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14 of the Top Sichuan Restaurants in NYC

New York’s undergoing a Sichuan renaissance. Here are some of the best places to try

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Sichuan food’s introduction to New York City in the ’60s and ’70s was rather pallid, because Sichuan peppercorns were then technically illegal — the Department of Agriculture finally approved them in 2005 — and chile-heavy food hadn’t really caught on yet, either. Early Sichuan restaurants featured dishes like baby shrimp in a sweet and slightly spicy red sauce, and cold noodles dressed with sesame paste and peanut butter. Now, Sichuan is the foremost of the regional cuisines that can now be found all over the five boroughs, while many of its highlights have been incorporated into the menus of neighborhood Cantonese-American carryouts.

Here are some of Eater’s favorite Sichuan restaurants — and yes, Philadelphia import Han Dynasty and the once-mighty Grand Sichuan chain are notably not included.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Little Pepper

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18-24 College Point Blvd
College Point, NY 11356
(718) 939-7788
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This long-standing favorite was once located on Flushing’s main drag but relocated to College Point a few years back. It remains one of the city’s best and least expensive Sichuan restaurants, but it is now a bit hard to get to, with both train and bus involved. The menu favors appetizers in chile oil, dumplings, Sichuan classics including hot pots, and lots of offal. French fries dusted with Sichuan peppercorns are a cross-cultural wonder, and the vegetable and tofu section of the menu is formidable, much of it truly vegetarian.

Dumpling in hot sauce
Dumpling in hot sauce
Robert Sietsema

2. Land of Plenty

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204 E 58th St
New York, NY 10022
(212) 308-8788
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When it opened, Land of Plenty defined a new upscale tilt in Sichuan cuisine. Decorated with antique farm implements on stark white wells, it radiated a staid East Side atmosphere, but even then, the food was shocking in its heat and depth of flavor. Order anything with the “three chiles” symbol, and you can depend on it being mouth searing, including Madame Song’s seafood noodles, poached rabbit, and crispy tofu with roast chile and cumin. Bonus: The lunch specials are not watered down.

Diners eating and talking at tables with white tablecloths in a white-walled room at Land of Plenty Robert Sietsema

3. Szechwan Absolute

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39-16 Prince St Ste209
Flushing, NY 11354
(917) 983-6666
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Szechwan Absolute is the third Sichuan restaurant to appear in the modern apartment complex and retail center known as One Fulton Square, owned by NYU grad Kevin Yin and one floor up from the original Szechuan Mountain House and more upscale Sichuan restaurant Guan Fu. The menu is elaborate and tends to be spicy as hell, as seen in this dish of boiled tilapia filets, enough for a half dozen diners. Offal abounds, and spice combos are sometimes innovative. The space is spare and handsome, and the prices slightly less than the other Sichuan restaurants in the complex.

Boiled fish in green peppercorn oil
Boiled fish in green peppercorn oil
Robert Sietsema

4. Guan Fu

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39-16 Prince St
Flushing, NY 11354
(347) 610-6999
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Sichuan dining goes more upscale at Guan Fu, where an expansive, bound book of a menu includes glossy photos of dishes and the service is more formal. “Boiled fish” is the translation for a common Sichuan dish that now appears in many variations, and Guan Fu serves a mustard yellow-colored one with pickled cabbage that’s worth ordering. Lots of seafood — including uncommonly seen options like soft shell turtle — is on the menu, too, as are particularly stunning versions of standards such as Chongqing chicken.

Chongqing chicken
Chongqing chicken
Yelp

5. DaXi Sichuan

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Read Review |
13620 Roosevelt Ave #2R
Flushing, NY 11354
(917) 563-1983
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The menus of Flushing’s new upscale Sichuan restaurants are larded with all sorts of other regional fare, including Dongbei, Tianjin, and Shanghai dishes, reflecting a mix of cuisines now popular back in China. DaXi — cousin of a restaurant in the Sichuan capital Chengdu — is the latest, a vibrant room with plush banquettes and a blue color scheme. Pork ribs are delivered in a bird cage, kung pao shrimp deconstructed, and the usual spicy cucumber salad turned crunchier by using only the skins.

Tibetan pork ribs
Tibetan pork ribs
Ian Stroud

6. Alley 41

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136-45 41st Ave
Flushing, NY 11355
(718) 353-3608
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Located on 41st Avenue, Alley 41 isn’t really an alley, but a place with a cryptic entrance that looks like an underground rock club from the ’90s, with concrete floors, rec room light fixtures, and tables and chairs scattered seemingly at random. (The name refers to owner Yao Hua’s childhood, when he lived in a “picturesque alley.”) The core of Sichuan standards is impressive, but there are also many invented dishes, including a wacky plate of mashed potatoes with spicy meat sauce — but skip the steamed okra with peanut butter.

