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A person wearing blue plastic gloves holds several takeout trays, each containing three brick-red tacos
Birria-Landia commands a line all year round for its birria.
Christian Rodriguez/Eater NY

A Guide to the Stunningly Diverse Dining Scene in Jackson Heights

Exceptional birria tacos, elaborately topped hot dogs, and regional food not found elsewhere in NYC

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Birria-Landia commands a line all year round for its birria.
| Christian Rodriguez/Eater NY

In the last decade the Jackson Heights dining scene has exploded. With an emphasis on South Asian, South American, Southeast Asian, and Mexican cuisine, it has one of the most interesting mixes of reasonably priced restaurants in the city. And within each category, there is stunning diversity. You can get buckwheat flatbreads from the Mustang District in Nepal, seafood zarzuela from an antique Castilian restaurant, Filipino food from the Bicol region, or some of the finest Italian-American pizza and heroes in the borough.

One area to watch lies along Northern Boulevard, where the growth in South American restaurants has been amazing. Now there are cocktail bars that bring in regulars in the late afternoon and early evening (walk east along Northern from 80th Street and check the chalkboards), where a mixed drink can cost a mere $5, with inexpensive snacks galore. At least three restaurants specialize in elaborately topped hot dogs washed down with fruity drinks. An entire day could be spent just scratching the surface of all the restaurants in Jackson Heights, but here are some the best spots to check out now.

The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Taste of Lahore

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73-10 Northern Blvd
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
(718) 779-6700
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Lahore, an ancient Pakistan city, is the capital of the famous food region known as the Punjab. This restaurant on a sparse stretch of Northern Boulevard known for its car dealerships welcomes families, especially on the weekends, and offers a halal menu, much of which can be viewed on the steam table. Gingery beef nihari is one specialty, and so is Lahori murgh haleem, ground chicken cooked with lentils and wheat into a savory paste. Another favorite here is the cryptically named steam roast chicken, which tastes something like tandoori chicken, only more moist and without the red color.

A guy in a blue turban leans on one elbow as he smokes a hookah.
Lounging figure at Taste of Lahore.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

2. Kotha Grill and Kabab

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72-27 37th Ave
Queens, NY 11372

One of a half dozen Bangladeshi cafes in downtown Jackson Heights, Kotha is the new kid the block. It at least partly functions as a snack shop, where one can run in and get dal poori, samosas filled with chicken or potato and laced with mustard oil for a mild burn, or sweet crepes. But a steam table reveals biryanis, curries, and kurmas that can form a part of combination meals. Littered with slivered almonds, the chicken kurma looked particularly good on a recent visit.

A circular aluminum container or colored rice and hunks of meat from which a yellowish boiled egg can be partly seen.
Goat biryani comes with a boiled egg at Kotha Grill and Kabab.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

3. Cannelle Patisserie

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7559 31st Ave
East Elmhurst, NY 11370
(718) 565-6200
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Hidden in a fading strip mall, Cannelle is one of the city’s best and most doctrinaire French bakeries. There’s table seating, and the parade of customers is well worth watching and noting for its amazing diversity. The raspberry almond croissant is a formidable invention, and you won’t find fault with the napoleons, gateaux Breton, cheesecakes, or cherry-loaded Black Forest cakes, either. A small collection of sandwiches permit more savory repasts.

A flaky horn shaped pastry with powdered sugar and raspberries visible on top.
CAnnelle’s fabled raspberry almond croissant.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

4. Mustang Thakali Kitchen

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74-14 37th Ave
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
(718) 898-5088
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The menu of this long-running Nepalese originates in the north central region of Mustang. Expect the usual steamers of momo with several fillings, plus handmade noodles in soups and stir fries, vegetable salads, and warm meat jerkies sometimes containing offal. Goat is tendered in abundance. Many of the meals are served on round metal thalis, each containing 10 or so small dishes and condiments, including starches that run from rice to buckwheat to wheat flatbreads. This is a good place to take friends from out of town, who may not have a regional Nepalese restaurant like this where they live.

