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Assorted sashimi
Assorted sashimi at Wokuni
Photo by Jean Schwarzwalder

20 Reliable Restaurants in Murray Hill

Affordable sushi that isn’t Sugarfish, ramen from a celebrity chef, and standout Indian

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Assorted sashimi at Wokuni
| Photo by Jean Schwarzwalder

Murray Hill may not be a culinary destination, but a selection of quality meals can definitely be found. Amid mediocre, fratty bars, and nondescript lounge-bar-restaurant hybrids in the largely residential area, there are some standouts worth a visit.

Strong casual options exist, like Sons of Thunder’s poke bowls and cheap, crispy dumplings at Di Di Dumpling. There’s also El Parador Cafe, a family-run Mexican place that’s been around for over half a century; Momosan, the first ramen-centric place from Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto; and a slew of other places worth keeping in regular rotation when in the neighborhood.

Ahead, 20 Murray Hill dining highlights.

Note: Restaurants are listed geographically from north to south.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Momosan Ramen & Sake

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342 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10016
(646) 201-5529
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Noodles reign supreme at Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s first ramen-focused restaurant, named after one of the chef’s nicknames in the kitchen. Classic renditions are built with tonkotsu and chicken broths, topped with pork chashu, garlic oil, and more, while less conventional choices include a bowl with spicy coconut curry broth. There are also hearty appetizers on offer like braised pig feet and poached cabbage. A wide sake selection offers more than a dozen options by the glass, plus cocktails starring the Japanese spirit.

Momosan Nick Solares

2. Kajitsu

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125 E 39th St
New York, NY 10016
(212) 228-4873
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The focus is on Japanese vegetarian set menus at this serene place, where executive chef Hiroke Abe creates elegant dishes from primarily vegan ingredients. The shojin ryori cuisine, with an emphasis on ultra-seasonal produce, soba noodles, and fu (a protein-filled substance made from rice flour and gluten), was developed centuries ago in Zen Buddhist monasteries. It’s served kaiseki-style, in a beautiful wood-filled space with custom wood furniture and a formal vibe that feels very Kyoto.

Kajitsu Photo via Kajitsu/Facebook

3. Wokuni

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327 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10016
(212) 447-1212
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This is the first U.S. restaurant from Tokyo Ichiban Foods, a Japanese restaurant group, food distributor, and aquafarm company. The latter means that Wokuni’s fish, like bluefin tuna and king yellowtail, are raised on a fish farm in Hirado City, Nagasaki and flown daily from Japan to NYC. A favorable outcome of a sushi spot operated by a parent company with its own fish farms is the affordable pricing: Order a platter of five pieces of sushi and 1 roll for $27. The large, dimly lit space also has a retail counter in the front, for buying raw fish to cook up at home.

4. Delectica

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564 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10016
(212) 986-1616
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A no-frills breakfast and lunch outpost, Delectica serves a wide variety of diner staples, including an entire grilled cheese menu and a popular Israeli breakfast spread. The crowd skews local, with lots of regulars that flock to a surprisingly peaceful, plant-filled sidewalk patio on sunny days. Delectica also has a big catering business.

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5. Sons of Thunder

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204 E 38th St
New York, NY 10016
(646) 863-2212
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As a deluge of fast-casual poke shops have arrived in NYC over the past few years, it can be tricky to suss out a place slinging ultra-fresh fish amid a ton of total duds. Sons of Thunder is definitely the former. Try the yellowfin tuna option, with a generous portion of fish doused in a spicy dressing and served over greens and cauliflower rice. In addition to poke, hot dogs and milkshakes are somewhat unexpected options rounding out the menu; try the Chicago-style frank and super-thick chocolate shake. The minimalist space has a lovely skylit back room, and another location is slated to open in the Financial District.

A post shared by Sons of Thunder (@sotnyc) on

6. Sarge's Delicatessen & Diner

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548 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10016
(212) 679-0442
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Come at literally any hour of the day or night, all year round, for Jewish classics like matzah ball soup, massive sandwiches stacked with house-cured pastrami and equally well-regarded corned beef, and flaky rugelach. The Murray Hill stalwart is overshadowed by other deli institutions in the city like Katz’s, but it’s been around for over five decades and is open 24/7, every day of the year.