Alley 41’s interior looks like a rock club.
Alley 41’s interior looks like a rock club.
Robert Sietsema

7. Szechuan House

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13347 Roosevelt Ave
Flushing, NY 11354
(718) 762-2664
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Open since 1985, Szechuan House is the oldest restaurant serving the fiery cuisine in Flushing. Though its menu has been modernized, it still concentrates on the classics. Recommended are clear noodles in spicy meat sauce (sometimes known as “ants on a log”), tea-smoked duck, and sliced beef and tendon. There’s also seafood galore, including the hottest thing on the menu: “slice fish with peppercorn.” The strangest? Wasabi arctic surf clams, sounding like a Ninja Turtles movie.

Szechuan House
Whole tilapia
Jean Schwarzwalder

8. Chengdu Heaven at Golden Shopping Mall

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41-26 Main St
Flushing, NY 11355
(917) 478-4536
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Causing an instant sensation when it opened in the late aughts, Flushing’s Golden Shopping Mall features a dozen cramped stalls in a basement, each presenting a Chinese regional cuisine in a decidedly working-class way. New York had never seen anything quite like it. At the foot of the stairs is Chengdu Heaven, where small composed dishes of vegetables and offal drenched in chile oil and Sichuan peppercorns are offered. Noodle dishes are too, including an epic dan dan noodles.

Chengdu Heaven Robert Sietsema

9. Savour Sichuan

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108 W 39th St
New York, NY 10018
(212) 221-7237
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Midtown, especially 39th Street, is crawling with Sichuan restaurants, demonstrating how popular the cuisine has become among office workers. The neighborhood contingent now includes Zest, Szechuan Gourmet, La Vie En Szechuan, Lan Sheng, and the wildly popular China Café, but the best is certainly Savour Sichuan. It mounts a peppercorn-intensive bill of fare that features meats not found on less exciting menus, including frog, pork kidneys, and cow aorta — of all things!

Tea smoked duck
Tea smoked duck
Robert Sietsema

10. Sweet Yummy House

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83-13 Broadway
Queens, NY 11373
(718) 878-6603
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Elmhurst’s preeminent Sichuan restaurant offers the menu from a nominally Taiwanese perspective, but most of the dishes are faithful to the originals, with plenty of chile oil, dried chiles, and green chiles, but with a restrained hand on the peppercorns. The interior is comfy and box-like; the menu voluminous. Try yam gelatin with duck, diced chicken with peanuts and hot pepper, or sliced lamb in fresh hot pepper. Note: Lots of organ meats like kidney, intestines, and tendon are on the menu.

Intestines in fresh hot pepper
Intestines in fresh hot pepper
Robert Sietsema

11. Szechuan Mountain House

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23 St Marks Pl
New York, NY 10003
(917) 388-3866
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Originally located in Flushing, Szechuan Mountain House expanded to the East Village, taking over a second-story space on St Mark’s Place that’s perpetually busy. All the classics like mapo tofu are solid, but less ubiquitous dishes like elaborate spicy stews are specialties. The portions are huge, so come with a group to share, and expect a wait during prime times. 

Mapo tofu at Szechuan Mountain House Jean Schwarzwalder/Eater

12. Birds of a Feather

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191 Grand St
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 969-6800
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This offshoot of Midtown’s celebrated China Café places Sichuan food in a bistro setting. There’s little innovation here, and the spicing has been toned down, but that’s all to the good for those who appreciate the cuisine in its milder forms. The oil-slicked standard of tripe, tendon, and sliced beef is recommended, and so is the mapo tofu, which utilizes crushed peppercorns rather than cracked or whole. On the plus side, you can drink sake with your meal; on the negative, the dim sum is awful.

Dan dan noodles
Dan dan noodles
Robert Sietsema

13. Chuan Tian Xia

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5502 7th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(929) 295-0128
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Decorated with murals of Chinese theatrical masks and using the tagline “colorful food,” Chuan Tian Xia is the jazziest Sichuan restaurant to hit Sunset Park. A very spice bowl of peanuts hits the table first off, possibly followed by cold sliced beef ribs with vinegary dipping sauce, green pepper fish in a chile-laced broth, and then a wok of the stylish new green stemmed cauliflower being seen in Chinese restaurants all over town.

Griddle cauliflower
Griddle cauliflower
Robert Sietsema

14. Seafood Island

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769 57th St
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 439-1108
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Tucked away on a side street, Seafood Island (formerly Eastern Ocean One) specializes in hot pots, along with other Sichuan standards, many with an oceanic emphasis. Sit upstairs rather than in the basement of this dark and narrow place, which features semi-private seating in booths and thus would be great for a spicy date. Lamb chops with cumin are a great choice for meat fanciers, while the mapo tofu may be the hottest version in town.

