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A round cracker with shrimp and other seafood piled high, topped with sliced and fanned avocado. Robert Sietsema/Eater

The Hottest New Restaurants in Queens, September 2021

A narrow storefront on a bustling stretch of Roosevelt Avenue serving can’t-miss aguachiles and a ramen shop with rare matcha-laced bowls of noodles are among the new restaurants to join the list this month

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Since the pandemic hit NYC last year, countless restaurants, including those in Queens, have adapted to the new reality of ever-changing guidelines, and despite all odds, they continue serving up inventive new fare along with comfort food classics. Here, Eater is highlighting exciting, recently opened establishments in Queens — offering a mix of outdoor seating, indoor dining, delivery, and takeout, that have opened in the last few months.

Added in September: Mariscos El Submarino (a narrow Jackson Heights storefront serving excellent aguachiles), Dulce Cultura (an Astoria restaurant serving Mexican street food, including savory and sweet dishes worth checking out), and Cha Menya (a ramen shop in Little Neck serving rare bowl of noodles incorporating matcha).

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

For more New York dining recommendations, check out the new hotspots in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Hamptons and our guides to brunch, food halls and Michelin-starred restaurants, many offering outdoor dining.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Carla

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2503 40th Ave
Queens, NY 11101
(929) 204-6264
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While this spot only opened up in June, Long Island City residents have been hitting up Carla for its quality gastropub fare — the cauliflower pesto, chicken thigh sandwich, and clam chowder are hits — and fun craft cocktail menu. Brunch get-togethers and date nights can be enjoyed with a Capris Sun cocktail sipped straight out of the juice packet or a glass of watermelon frose amid tropical chic vibes resonating from the emerald green-and-brass stools, hanging Edison light bulbs, and floral wallpaper.

2. Nneji

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32-20 34th Ave
Queens, NY 11106
(917) 832-7338
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Owner and founder Beatrice Ajaero has been serving up stellar Nigerian fare from her tiny Astoria storefront with a focus on soups and stews including West African red stew, egusi, made from melon seeds, and a meat and fish stew that comes studded with beef chunks, cow foot, cow skin, dried Norwegian cod, and bacalao.

A yellow bowl with a red stew-like dish in it placed on a gray surface Nneji [Official]

3. Dulce Cultura

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42-20 31st Ave
Queens, NY 11103
(914) 829-8801

Calling itself a “sweet n salado Mexican eatery,” this restaurant offers a playful menu with creative takes on Mexican street food. On the menu’s salty side, Dulce Cultura dishes out cauliflower nachos, birria tamales, and cheesy shrimp-topped fries. For customers with a sweet tooth, there are hot churros prepared four ways: stuffed; split with housemade ice cream; looped and encrusted with toppings like s’mores and Fruity Pebbles; and as a cupcake. The freshly baked conchas come in an array of flavors, and they’re stuffed with fixings like cheesecake or repurposed for ice cream sandwiches.

4. Rolo’s

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853 Onderdonk Ave
Ridgewood, NY 11385
(718) 417-6567
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Four Gramercy Tavern vets have teamed up to open this cozy neighborhood restaurant in Ridgewood. Dishes like the “two sheet” lasagna and wood-fired half chicken can be enjoyed on premises but for to-go options, there are also sauces, condiments, and fresh pasta — all prepared in-house.

A series of Italian dishes placed on a wooden table Adam Friedlander

5. Lhasa Tibetan Restaurant & Bar

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76-03 37th Ave
Queens, NY 11372
(347) 527-2043

After the original Lhasa Fast Food got destroyed in a four-alarm fire in March, owner Sang Jien Ben has re-opened his momo counter just a few blocks away at 76th Street and 37th Avenue with the support of $22,000 in GoFundMe donation dollars. The cult-favorite momos and thentuks are the same — but the space is larger, outfitted with an outdoor dining area, and the establishment now has a liquor license.

