standards that went from barbecued brochettes (the pig ear is especially chewy), to set lunch and dinner plates, to the omnibus breakfasts known as silogs. The one featuring smoked milkfish is a favorite, which also includes garlic rice, fried eggs, eggplant strips, and a fresh salsa of onions and tomatoes. The restaurant is run by longtime area denizens Mary Jane De Leon and Efren De Leon.

In the foreground on a white plate, a whole fish head and all browned from smoking, with an array of dishes around it.
A milkfish silog breakfast.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

15. Harry Sweets & Snacks

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248-6 Union Tpke
Queens, NY 11426
(718) 347-0888
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This modest spot concentrates on Mumbai-style street snacks and is strictly vegetarian. One favorite is bun choley, a small round roll stuffed with chickpeas, potatoes, and onions sweetened with tamarind sauce, very much like Trinidadian doubles. The menu also offers samosa chaats and other chaats, poori-accompanied vegetable curries, milk-based sweets, and snacks combining fried lentils, nuts, chips, and crunchy noodles, sold by the pound.

A flatbread stuffed with chickpeas and potatoes,
Bun choley at Harry.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

16. Minar Halal Meat

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771 Newark Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07306
(201) 216-0222

What could be better than a butcher shop with a small kebab shop planted in the front window selling meats grilled over charcoal? This halal establishment in Jersey City’s India Square (a name that doesn’t quite capture the neighborhood’s South Asian diversity) makes kebabs into nourishing and inexpensive sandwiches, and also grills freshwater fish prominent in Bangladeshi cuisine, and tandoori chickens, too. There isn’t much seating space, but a counter stands on one side for the dining convenience of patrons.

This may be the metropolitan area’s best chicken tandoori.
Chicken tandoori at Minar Halal Meat.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

17. Crop Circle

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126 MacDougal St
New York, NY 10012
(917) 409-1666
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Gui kui is a stuffed flatbread invented in Shaanxi, perfected in Hubei, and now popular in Sichuan, Shanghai, and Singapore. On Greenwich Village’s hopping Macdougal Street, Crop Circle sells oblong flattened dough — stuffed with a choice of pork, pickled mustard greens, chicken, or best of all, spicy beef with Sichuan peppercorns — that’s lowered into a tandoor-like oven and baked till golden brown. Chefs Michael Zheng Chen and Zhuobu Zheng round out their menu with a few dim sum classics, including pork dumplings and shrimp rice-noodle rolls.

A cook in a mask stands before a vertical oven topped with tile and pulls out a flatbread with tongs.
The vertical oven at Crop Circle.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

18. 7th Street Burger

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91 E 7th St
New York, NY 10009
(646) 490-6797
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This new burger joint has only four items on its menu — two burgers, an Impossible burger, and french fries. The burger is one of the best in town, juicy and compact, with sauteed onions and cheese spilling out, and a patty bigger in proportion to the bun and toppings. This burger is not fussy and delicious. The owner is Kevin Rezvani, who was previously involved with the Diesel & Duke chain in New Jersey.

A homely, squished down cheeseburger on greasy wrapping paper.
Cheeseburger at 7th Street Burger.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

19. Terra Thai

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518 E 6th St
New York, NY 10009
(646) 478-7415
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This tiny cafe just south of Tompkins Square specializes in the street food of Bangkok with a limited menu of full meals that will make deciding what to eat easier. Karuna Wiwattanakantang and Norawat Margsiri previously owned a Thai restaurant in Boulder, Colorado, and the best dish on the current menu is basil chicken, with ground poultry cooked down to a rich mixture served with rice, a poached egg, and boiled sweet potato. For vegetarians, there’s a very nice pad Thai.

A black plastic carryout tray with a green chicken stir fry on one side, and rice with a poached egg and sweet potato on the other.
Basil chicken at Terra Thai.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

20. Pyza

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118 Nassau Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11222
(718) 349-8829

The days when the streets of Greenpoint were lined with the small Polish cafes labeled obiady (“meals”) are now long gone, but a few remain. One of the best is Pyza (“dumpling”), a sparsely furnished dining room with an order counter in one corner. When the cook, seen through the kitchen window, finishes assembling your selection, she calls out the name of the dish and you pick it up. Meals include stuffed cabbage, potato dumplings with meat, hunter’s stew, and schnitzels galore. The portions are so big that leftovers are a certainty.

