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A spread of Shanghainese dishes, including whole fish, triangles of rice balls, lobster tail, quail, and a large mantou bun.
A spread of new Shanghainese dishes from CheLi in Flushing.
CheLi

The Hottest New Restaurants in Queens, December 2021

A popular Shanghainese restaurant comes to Flushing, a spot for hot soft tofu stew, and a stellar pizzeria in Ridgewood join the list this month

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A spread of new Shanghainese dishes from CheLi in Flushing.
| CheLi

Eater editors get asked one question more than any other: Where should I eat right now? While many people still consider Manhattan the locus of New York’s dining scene, some neighborhoods in Queens have become dining destinations in their own right. Here, see a map of the latest Queens debuts drawing NYC’s dining obsessives.

New to the list in December: CheLi (an offshoot of a Shanghainese restaurant in the East Village, which opened to favorable reviews this past year); Ziggle Tofu & Grill (a spot for hot soft tofu stew in Sunnyside); and Mano’s Pizzeria (Ridgewood’s newest shop for airy, light pizzas).

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. 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 New York City, 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.

2. 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 foods. On the 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 ice cream; looped and encrusted with toppings like s’mores and Fruity Pebbles; and served 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.

3. Zou's

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38-14 Prince St
Queens, NY 11354
(917) 563-1844

Zou’s brings the ancient Chinese philosophy of shi liao — food as a means to heal and nourish the body — into a sleek, modern setting. Each of the dishes here claims to have a nutritional purpose: the steamed milk with fish maws ($25) replenishes the kidney and boosts stamina; the fresh stewed bird’s nest ($45) is offered as lubrication for the lungs during the cold, dry months; and the collagen-laden Buddha Jumps Over the Wall ($65) is a meticulously prepared soup bobbing with abalone and sea cucumber, recognized by many as having anti-inflammatory properties.

4. CheLi

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133-42 39th Ave STE 102
Queens, NY 11354
(917) 285-2555
Visit Website

The highly lauded East Village restaurant now has an offshoot in Flushing, Queens, where according to an employee the menu is “95 percent the same.” Run by the DaShan restaurant group that owns the equally beloved Szechuan Mountain House (which also has locations in both boroughs), CheLi specializes in the cuisine of Shanghai and the surrounding Jiangnan region. Hits include the pu’erh tea-soaked rice with sea urchin, braised-and-caramelized pork belly, Shaoxing wine-infused chicken, and a smoked fish that’s fried and glazed with sweet-and-sour soy. Friday nights attract hour-long waits at this walk-in-only spot.

A brown and sea green ceramic bowl filled with a mound of rice that’s been soaked in pu’erh tea and toped with sea urchin and fish roe.
Tea-infused rice with sea urchin and fish roe at CheLi.
Bao Ong/Eater NY

5. Followsoshi

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135-24 40th Rd
Queens, NY 11354
(347) 654-6466
Visit Website

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

6. The Shack 48

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212 32 48th Ave
Queens, NY 11364
(718) 539-5115

Bayside locals can now dig into Cajun-spiced lobster tails and dungeness crabs at this charming, underwater-themed boil spot. Combo platters ($28-$42) with options like mini octopus and gulf shrimp are the move here, and pair easily with bubbly soju cocktails, including one mixed with strawberry soju and watermelon juice.

7. Pig Beach BBQ

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35-37 36th St
Queens, NY 11106

Pitmasters Matt Abdoo and Shane McBride have opened the doors at this Queens follow-up to their Pig Beach smokehouse in Brooklyn. The 28,000-square-foot Long Island City outpost is outfitted with one of the city’s largest indoor smokers for firing up their signature classics: peach- and honey-glazed ribs, smoked pork shoulder with hatch vinegar sauce, and their famed Pig Beach burger. New specials like Greek-style smoked lamb shoulder nods to the neighborhood’s immigrant history. Large groups can kick back at picnic tables in a dog-friendly backyard beer garden equipped with a stage for music and a 28-foot jumbotron.

