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Robert Sietsema

60 Cheap Eats Destinations You Should Know About in NYC

Eater critic Robert Sietsema rounds up good deals in the five boroughs and beyond.

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As fancy restaurant prices continue to soar, finding great inexpensive ones becomes more of a priority. If the food is not only delicious but also outside your previous dining experience, all the better. In short write-ups, neighborhood round-ups, and full reviews, I post about cheap restaurants I’ve stumbled on in the five boroughs and adjacent metropolitan areas, and make menu recommendations. Here is a choice collection of those restaurants, listed geographically. Please let me know by email about restaurants you’ve visited that deserve to be more appreciated. Robert@Eater.com

Added July 2017: Al Nour, Bosna Express, Buffalo's Famous, Dera, Fouta, Hillside Dosa Hutt, Manousheh, La Duena Deli, Western Yunnan Crossing Bridge Noodle

Note: Restaurants on this map are listed based on geography, south to north through Manhattan, and north to south through Brooklyn. This is an updated version of a map.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Grotto Pizzeria & Restaurant

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69 New St
New York, NY 10004
(212) 809-6990
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The Grotto lies way downtown on New Street — who would expect to find a great cheap southern Italian restaurant there? Named after Capri’s Blue Grotto, the premises are reached by diving down a long narrow stairway into the basement, where an L-shaped glass counter lies before you like a pirate’s treasure, displaying rice balls and potato croquettes, fricassees of chicken and pork, strombolis both Italian and American, the cheese-drenched baked pastas beloved of southern Italians, and a stunning array of pizzas ready to be purchased by the slice. Take your food upstairs to the secret dining room.

Robert Sietsema

2. Kuu Ramen

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20 John St
New York, NY 10038
(212) 571-7177
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3. Yummy Kitchen 長旺飯店

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38 Allen St Frnt A
New York, NY 10002
212-343-2373

Big heaping plates of rice are the forte of this wonderful Chinese lunch counter with the bright red awning on the Lower East Side. With prices hovering around $5, any of the over-60 rice choices won’t let you walk away hungry. My favorite is listed as chicken with hot pepper and scallion on rice, in which scallion is treated as a vegetable; but you may prefer fish cake with pickle, baby shrimp with scrambled egg, or pork with taro. Also available are bargain plates of fried rice, noodle soups with duck or beef balls, and a scattering of pan-National Chinese dishes like ma po tofu and hot-and-sour soup. Open until 10 p.m., closed Sunday.

4. Parisi Bakery Delicatessen

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198 Mott St
New York, NY 10012
(212) 226-6378
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NoLita’s Parisi Bakery (founded 1903) runs an amazing sandwich shop out of its antique premises, where two fabricators painstakingly create hero sandwiches out of cold cuts and a daily selection of hot prepared items. Though you can depend on meatballs and just-fried chicken cutlets always being available, on Fridays there are warm seafood heros — a recent afternoon saw a shrimp parm special, and it really was special. Look for house-prepared condiments such as pickled red peppers. This place is spectacular! Open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Sundays.

Robert Sietsema

5. Patacon Pisao

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139 Essex St
New York, NY 10002
(646) 678-5913
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Patacon Pisao ("Smashed Plantain") is the name of a sandwich, but also of this narrow café specializing in Venezuelan street food. The namesake dish is its specialty: two fantastically flattened frisbees of tostones stuffed like a sandwich with roasted pork, grilled steak, or simply black beans, cheese, and avocados. Novelty fillings include bacon, lettuce, and tomato to make a crunchy BLT, and a hamburger patty with all the trimmings.

6. Souvlaki GR

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116 Stanton St
New York, NY 10002
(212) 777-0116
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At this cafe laid out like a tiny Greek village, the off-price wine list alone is worth a visit, and the bread dips are a great deal. Three hefty scoops for $15 (out of a choice of seven), come with a generous wad of grilled pita triangles. The tzatziki is hyper-garlicky, and also comes as an accompaniment to many of the kebabs, which are the main reason for this café’s existence. Get these kebabs in a pita sandwich, which comes stuffed with a brochette of your choice, tomato, purple onions, tzatziki, and french fries. The hamburger ($7) treated this way is particularly wonderful.