A well browned veal schnitzel with an egg on top, and mashed potatoes and purple cabbage on the side...
Pork schnitzel at Pyza.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

21. Banh Mi Co Ut

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83 Elizabeth St
New York, NY 10013
(646) 767-0444

There are two other Vietnamese sandwich shops in close vicinity — both good — so why pick owner Co Ut Tran’s shop, which opened just over a year ago? Because the sandwiches tend to be overstuffed: the No. 4, for example, begins with the usual pate, cha lua, and salami, but then adds a bonus slice of fatty Virginia ham. The vegetarian banh mi made with baked tofu is also good, redolent of lemongrass, and the kitchen staff ably turns out a modest collection of more ambitious dishes, which include a bowl of pho, and the wonderful tapioca dumplings called banh bot loc, which come wrapped in banana leaves glowing like amber.

A hero sandwich seen in cross section with layers of meat and vegetables.
Banh mi at Banh Mi Co Ut.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

22. Taiwan Pork Chop House

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3 Doyers St
New York, NY 10013
(212) 791-7007
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Most patrons of this Taiwanese cafe tucked away on picturesque Doyers Street pick the first or second items on the menu: a pair of soy-glazed pork chops over rice with mustard greens, or an ample chicken leg with a similar treatment. Either way, it makes a perfect full meal. But rice cake stir fries, oyster pancakes, fish ball noodles soup, and taro cakes make other fine choices.

A pile of pork chops on rice in a round black plastic container.
Choice number one on Taiwanese Pork Chop House’s menu.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

23. Kaieteur Express II

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8808 183rd St
Jamaica, NY 11423
(718) 526-6251
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This compact Guyanese bakery with a lovely mural of the namesake waterfall delivers not only freshly made tennis rolls (a sweet bread), butter flaps, and pine tarts, but a full range of savory meals. Look for curries of lamb, duck, and red snapper served with white rice, roti, or dal puri, or smaller savory dishes such as pepper shrimp, chicken in ruff, or fried banga mary, a freshwater fish. Finally, find a full menu of Guyanese-Chinese fare, mainly chow mein, fried rice, and lo mein, including the wonderful jerk pork fried rice.

A carryout tin of orange rice topped with jerk pork and shredded cabbage.
Jerk pork fried rice.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

24. Mum Mediterranean Cuisine

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66-28 Fresh Pond Rd
Queens, NY 11385
(347) 689-4228
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Ridgewood Egyptian restaurant Mum replaced Little Egypt in the same storefront a year or so ago. The premises are now sleek and modern, and the food less seafood-oriented. One specialty of the menu is fetteer, a double-crust sheet pizza said to date to the time of the pharaohs. Fillings are diverse, including pastirma, shawarma, vegetables, and the sausage called sujuk. The usual dips and flame-grilled kebabs are available, but then so is the rice, pasta. and bean casserole koshari, and mombar, a rice sausage in a sheep casing.

A platter with falafel squiggled with tahini, with a brown sausage on the side and salad underneath.
Falafel platter at Mum.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

25. Caravan Uyghur Cuisine

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200 Water St
New York, NY 10038

This halal restaurant near the South Street Seaport owned by Abdul Ahat Bakri put in a surprise appearance in the middle of 2020, peddling Uyghur standards — charcoal kebabs, rice pilaf, meat-bulging samsa, and fist-sized dumplings. The floppy spaghetti called lagman is made in the kitchen from scratch, and for fans of lamb, multiple dishes are available. One more tip: The entrance is on Pearl Street.

Peppers, lamb, onions, noodles, celery, and red broth on a plate.
Lagman at Caravan.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

26. Semkeh

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53 Morgan Ave Rear
Brooklyn, NY 11237
(347) 599-2889
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While most Lebanese restaurants have a straight-up Middle Eastern menu of such items as falafel, hummus, kebabs, and salads, Semkeh does the formula one better by including some rarely seen regional dishes, including the namesake samke (a more common spelling of the dish in the restaurant’s name). This classic from the north of the country features a fish poached in a garlic-and-tahini sauce, which makes for a very spicy fish. Have it wrapped in a pita, or substitute sujuk, a Lebanese beef sausage. For vegetarians, check out the wrap of falafel and fried cauliflower with the garlicky aioli called toum.