Beef chive momos at Lhasa Fresh Foods
Momos are of course on the menu at the newest location of Lhasa.
Bao Ong/Eater

6. Mariscos El Submarino

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8805 Roosevelt Ave
Queens, NY 11372
(718) 685-2780
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Championed by a mustached submarine mascot, Mariscos El Submarino has been serving ceviches, tostadas, and other Mexican seafood dishes from this narrow Jackson Heights storefront since last year. The restaurant excels at its aguachiles, a cousin of ceviche that comes served in a dramatically large molcajete with tostadas and saltine crackers on the side ($18 to $21). The negro version, rich and sizable enough that you’ll want to share, is prepared with shrimp, octopus, tilapia, and a touch of soy sauce.

The exterior of a restaurant in New York City, emblazoned with the words “Mariscos El Submarino” and anthropomorphized yellow submarine with a mustache
Mariscos El Submarino in Jackson Heights.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

7. Chalupas Poblanas El Tlecuile

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37-47 Junction Blvd
Corona, NY 11368

There are many different variations on a chalupa, but this street vendor in Corona specializes in the poblana chalupa, which is prepared with green and red chile sauces atop a tortilla that’s been fried in lard and then garnished with onions and strips of shredded beef. The texture of the tortillas are less crispy and more like thick mini crepes or Trinidadian doubles.

8. Gula

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70-17 Austin St
Queens, NY 11375

Gula Southern Comfort Bistro has spiced up Forest Hill’s restaurant row along Austin Street with seafood-forward Cajun cooking since opening in June. The menu features charred octopus ceviche in aji amarillo citrus sauce, baked catfish with spicy corn gravy, and a pairing of lobster tail and shrimp atop a bed of mashed potato. Mango barbecue baby back ribs and chicken fried steak round out the offering turf-side. 

9. Betong Hainan Chicken

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135-38 39th Ave
Queens, NY 11354
(929) 564-2824
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Downtown Flushing is home to a new Hainanese chicken spot that offers family meals and assorted chicken preparations. A two-person meal includes roti canai with chicken curry, boneless Hainanese chicken, stir-fried string beans, rice cooked with chicken fat and stock, and a light wintermelon soup for $19.95. There are two types of fried chicken here, too — spiced with mala and Hainanese-style. Bring cash to this seven-table joint.

10. Followsoshi

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135-24 40th Rd
Queens, NY 11354
(347) 654-6466
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Jian bing, a crepe-like dish that’s a staple street food in China, is the focus at this relatively new Downtown Flushing restaurant Followsoshi. The restaurant offers nearly a dozen different kinds jian bing with fillings like spicy ramen, peking duck, and spiced beef. The menu extends beyond jian bing, however, and offers items like roasted cold noodles, crispy beef patties, and a variety of bao. The restaurant is a takeout-only operation.

11. Monkey Noodle Bar

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41-27 162nd St
Queens, NY 11358
(718) 737-7956
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Since April, Monkey Noodle Bar has been offering its Flushing patrons hearty portions of Korean comfort foods: kongguksu (chilled soy bean milk noodle soup), gamjatang (a spicy meat-heavy pork bone soup), junbokjuk (abalone rice porridge typically cooked at home to nourish sick family members), seafood kalguksu (knife-cut noodles topped with squid and mussels), five kimbap rolls including squid and fish cake, and dripping heads of Napa cabbage kimchi cut tableside a server. The house special is a kimchi pancake.

Korean seafood pancake Bao Ong/Eater

12. Real Veggie Cafe

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106-13 Guy R Brewer Blvd
Queens, NY 11433
(929) 255-0595
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From fried mushroom nuggets to jerk cauliflower wings, chef Hulando Shaw offers a take on vegan Caribbean soul food that’s difficult to find in NYC. There are more and more vegan options these days but this restaurant in Jamaica, Queens, focuses on an impressive mashup of southern Black American soul food and dishes from the Caribbean islands. It fills a niche that Shaw discovered while helping feed the neighborhood’s predominantly Black American community. “So that’s how I mixed my Caribbean roots with a soul food concept,” Shaw told Eater. “Let’s actually open a restaurant and meet a community where they are.”