7. Casa Adela

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66 Avenue C
New York, NY 10009
(212) 473-1882

Principally slinging Puerto Rican chow to an admiring and diverse audience, the café's scrumptious, salty food can be eaten at one of several comfortable tables, but more often it's carried out to tenement apartments in the vicinity. The hot pressed sandwiches are notable, too, including the roast pork pernil (pictured), which can be dandied up with lettuce and tomato; the plain but delectable ham and cheese; and the Cuban sandwich, with cheese and dill pickles oozing out the sides. [Robert Sietsema]

8. Manousheh

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193 Bleecker St
New York, NY 10012
(347) 971-5778
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Manousheh — Specializing in well-dressed Lebanese flatbreads, this Greenwich Village café styles itself “a real taste of Beirut.” These flatbreads fly from a brick hearth that dominates the small room. The best-known is za’atar, and the same bread is folded over or rolled around other ingredient combinations, including a wonderful paste of tomatoes, onions, and dried yogurt called kishek.

Robert Sietsema

9. Dera Restaurant

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103 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10016
+64 6-861 1283

This Jackson Heights Pakistani favorite recently established a Curry Hill outpost. At the longest steam table the neighborhood has yet seen, one selects curries, tandooris, kebabs, dals, and biryanis from among about two dozen tubbed selections, half of them vegetarian. Full-plate meals including raita, salad, chutney, rice or biryani, naan, and three meat or vegetable selections go for around $10. Open until 4 a.m., seven days.

Robert Sietsema

10. Dhaulagiri Kitchen

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124 Lexington Ave, New York
NY, 10016

Himalayan cuisine has finally made its debut in Curry Hill. This Nepalese newcomer, branch of a celebrated café in the back of a flatbread bakery in Jackson Heights, is far more ambitious. All the typical meat jerkies, curries, Chinese-South Asian hybrids, homemade noodle dishes, and stuffed momo dumplings are available. Highlights include a thali consisting of vegetables curries, pickles, chutneys, and bhutan (goat-organ jerky, not to be confused with the country of the same name). But the thali’s focus is dhendo, a big clot of brown buckwheat starch kneaded into the equivalent of a West African mash. It’s wonderful. For the more timid, chicken chow mein is a good choice.

11. Teremok

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358 7th Ave
New York, NY 10001

This Russian chain was founded in Moscow in 1998 and is seeking to conquer the city. It presents the classics of post-Soviet comfort food at bargain prices, including such arcana as smoky wieners with kasha; a salad featuring pickled herring, sour cream, and beets (“herring in furs”); and soups, which are not quite as good as the rest of the menu. The centerpiece, however, is the made-to-order pancakes called blini, stuffed with just about anything Russian you can think of. How about the red star blini, which feature bright orange salmon roe and sour cream? Very comfortable seating for a fast-casual spot.

Teremok

12. Sons of Thunder

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204 E 38th St
New York, NY 10016
(646) 863-2212
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Specializing, somewhat illogically, in franks, pokes, and shakes, Sons of Thunder is the sort of fast casual place that encourages you to linger in its cavernous and relatively comfy dining rooms. It describes itself as Californian, but you might be more inclined to think Chicago, if that city were in Hawaii. The poke is good of its sort, more fish than salad, and the proprietary hot dogs come in several permutations, of which the Chicago and banh mi dogs are our favorites. And the chocolate shake is just as thick as you’d hoped.

13. Shawarma House

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70w 39th Street
New York, NY 10018
(212) 827-0801

From the outside it looks like a juice bar, but there’s also a savory menu of lunch and dinner fare at this narrow stall with counter seating south of Bryant Park. As the name suggests, there are two grease-dripping shawarma cylinders — chicken and a beef-lamb combo, both halal. (The chicken tastes better.) Either can be made into rice-pilaf platters or bargain pita sandwiches. On the vegetarian side of the ledger are falafels fried to order and other Middle Eastern delights, including good hummus and baba. But you can also get Indian vegetarian samosas with yogurt raita, Syrian cracked-wheat kibbe stuffed with ground beef and pine nuts, and the Turkish flatbread called gozleme stuffed with mushrooms or potatoes.

14. Margon

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136 W 46th St
New York, NY 10036
(212) 354-5013
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Fifty years ago the dining landscape was littered with Latin lunch counters, many of them originating as Cuban institutions, but then passed down from Puerto Ricans to Dominicans. Still located somewhat miraculously on Times Square, Margon fabricates magnificent Cuban sandwiches right in the front window of its walk down space, as customers twirl on the stools, ordering from a menu that varies by day of the week. The pernil (garlic-rubbed pork roast) is superb, and so are the roast chicken, tripe and pig-feet soup, and oxtail stew, served with white or yellow rice, black or red beans.