Eastern Ocean One
Razor clams
Robert Sietsema

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1. Little Pepper

18-24 College Point Blvd, College Point, NY 11356
Dumpling in hot sauce
Dumpling in hot sauce
Robert Sietsema

This long-standing favorite was once located on Flushing’s main drag but relocated to College Point a few years back. It remains one of the city’s best and least expensive Sichuan restaurants, but it is now a bit hard to get to, with both train and bus involved. The menu favors appetizers in chile oil, dumplings, Sichuan classics including hot pots, and lots of offal. French fries dusted with Sichuan peppercorns are a cross-cultural wonder, and the vegetable and tofu section of the menu is formidable, much of it truly vegetarian.

18-24 College Point Blvd
College Point, NY 11356

2. Land of Plenty

204 E 58th St, New York, NY 10022
Diners eating and talking at tables with white tablecloths in a white-walled room at Land of Plenty Robert Sietsema

When it opened, Land of Plenty defined a new upscale tilt in Sichuan cuisine. Decorated with antique farm implements on stark white wells, it radiated a staid East Side atmosphere, but even then, the food was shocking in its heat and depth of flavor. Order anything with the “three chiles” symbol, and you can depend on it being mouth searing, including Madame Song’s seafood noodles, poached rabbit, and crispy tofu with roast chile and cumin. Bonus: The lunch specials are not watered down.

204 E 58th St
New York, NY 10022

3. Szechwan Absolute

39-16 Prince St Ste209, Flushing, NY 11354
Boiled fish in green peppercorn oil
Boiled fish in green peppercorn oil
Robert Sietsema

Szechwan Absolute is the third Sichuan restaurant to appear in the modern apartment complex and retail center known as One Fulton Square, owned by NYU grad Kevin Yin and one floor up from the original Szechuan Mountain House and more upscale Sichuan restaurant Guan Fu. The menu is elaborate and tends to be spicy as hell, as seen in this dish of boiled tilapia filets, enough for a half dozen diners. Offal abounds, and spice combos are sometimes innovative. The space is spare and handsome, and the prices slightly less than the other Sichuan restaurants in the complex.

39-16 Prince St Ste209
Flushing, NY 11354

4. Guan Fu

39-16 Prince St, Flushing, NY 11354
Chongqing chicken
Chongqing chicken
Yelp

Sichuan dining goes more upscale at Guan Fu, where an expansive, bound book of a menu includes glossy photos of dishes and the service is more formal. “Boiled fish” is the translation for a common Sichuan dish that now appears in many variations, and Guan Fu serves a mustard yellow-colored one with pickled cabbage that’s worth ordering. Lots of seafood — including uncommonly seen options like soft shell turtle — is on the menu, too, as are particularly stunning versions of standards such as Chongqing chicken.

39-16 Prince St
Flushing, NY 11354

5. DaXi Sichuan

13620 Roosevelt Ave #2R, Flushing, NY 11354
Read Review |
Tibetan pork ribs
Tibetan pork ribs
Ian Stroud

The menus of Flushing’s new upscale Sichuan restaurants are larded with all sorts of other regional fare, including Dongbei, Tianjin, and Shanghai dishes, reflecting a mix of cuisines now popular back in China. DaXi — cousin of a restaurant in the Sichuan capital Chengdu — is the latest, a vibrant room with plush banquettes and a blue color scheme. Pork ribs are delivered in a bird cage, kung pao shrimp deconstructed, and the usual spicy cucumber salad turned crunchier by using only the skins.

13620 Roosevelt Ave #2R
Flushing, NY 11354

6. Alley 41

136-45 41st Ave, Flushing, NY 11355
Alley 41’s interior looks like a rock club.
Alley 41’s interior looks like a rock club.
Robert Sietsema

Located on 41st Avenue, Alley 41 isn’t really an alley, but a place with a cryptic entrance that looks like an underground rock club from the ’90s, with concrete floors, rec room light fixtures, and tables and chairs scattered seemingly at random. (The name refers to owner Yao Hua’s childhood, when he lived in a “picturesque alley.”) The core of Sichuan standards is impressive, but there are also many invented dishes, including a wacky plate of mashed potatoes with spicy meat sauce — but skip the steamed okra with peanut butter.

