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Shashlik assortment on a white plate at Farida
Skewers at Farida.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

Where to Find Great Food in Hell’s Kitchen

Chief critic and Hell’s Kitchen local Ryan Sutton offers the lowdown on where to eat on Manhattan’s West Side

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Skewers at Farida.
| Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

Hell’s Kitchen continues to come back to life as office workers return to Midtown and as Broadway theaters reopen. The historic neighborhood still boasts one of the city’s best homegrown restaurant communities, boasting affordable array of cuisines, including Peruvian, Brazilian, Mexican, Japanese, Uzbek, Argentinian, Thai, Cuban, and too many more to list. As certain swaths of Manhattan dining take on an increasingly uniform and corporate air, Hell’s Kitchen remains a haven for a wide variety of small and independent operators.

For more New York dining recommendations on the West Side, check out Eater’s maps for the Theater District, Times Square, the Upper West Side, and the greater Lincoln Center neighborhood.

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

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Criollas | Baked Empanadas

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There is where you go for a super quick bite before hopping on the subway at Columbus Circle. Expect crisp, flaky, baked Argentinian empanadas, the best of which are stuffed with milky mozzarella and fresh tomatoes, or juicy ground beef, onions, and green olives.

A mahogany-hued beef empanada and a lighter caprese one sit on a white and yellow decorative plate.
Baked Argentinian empanadas at Criollas.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

Ardesia Wine Bar

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With other 20 wines by the glass, Mandy Oser’s longtime bar à vin remains a cool, casual hangout for good drinking and good eats. Try pairing a sparkling riesling or “Une Femme” sparkling rose with lamb skewers, deviled eggs, shishito peppers, or ricotta crostini.

Guantanamera

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Here find some of the city’s best Cuban sandwiches, vaca frita (skirt steak fried to the texture of soft jerky), roasted chicken in a rich garlic sauce, slow-roasted pork with a butter-drenched mash of cassava, and mojitos. Warning: The mojitos are strong, which is especially dangerous during happy hour when they’re just $6 apiece.

An all-male band plans in front of a mural displaying the word Guantanamera.
The stage at Guantanamera.
Nick Solares/Eater NY

Chong Qing Noodle

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This small Ninth Avenue shop is one of the few spots in Manhattan to enjoy Chongqing-style xiao mian, firm little noodles in a spicy, porky, restorative chile broth. These bowls are lighter and more nimble than most styles of ramen; consider ordering in for a late breakfast or early lunch. The restaurant also specializes in Mao Cai, a Chengdu-style hot pot of sorts for one.

White xiao mian noodles, green cilantro, and brown nuggets of ground pork barely sit above a pool of orange broth in a black bowl.
Xiao mian noodles.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

Tori Shin

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Tori Shin is one of the city’s best and most-heralded yakitori spot. Chefs grill nearly every part of the chicken over coals — thighs, breasts, knee bones, arteries, oysters, skin, ribs — and hand over the morsels as if this were a sushi bar. Omakase counter menus run $100-$125, while a more select counter offers tastings at $180-$210. More affordable selections, including a la carte fare, are available in the dining room.

A black and white photo displaying the entrance to Tori Shin.
The entrance to Tori Shin
Nick Solares/Eater NY

Totto Ramen Hell's Kitchen

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Hell’s Kitchen is still reeling from the loss of Ivan Ramen Slurp shop, but an outpost of the estimable Totto chain (along with other shops) helps pick up the slack. This is where you’ll find some of New York’s best tori paitan ramen, bowls of chicken soup so rich and schmaltz-y the broth is fully opaque. Spicy and miso versions are also available, as is a vegetarian ramen.

Three Roosters

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This tiny Thai spot on Ninth Avenue specializes in chicken served three very specific ways. The kitchen poaches the meat gently and pairs it with ginger rice for a style of Hainanese chicken. Even better is a lemongrass grilled chicken, brushed with sweet soy. But the main event is fried thigh meat, crisped up to a gorgeous golden brown and showered in sweet-sour zab dust. Most orders come with a powerfully concentrated bowl of clear broth.