A spread of barbecue offerings and burgers.
A sampling of barbecue from Pig Beach.
Pig Beach

8. Lhasa Tibetan Restaurant & Bar

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

After the original Lhasa Fast Food was destroyed in fire earlier this year, owner Sang Jien Ben re-opened his momo counter just a few blocks away at 76th Street and 37th Avenue with the support of a $22,000 GoFundMe campaign. His cult-favorite momos and thentuk soups have stayed the same at this expanded space with an outdoor dining area and 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 NY

9. Mariscos El Submarino

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8805 Roosevelt Ave
Queens, NY 11372
(718) 685-2780
Visit Website

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). Order the negro version, 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 submarine with a mustache.
Outside Mariscos El Submarino in Jackson Heights.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

10. Belo

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48-06 Skillman Ave
Queens, NY 11104
(718) 255-7587

Jonathan Cordeiro, co-owner of beloved neighborhood spot the Alcove, has teamed up with his father Gilson Cordeiro, also an industry veteran, at this hit restaurant in Sunnyside. Locals have been packing Belo’s dining room for its friendly service and menu full of Brazilian classics with eyebrow-raising details. Highlights include torresmo de barriga (fried pork belly with pineapple chunks and a spicy pineapple dipping sauce); dadinhos de tapioca (deep-fried tapioca cubes with bacon and guava sauce); and feijoada, the national dish of Brazil. Order from an extensive list of craft beers that hail from São Paulo to Long Island City in a cool space outfitted with graffiti murals, hanging plants, and dark brown and blonde wooden slats.

11. Wonder Pig K-BBQ

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37-08 Queens Blvd
Queens, NY 11101
(845) 592-5554

Somewhere between Flushing and Koreatown, this new all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue spot has popped up. From an industrial dining room — concrete floors, stainless steel tables, black stools that double as storage bins — customers can order unlimited seasoned meats including beef brisket, bulgogi, kalbi steak, pork belly, and soy butter squid sizzled on cast iron plates for $34 per person. (Naturally, there’s a 100-minute time limit.) Doenjang chige (soy bean paste stew), tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), and japchae (stir-fried glass noodles) round out Wonder Pig’s menu.

12. Ziggle Tofu & Grill

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37-04 Queens Blvd
Queens, NY 11101
(718) 885-4429
Visit Website

Ziggle shimmied out of the Murray Hill section of Flushing and into Sunnyside, filling a void for steaming, hot soft tofu stew that came with the closing of the neighborhood’s long-standing Natural Tofu restaurant in 2019. Korean barbecue and bibimbap bowls are featured on Ziggle’s menu, but its specialty is soondubu, which comes with a choice of 20 flavors like kimchi pork and wild sesame mushroom and as a kalguksu noodle soup for $15 to $19.

13. Gula

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70-17 Austin St
Queens, NY 11375

Gula Southern Comfort Bistro spiced up Forest Hill’s restaurant row along Austin Street when it opened in June. The menu of seafood-forward Cajun dishes 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 menu.

14. Mano's Pizzeria

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62-98 Forest Ave
Queens, NY 11385
(718) 418-1112
Visit Website

Owner and exacting pizzaiolo Nicholas Manopella ferments his pizza dough to exact standards for 48 hours to achieve an airy bite for every slice. Some of the most popular pies so far include the upside-down Siclian (the tomato sauce is spread on top of the cheese for a juicier slice); the Minucci with sweet fennel sausage with hot Calabrian chile peppers, pepperoni, and a drizzle of Mike’s hot honey; and the Manopella with vodka sauce, fried chicken cutlets, and mozzarella. Slices — both triangles and squares — go for $3.25 to $4.50, and Manopella is also making more of his dough to sell individually for customers that want to make their own pizzas at home.

15. Porcelain

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880 Woodward Ave
Queens, NY 11385
(347) 464-5267
Visit Website

Porcelain first opened in 2019 with an Austrian-leaning menu and a charming dining room outfitted with a grand piano, mid-century modern wallpaper, and vintage chandeliers. What’s it doing on this list of newly opened Queens restaurants, then? During the pandemic, chef Kate Telfeyan took over the kitchen with a revamped menu that largely looks to Korean, Taiwanese, and Sichuanese flavors for inspiration. Given the casual, order-at-the-counter set-up here, the cafe is just as ideal for pulling up with a book and a cup of coffee as it is for a low-key dinner of nori-dusted pork chops and wine.

The outside of Porcelain, whose blinds are drawn ahead of service, in a residential stretch of Ridgewood, Queens.
Outside of Porcelain in Ridgewood.
Molly Tavoletti/Porcelain

16. Real Veggie Cafe

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106-13 Guy R Brewer Blvd
Queens, NY 11433
(929) 255-0595
Visit Website

There are more and more vegan options these days but this restaurant from chef Hulando Shaw focuses on a rare mashup of southern Black American soul food and dishes from the Caribbean islands, including fried mushroom nuggets and jerk cauliflower wings. 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,” the chef said shortly after opening. “Let’s actually open a restaurant and meet a community where they are.”