136-45 41st Ave
Flushing, NY 11355

7. Szechuan House

13347 Roosevelt Ave, Flushing, NY 11354
Read Review |
Szechuan House
Whole tilapia
Jean Schwarzwalder

Open since 1985, Szechuan House is the oldest restaurant serving the fiery cuisine in Flushing. Though its menu has been modernized, it still concentrates on the classics. Recommended are clear noodles in spicy meat sauce (sometimes known as “ants on a log”), tea-smoked duck, and sliced beef and tendon. There’s also seafood galore, including the hottest thing on the menu: “slice fish with peppercorn.” The strangest? Wasabi arctic surf clams, sounding like a Ninja Turtles movie.

13347 Roosevelt Ave
Flushing, NY 11354

8. Chengdu Heaven at Golden Shopping Mall

41-26 Main St, Flushing, NY 11355
Chengdu Heaven Robert Sietsema

Causing an instant sensation when it opened in the late aughts, Flushing’s Golden Shopping Mall features a dozen cramped stalls in a basement, each presenting a Chinese regional cuisine in a decidedly working-class way. New York had never seen anything quite like it. At the foot of the stairs is Chengdu Heaven, where small composed dishes of vegetables and offal drenched in chile oil and Sichuan peppercorns are offered. Noodle dishes are too, including an epic dan dan noodles.

41-26 Main St
Flushing, NY 11355

9. Savour Sichuan

108 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018
Tea smoked duck
Tea smoked duck
Robert Sietsema

Midtown, especially 39th Street, is crawling with Sichuan restaurants, demonstrating how popular the cuisine has become among office workers. The neighborhood contingent now includes Zest, Szechuan Gourmet, La Vie En Szechuan, Lan Sheng, and the wildly popular China Café, but the best is certainly Savour Sichuan. It mounts a peppercorn-intensive bill of fare that features meats not found on less exciting menus, including frog, pork kidneys, and cow aorta — of all things!

108 W 39th St
New York, NY 10018

10. Sweet Yummy House

83-13 Broadway, Queens, NY 11373
Intestines in fresh hot pepper
Intestines in fresh hot pepper
Robert Sietsema

Elmhurst’s preeminent Sichuan restaurant offers the menu from a nominally Taiwanese perspective, but most of the dishes are faithful to the originals, with plenty of chile oil, dried chiles, and green chiles, but with a restrained hand on the peppercorns. The interior is comfy and box-like; the menu voluminous. Try yam gelatin with duck, diced chicken with peanuts and hot pepper, or sliced lamb in fresh hot pepper. Note: Lots of organ meats like kidney, intestines, and tendon are on the menu.

83-13 Broadway
Queens, NY 11373

11. Szechuan Mountain House

23 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003
Mapo tofu at Szechuan Mountain House Jean Schwarzwalder/Eater

Originally located in Flushing, Szechuan Mountain House expanded to the East Village, taking over a second-story space on St Mark’s Place that’s perpetually busy. All the classics like mapo tofu are solid, but less ubiquitous dishes like elaborate spicy stews are specialties. The portions are huge, so come with a group to share, and expect a wait during prime times. 

23 St Marks Pl
New York, NY 10003

12. Birds of a Feather

191 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Dan dan noodles
Dan dan noodles
Robert Sietsema

This offshoot of Midtown’s celebrated China Café places Sichuan food in a bistro setting. There’s little innovation here, and the spicing has been toned down, but that’s all to the good for those who appreciate the cuisine in its milder forms. The oil-slicked standard of tripe, tendon, and sliced beef is recommended, and so is the mapo tofu, which utilizes crushed peppercorns rather than cracked or whole. On the plus side, you can drink sake with your meal; on the negative, the dim sum is awful.

191 Grand St
Brooklyn, NY 11211

13. Chuan Tian Xia

5502 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11220
Griddle cauliflower
Griddle cauliflower
Robert Sietsema

Decorated with murals of Chinese theatrical masks and using the tagline “colorful food,” Chuan Tian Xia is the jazziest Sichuan restaurant to hit Sunset Park. A very spice bowl of peanuts hits the table first off, possibly followed by cold sliced beef ribs with vinegary dipping sauce, green pepper fish in a chile-laced broth, and then a wok of the stylish new green stemmed cauliflower being seen in Chinese restaurants all over town.

5502 7th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11220

14. Seafood Island

769 57th St, Brooklyn, NY 11220
Eastern Ocean One
Razor clams
Robert Sietsema

Tucked away on a side street, Seafood Island (formerly Eastern Ocean One) specializes in hot pots, along with other Sichuan standards, many with an oceanic emphasis. Sit upstairs rather than in the basement of this dark and narrow place, which features semi-private seating in booths and thus would be great for a spicy date. Lamb chops with cumin are a great choice for meat fanciers, while the mapo tofu may be the hottest version in town.

769 57th St
Brooklyn, NY 11220

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