15. Azuri Cafe

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465 W 51st St
New York, NY 10019
(212) 262-2920
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This Israeli restaurant originated during the hippie era, and the menu and décor shows it. You can’t go wrong with the shawarma or any of the flame-grilled kebabs, but the real forte of this place — located in an obscure corner of Hell’s Kitchen — is its vegetarian fare. The falafels are acknowledged some of the best in town: bouncy, spice laden, and fried to order (don’t burn your mouth!) and the pita sandwich stuffed with them also contains bonus pickles and hummus and a pair of Yemenite sauces, one herby and the other fruity and incendiary. Also don’t miss the fried cauliflower dressed with tahini or the triangular, sesame-seeded pies called bourekas.

16. Oita Sushi

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1317A 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10021
(212) 535-0002
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the dining room is tiny at this Upper East Side sushi parlor, with only a counter and one table. But the décor and staff are charming, the fish unfailingly fresh, and the prices low for sushi. The premium rolls are the attractions here, all of them invented out of whole cloth, including the mommy rose (tuna and salmon intercut to resemble a blossom), yellowtail basil (maki with a Thai twist), and healthy cucumber (an able contribution to the vegetarian sushi canon).

The Mommy Rose roll

17. Lava Kitchen

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2656 Broadway
New York, NY 10025
(718) 489-9917
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Sichuan peppercorns are rolling across the city like tiny marbles, as New York diners have become obsessed with the tingly and numbing flavor. Specializing in them, Lava Kitchen arose on the UWS, glowing late into the night. The menu is mainly northern Chinese, and classic dumplings, bao, cold salads, and grilled meat skewers share the menu with spicy noodles in three levels of spiciness.

Robert Sietsema

18. La Savane

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239 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10026
646-484-5293

My crew and I dined sumptuously on mafe, a Senegalese stew of lamb in a creamy peanut sauce, served with an expanse of polished white rice topped with a steamed Scotch bonnet pepper, for extra spiciness. Not hot enough for you? You can also ask for the chile paste known as "pima." We also enjoyed a grilled fish — I think it was a sea bass, though taxonomic identification proved difficult — topped with a wonderful dice of vegetables flavored, in the Franco-African manner, with mustard. Alongside we asked for a plate of attieke, the signal starch of the Ivory Coast, consisting of a manioc porridge served with a pepper puree and, somewhat oddly, a bouillon cube. A third dish was a mixed meat palm-oil sauce served with a loaf of plantain foutou. Altogether a delicious meal, washed down with ginger juice and bright red bissap, which is a punch made of hibiscus blossoms and pineapple juice. The massive meal cost about $45 for three.

19. La Salle Dumpling Room

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3141 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
(212) 961-0300

A dim sum craze is sweeping the cityscape. This Chinese comfort food includes dumplings, turnip cakes, congees, and other snacks that make perfect light lunches and dinners at discount prices. Now, new neighborhood spots are appearing not in Chinatowns, and La Salle is an example. Though sounding like an effete French tea room, it’s named after the street in Morningside Heights where the restaurant is located. Made in-house and available in three permutations, the Shanghai soup dumplings are excellent. Steamed or fried, five kinds of pot-stickers are available, along with sesame noodles, ramen, and “beef scallion pancake wrap” (shown), which is really a meat-stuffed jian bing.

20. Ecuatoriana

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1685 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10031
(212) 491-4626

This Ecuadorian restaurant occupies a double-wide premises, with a formal dining room on one side and a juice bar, café, and carryout on the other. The ceviches here are super-sized, and great for warmer weather. Get the ceviche mixto con concha negra, which features black clams, the signature bivalves of Ecuador’s mangrove shoreline. Meal-size soups are another specialty, including weekend-only caldo de bola, which features one massive stuffed dumpling the size of a softball. You should take for granted that the roast pork and llapingachos (cheesy potato pancakes) will be fab.

Robert Sietsema

21. Lechonera & Pollo Sabroso

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3326 3rd Avenue
Bronx, NY 10456

The interior is boxy and a little darker than you might like, and the food is delicious and spectacularly inexpensive. A friend and I carried out several things and avidly munched them in the car. We had a serving of the lechon itself, with skin that was delicate and crisp, the meat well-salted and well-garlicked; a few shards of pork belly, crackling skin attached; and an alcapurria, one of several cuchifritos on the menu. Atypically, this giant, lard-fried orb had a coating of mashed potatoes instead of the usual mashed yuca. When bitten into, though, ground pork tumbled out in the usual fashion.