A round metal tray with six dishes surrouding a pair of buckwheat flatbreads.
Nepalese Thali at Mustang Thakali Kitchen.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

5. Al-Naimat Sweets & Restuarant

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3703 74th Street
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
(718) 476-1100
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This halal café and sweet shop occupies the original storefront of the sainted Jackson Diner, and the diner atmosphere persists. Save the Bengali sweets in the refrigerated glass cases near the entrance for later, while you first chow down on tandooris and curries. The palak paneer is particularly lush with fresh cheese, the chicken keema exceedingly smooth and mellow. Full meals are often $10 or less.

A plate with ground meat, a green vegetable puree, and white rice.
A combo plate at Al-Naimat.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

6. Samudra

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75-18 37th Ave
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
(718) 255-1757

This strictly vegetarian and mainly vegan southern Indian restaurant is one of only a few serving this cuisine in Jackson Heights. The full range of dosas are available, including sada, rava, and regular, stuffed or unstuffed. You can’t go wrong with butter masala dosa — the cylindrical wrapper deep brown and crunchy, the filling cumin-laced and shot with other vegetables in addition to spuds. Plenty of appetizers and chaats available, as are some interesting non-dosa dishes, including rice-based bisi bele bath and pongal, and a full menu of northern Indian vegetarian standards.

A big rolled brown pancake with three sauces.
A masala dosa at Samudra.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

7. El Toum

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35-62 76th St
Queens, NY 11372
(718) 440-9970

A bagel shop just off 37th Avenue on 76th Street was converted into a Lebanese restaurant last November. It’s a good place to drop in for an Arab coffee scented with cardamom and a baklava, or a rolled sandwich (the falafel has been extensively praised) — but full meals from rack of lamb to pan-seared branzino are offered. Additionally, a beguiling weekend brunch may feature fava beans or calves liver, both including two eggs cooked your way. Lots of vegetarian options available.

A tubular sandwich cut in half swaddled in tissue and resting in a burnt orange bowl.
Lamb kebab sandwich at El Toum.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

8. Taqueria Coatzingo

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7605 Roosevelt Ave
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
(718) 424-1977

This restaurant with a bright pastel interior expanded to three locations a few years ago, making this one of the biggest Mexican restaurant empires in town. The unfailing dedication of its menu to inexpensive antojitos — sopes, huaraches, flautas, chalupas, quesadillas, and such — with their expansive roster of toppings, make this a crowd-pleasing place, too, and there are beers to wash it all down. Standouts from the Pueblan-centered menu including the fiery chicken soup chilate de pollo, overstuffed cemita sandwiches, and an entrée of steamed tongue, only one of the many types of offal available here.

Three cone shaped tacos with guacamole spilling out and chiles and radishes on the side.
Shrimp tacos Taqueria Coatzingo.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

9. Arepa Lady

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77-17 37th Ave
Queens, NY 11372
(917) 745-1111
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Maria Piedad Cano, also known as the Arepa Lady, used to sell her fluffy Colombian corn cakes out of a cart. These days, however, her family is running the show as fans from across the city are still seeking out the arepas filled with salty cheese, perfect for topping off with any number of sauces, from leche condensada (condensed milk) to green-tinged garlic.

A storefront with a red awning and the name spelled out in block white letters.
The Arepa Lady once sold her wares from a cart on 37th Avenue.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

10. Café Salamanca

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7905 Northern Blvd
Flushing, NY 11370
(718) 458-2446
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There aren’t too many old-guard Spanish restaurants left in the city, and this Castilian that dates to the late 1980s is one of the better ones. Find a full roster of tapas in the elegant but timeworn dining rooms — try in particular the paprika-dusted octopus or the well-browned tortilla, sold in its entirety rather than in wedges. Main courses emphasize seafood, of which the best is a stew called zarzuela, containing multiple fish and crustaceans, including more lobster than you might have expected.