Storefront signage of Real Veggie Cafe in Jamaica, Queens
Real Veggie Cafe
Caroline Shin

13. Pecking House

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18523 Union Tpke
Flushing, NY 11366
(718) 454-9230

A reimagining of the Queens institution Peking House, Eleven Madison Park alum Eric Huang has transformed his family’s restaurant into one of the hottest fried chicken destinations in the city. The chili fried chicken, which is brined in buttermilk and coated in Tianjin chiles and Sichuan peppercorns, is available for delivery all over the city, but there’s a waitlist, so be sure to email and put your name down ahead of time. Orders of fried chicken cost $35 and come with three pieces of the bird, along with sides like smashed cucumbers, and fried rice. Huang recently launched a weekend outdoor dining option at the Queens restaurant.

Several pieces of dark brown fried chicken rest on an oven grill after being cooked Daniel Brennan/Pecking House [Official]

14. The Lazy Cow

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42-07 Bell Blvd
Queens, NY 11361
(917) 444-1790
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This gastropub opened its doors in July, offering Bayside locals a gorgeous space — dark marble table tops, architectural light fixtures, and exposed brick walls lined with photographs of some notable artists from Jimi Hendrix to Arthur Rimbaud. The food is worth checking out, too. The wagyu beef carpaccio with shiitake mushroom tempura and black truffle salsa and the namesake burger, a seven-ounce black angus beef burger packed with smoked pork belly, chipotle onion jam, and Roquefort are hits here. Craft beers on tap include Delirium Tremens and Sloop Juice Bomb.

15. Cha Menya

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251-20 Northern Blvd
Queens, NY 11362
(347) 235-4775
Visit Website

It’s not unusual for noodle shops to dole out food and drink pairings, but at the sleek Cha Menya, the ingredients come together in the bowl itself. There’s a rare matcha ramen, possibly the only one of its kind in NYC, that incorporates the tea into a rich chicken paitan broth. Fresh greens, organic ajitama, and chunks of chicken chasu float in a vibrant green broth. This new Little Neck spot also offers an appetizer of enoki mushrooms that are fried to golden, unrecognizable crispy stalks and a wagyu mazeman with black truffle shaved tableside. Both are delightful dishes worth ordering.

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1. Carla

2503 40th Ave, Queens, NY 11101

While this spot only opened up in June, Long Island City residents have been hitting up Carla for its quality gastropub fare — the cauliflower pesto, chicken thigh sandwich, and clam chowder are hits — and fun craft cocktail menu. Brunch get-togethers and date nights can be enjoyed with a Capris Sun cocktail sipped straight out of the juice packet or a glass of watermelon frose amid tropical chic vibes resonating from the emerald green-and-brass stools, hanging Edison light bulbs, and floral wallpaper.

2503 40th Ave
Queens, NY 11101

2. Nneji

32-20 34th Ave, Queens, NY 11106
A yellow bowl with a red stew-like dish in it placed on a gray surface Nneji [Official]

Owner and founder Beatrice Ajaero has been serving up stellar Nigerian fare from her tiny Astoria storefront with a focus on soups and stews including West African red stew, egusi, made from melon seeds, and a meat and fish stew that comes studded with beef chunks, cow foot, cow skin, dried Norwegian cod, and bacalao.

32-20 34th Ave
Queens, NY 11106

3. Dulce Cultura

42-20 31st Ave, Queens, NY 11103

Calling itself a “sweet n salado Mexican eatery,” this restaurant offers a playful menu with creative takes on Mexican street food. On the menu’s salty side, Dulce Cultura dishes out cauliflower nachos, birria tamales, and cheesy shrimp-topped fries. For customers with a sweet tooth, there are hot churros prepared four ways: stuffed; split with housemade ice cream; looped and encrusted with toppings like s’mores and Fruity Pebbles; and as a cupcake. The freshly baked conchas come in an array of flavors, and they’re stuffed with fixings like cheesecake or repurposed for ice cream sandwiches.