22. Fouta African/American Restaurant

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1762 Westchester Ave
Bronx, NY 10472
(718) 792-1700

Much of the city’s Senegalese population has moved from Harlem to the Bronx’s Soundview neighborhood, and Fouta — named after an arid region on the Senegal River — is their clubhouse. On weekends, find men in long robes and skullcaps watching soccer while downing plates of cheb (fish over rice with vegetables) and mafe (thick peanut sauce with lamb or chicken). Guinean food available, too.

Robert Sietsema

23. Gurra Cafe

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2325 Arthur Ave
Bronx, NY 10458
(718) 220-4254

Though Arthur Avenue is known as the Bronx’s Italian food hot spot, many other types of restaurants, some of them excellent, hang in the background. Gurra Café is an Albanian café with a clubhouse feel, and the décor may remind you of a ski chalet. There’s a guy grilling cevapi and pleskavici (outsize, mixed-meat burgers) behind a partition, and every once in a while he comes out front to see how your meal is going. Other highlights of the short menu include a white-bean-and-jerky stew called fasule and a paprika-laced goulash served with a hearty scoop of mashed potatoes.

24. al nour

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41-08 30th Ave
Astoria, NY 11103
(718) 606-1244

Once known as Cedars Meat House, this Astoria Lebanese mainstay combines a butcher shop, grocery store, and kebabery with counter seating. Choose from among a shawarma or two; chicken, beef kufta, or ground-lamb Aleppo kebabs; and lamb chops or ribeye steaks, all flame grilled. The usual dips and fried veggies are also provided, in addition to stews and soups. Don’t miss the pungent garlic sauce called toum.

Alnour Al Nour

25. New York Pão De Queijo

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31-90 30th Street
Astoria, NY 11106
(718) 204-1979
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A delightful Brazilian snack shop just off of Broadway in Astoria. In addition to bouncy little baked cheese balls, oblong fritters called coxinhas are also available on a rotating basis. But the real raison d’etre for this cozy little place are the burgers, Brazilian style. One of my favorite burgers here is the X Calabresa — a good-sized patty with two types of white cheese, lettuce, tomato, corn, potato sticks, an egg, and a slice of smoked sausage. The thing will set you back only $7.50, and you won’t miss the french fries. By the way, ask for specials when you go to Pan de Queijo. Sometimes there’s black beans and rice, sometimes an entire feijoada.

26. Tamashii Ramen

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29-05 Broadway
Astoria, NY 11106
(718) 278-5888
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The signature Tamashii ramen — with a light, Tokyo-style broth and add-ins that include an egg, bamboo shoots, scallions, seaweed, and slices of pork — will set you back only $10.95, or $8.95 at lunch. Which explains why the place is mobbed in the early afternoon. A friend who is an old hand at eating ramen in Tokyo pronounced the soup "very fine."

27. La Duena Mexican Deli 2

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103-22 Northern Blvd
Corona, NY 11368

The high quality of the food at this Mexican deli in Corona is apparent the minute you spy the orderly displays of cheese empanadas, meat-stuffed flautas, and chicharrones preparados: fried cracker platforms used as vegetarian pig skins. Heaped with queso, guacamole, crema, and salsa, they make excellent street snacks. Other specialties include picaditas, sopes, and tlaycoyos. Weekends, there’s goat barbacoa.

Robert Sietsema

28. Red Bowl Noodle Shop

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4052 Main St
Flushing, NY 11354
(718) 353-7683

On the roof is a giant rice bowl with chopsticks poking out. Jonathan Gold once wrote that you could see it while landing at LaGuardia. The café has evolved into a street-food landmark, with a window open to sidewalk traffic that displays charcuterie and grilling sausages, including the spectacular do chang bao xiao chang: a small link known as a Taiwanese hot dog stuffed inside a bigger rice sausage with a slice of cucumber. For carryout are ducks, pork chunks, sliced cuttlefish, chicken wings, and other transportable morsels. Inside, a café specializes in clay-pot congees, Chinese BBQ over rice, and soups, plus house specials such as whelk, frog, blue crab, and pork chops. Open 24 hours.