A bucket or red sauce with seafood bobbing in it, some in shells some not.
Zarzuela at Cafe Salamanca.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

11. Birria-Landia

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77-99 Roosevelt Ave
Queens, NY 11372
(347) 283-2162
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Much of New York’s birria craze can be traced back to one food truck: Birria-Landia. Following a 2019 opening by brothers José and Jesús Moreno, positive reviews soon followed and today there are lines snaking down Roosevelt Avenue as diners show up almost the moment the truck (sometimes there are two!) opens at 5 p.m. The stunning orangish red hue of the birria tacos, consomé, mulitas, and tostadas are all not to be missed.

Two hands hold a disposable plate with three tostadas, a cup of brothy consomé, and two lime wedges.
Tostadas and consomé from Birria-Landia.
Christian Rodriguez/Eater NY

12. The Queensboro Restaurant

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80-02 Northern Blvd
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
(929) 296-0038
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Open since 2018, this attempt to create the type of New American bistro common in Brooklyn and Manhattan has been met with neighborhood success. A flaming oven turns out thin-crust pizzas of an unusual sort (one comes with speck and cantaloupe), while also roasting the restaurant’s best dish, a garlic bread covered with minced clams and grated cheese. Other dishes include a cheeseburger done to order with good fries and a crème brulee scented with Earl Grey tea. The high-ceilinged dining room is a maze of small tables and big booths.

An amorphous and dramatically lit flatbread with parsley and minced clams on a grooved surface.
Garlic clam bread at Queensboro.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

13. El Perro

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80-26 Northern Blvd
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
(718) 424-0763

Probably the most popular snack along Northern Boulevard is the South American hot dog. This is not your New York street frank dressed austerely with sauerkraut and mustard, but a supermarket weenie heaped with so many toppings the sausage disappears. Three restaurants specialize in them along Northern Boulevard — including two Colombian and one Venezuelan — of which a favorite is the tiniest, El Perro (“the dog”). Seven signature franks are available, dressed with ingredients like pineapple, bacon, potato chips, quail eggs, raspberry jam, and a rainbow of sauces.

A hot dog in a bun with all sorts of toppings.
The Mexicano at El Perro.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

14. 969 NYC Coffee

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3761 80th St
Queens, NY 11372
(646) 203-7304

The neighborhood boasts a solid number of Asian restaurants — Thai, Filipino, Chinese American, and of course, Indian — though there’s no Japanese option quite like 969 NYC Coffee. Owner Mitsumine Oda offers nearly a dozen different onigiri options, which he sometimes fashions into heart-shaped rice balls filled with everything from kaarage to pickled plums. But that’s not all: He serves ramen with green tea noodles, crispy shrimp tempura, and there’s a decent selection of Japanese snacks like sesame mochi and seaweed snacks.

A nori-wrapped rice ball with several layers, including rice, egg, and fried fish.
Fried fish ongiri at 969 NYC Coffee
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

15. La Boina Roja

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8022 37th Ave
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
(718) 424-6711
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Step inside the double storefront of this Colombian steakhouse and smell the wonderful odor of grilling meats. The quality of these meats is seen by stepping inside the restaurant’s retail meat market next door. The combination of skirts steak, chorizo, blood sausage, and pork loin is enough for two, and the wine is a very good deal, too. Don’t miss the wonderful red beans, so carefully made they almost outshine the meat. 

A steak charred from the grill along with a blood sausage and a chorizo.
Steak and sausages at La Boina Roja.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

16. Copacabana Brazilian Grill

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80-26 Roosevelt Ave
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
(718) 255-6093

Named after a famous beach neighborhood in Rio (and probably not the Barry Manilow song commemorating the New York nightclub), Copacabana is a real Brazilian kilo, a type of restaurant that sells its food by the kilogram. This includes steam-table fare like potato salad, shrimp stew, black beans, and the toasty condiment called farofa, as well as a selection of spit-roasted meats with a smoky flavor that varies from day to day. A small price will get you a satisfying meal, with lots of uniquely Brazilian flourishes.