Sliced golden fried chicken sits next to cucumbers and over a pile of rice; springs of verdant cilantro are scattered about
Fried chicken at Three Roosters.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

Empanada Mama

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This is where you go for nourishing, well-executed, affordable Colombian fare. Highlights include a classic South American breakfast of beans and rice with eggs, shockingly spicy arepas, frozen margaritas, meaty picada platters, and stellar empanadas (try the ones filled with shellfish or beef).

A golden Viagra empanada sits on wax paper, sliced in half, on the lower right-hand side of the photo, while a whole empanada lies on the upper left; a ramekin of green salsa sits in between
Viagra empanadas at Empanada Mama.
Gary He/Eater NY

Pure Thai Cookhouse

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David Bank, one of the forces behind the late, lamented Taladwat, still runs this excellent Hell’s Kitchen spot, which remains one of the top places for traditional Thai fare on Ninth Avenue. The pan-regional menu includes flaky root vegetable curry puffs; tart green papaya salad; Krabi seafood noodles with shrimp, squid, fermented tofu, and tomato pork broth; and excellent dry Ratchaburi-style noodles with roasted pork and generous chunks of lump crab meat.

Chunks of pork and crab sit over Ratchaburi-style noodles
Ratchaburi-style noodles at Pure Thai Cookhouse.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

Sullivan Street Bakery

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Jim Lahey’s Italian bakery sells almost too many awesome things to list: puffy chocolate croissants, sweet-salty egg sandwiches, and breads galore. But the highlight is the tomato pizza, a blend of tangy milled fruit from San Marzano and California. It is without question one of the city’s best slices.

Tomato pizza lies on a metal tray and patterned green and white paper
Tomato pizza at Sullivan Street Bakery.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

Nelore Grill Brazilian Kitchen

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This tiny Hell’s Kitchen space — it’s smaller than a studio apartment — is the successor to the excellent Rice N Beans, which used to the occupy the same address. All the classics are on tap from gooey pao de queijo to silky chicken-stuffed croquettes. But for the real deal, get the regal feijoada, a stunning rendition of the classic Brazilian black bean stew, teeming with slow cooked bacon, pork ribs, smoky Portuguese sausage and beef.

Ñaño Ecuadorian Kitchen

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Abel Castro’s Ñaño is a little gem of an Ecuadorian spot on Ninth Avenue, serving up affordable, tasty South American fare in a cozy space. Among the chief offerings are maduros lampreados (sweet plantains fried in dough), muchines (yucca fritters stuffed with cheese), empanadas de verde (a crisp green plantain shell filled with stretchy cheese), seco de chivo (goat cooked in citrus), and chorizo sandwiches.

Located near the corner of 47th Street and 10th Avenue, Meske offers flavorful and affordable Ethiopian fare, a fine option before a tour of the Intrepid Air and Space museum. Order a lager and the combination platter, a heady pile of berbere-spiced lentils, collards, and meats on injera, the traditionally sour-spongy bread.

Corner Slice

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Michael Bergemann’s all-day pizzeria is, quite simply, one of New York’s finest slice shops. The pepperoni slices are appropriately spicy, but the main event here is the old-school tomato slice, tangy and fragrant with slivers of garlic. The Buffalo chicken slice is also excellent. It’s located inside food hall Gotham West Market.

A square slice of buffalo chicken pizza, topped with mozzarella and green scallions, sits next to a tomato slice over a pizza box, next to a plastic cup of iced coffee
Buffalo chicken and tomato slices.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

dell'anima

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Chef Andrew Whitney’s chic Italian counter at Gotham West Market remains a reliable standby for solid Italian fare in Midtown West. Swing by for spicy bucatini alla arrabbiata, a smoky tajarin alla carbonara, and a chile flecked devil’s chicken. 

Spaghetti arrabbiata sits in a bowl next to a glass of red wine on a black placemat
Spaghetti arrabbiata.
Noah Devereaux for Dell’anima [Official Photo]

El Mil Sabores Mexican Food

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This Mexican deli, bakery, and grocer on the West Side is home to many things, including, according to critic Robert Sietsema, an absolutely epic torta loca sandwich. The Cubana version includes refried black beans, beef milanesa, hot dogs, ham, Oaxacan cheese, avocado, tomato, iceberg lettuce, and jalapenos.