42-20 31st Ave
Queens, NY 11103

4. Rolo’s

853 Onderdonk Ave, Ridgewood, NY 11385
A series of Italian dishes placed on a wooden table Adam Friedlander

Four Gramercy Tavern vets have teamed up to open this cozy neighborhood restaurant in Ridgewood. Dishes like the “two sheet” lasagna and wood-fired half chicken can be enjoyed on premises but for to-go options, there are also sauces, condiments, and fresh pasta — all prepared in-house.

853 Onderdonk Ave
Ridgewood, NY 11385

5. Lhasa Tibetan Restaurant & Bar

76-03 37th Ave, Queens, NY 11372
Beef chive momos at Lhasa Fresh Foods
Momos are of course on the menu at the newest location of Lhasa.
Bao Ong/Eater

After the original Lhasa Fast Food got destroyed in a four-alarm fire in March, owner Sang Jien Ben has re-opened his momo counter just a few blocks away at 76th Street and 37th Avenue with the support of $22,000 in GoFundMe donation dollars. The cult-favorite momos and thentuks are the same — but the space is larger, outfitted with an outdoor dining area, and the establishment now has a liquor license.

76-03 37th Ave
Queens, NY 11372

6. Mariscos El Submarino

8805 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372
The exterior of a restaurant in New York City, emblazoned with the words “Mariscos El Submarino” and anthropomorphized yellow submarine with a mustache
Mariscos El Submarino in Jackson Heights.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Championed by a mustached submarine mascot, Mariscos El Submarino has been serving ceviches, tostadas, and other Mexican seafood dishes from this narrow Jackson Heights storefront since last year. The restaurant excels at its aguachiles, a cousin of ceviche that comes served in a dramatically large molcajete with tostadas and saltine crackers on the side ($18 to $21). The negro version, rich and sizable enough that you’ll want to share, is prepared with shrimp, octopus, tilapia, and a touch of soy sauce.

8805 Roosevelt Ave
Queens, NY 11372

7. Chalupas Poblanas El Tlecuile

37-47 Junction Blvd, Corona, NY 11368

There are many different variations on a chalupa, but this street vendor in Corona specializes in the poblana chalupa, which is prepared with green and red chile sauces atop a tortilla that’s been fried in lard and then garnished with onions and strips of shredded beef. The texture of the tortillas are less crispy and more like thick mini crepes or Trinidadian doubles.

37-47 Junction Blvd
Corona, NY 11368

8. Gula

70-17 Austin St, Queens, NY 11375

Gula Southern Comfort Bistro has spiced up Forest Hill’s restaurant row along Austin Street with seafood-forward Cajun cooking since opening in June. The menu features charred octopus ceviche in aji amarillo citrus sauce, baked catfish with spicy corn gravy, and a pairing of lobster tail and shrimp atop a bed of mashed potato. Mango barbecue baby back ribs and chicken fried steak round out the offering turf-side. 

70-17 Austin St
Queens, NY 11375

9. Betong Hainan Chicken

135-38 39th Ave, Queens, NY 11354

Downtown Flushing is home to a new Hainanese chicken spot that offers family meals and assorted chicken preparations. A two-person meal includes roti canai with chicken curry, boneless Hainanese chicken, stir-fried string beans, rice cooked with chicken fat and stock, and a light wintermelon soup for $19.95. There are two types of fried chicken here, too — spiced with mala and Hainanese-style. Bring cash to this seven-table joint.

135-38 39th Ave
Queens, NY 11354

10. Followsoshi

135-24 40th Rd, Queens, NY 11354

Jian bing, a crepe-like dish that’s a staple street food in China, is the focus at this relatively new Downtown Flushing restaurant Followsoshi. The restaurant offers nearly a dozen different kinds jian bing with fillings like spicy ramen, peking duck, and spiced beef. The menu extends beyond jian bing, however, and offers items like roasted cold noodles, crispy beef patties, and a variety of bao. The restaurant is a takeout-only operation.