A man in a black outfit with baseball cap turned backwards prepares to carve meat from a long spit pointed downward.
A carver works his magic at Copacabana.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

17. El Maguey

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83-28 Northern Blvd
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
(929) 522-0562

El Maguey’s menu tends to highlight entrees and tourist dishes rather than humble antojitos, while the margaritas flow freely. Yet the shrimp tacos are perfectly turned out with an abundance of the crustacean, the chile-bathed mixiotes offers a shareable half chicken, and even the enchiladas cultivate a festive atmosphere with salad ingredients heaped on top. Beer comes in a bucket, six bottles at a time.

A seating area runs along the side of the restaurant with Mexican flags hung overhead.
You can dine outdoors at El Maguey.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

18. Picanteria El Austro

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37-8 83rd St
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
(718) 396-9886

The daily menu at this tiny Ecuadorian picanteria — a cafe and carryout that specializes in spicy dishes — varies, but most days you can order seco de chivo, a goat stew with a tomato sauce. There’s nothing seco (“dry”) about it, but this term designates a whole range of great stews. For lovers of tripe and how it tastes with lots of turmeric there’s guatita, and the shrimp ceviche, dotted with crisp corn nuts, is one of the best in Queens.

Looking down into a plastic carryout container we see shrimp and corn nuts.
Shrimp ceviche at Picanteria El Austro.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

19. Papa's Kitchen

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3707 83rd St
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
(347) 724-9586
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One of the city’s best Filipino restaurants relocated from Woodside to Jackson Heights a few years ago, and the space is bigger and shinier, with a better karaoke sound system — a fixation of customers and staff alike. Chef and co-owner Maribeth Roa has kept the menu simple, along with a surprise or two, and first timers might consider kare kare (beef, goat, or pork belly with string beans in peanut sauce), crispy pata (fried pork shank), or ginataang (vegetables in coconut milk).  

A well browned, oblong piece of pork with salad on the side.
Roast pork shank at Papa’s Kitchen.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

20. Pizza Sam

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89-06 Northern Blvd
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
(718) 335-3800
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Open since 1967 on a rather dull stretch of Northern Boulevard, Pizza Sam is a father-and-son operation prone to excellence in its farinaceous output. The thick, bouncy Sicilian slice is bigger than it ought to be, overflowing with cheese. Calzones in six configurations, cutlets of chicken and veal, a predictable group of baked pastas — don’t miss the baked cheese ravioli with meat sauce — and heroes are further lures.

A storefront with pizza and pasta in giant red block letters.
Pizza Sam lies on a rather dull stretch of Northern Boulevard.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

21. Mariscos El Submarino

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8805 Roosevelt Ave
Queens, NY 11372
(718) 685-2780
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This Roosevelt Avenue spot specializes in Mexican ceviches presented in several guises, many originating in Sinaloa. Heralded by a personified yellow submarine with a handlebar moustache, the vibe is fast casual: Order at the counter an aguachile (a soupy cousin of the ceviche presented in a volcano-stone molcajete); a tostada (limey fish mounted on a crisp flat tortilla); or plainly presented ceviche, featuring shrimp, fish filet, octopus, or crab. Wash it down with fresh-fruit beverages and slushies.

A round cracker with shrimp and other seafood piled high, topped with sliced and fanned avocado.
A mixed-seafood ceviche tostada from El Submarino.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

22. Michelada House II

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88-19 Roosevelt Ave
Queens, NY 11372
(718) 433-9595
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Restaurants specializing in the fanciful beer-tomato juice-chile cocktails called micheladas are common in LA, but they are rare in NYC. This drinking establishment offers a dozen or more, plus a regular menu of Mexican antojitos, plus a special menu of snacks originating in Mexico City, including a torta stuffed with chilaquiles, as well as a machete mixto — a two-foot oblong tostada dotted with various meats. If you haven’t tried them, the grasshopper tacos make an excellent drinking snack. You might call Michelada House II a Mexico City-style gastropub.