Two halves of the torta Cubana sandwich display the cross-section of meats and vegetables inside, including hot dogs, beef milanesa, and lettuce.
Torta Cubana at Mil Sabores.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Real Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns Ramen

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Real Kung Fu might not have the same international accolades as Tim Ho Wan, but it’s still a solid spot for quick, affordable dim sum, including very good xiao long bao (soup dumplings) filled with sweet crab meat.

Crab soup dumplings sit in a steamer at Real Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns
Crab soup dumplings at Real Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns.
Ryan Sutton

Jasmine's Caribbean Cuisine

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Restaurant Row is where first time restaurateur Jasmine Gerald and chef Basil Jones show off the multitudinous flavors of Jamaica — not typically represented well in the Theater District — and the larger Caribbean. Start off with lightly smoked jerk wings, spicy and pungent. Then move onto tender brown stew chicken dripping in rich sauce. Jazzy pasta, a creamy rasta pasta-style classic flecked with peppers, jerk-style seasonings, and parmesan, is also a must order.

A small pile of jerk wings sit on a patterned blue plate.
Jerk wings at Jasmine’s.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

The owners behind the acclaimed Chinese-Cajun shellfish boil spot shuttered their original East Village location during the pandemic, but the Hell’s Kitchen sequel remains open. Expect pretty much everything that made the original great: meat skewers (lamb, kidneys, tendon, sausages), traditional appetizers like spicy mung bean noodles, and of course, piles of shellfish for face melting seafood boils — laced with chiles, rice cakes, and crispy youtiao. Options for the boils include crawfish, snow crab, whole lobster, whole Dungeness crab, and very expensive king crab legs.

Piles of shrimp and crawfish lie in decorative bowls at Le Sia
Shrimp and crawfish boil at Le Sia.
Louise Palmberg/Eater NY

Pio Pio 8

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This Peruvian chain reliably serves some of the city’s finest and most affordable rotisserie chickens. Expect a tender, flavorful bird with a fantastic poultry punch. Pair the chicken ($6-$23) with an order of tostones, maduros, or salchipapas (fries and hot dogs). Also consider the grilled beef heart skewers as a starter.

Two brown empanadas sit in a silver aluminum container with their flat sides facing each other
Chicken empanadas at Pio Pio.
Ryan Sutton/Eater

Farida Central Asian Cuisine & Grill

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This pan-Central Asian spot might just be the best place to eat grilled meat in all of Hell’s Kitchen. Owner Farida Gabbassova-Ricciardelli and chef Umitjon Kamolov serve serious charcoal-grilled shashlik; the chicken thigh skewers balance crisp skin with fatty juiciness and tender flesh. Be sure to try the Uzbek national dish that is plov, rice pilaf made sweet from aromatic carrots and funky with tender chunks of heady lamb. Note: For kosher Uzbek fare, check out the excellent Taam Tov in the Diamond District.

Pumpkin samsa turnovers sit in a steamer while lamb manti dumplings sit over a decorative blue and white plate
Pumpkin samsa turnovers and lamb manti dumplings at Farida.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

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Criollas | Baked Empanadas

A mahogany-hued beef empanada and a lighter caprese one sit on a white and yellow decorative plate.
Baked Argentinian empanadas at Criollas.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

There is where you go for a super quick bite before hopping on the subway at Columbus Circle. Expect crisp, flaky, baked Argentinian empanadas, the best of which are stuffed with milky mozzarella and fresh tomatoes, or juicy ground beef, onions, and green olives.

A mahogany-hued beef empanada and a lighter caprese one sit on a white and yellow decorative plate.
Baked Argentinian empanadas at Criollas.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

Ardesia Wine Bar

With other 20 wines by the glass, Mandy Oser’s longtime bar à vin remains a cool, casual hangout for good drinking and good eats. Try pairing a sparkling riesling or “Une Femme” sparkling rose with lamb skewers, deviled eggs, shishito peppers, or ricotta crostini.