A green awning advertises vegan Caribbean soul food at the newly opened Real Veggie Cafe.
Outside Real Veggie Cafe in Jamaica.
Caroline Shin/Eater NY

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1. 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 New York City, 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

2. 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 foods. On the 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 ice cream; looped and encrusted with toppings like s’mores and Fruity Pebbles; and served 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

3. Zou's

38-14 Prince St, Queens, NY 11354

Zou’s brings the ancient Chinese philosophy of shi liao — food as a means to heal and nourish the body — into a sleek, modern setting. Each of the dishes here claims to have a nutritional purpose: the steamed milk with fish maws ($25) replenishes the kidney and boosts stamina; the fresh stewed bird’s nest ($45) is offered as lubrication for the lungs during the cold, dry months; and the collagen-laden Buddha Jumps Over the Wall ($65) is a meticulously prepared soup bobbing with abalone and sea cucumber, recognized by many as having anti-inflammatory properties.

38-14 Prince St
Queens, NY 11354

4. CheLi

133-42 39th Ave STE 102, Queens, NY 11354
A brown and sea green ceramic bowl filled with a mound of rice that’s been soaked in pu’erh tea and toped with sea urchin and fish roe.
Tea-infused rice with sea urchin and fish roe at CheLi.
Bao Ong/Eater NY

The highly lauded East Village restaurant now has an offshoot in Flushing, Queens, where according to an employee the menu is “95 percent the same.” Run by the DaShan restaurant group that owns the equally beloved Szechuan Mountain House (which also has locations in both boroughs), CheLi specializes in the cuisine of Shanghai and the surrounding Jiangnan region. Hits include the pu’erh tea-soaked rice with sea urchin, braised-and-caramelized pork belly, Shaoxing wine-infused chicken, and a smoked fish that’s fried and glazed with sweet-and-sour soy. Friday nights attract hour-long waits at this walk-in-only spot.

133-42 39th Ave STE 102
Queens, NY 11354

5. 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 Downtown Flushing restaurant. Followsoshi offers nearly a dozen different kinds jian bing with fillings like spicy ramen, peking duck, and spiced beef. The menu at this takeout counter extends beyond the fried crepes to include roasted cold noodles, crispy beef patties, and a variety of bao.

135-24 40th Rd
Queens, NY 11354

6. The Shack 48

212 32 48th Ave, Queens, NY 11364

Bayside locals can now dig into Cajun-spiced lobster tails and dungeness crabs at this charming, underwater-themed boil spot. Combo platters ($28-$42) with options like mini octopus and gulf shrimp are the move here, and pair easily with bubbly soju cocktails, including one mixed with strawberry soju and watermelon juice.

212 32 48th Ave
Queens, NY 11364

7. Pig Beach BBQ

35-37 36th St, Queens, NY 11106
A spread of barbecue offerings and burgers.
A sampling of barbecue from Pig Beach.
Pig Beach

Pitmasters Matt Abdoo and Shane McBride have opened the doors at this Queens follow-up to their Pig Beach smokehouse in Brooklyn. The 28,000-square-foot Long Island City outpost is outfitted with one of the city’s largest indoor smokers for firing up their signature classics: peach- and honey-glazed ribs, smoked pork shoulder with hatch vinegar sauce, and their famed Pig Beach burger. New specials like Greek-style smoked lamb shoulder nods to the neighborhood’s immigrant history. Large groups can kick back at picnic tables in a dog-friendly backyard beer garden equipped with a stage for music and a 28-foot jumbotron.

35-37 36th St
Queens, NY 11106

8. 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 NY

After the original Lhasa Fast Food was destroyed in fire earlier this year, owner Sang Jien Ben re-opened his momo counter just a few blocks away at 76th Street and 37th Avenue with the support of a $22,000 GoFundMe campaign. His cult-favorite momos and thentuk soups have stayed the same at this expanded space with an outdoor dining area and liquor license.

76-03 37th Ave
Queens, NY 11372

9. 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 submarine with a mustache.
Outside 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). Order the negro version, prepared with shrimp, octopus, tilapia, and a touch of soy sauce.