29. Hyderabadi Biryani & Chat

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44-27 Kissena Blvd
Flushing, NY 11315
(718) 353-5577
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In its unique culinary traditions, the southern Indian city of Hyderabad — which has become a high-tech hub — has more in common with northern India. This is reflected in its signature dish, biryani, a wonderful rice cook up. The biryani here is some of the best in town, available in eight varieties — one vegetarian, one vegan. Rather than sitting on the steam table and drying out, it is assembled to order with freshly cooked morsels of meat and vegetables. The rice is kept exceedingly fluffy, delicately flavored with ginger, garlic, and cardamom. Other don’t miss regional dishes include Kerala pepper chicken — which is so spicy it will burn your mouth — and so will “bullet naan,” shot with fresh jalapenos.

30. Taste Of Lahore

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73-10 Northern Boulevard
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
718-779-6700

A steam table the size of an airstrip at nearby LaGuardia displays a plethora of pungent, spice-driven meat dishes featuring chicken, lamb, and mutton, reminding us that the Spice Road runs through Pakistan. What is more surprising is the large number of vegetarian offerings — the national love of veggies (things like bitter melon and snake gourd predominate) is a well-kept secret in a cuisine that flaunts its kebabs.

31. Al Naimat

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37-03 74th St
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
(718) 476-1100

The number of cheap cafes in Jackson Heights serving the food of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh has dwindled as the Tibetan and Nepalese presence has ramped up. And most of those remaining have switched over to buffets, where the food on a per-pound basis remains inexpensive, but who wants to eat such a compulsively humongous meal? One alternative is Al-Naimat, which magically occupies the old Jackson Diner space. Meal combinations go for under $10, and might include a light take on keema featuring chicken rather than lamb, an excellent palak paneer with abundant cheese, basmati rice, fresh-baked naan, yogurt raita, and salad.

32. Brazil Aroma

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75-13 Roosevelt Avenue
Flushing, NY 11372
(718) 672-7662

There have long been inexpensive Brazilian cafes in Astoria, peddling pao de queijo, elaborately dressed Cariocan burgers, and big Saturday servings of feijoada, the national dish of black beans and pig parts. Now a new one has scampered over to Jackson Heights. Brazil Aroma seeks to at least partly emulate the great churrascarias of Newark’s Ironbound. The buffet clocks in at $5.99 per pound, and it’s easy to fill yourself up for six bucks or so. But you’ll likely be distracted by the order window at the end of the room. Therein find a guy working a gleamingly new charcoal oven with a dozen spits, on which skewers of meat are pinned. This selection costs $7.99. The skirt steak, pork sausage, and chicken legs are terrific.

33. Kung Fu Xiao Long Bao

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59-16 Main St
Flushing, NY 11355
(718) 661-2882
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The soup dumplings are absolutely killer, and you've probably never had them with such a gossamer-thin wrapper before. Of the four varieties available, the pork version ramped up with a small amount of crabmeat ($6.95 for six) is highly recommended, but for something really unusual, check out the dessert dumplings filled with molten chocolate. Be careful not to squirt it on your shirt!

34. Hillside Dosa Hutt

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258-15 Hillside Avenue
Floral Park, NY 11004
(718) 414-4780

This Bellerose Manor offshoot of Flushing’s Dosa Hutt features the South Indian vegetarian crepes made with a fermented batter of rice and dal. Dozens of types are available (one based on cream of wheat), stuffed with potatoes, cheese, vegetables, or offered plain with a soup and coconut chutney. A full catalog of rice dishes, idly, uthapam, and chaats are also found on the menu at this informal café.

Hillside Dosa Hutt

35. Papa's Kitchen

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65-40 Woodside Ave
Woodside, NY 11377
(347) 724-9586
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The owner hails from Bicol, a region 50 miles southeast of Manila. The dining room is small and boxy, with just a handful of tables and a convivial hostess. One more thing: The karaoke is continuous. Once a customer stops singing, another picks up the cordless mic and plows onward. Highlight of a recent meal was a wonderful sinigang, a tart fish soup floating a pompano and Napa cabbage in a tamarind-laced broth. Other enjoyable dishes included crispy pata (a pair of whole pork shanks, skin-on, roasted to perfect crispness) and the national dish of chicken adobo. For a pork- and fish-intensive cuisine, there are a surprising number of vegetable-focused dishes, though vegetarians beware: these often contain fish or fermented-shrimp sauces.