A tubular wrap made with a grilled flatbread, a tomato slice peeking out the end.
Samke at Semkeh.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

27. Taqueria Al Pastor

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128 Wyckoff Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11237
(718) 269-7538
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Sure, there are dozens of great, old-fashioned, mainly Pueblan taquerias within the broad borders of Bushwick, but this place opened early in 2020 with a jazzier demeanor, including a brightly painted minibus on its exterior. The lure is a humongous rotating trompo of pineapple-marinated pork al pastor, sliced and deposited on a rustic corn tortilla. Or have it as a volcane, which is essentially a baked tostada. Cactus, chicken, and carne asada fillings are all available.

A man in a blue shirt with a long knife bends over a twirling vertical spit of meat.
The al pastor cylinder twirls at Taqueria Al Pastor.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

28. Pupusas Ridgewood

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71-20 Fresh Pond Rd
Queens, NY 11385
(347) 599-0858

Many places make their own Salvadoran pupusas, sometimes hand-patting the masa or rice dough, but this establishment from Guillermina Ramirez takes the process one step further. Its pupusas are of larger circumference, juicier, and stuffed right when you order with a choice of 10 fillings. Some, like broccoli and cheese, are a bit unusual, but neophytes should first try cheese and loroco, a pickled flower that resembles oregano; and revueltas, which combines pork rind,s beans, and cheese. You should first split the pupusa, then shovel in some of the slaw called curtido, for extra crunch.

An assortment of outsize papusas, browned stuffed pancakes sometimes broken open to show fillings, on a red plastic tray.
Assorted pupusas at Papusas Ridgewood.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

29. Grandchamps

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197 Patchen Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11233
(718) 484-4880
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Haitian restaurant Grandchamps, owned by Sabrina and Shawn Brockman, has rustic modern decor, featuring a big communal table with views of the neighborhood and a counter selling food products imported from Haiti. Appetizers and breakfast menu items are available, but the heart of the menu are seven classic Haitian dishes. Griot is one, the pork confit made by cooking the meat in its own citrusy marinade. Instead of being served as an entree, this griot is incorporated into a sandwich. The result is wonderful and unique. A dark red and slightly oily gravy accompanies.

A sandwich on a French roll filled with chunks are pork, with gravy in a small cup on the side.
Griot sandwich at Grandchanps.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

30. King David Tacos

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611 Bergen St
Brooklyn, NY 11238
(929) 367-8266
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What started out as a Manhattan pushcart first operated by Liz Solomon Dwyer in 2017 has turned into a handsome brick-and-mortar establishment in Prospect Heights, popularizing the breakfast tacos common in San Antonio and Austin. These use a fresh flour tortilla, with ingredients like refried beans, cheddar cheese, chorizo, potatoes, and eggs rolled inside, seasoned with either of the shop’s salsas. Seating in a side courtyard makes breakfast or lunch a pleasure.

Four foil wrapped cylinders on a tray.
Breakfast tacos at King David.
Robert Sietsema/Eater nY

31. Ethel & Annie Mae's Soulfood Kitchen

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497 Albany Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11203
(347) 627-2775
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Catering veteran and master baker Danielle Moore started this corner soul food place in Flatbush last year, showcasing the cuisine’s standards, including chicken wings, fried porgies, and New Orleans po’ boys. But at whim she ventures outside the canon, recently producing a wonderful lamb burger with a thick sear on each side and a tzatziki dressing. Also don’t miss the pineapple upside down cake and banana pudding.

A blackened patty in a bun with bright green lettuce and slice of tomato sticking out.
Lamb burger at Ehtel & Annie Mae’s.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

32. Bedawi Cafe

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266 Prospect Park West
Brooklyn, NY 11215
(718) 499-3444
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This Windsor Terrace staple celebrates the contributions of the Bedouins to Middle Eastern cuisine (in this a case, the kitchen is focused on dishes of Jordan). The interior is small, charming, and well-decorated, making you feel like you’re in someone’s living room, and the menu features kebabs, sandwiches, and platters, plus many of the same ingredients made into flatbread called “pitzas.” And there are salads and other snacking appetizers galore, including a Levantine spin on potato salad, and wonderful garlicky fava beans.