Two double tortillas with insects swarming inside.
Grasshopper tacos at Michelada House II.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

23. Tacos Morelos

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9413 37th Ave
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
(718) 947-6381
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The evolution over the last decade of this spot that was once a cart on Roosevelt Avenue is astonishing, especially when you consider the current comfy dining room and fully licensed bar. The menu skews toward southern Mexican, sometimes showcasing food from the state of Morelos, including a fine red pumpkinseed mole, good goat barbacoa, and outsize tacos placeros, which feature giant hand-patted tortillas and contain ingredients like rice, boiled eggs, chile strips, potato fritters, and chiles rellenos.

Chicken parts smothered in thick red sauce.
Chicken in pumpkinseed mole at Tacos Morelos.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

1. Taste of Lahore

73-10 Northern Blvd, Jackson Heights, NY 11372
A guy in a blue turban leans on one elbow as he smokes a hookah.
Lounging figure at Taste of Lahore.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Lahore, an ancient Pakistan city, is the capital of the famous food region known as the Punjab. This restaurant on a sparse stretch of Northern Boulevard known for its car dealerships welcomes families, especially on the weekends, and offers a halal menu, much of which can be viewed on the steam table. Gingery beef nihari is one specialty, and so is Lahori murgh haleem, ground chicken cooked with lentils and wheat into a savory paste. Another favorite here is the cryptically named steam roast chicken, which tastes something like tandoori chicken, only more moist and without the red color.

73-10 Northern Blvd
Jackson Heights, NY 11372

2. Kotha Grill and Kabab

72-27 37th Ave, Queens, NY 11372
A circular aluminum container or colored rice and hunks of meat from which a yellowish boiled egg can be partly seen.
Goat biryani comes with a boiled egg at Kotha Grill and Kabab.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

One of a half dozen Bangladeshi cafes in downtown Jackson Heights, Kotha is the new kid the block. It at least partly functions as a snack shop, where one can run in and get dal poori, samosas filled with chicken or potato and laced with mustard oil for a mild burn, or sweet crepes. But a steam table reveals biryanis, curries, and kurmas that can form a part of combination meals. Littered with slivered almonds, the chicken kurma looked particularly good on a recent visit.

72-27 37th Ave
Queens, NY 11372

3. Cannelle Patisserie

7559 31st Ave, East Elmhurst, NY 11370
A flaky horn shaped pastry with powdered sugar and raspberries visible on top.
CAnnelle’s fabled raspberry almond croissant.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Hidden in a fading strip mall, Cannelle is one of the city’s best and most doctrinaire French bakeries. There’s table seating, and the parade of customers is well worth watching and noting for its amazing diversity. The raspberry almond croissant is a formidable invention, and you won’t find fault with the napoleons, gateaux Breton, cheesecakes, or cherry-loaded Black Forest cakes, either. A small collection of sandwiches permit more savory repasts.

7559 31st Ave
East Elmhurst, NY 11370

4. Mustang Thakali Kitchen

74-14 37th Ave, Jackson Heights, NY 11372
A round metal tray with six dishes surrouding a pair of buckwheat flatbreads.
Nepalese Thali at Mustang Thakali Kitchen.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

The menu of this long-running Nepalese originates in the north central region of Mustang. Expect the usual steamers of momo with several fillings, plus handmade noodles in soups and stir fries, vegetable salads, and warm meat jerkies sometimes containing offal. Goat is tendered in abundance. Many of the meals are served on round metal thalis, each containing 10 or so small dishes and condiments, including starches that run from rice to buckwheat to wheat flatbreads. This is a good place to take friends from out of town, who may not have a regional Nepalese restaurant like this where they live.

74-14 37th Ave
Jackson Heights, NY 11372

5. Al-Naimat Sweets & Restuarant

3703 74th Street, Jackson Heights, NY 11372
A plate with ground meat, a green vegetable puree, and white rice.
A combo plate at Al-Naimat.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

This halal café and sweet shop occupies the original storefront of the sainted Jackson Diner, and the diner atmosphere persists. Save the Bengali sweets in the refrigerated glass cases near the entrance for later, while you first chow down on tandooris and curries. The palak paneer is particularly lush with fresh cheese, the chicken keema exceedingly smooth and mellow. Full meals are often $10 or less.