8805 Roosevelt Ave
Queens, NY 11372

10. Belo

48-06 Skillman Ave, Queens, NY 11104

Jonathan Cordeiro, co-owner of beloved neighborhood spot the Alcove, has teamed up with his father Gilson Cordeiro, also an industry veteran, at this hit restaurant in Sunnyside. Locals have been packing Belo’s dining room for its friendly service and menu full of Brazilian classics with eyebrow-raising details. Highlights include torresmo de barriga (fried pork belly with pineapple chunks and a spicy pineapple dipping sauce); dadinhos de tapioca (deep-fried tapioca cubes with bacon and guava sauce); and feijoada, the national dish of Brazil. Order from an extensive list of craft beers that hail from São Paulo to Long Island City in a cool space outfitted with graffiti murals, hanging plants, and dark brown and blonde wooden slats.

48-06 Skillman Ave
Queens, NY 11104

11. Wonder Pig K-BBQ

37-08 Queens Blvd, Queens, NY 11101

Somewhere between Flushing and Koreatown, this new all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue spot has popped up. From an industrial dining room — concrete floors, stainless steel tables, black stools that double as storage bins — customers can order unlimited seasoned meats including beef brisket, bulgogi, kalbi steak, pork belly, and soy butter squid sizzled on cast iron plates for $34 per person. (Naturally, there’s a 100-minute time limit.) Doenjang chige (soy bean paste stew), tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), and japchae (stir-fried glass noodles) round out Wonder Pig’s menu.

37-08 Queens Blvd
Queens, NY 11101

12. Ziggle Tofu & Grill

37-04 Queens Blvd, Queens, NY 11101

Ziggle shimmied out of the Murray Hill section of Flushing and into Sunnyside, filling a void for steaming, hot soft tofu stew that came with the closing of the neighborhood’s long-standing Natural Tofu restaurant in 2019. Korean barbecue and bibimbap bowls are featured on Ziggle’s menu, but its specialty is soondubu, which comes with a choice of 20 flavors like kimchi pork and wild sesame mushroom and as a kalguksu noodle soup for $15 to $19.

37-04 Queens Blvd
Queens, NY 11101

13. Gula

70-17 Austin St, Queens, NY 11375

Gula Southern Comfort Bistro spiced up Forest Hill’s restaurant row along Austin Street when it opened in June. The menu of seafood-forward Cajun dishes 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 menu.

70-17 Austin St
Queens, NY 11375

14. Mano's Pizzeria

62-98 Forest Ave, Queens, NY 11385

Owner and exacting pizzaiolo Nicholas Manopella ferments his pizza dough to exact standards for 48 hours to achieve an airy bite for every slice. Some of the most popular pies so far include the upside-down Siclian (the tomato sauce is spread on top of the cheese for a juicier slice); the Minucci with sweet fennel sausage with hot Calabrian chile peppers, pepperoni, and a drizzle of Mike’s hot honey; and the Manopella with vodka sauce, fried chicken cutlets, and mozzarella. Slices — both triangles and squares — go for $3.25 to $4.50, and Manopella is also making more of his dough to sell individually for customers that want to make their own pizzas at home.

62-98 Forest Ave
Queens, NY 11385

15. Porcelain

880 Woodward Ave, Queens, NY 11385
The outside of Porcelain, whose blinds are drawn ahead of service, in a residential stretch of Ridgewood, Queens.
Outside of Porcelain in Ridgewood.
Molly Tavoletti/Porcelain

Porcelain first opened in 2019 with an Austrian-leaning menu and a charming dining room outfitted with a grand piano, mid-century modern wallpaper, and vintage chandeliers. What’s it doing on this list of newly opened Queens restaurants, then? During the pandemic, chef Kate Telfeyan took over the kitchen with a revamped menu that largely looks to Korean, Taiwanese, and Sichuanese flavors for inspiration. Given the casual, order-at-the-counter set-up here, the cafe is just as ideal for pulling up with a book and a cup of coffee as it is for a low-key dinner of nori-dusted pork chops and wine.

880 Woodward Ave
Queens, NY 11385

Related Maps

16. Real Veggie Cafe

106-13 Guy R Brewer Blvd, Queens, NY 11433
A green awning advertises vegan Caribbean soul food at the newly opened Real Veggie Cafe.
Outside Real Veggie Cafe in Jamaica.
Caroline Shin/Eater NY

There are more and more vegan options these days but this restaurant from chef Hulando Shaw focuses on a rare mashup of southern Black American soul food and dishes from the Caribbean islands, including fried mushroom nuggets and jerk cauliflower wings. 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,” the chef said shortly after opening. “Let’s actually open a restaurant and meet a community where they are.”

106-13 Guy R Brewer Blvd
Queens, NY 11433

Related Maps