A hand holds a meat and lettuce sandwich with a pickle chip sticking out almost wrapped completely in a flatbread.
Leg of lamb sandwich at Bedawi.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

33. Unique J Kitchen and Bakery

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4120 10th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11219

Borough Park, near the border of Sunset Park, was ripe for a Jamaican restaurant when Unique J’s opened there. Though no seating is available, there are benches in the park directly across the street. The steam table displays luscious versions of oxtail, curry goat, mac and cheese, and callaloo. Meanwhile, a smoking oil drum outside promises great jerk chicken, heavy on the jerk coating (ask for the jerk sauce on the side because it’s incendiary). As an added bonus, Jamaican breakfasts are also available featuring dishes like saltfish and ackee.

A metal container with something that looks like scrambled eggs and peppers, with a big fried dumpling on the side.
Saltfish and ackee at Unique J.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

34. The Roast 28

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5124 8th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 633-8288

There is no better spot for an introduction to Chinese charcuterie than the spread that features prominently in the lap mei served at Roast 28, which also boasts a branch in Flushing. Go inside to find a series of backlit menus that offer nearly 100 choices, including three types of roast duck and five variations of roast chicken. In addition, parts like chicken wings, pork stomach, and “country-style squid” further fill out the menu. All the meats can be served by themselves, or over rice or noodles. Congee and rice noodle rolls are also available at this spectacular Sunset Park establishment.

A round metal tin of Chinese roast meats, including roast duck and tripe.
Duck, chicken, and tripe from The Roast 28.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

35. Tortas Morelos

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271 Bay Ridge Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 333-5222

Tortas Morelos, located on the northern border of Bay Ridge, is a slip of a shop that specializes in overstuffed Mexican sandwiches including my favorite: La Chilanga, which matches boiled ham with the richer head cheese — a marriage made in heaven. The menu is not limited to sandwiches, however. It recently added one of the city’s best renditions of beef birria with a consomé so good you might slurp it up first and leave the tacos for later.

Crisp fried tacos with deep red soup on the side.
Birria tacos at Tortas Morelos.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

36. New Asha

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322 Victory Blvd
Staten Island, NY 10301
(718) 420-0649

Located across the street from a mosque a short bus ride straight uphill from the Staten Island Ferry, New Asha, founded by Vijayakumari Devadas in 1999, is a funky sort of place with excellent Sri Lankan food. A glass case displays heavy tubular fritters that are good for snacks, but why not sit and chow down on mutton or jackfruit curries, poured over rice and served with yellow dal and a chopped vegetable salad? The entire meat selection is halal.

The front of a storefront with a green awning that with the words “New Asha Srilankan Restaurant” in all capital yellow letters
New Asha is a Staten Island mainstay.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

37. Amuni

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7217 3rd Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11209
(718) 833-7833
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Chef Vincent Dardanello is the owner of this nifty Sicilian cafe in Bay Ridge, where standard dishes — think rice balls, fried calamari, potato or chickpea croquettes, focaccia, and olive-oil-glossed salads — are presented in a modern context and not as afterthoughts on a mainly Neapolitan menu. Amuni reproduces a wonderful muffuletta sandwich from its New Orleans original, and two types of the Sicilian pizza called sfincione are available, with characteristic vegetables as fennel and cardoon in refreshingly simple presentations.

An oblong white bowl of round pasta in tomato sauce, with cheese and bread on the size.
Pasta al forno at Amuni.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

38. Al Aqsa Bakery & Restaurant

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6917 5th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11209
(929) 350-9091

Only recently have Palestinian restaurants become an attraction unto themselves in the city with the advent of places like Aksa and Al Badawi, which offer sit-down dining in a semi-formal setting. At lower prices and with more of a lunch counter atmosphere, Al Aqsa specializes in pita or laffa sandwiches, tucked or rolled, respectively, and filled with chicken shawarma, falafel, or lamb shish kebab, slathered with a stronger version of toum, a garlicky white sauce, than is seen elsewhere. Kufta, bread dips, lahmacum in several variations, and schnitzels round out the menu.