3703 74th Street
Jackson Heights, NY 11372

6. Samudra

75-18 37th Ave, Jackson Heights, NY 11372
A big rolled brown pancake with three sauces.
A masala dosa at Samudra.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

This strictly vegetarian and mainly vegan southern Indian restaurant is one of only a few serving this cuisine in Jackson Heights. The full range of dosas are available, including sada, rava, and regular, stuffed or unstuffed. You can’t go wrong with butter masala dosa — the cylindrical wrapper deep brown and crunchy, the filling cumin-laced and shot with other vegetables in addition to spuds. Plenty of appetizers and chaats available, as are some interesting non-dosa dishes, including rice-based bisi bele bath and pongal, and a full menu of northern Indian vegetarian standards.

75-18 37th Ave
Jackson Heights, NY 11372

7. El Toum

35-62 76th St, Queens, NY 11372
A tubular sandwich cut in half swaddled in tissue and resting in a burnt orange bowl.
Lamb kebab sandwich at El Toum.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

A bagel shop just off 37th Avenue on 76th Street was converted into a Lebanese restaurant last November. It’s a good place to drop in for an Arab coffee scented with cardamom and a baklava, or a rolled sandwich (the falafel has been extensively praised) — but full meals from rack of lamb to pan-seared branzino are offered. Additionally, a beguiling weekend brunch may feature fava beans or calves liver, both including two eggs cooked your way. Lots of vegetarian options available.

35-62 76th St
Queens, NY 11372

8. Taqueria Coatzingo

7605 Roosevelt Ave, Jackson Heights, NY 11372
Three cone shaped tacos with guacamole spilling out and chiles and radishes on the side.
Shrimp tacos Taqueria Coatzingo.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

This restaurant with a bright pastel interior expanded to three locations a few years ago, making this one of the biggest Mexican restaurant empires in town. The unfailing dedication of its menu to inexpensive antojitos — sopes, huaraches, flautas, chalupas, quesadillas, and such — with their expansive roster of toppings, make this a crowd-pleasing place, too, and there are beers to wash it all down. Standouts from the Pueblan-centered menu including the fiery chicken soup chilate de pollo, overstuffed cemita sandwiches, and an entrée of steamed tongue, only one of the many types of offal available here.

7605 Roosevelt Ave
Jackson Heights, NY 11372

9. Arepa Lady

77-17 37th Ave, Queens, NY 11372
A storefront with a red awning and the name spelled out in block white letters.
The Arepa Lady once sold her wares from a cart on 37th Avenue.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Maria Piedad Cano, also known as the Arepa Lady, used to sell her fluffy Colombian corn cakes out of a cart. These days, however, her family is running the show as fans from across the city are still seeking out the arepas filled with salty cheese, perfect for topping off with any number of sauces, from leche condensada (condensed milk) to green-tinged garlic.

77-17 37th Ave
Queens, NY 11372

10. Café Salamanca

7905 Northern Blvd, Flushing, NY 11370
A bucket or red sauce with seafood bobbing in it, some in shells some not.
Zarzuela at Cafe Salamanca.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

There aren’t too many old-guard Spanish restaurants left in the city, and this Castilian that dates to the late 1980s is one of the better ones. Find a full roster of tapas in the elegant but timeworn dining rooms — try in particular the paprika-dusted octopus or the well-browned tortilla, sold in its entirety rather than in wedges. Main courses emphasize seafood, of which the best is a stew called zarzuela, containing multiple fish and crustaceans, including more lobster than you might have expected.

7905 Northern Blvd
Flushing, NY 11370

11. Birria-Landia

77-99 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372
Two hands hold a disposable plate with three tostadas, a cup of brothy consomé, and two lime wedges.
Tostadas and consomé from Birria-Landia.
Christian Rodriguez/Eater NY

Much of New York’s birria craze can be traced back to one food truck: Birria-Landia. Following a 2019 opening by brothers José and Jesús Moreno, positive reviews soon followed and today there are lines snaking down Roosevelt Avenue as diners show up almost the moment the truck (sometimes there are two!) opens at 5 p.m. The stunning orangish red hue of the birria tacos, consomé, mulitas, and tostadas are all not to be missed.