Sarge’s Deli
Sarge's Deli
Photo via Sarge's Deli

7. Middle Branch

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154 E 33rd St
New York, NY 10016
(212) 213-1350

The neighborhood’s most pedigreed cocktails are mixed up at Middle Branch, an expansive two-story townhouse space from the late Sasha Petraske’s team, the folks behind gems further south like Little Branch and the now-closed Milk & Honey. A range of Petraske’s classic creations, plus some new concoctions, are flanked by a menu of small plates. There’s also live jazz on some evenings to accompany the swanky drinks, in a space with exposed brick and pressed-tin ceilings.

Middle Branch Photo via Middle Branch/Yelp

8. El Parador Cafe

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325 E 34th St
New York, NY 10016
(212) 679-6812
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Since 1959, this Mexican restaurant has been turning out a satisfying menu filled with dishes like jalapeños rellenos, mole poblano, and ceviche, along with solid margaritas and a cool, old-school vibe. El Parador Cafe touts itself as NYC’s oldest Mexican restaurant; the original location was on Second Avenue and 31st St. before it moved to its current red-walled space, on a far-east stretch of 34th Street. There’s stellar service, too, from a fleet of waiters decked out in vest-and-tie uniforms.

9. Vezzo Thin Crust

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178 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10016
(212) 839-8300
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At this ultra-thin-crust pizza joint, from the same owners as Brooklyn Heights’ Brado and Spunto in the West Village, the crispy pies are similar to those served in some Roman sit-down restaurants (as opposed to the extra-long versions that are cut to order). Pies like a classic margherita, a Chicken Milanese-topped version, or the white truffle oil-finished “Shroomtown” option are available in 9- or 16-inch sizes. Dine-in-only lunch specials include pizzas by the slice or pie with soup, salad, and a drink, along with panini and sandwiches. No reservations, though waits move.

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10. The Cannibal Beer & Butcher

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113 E 29th St
New York, NY 10016
(212) 686-5480
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This Murray Hill gastropub, set in warm, wood-filled digs, is known for its extensive stock of craft beers and carnivore-pleasing fare. Expect a hearty, meat-centric menu, with dishes like whipped lardo toast, roasted bone marrow, an expansive charcuterie selection, and a large-format options such as pig’s head in General Tso’s sauce. Or, order up an entire lamb or pig for the table, with at least a week’s notice.

11. Penelope

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159 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10016
(212) 481-3800
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Brunch is the main attraction at this bright comfort food joint, where mains like Nutella French toast and biscuits with gravy are accompanied by a brunch cocktail for $21 a pop. A la carte options include a chorizo egg sandwich, pumpkin waffles, and smoked salmon-wrapped poached eggs. Expect familiar fare come lunch and dinner, including mac and cheese, chicken meatballs, fish and chips, and chicken pot pie. Also expect long waits.

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12. Banc Cafe

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431 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10016
(212) 252-0146
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A Murray Hill mainstay, Banc provides an easy option for groups or impromptu meals, with a wide menu of pub fare with the occasional wildcard: Think burgers, customizable samplers of bar food like wings, fried calamari, and a mishmash of small plates (tuna tartare, goat cheese croquettes). There’s also an appealing brunch spread. The former bank digs are spacious, with outdoor seating in warmer weather, plus occasional live jazz music. On Sundays, come for the half-price wine deal.

Banc Cafe Photo via Banc Cafe/Facebook

13. Bistango

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415 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10016
(212) 725-8484
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This friendly spot has long specialized in ample gluten-free options: Since 1988, Bistango has offered extensive choices for those with celiac or gluten sensitivities, long before it became a common alternative on most menus, much less in carb-heavy Italian food. The menu dips into various regional Italian cuisines, with lots of familiar dishes like cavatelli with sausage and hot cherry peppers, four varieties of fresh ravioli, and roasted eggplant parmesan. Another location, also on the east side, is 20 blocks further uptown.

14. Chote Nawab

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115 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10016
(212) 679-4713
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There aren’t many places in NYC to find the cuisine of Kerala, on India’s southern tip, and Chote Nawab is one of them. Highlights include flavorful skewers, seafood dishes, and pastry dough-topped biryani. Dine among lots of wood accents and large, industrial-feeling light fixtures with colorful art accents, or order in for top-notch delivery. Chote Nawab’s founder, Shiva Natarajan, also started a handful of other NYC restaurants, as well as Thai restaurants in Connecticut and even a Mexican place in Westchester.

A post shared by Chote Nawab (@chotenawabnyc) on

15. Haandi

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113 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10016
(212) 685-5200
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This Pakistani stalwart, open since 2001, sells affordable Punjabi dishes like tandoor roast quail, biriyani, tikka masala, and naan and various vegetables, like loofah, snake gourd, and bitter melon, on its steam table. Fill a plate and sit upstairs to dig in; late night diners can head in until midnight daily.