Guantanamera

An all-male band plans in front of a mural displaying the word Guantanamera.
The stage at Guantanamera.
Nick Solares/Eater NY

Here find some of the city’s best Cuban sandwiches, vaca frita (skirt steak fried to the texture of soft jerky), roasted chicken in a rich garlic sauce, slow-roasted pork with a butter-drenched mash of cassava, and mojitos. Warning: The mojitos are strong, which is especially dangerous during happy hour when they’re just $6 apiece.

An all-male band plans in front of a mural displaying the word Guantanamera.
The stage at Guantanamera.
Nick Solares/Eater NY

Chong Qing Noodle

White xiao mian noodles, green cilantro, and brown nuggets of ground pork barely sit above a pool of orange broth in a black bowl.
Xiao mian noodles.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

This small Ninth Avenue shop is one of the few spots in Manhattan to enjoy Chongqing-style xiao mian, firm little noodles in a spicy, porky, restorative chile broth. These bowls are lighter and more nimble than most styles of ramen; consider ordering in for a late breakfast or early lunch. The restaurant also specializes in Mao Cai, a Chengdu-style hot pot of sorts for one.

White xiao mian noodles, green cilantro, and brown nuggets of ground pork barely sit above a pool of orange broth in a black bowl.
Xiao mian noodles.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

Tori Shin

A black and white photo displaying the entrance to Tori Shin.
The entrance to Tori Shin
Nick Solares/Eater NY

Tori Shin is one of the city’s best and most-heralded yakitori spot. Chefs grill nearly every part of the chicken over coals — thighs, breasts, knee bones, arteries, oysters, skin, ribs — and hand over the morsels as if this were a sushi bar. Omakase counter menus run $100-$125, while a more select counter offers tastings at $180-$210. More affordable selections, including a la carte fare, are available in the dining room.

A black and white photo displaying the entrance to Tori Shin.
The entrance to Tori Shin
Nick Solares/Eater NY

Totto Ramen Hell's Kitchen

Hell’s Kitchen is still reeling from the loss of Ivan Ramen Slurp shop, but an outpost of the estimable Totto chain (along with other shops) helps pick up the slack. This is where you’ll find some of New York’s best tori paitan ramen, bowls of chicken soup so rich and schmaltz-y the broth is fully opaque. Spicy and miso versions are also available, as is a vegetarian ramen.

Three Roosters

Sliced golden fried chicken sits next to cucumbers and over a pile of rice; springs of verdant cilantro are scattered about
Fried chicken at Three Roosters.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

This tiny Thai spot on Ninth Avenue specializes in chicken served three very specific ways. The kitchen poaches the meat gently and pairs it with ginger rice for a style of Hainanese chicken. Even better is a lemongrass grilled chicken, brushed with sweet soy. But the main event is fried thigh meat, crisped up to a gorgeous golden brown and showered in sweet-sour zab dust. Most orders come with a powerfully concentrated bowl of clear broth.

Sliced golden fried chicken sits next to cucumbers and over a pile of rice; springs of verdant cilantro are scattered about
Fried chicken at Three Roosters.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

Empanada Mama

A golden Viagra empanada sits on wax paper, sliced in half, on the lower right-hand side of the photo, while a whole empanada lies on the upper left; a ramekin of green salsa sits in between
Viagra empanadas at Empanada Mama.
Gary He/Eater NY

This is where you go for nourishing, well-executed, affordable Colombian fare. Highlights include a classic South American breakfast of beans and rice with eggs, shockingly spicy arepas, frozen margaritas, meaty picada platters, and stellar empanadas (try the ones filled with shellfish or beef).

A golden Viagra empanada sits on wax paper, sliced in half, on the lower right-hand side of the photo, while a whole empanada lies on the upper left; a ramekin of green salsa sits in between
Viagra empanadas at Empanada Mama.
Gary He/Eater NY

Pure Thai Cookhouse

Chunks of pork and crab sit over Ratchaburi-style noodles
Ratchaburi-style noodles at Pure Thai Cookhouse.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

David Bank, one of the forces behind the late, lamented Taladwat, still runs this excellent Hell’s Kitchen spot, which remains one of the top places for traditional Thai fare on Ninth Avenue. The pan-regional menu includes flaky root vegetable curry puffs; tart green papaya salad; Krabi seafood noodles with shrimp, squid, fermented tofu, and tomato pork broth; and excellent dry Ratchaburi-style noodles with roasted pork and generous chunks of lump crab meat.