77-99 Roosevelt Ave
Queens, NY 11372

12. The Queensboro Restaurant

80-02 Northern Blvd, Jackson Heights, NY 11372
An amorphous and dramatically lit flatbread with parsley and minced clams on a grooved surface.
Garlic clam bread at Queensboro.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Open since 2018, this attempt to create the type of New American bistro common in Brooklyn and Manhattan has been met with neighborhood success. A flaming oven turns out thin-crust pizzas of an unusual sort (one comes with speck and cantaloupe), while also roasting the restaurant’s best dish, a garlic bread covered with minced clams and grated cheese. Other dishes include a cheeseburger done to order with good fries and a crème brulee scented with Earl Grey tea. The high-ceilinged dining room is a maze of small tables and big booths.

80-02 Northern Blvd
Jackson Heights, NY 11372

13. El Perro

80-26 Northern Blvd, Jackson Heights, NY 11372
A hot dog in a bun with all sorts of toppings.
The Mexicano at El Perro.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Probably the most popular snack along Northern Boulevard is the South American hot dog. This is not your New York street frank dressed austerely with sauerkraut and mustard, but a supermarket weenie heaped with so many toppings the sausage disappears. Three restaurants specialize in them along Northern Boulevard — including two Colombian and one Venezuelan — of which a favorite is the tiniest, El Perro (“the dog”). Seven signature franks are available, dressed with ingredients like pineapple, bacon, potato chips, quail eggs, raspberry jam, and a rainbow of sauces.

80-26 Northern Blvd
Jackson Heights, NY 11372

14. 969 NYC Coffee

3761 80th St, Queens, NY 11372
A nori-wrapped rice ball with several layers, including rice, egg, and fried fish.
Fried fish ongiri at 969 NYC Coffee
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

The neighborhood boasts a solid number of Asian restaurants — Thai, Filipino, Chinese American, and of course, Indian — though there’s no Japanese option quite like 969 NYC Coffee. Owner Mitsumine Oda offers nearly a dozen different onigiri options, which he sometimes fashions into heart-shaped rice balls filled with everything from kaarage to pickled plums. But that’s not all: He serves ramen with green tea noodles, crispy shrimp tempura, and there’s a decent selection of Japanese snacks like sesame mochi and seaweed snacks.

3761 80th St
Queens, NY 11372

15. La Boina Roja

8022 37th Ave, Jackson Heights, NY 11372
A steak charred from the grill along with a blood sausage and a chorizo.
Steak and sausages at La Boina Roja.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Step inside the double storefront of this Colombian steakhouse and smell the wonderful odor of grilling meats. The quality of these meats is seen by stepping inside the restaurant’s retail meat market next door. The combination of skirts steak, chorizo, blood sausage, and pork loin is enough for two, and the wine is a very good deal, too. Don’t miss the wonderful red beans, so carefully made they almost outshine the meat. 

8022 37th Ave
Jackson Heights, NY 11372

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16. Copacabana Brazilian Grill

80-26 Roosevelt Ave, Jackson Heights, NY 11372
A man in a black outfit with baseball cap turned backwards prepares to carve meat from a long spit pointed downward.
A carver works his magic at Copacabana.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Named after a famous beach neighborhood in Rio (and probably not the Barry Manilow song commemorating the New York nightclub), Copacabana is a real Brazilian kilo, a type of restaurant that sells its food by the kilogram. This includes steam-table fare like potato salad, shrimp stew, black beans, and the toasty condiment called farofa, as well as a selection of spit-roasted meats with a smoky flavor that varies from day to day. A small price will get you a satisfying meal, with lots of uniquely Brazilian flourishes.