Haandi Photo via Dana A./Yelp

16. Blue Smoke

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116 E 27th St
New York, NY 10016
(212) 447-7733
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Spiffed-up barbecue from chef Jean-Paul Bourgeois makes up the menu at this casual Danny Meyer spot, with a pan-Southern mix of meat preparations that include techniques from Texas, both North and South Carolina, and beyond. A jazz club, called Jazz Standard, is situated next door. There’s also a downtown location in the northern part of Battery Park City, as well as two sports stadium concession stands.

Blue Smoke Photo via Blue Smoke/Facebook

17. Jaiya

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396 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10016
(212) 889-1330
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Standout Thai food that’s packed with flavor is offered at Jaiya, which originated in Elmhurst in 1978 and currently has outposts in Murray Hill and the UES. In addition to Bangkok-style classics, the menu includes some Indian dishes and Chinese stir-fries, with nearly every dish type available (soups, noodles, rice dishes, etc.) with proteins that range from standard tofu or chicken to the more exotic, like frog legs. The spiciest of dishes, like the Thai curries, truly pack heat.

18. Vanguard Wine Bar

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530 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10016
(212) 447-9463
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This cozy wine bar has an extensive selection available by the glass or bottle, plus small plates like pimento cheese and four varieties of open-faced tartines, with nearly everything priced under $15 and most snacks ringing in under $10. The walls are lined with old movie posters and signage in French, complemented by white subway tiling, while black and white films often play on mute. It makes for a mellow, dependable date spot option for locals, especially since the kitchen is open until midnight. There are also UES and UWS outposts of Vanguard, too.

Vanguard Photo via Vanguard/Yelp

19. Saravanaa Bhavan

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81 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10010
(212) 679-0204
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Vegetarian Indian fare shines here, where dosa is the star of the menu. The comfortable, light room offers well over a dozen types of dosa — masala, onion, cheese, and more — as well as thalis, breads, rice dishes, and uthappams, or an Indian pancake with fillings. Since the menu is completely vegetarian, it’s kosher, too, as an added bonus.

Saravanaa Bhavan Photo via Mai L./Yelp

20. Di Di Dumpling

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38 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10010
(212) 466-6618
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This counter-service spot offers crispy rows of potstickers or steamed dumplings, each available in four varieties (pork, beef, chicken, or veggie) and served alongside soup or lo mein as affordable combo choices — 10 pieces with either accompaniment makes for an under-$10 meal. Or, go a la carte with dumplings, soups, or lo mein for a cheap snack. It’s not quite the same steal or quality as in Chinatown, but it’s a solid option for the area. Raw dumplings or wontons, served in bulk as 25- or 50-piece bags, are also available to take home. The affordable, quick spot often attracts lots of students from nearby Baruch College.

Di DI Dumpling Photo via Di Di Dumpling/Yelp

1. Momosan Ramen & Sake

342 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016
Momosan Nick Solares

Noodles reign supreme at Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s first ramen-focused restaurant, named after one of the chef’s nicknames in the kitchen. Classic renditions are built with tonkotsu and chicken broths, topped with pork chashu, garlic oil, and more, while less conventional choices include a bowl with spicy coconut curry broth. There are also hearty appetizers on offer like braised pig feet and poached cabbage. A wide sake selection offers more than a dozen options by the glass, plus cocktails starring the Japanese spirit.

342 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10016

2. Kajitsu

125 E 39th St, New York, NY 10016
Kajitsu Photo via Kajitsu/Facebook

The focus is on Japanese vegetarian set menus at this serene place, where executive chef Hiroke Abe creates elegant dishes from primarily vegan ingredients. The shojin ryori cuisine, with an emphasis on ultra-seasonal produce, soba noodles, and fu (a protein-filled substance made from rice flour and gluten), was developed centuries ago in Zen Buddhist monasteries. It’s served kaiseki-style, in a beautiful wood-filled space with custom wood furniture and a formal vibe that feels very Kyoto.

125 E 39th St
New York, NY 10016

3. Wokuni

327 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

This is the first U.S. restaurant from Tokyo Ichiban Foods, a Japanese restaurant group, food distributor, and aquafarm company. The latter means that Wokuni’s fish, like bluefin tuna and king yellowtail, are raised on a fish farm in Hirado City, Nagasaki and flown daily from Japan to NYC. A favorable outcome of a sushi spot operated by a parent company with its own fish farms is the affordable pricing: Order a platter of five pieces of sushi and 1 roll for $27. The large, dimly lit space also has a retail counter in the front, for buying raw fish to cook up at home.