You can see shreds of meat inside a flatbread tube dabbed with white sauce.
Mixed shawarma laffa to Al Aqsa.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

39. Lahori Chilli

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1026 Coney Island Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11230
(718) 859-1400
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This 24-hour West Midwood Pakistani cafe with a chile-pepper logo has it all: from snacks like samosas and stuffed breads that are great for quick to-go orders, to full meals that include combinations and meat and vegetarian dishes served with rice or bread (or both) and yogurt sauce. Additionally, there’s a vast array of sweets in a rainbow of colors. Go for the ground meat kebabs, which absorb lots of smoke in the clay oven, or haleem, a delicious porridge of lamb, wheat, and lentils. The steam table also offers many vegetarian dishes.

A steam table with bright yellow, orange, and brown dishes in metal tubs, with two headless figures standing behind.
Cast your eye on the steam table at Lahori.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

40. Berikoni Brick Oven Bread

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125 Brighton Beach Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11235
(718) 708-5040

Hey, where do you go for the best khachapuri in town — the Georgian bread boat brimming with cheese, a raw egg, and a surfeit of melted butter. Not to a restaurant, but to the city’s best Georgian bakery: Berikoni Brick Oven Bread. The bread just mentioned, adjaruli khachapuri, is only one of seven types available (try the beef-stuffed kubdari). Other Georgian recipes such as kebabs, khinkali dumplings, and baked dishes like chicken tabaka are also available at bargain prices. 

A round flatbread pulled open to show its filling of beef and onions.
Kubdari at Berikoni.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

1. Los Primos Resturant

698 Allerton Ave, Bronx, NY 10467
Two hands trim a pork roast with scissors.
Carving the pork roast at Los Primos.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

This Latin-Caribbean diner is home to the most gorgeous steam table you’ve ever seen, and there’s an expansive dining room right next door. The menu offers classic breakfasts of green plantains, eggs, and longaniza, plus lumberjack pancakes and three-egg omelets, then moves on to lunches and dinners of rotisserie chicken, pork chops, kingfish or salmon, mofongo in several permutations, meal-size soups like sancocho and mondongo, and pernil so good it might make you weep.

698 Allerton Ave
Bronx, NY 10467

2. Calle 191 Pescaderia

1609 St Nicholas Ave, New York, NY 10040
A hand lifts up a spoonful of red soup with shrimp.
Shrimp asopao at Calle 191 Pescaderia.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Located in the northern reaches of Washington Heights near Highbridge Park, this Dominican establishment handily combines a fish market with a restaurant a tad more formal than most fish market eateries. Decorated with artificial palm trees, it also boasts a bar, and the lengthy menu features nearly every Spanish and Latin-Caribbean seafood dish imaginable. One favorite is the marvelous asopao, a tomatoey and vinegary rice soup flavored with garlic and cilantro, generously dotted with large shrimp.

1609 St Nicholas Ave
New York, NY 10040

3. Jerk House

2143 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd, New York, NY 10027
Goat curry with plantains in a small Styrofoam container.
Goat curry at Jerk House, served with plaintains.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Harlem has rarely seen a Jamaican steam-table restaurant with such a broad, pristine selection of island dishes. Sure, the jerk chicken is great, finished over a flame right before being served, but you’ll also find jerk pork, jerk ribs, and even jerk fried chicken. There’s also escovitch fish, curry chicken, and, perhaps best of all, curry goat. The restaurant is an offshoot of an earlier Jerk House in the Bronx, both operated by Sideon Stewart, affectionately known as “Jerk Chicken Jackie.”

2143 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd
New York, NY 10027

4. Santa Clarita

237 Willis Ave #2, Bronx, NY 10454
A restaurant with a brownish red awning with the name of the restaurant and an giant order window visible on the left.
Mott Haven’s Santa Clarita was once a Puerto Rican restaurant.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Santa Clarita was a Puerto Rican restaurant and night club when it was founded back in 1971, but now it’s among Mott Haven’s best Mexican restaurants. The spacious, barely renovated premises may induce nostalgia, and a broad carryout window directs your attention to a rotating al pastor cylinder. Step up and grab a taco or two and sit on the restaurant’s shady front porch. Other antojitos and bargain one-plate meals available.

237 Willis Ave #2
Bronx, NY 10454

5. Teranga

1280 5th Ave, New York, NY 10029