80-26 Roosevelt Ave
Jackson Heights, NY 11372

17. El Maguey

83-28 Northern Blvd, Jackson Heights, NY 11372
A seating area runs along the side of the restaurant with Mexican flags hung overhead.
You can dine outdoors at El Maguey.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

El Maguey’s menu tends to highlight entrees and tourist dishes rather than humble antojitos, while the margaritas flow freely. Yet the shrimp tacos are perfectly turned out with an abundance of the crustacean, the chile-bathed mixiotes offers a shareable half chicken, and even the enchiladas cultivate a festive atmosphere with salad ingredients heaped on top. Beer comes in a bucket, six bottles at a time.

83-28 Northern Blvd
Jackson Heights, NY 11372

18. Picanteria El Austro

37-8 83rd St, Jackson Heights, NY 11372
Looking down into a plastic carryout container we see shrimp and corn nuts.
Shrimp ceviche at Picanteria El Austro.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

The daily menu at this tiny Ecuadorian picanteria — a cafe and carryout that specializes in spicy dishes — varies, but most days you can order seco de chivo, a goat stew with a tomato sauce. There’s nothing seco (“dry”) about it, but this term designates a whole range of great stews. For lovers of tripe and how it tastes with lots of turmeric there’s guatita, and the shrimp ceviche, dotted with crisp corn nuts, is one of the best in Queens.

37-8 83rd St
Jackson Heights, NY 11372

19. Papa's Kitchen

3707 83rd St, Jackson Heights, NY 11372
A well browned, oblong piece of pork with salad on the side.
Roast pork shank at Papa’s Kitchen.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

One of the city’s best Filipino restaurants relocated from Woodside to Jackson Heights a few years ago, and the space is bigger and shinier, with a better karaoke sound system — a fixation of customers and staff alike. Chef and co-owner Maribeth Roa has kept the menu simple, along with a surprise or two, and first timers might consider kare kare (beef, goat, or pork belly with string beans in peanut sauce), crispy pata (fried pork shank), or ginataang (vegetables in coconut milk).  

3707 83rd St
Jackson Heights, NY 11372

20. Pizza Sam

89-06 Northern Blvd, Jackson Heights, NY 11372
A storefront with pizza and pasta in giant red block letters.
Pizza Sam lies on a rather dull stretch of Northern Boulevard.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Open since 1967 on a rather dull stretch of Northern Boulevard, Pizza Sam is a father-and-son operation prone to excellence in its farinaceous output. The thick, bouncy Sicilian slice is bigger than it ought to be, overflowing with cheese. Calzones in six configurations, cutlets of chicken and veal, a predictable group of baked pastas — don’t miss the baked cheese ravioli with meat sauce — and heroes are further lures.

89-06 Northern Blvd
Jackson Heights, NY 11372

21. Mariscos El Submarino

8805 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372
A round cracker with shrimp and other seafood piled high, topped with sliced and fanned avocado.
A mixed-seafood ceviche tostada from El Submarino.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

This Roosevelt Avenue spot specializes in Mexican ceviches presented in several guises, many originating in Sinaloa. Heralded by a personified yellow submarine with a handlebar moustache, the vibe is fast casual: Order at the counter an aguachile (a soupy cousin of the ceviche presented in a volcano-stone molcajete); a tostada (limey fish mounted on a crisp flat tortilla); or plainly presented ceviche, featuring shrimp, fish filet, octopus, or crab. Wash it down with fresh-fruit beverages and slushies.

8805 Roosevelt Ave
Queens, NY 11372

22. Michelada House II

88-19 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372
Two double tortillas with insects swarming inside.
Grasshopper tacos at Michelada House II.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Restaurants specializing in the fanciful beer-tomato juice-chile cocktails called micheladas are common in LA, but they are rare in NYC. This drinking establishment offers a dozen or more, plus a regular menu of Mexican antojitos, plus a special menu of snacks originating in Mexico City, including a torta stuffed with chilaquiles, as well as a machete mixto — a two-foot oblong tostada dotted with various meats. If you haven’t tried them, the grasshopper tacos make an excellent drinking snack. You might call Michelada House II a Mexico City-style gastropub.

88-19 Roosevelt Ave
Queens, NY 11372

23. Tacos Morelos

9413 37th Ave, Jackson Heights, NY 11372