327 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10016

4. Delectica

564 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

A no-frills breakfast and lunch outpost, Delectica serves a wide variety of diner staples, including an entire grilled cheese menu and a popular Israeli breakfast spread. The crowd skews local, with lots of regulars that flock to a surprisingly peaceful, plant-filled sidewalk patio on sunny days. Delectica also has a big catering business.

564 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10016

5. Sons of Thunder

204 E 38th St, New York, NY 10016

As a deluge of fast-casual poke shops have arrived in NYC over the past few years, it can be tricky to suss out a place slinging ultra-fresh fish amid a ton of total duds. Sons of Thunder is definitely the former. Try the yellowfin tuna option, with a generous portion of fish doused in a spicy dressing and served over greens and cauliflower rice. In addition to poke, hot dogs and milkshakes are somewhat unexpected options rounding out the menu; try the Chicago-style frank and super-thick chocolate shake. The minimalist space has a lovely skylit back room, and another location is slated to open in the Financial District.

204 E 38th St
New York, NY 10016

6. Sarge's Delicatessen & Diner

548 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016
Sarge’s Deli
Sarge's Deli
Photo via Sarge's Deli

Come at literally any hour of the day or night, all year round, for Jewish classics like matzah ball soup, massive sandwiches stacked with house-cured pastrami and equally well-regarded corned beef, and flaky rugelach. The Murray Hill stalwart is overshadowed by other deli institutions in the city like Katz’s, but it’s been around for over five decades and is open 24/7, every day of the year.

548 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10016

7. Middle Branch

154 E 33rd St, New York, NY 10016
Middle Branch Photo via Middle Branch/Yelp

The neighborhood’s most pedigreed cocktails are mixed up at Middle Branch, an expansive two-story townhouse space from the late Sasha Petraske’s team, the folks behind gems further south like Little Branch and the now-closed Milk & Honey. A range of Petraske’s classic creations, plus some new concoctions, are flanked by a menu of small plates. There’s also live jazz on some evenings to accompany the swanky drinks, in a space with exposed brick and pressed-tin ceilings.

154 E 33rd St
New York, NY 10016

8. El Parador Cafe

325 E 34th St, New York, NY 10016

Since 1959, this Mexican restaurant has been turning out a satisfying menu filled with dishes like jalapeños rellenos, mole poblano, and ceviche, along with solid margaritas and a cool, old-school vibe. El Parador Cafe touts itself as NYC’s oldest Mexican restaurant; the original location was on Second Avenue and 31st St. before it moved to its current red-walled space, on a far-east stretch of 34th Street. There’s stellar service, too, from a fleet of waiters decked out in vest-and-tie uniforms.

325 E 34th St
New York, NY 10016

9. Vezzo Thin Crust

178 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

At this ultra-thin-crust pizza joint, from the same owners as Brooklyn Heights’ Brado and Spunto in the West Village, the crispy pies are similar to those served in some Roman sit-down restaurants (as opposed to the extra-long versions that are cut to order). Pies like a classic margherita, a Chicken Milanese-topped version, or the white truffle oil-finished “Shroomtown” option are available in 9- or 16-inch sizes. Dine-in-only lunch specials include pizzas by the slice or pie with soup, salad, and a drink, along with panini and sandwiches. No reservations, though waits move.

178 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10016

10. The Cannibal Beer & Butcher

113 E 29th St, New York, NY 10016

This Murray Hill gastropub, set in warm, wood-filled digs, is known for its extensive stock of craft beers and carnivore-pleasing fare. Expect a hearty, meat-centric menu, with dishes like whipped lardo toast, roasted bone marrow, an expansive charcuterie selection, and a large-format options such as pig’s head in General Tso’s sauce. Or, order up an entire lamb or pig for the table, with at least a week’s notice.

113 E 29th St
New York, NY 10016

11. Penelope

159 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

Brunch is the main attraction at this bright comfort food joint, where mains like Nutella French toast and biscuits with gravy are accompanied by a brunch cocktail for $21 a pop. A la carte options include a chorizo egg sandwich, pumpkin waffles, and smoked salmon-wrapped poached eggs. Expect familiar fare come lunch and dinner, including mac and cheese, chicken meatballs, fish and chips, and chicken pot pie. Also expect long waits.