135-24 40th Rd
Queens, NY 11354

11. Monkey Noodle Bar

41-27 162nd St, Queens, NY 11358
Korean seafood pancake Bao Ong/Eater

Since April, Monkey Noodle Bar has been offering its Flushing patrons hearty portions of Korean comfort foods: kongguksu (chilled soy bean milk noodle soup), gamjatang (a spicy meat-heavy pork bone soup), junbokjuk (abalone rice porridge typically cooked at home to nourish sick family members), seafood kalguksu (knife-cut noodles topped with squid and mussels), five kimbap rolls including squid and fish cake, and dripping heads of Napa cabbage kimchi cut tableside a server. The house special is a kimchi pancake.

41-27 162nd St
Queens, NY 11358

12. Real Veggie Cafe

106-13 Guy R Brewer Blvd, Queens, NY 11433
Storefront signage of Real Veggie Cafe in Jamaica, Queens
Real Veggie Cafe
Caroline Shin

From fried mushroom nuggets to jerk cauliflower wings, chef Hulando Shaw offers a take on vegan Caribbean soul food that’s difficult to find in NYC. There are more and more vegan options these days but this restaurant in Jamaica, Queens, focuses on an impressive mashup of southern Black American soul food and dishes from the Caribbean islands. It fills a niche that Shaw discovered while helping feed the neighborhood’s predominantly Black American community. “So that’s how I mixed my Caribbean roots with a soul food concept,” Shaw told Eater. “Let’s actually open a restaurant and meet a community where they are.”

106-13 Guy R Brewer Blvd
Queens, NY 11433

13. Pecking House

18523 Union Tpke, Flushing, NY 11366
Several pieces of dark brown fried chicken rest on an oven grill after being cooked Daniel Brennan/Pecking House [Official]

A reimagining of the Queens institution Peking House, Eleven Madison Park alum Eric Huang has transformed his family’s restaurant into one of the hottest fried chicken destinations in the city. The chili fried chicken, which is brined in buttermilk and coated in Tianjin chiles and Sichuan peppercorns, is available for delivery all over the city, but there’s a waitlist, so be sure to email and put your name down ahead of time. Orders of fried chicken cost $35 and come with three pieces of the bird, along with sides like smashed cucumbers, and fried rice. Huang recently launched a weekend outdoor dining option at the Queens restaurant.

18523 Union Tpke
Flushing, NY 11366

14. The Lazy Cow

42-07 Bell Blvd, Queens, NY 11361

This gastropub opened its doors in July, offering Bayside locals a gorgeous space — dark marble table tops, architectural light fixtures, and exposed brick walls lined with photographs of some notable artists from Jimi Hendrix to Arthur Rimbaud. The food is worth checking out, too. The wagyu beef carpaccio with shiitake mushroom tempura and black truffle salsa and the namesake burger, a seven-ounce black angus beef burger packed with smoked pork belly, chipotle onion jam, and Roquefort are hits here. Craft beers on tap include Delirium Tremens and Sloop Juice Bomb.

42-07 Bell Blvd
Queens, NY 11361

15. Cha Menya

251-20 Northern Blvd, Queens, NY 11362

It’s not unusual for noodle shops to dole out food and drink pairings, but at the sleek Cha Menya, the ingredients come together in the bowl itself. There’s a rare matcha ramen, possibly the only one of its kind in NYC, that incorporates the tea into a rich chicken paitan broth. Fresh greens, organic ajitama, and chunks of chicken chasu float in a vibrant green broth. This new Little Neck spot also offers an appetizer of enoki mushrooms that are fried to golden, unrecognizable crispy stalks and a wagyu mazeman with black truffle shaved tableside. Both are delightful dishes worth ordering.

251-20 Northern Blvd
Queens, NY 11362

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