Chunks of pork and crab sit over Ratchaburi-style noodles
Ratchaburi-style noodles at Pure Thai Cookhouse.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

Sullivan Street Bakery

Tomato pizza lies on a metal tray and patterned green and white paper
Tomato pizza at Sullivan Street Bakery.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

Jim Lahey’s Italian bakery sells almost too many awesome things to list: puffy chocolate croissants, sweet-salty egg sandwiches, and breads galore. But the highlight is the tomato pizza, a blend of tangy milled fruit from San Marzano and California. It is without question one of the city’s best slices.

Tomato pizza lies on a metal tray and patterned green and white paper
Tomato pizza at Sullivan Street Bakery.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

Nelore Grill Brazilian Kitchen

This tiny Hell’s Kitchen space — it’s smaller than a studio apartment — is the successor to the excellent Rice N Beans, which used to the occupy the same address. All the classics are on tap from gooey pao de queijo to silky chicken-stuffed croquettes. But for the real deal, get the regal feijoada, a stunning rendition of the classic Brazilian black bean stew, teeming with slow cooked bacon, pork ribs, smoky Portuguese sausage and beef.

Ñaño Ecuadorian Kitchen

Abel Castro’s Ñaño is a little gem of an Ecuadorian spot on Ninth Avenue, serving up affordable, tasty South American fare in a cozy space. Among the chief offerings are maduros lampreados (sweet plantains fried in dough), muchines (yucca fritters stuffed with cheese), empanadas de verde (a crisp green plantain shell filled with stretchy cheese), seco de chivo (goat cooked in citrus), and chorizo sandwiches.

Meske

Located near the corner of 47th Street and 10th Avenue, Meske offers flavorful and affordable Ethiopian fare, a fine option before a tour of the Intrepid Air and Space museum. Order a lager and the combination platter, a heady pile of berbere-spiced lentils, collards, and meats on injera, the traditionally sour-spongy bread.

Corner Slice

A square slice of buffalo chicken pizza, topped with mozzarella and green scallions, sits next to a tomato slice over a pizza box, next to a plastic cup of iced coffee
Buffalo chicken and tomato slices.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

Michael Bergemann’s all-day pizzeria is, quite simply, one of New York’s finest slice shops. The pepperoni slices are appropriately spicy, but the main event here is the old-school tomato slice, tangy and fragrant with slivers of garlic. The Buffalo chicken slice is also excellent. It’s located inside food hall Gotham West Market.

A square slice of buffalo chicken pizza, topped with mozzarella and green scallions, sits next to a tomato slice over a pizza box, next to a plastic cup of iced coffee
Buffalo chicken and tomato slices.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

dell'anima

Spaghetti arrabbiata sits in a bowl next to a glass of red wine on a black placemat
Spaghetti arrabbiata.
Noah Devereaux for Dell’anima [Official Photo]

Chef Andrew Whitney’s chic Italian counter at Gotham West Market remains a reliable standby for solid Italian fare in Midtown West. Swing by for spicy bucatini alla arrabbiata, a smoky tajarin alla carbonara, and a chile flecked devil’s chicken. 

Spaghetti arrabbiata sits in a bowl next to a glass of red wine on a black placemat
Spaghetti arrabbiata.
Noah Devereaux for Dell’anima [Official Photo]

Related Maps

El Mil Sabores Mexican Food

Two halves of the torta Cubana sandwich display the cross-section of meats and vegetables inside, including hot dogs, beef milanesa, and lettuce.
Torta Cubana at Mil Sabores.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

This Mexican deli, bakery, and grocer on the West Side is home to many things, including, according to critic Robert Sietsema, an absolutely epic torta loca sandwich. The Cubana version includes refried black beans, beef milanesa, hot dogs, ham, Oaxacan cheese, avocado, tomato, iceberg lettuce, and jalapenos.

Two halves of the torta Cubana sandwich display the cross-section of meats and vegetables inside, including hot dogs, beef milanesa, and lettuce.
Torta Cubana at Mil Sabores.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Real Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns Ramen