159 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10016

12. Banc Cafe

431 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016
Banc Cafe Photo via Banc Cafe/Facebook

A Murray Hill mainstay, Banc provides an easy option for groups or impromptu meals, with a wide menu of pub fare with the occasional wildcard: Think burgers, customizable samplers of bar food like wings, fried calamari, and a mishmash of small plates (tuna tartare, goat cheese croquettes). There’s also an appealing brunch spread. The former bank digs are spacious, with outdoor seating in warmer weather, plus occasional live jazz music. On Sundays, come for the half-price wine deal.

431 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10016

13. Bistango

415 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

This friendly spot has long specialized in ample gluten-free options: Since 1988, Bistango has offered extensive choices for those with celiac or gluten sensitivities, long before it became a common alternative on most menus, much less in carb-heavy Italian food. The menu dips into various regional Italian cuisines, with lots of familiar dishes like cavatelli with sausage and hot cherry peppers, four varieties of fresh ravioli, and roasted eggplant parmesan. Another location, also on the east side, is 20 blocks further uptown.

415 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10016

14. Chote Nawab

115 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

There aren’t many places in NYC to find the cuisine of Kerala, on India’s southern tip, and Chote Nawab is one of them. Highlights include flavorful skewers, seafood dishes, and pastry dough-topped biryani. Dine among lots of wood accents and large, industrial-feeling light fixtures with colorful art accents, or order in for top-notch delivery. Chote Nawab’s founder, Shiva Natarajan, also started a handful of other NYC restaurants, as well as Thai restaurants in Connecticut and even a Mexican place in Westchester.

115 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10016

15. Haandi

113 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016
Haandi Photo via Dana A./Yelp

This Pakistani stalwart, open since 2001, sells affordable Punjabi dishes like tandoor roast quail, biriyani, tikka masala, and naan and various vegetables, like loofah, snake gourd, and bitter melon, on its steam table. Fill a plate and sit upstairs to dig in; late night diners can head in until midnight daily.

113 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10016

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16. Blue Smoke

116 E 27th St, New York, NY 10016
Blue Smoke Photo via Blue Smoke/Facebook

Spiffed-up barbecue from chef Jean-Paul Bourgeois makes up the menu at this casual Danny Meyer spot, with a pan-Southern mix of meat preparations that include techniques from Texas, both North and South Carolina, and beyond. A jazz club, called Jazz Standard, is situated next door. There’s also a downtown location in the northern part of Battery Park City, as well as two sports stadium concession stands.

116 E 27th St
New York, NY 10016

17. Jaiya

396 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

Standout Thai food that’s packed with flavor is offered at Jaiya, which originated in Elmhurst in 1978 and currently has outposts in Murray Hill and the UES. In addition to Bangkok-style classics, the menu includes some Indian dishes and Chinese stir-fries, with nearly every dish type available (soups, noodles, rice dishes, etc.) with proteins that range from standard tofu or chicken to the more exotic, like frog legs. The spiciest of dishes, like the Thai curries, truly pack heat.

396 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10016

18. Vanguard Wine Bar

530 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10016
Vanguard Photo via Vanguard/Yelp

This cozy wine bar has an extensive selection available by the glass or bottle, plus small plates like pimento cheese and four varieties of open-faced tartines, with nearly everything priced under $15 and most snacks ringing in under $10. The walls are lined with old movie posters and signage in French, complemented by white subway tiling, while black and white films often play on mute. It makes for a mellow, dependable date spot option for locals, especially since the kitchen is open until midnight. There are also UES and UWS outposts of Vanguard, too.

530 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10016

19. Saravanaa Bhavan

81 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10010
Saravanaa Bhavan Photo via Mai L./Yelp

Vegetarian Indian fare shines here, where dosa is the star of the menu. The comfortable, light room offers well over a dozen types of dosa — masala, onion, cheese, and more — as well as thalis, breads, rice dishes, and uthappams, or an Indian pancake with fillings. Since the menu is completely vegetarian, it’s kosher, too, as an added bonus.

81 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10010

20. Di Di Dumpling

38 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10010
Di DI Dumpling Photo via Di Di Dumpling/Yelp

This counter-service spot offers crispy rows of potstickers or steamed dumplings, each available in four varieties (pork, beef, chicken, or veggie) and served alongside soup or lo mein as affordable combo choices — 10 pieces with either accompaniment makes for an under-$10 meal. Or, go a la carte with dumplings, soups, or lo mein for a cheap snack. It’s not quite the same steal or quality as in Chinatown, but it’s a solid option for the area. Raw dumplings or wontons, served in bulk as 25- or 50-piece bags, are also available to take home. The affordable, quick spot often attracts lots of students from nearby Baruch College.

38 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10010

Related Maps