36. Sky Cafe

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86-20 Whitney Ave
Elmhurst, NY 11373
(718) 651-9759
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Sky Café is a real Indonesian warung — a small family owned restaurant specializing in everyday food, often selling groceries as well. The gado gado is spectacular: a composed salad of lettuce, cabbage, tempeh, and boiled egg furnished with a spicy peanut dressing creamy with coconut milk. If you haven’t tried lontong (one of Southeast Asia’s most interesting rice-delivery systems), give lontong sayur a try, a thick soup flavored with anchovies and fried shallots, with some bonus beef rendang in its depths. Most one-plate meals run $7 or $8, a real bargain.

37. Knish Nosh Knishes & Franks

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98-104 Queens Blvd
Rego Park, NY 11374

Since 1952, Rego Park’s Knish Nosh has been enfolding tasty fillings in spongy dough and baking the heck out of them. The primary result is the Jewish snack called the knish, which was probably brought here by Polish immigrants around 1900. Knish Nosh makes them in the traditional round format — not for the pillow knishes associated with hot dog carts and Coney Island — and offers a choice of eight fillings. These include cabbage, kasha, potato, and the undefined “meat.” The innovation here is simply making them much bigger than usual. Also available are several varieties of pastry-wrapped hot dogs, including the dazzling foot-long.

Robert Sietsema

38. Christina's Polish Restaurant

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853 Manhattan Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11222

The far-ranging Greenpoint neighborhood used to be strewn with Polish lunch counters, offering Eastern European peasant fare at rock-bottom prices. A dinner of fried pork shank, coleslaw, and two scoops of mashed potatoes would be less than $10, and you’d walk away stuffed. Today, Christina’s is one of the few left, conveniently located on Manhattan Avenue near the Greenpoint Avenue G stop. The blintzes, pierogi, tripe soup, and stuffed cabbage are all up to snuff, and the beef goulash served with potato pancakes is particularly recommended. Don’t order breakfast without considering a side of kielbasa: the garlicky flavor is as satisfying as bacon.

39. Spicy Lanka

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159-23 Hillside Ave
Jamaica, NY 11432

You might not think of downtown Jamaica as being a hotbed of Sri Lankan cuisine (that designation should probably be reserved for Staten Island), but there is at least one formidable Ceylonese restaurant along Hillside’s amazing restaurant row. The premises is dark enough for a romantic date, and the food is halal at Spicy Lanka. Highlights of the menu include kothu roti, a pyramid fashioned from torn-up shreds of flatbread tossed with slivered vegetables and a main ingredient that runs to egg, chicken, mutton, shrimp, or kingfish. Other recommendations include godhamba roti (a buttery wadded flatbread), and chicken biryani, which comes embedded with boiled eggs and sided by an excellent piece of fried chicken for no apparent reason. The humongous entrees easily feed two.

40. El Comal

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14860 Hillside Ave
Jamaica, NY 11435
(718) 523-3353

The city’s foremost Salvadoran pupuseria makes them from scratch— walk in the front door and you’ll hear the “thwap, thwap, thwap” of the pupusas being hand-patted. Pick various combinations of beans, cheese, chicharron de puerco, and loroco flowers (which taste something like pickled oregano), and you’ll have yourself quite a snack or a meal, especially if you slit the things and spoon in the cortado (pickled cabbage) and squirt in the hot sauce. All sorts of other Salvadoran set meals available.

41. Bosna Express

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791 Fairview Ave
Ridgewood, NY 11385
(718) 497-7577

This Ridgewood no-frills spot under the M train Forest Avenue station specializes in the meaty snacks of the Balkans, including a mixed beef-lamb burger called pleskavica, as well as cevapi, a collection of skinless sausages served with a bun or without. Toppings include raw onions, a mild red-pepper relish called ajvar, and homemade yogurt. Salads round out the menu.

Bosna Express

42. Taqueria Izucar

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1503 Myrtle Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11237
(718) 456-0569

Number one on its lengthy list is suadero, braised veal flank (shown). It looks something like canned tuna, but the flavor is rich and subtle, especially when squirted with the green sauce from the bottle on the counter, tart and fiery. The other taquitos are worth trying, especially the oreja (ear), buche (pig stomach), and Arabe (spicy pork). Vegetarians especially will appreciate the "de papa" taco, which comes stuffed with stewed potatoes — though be forewarned a thick lard haze hangs heavy in the taqueria's air at all times. And, by the way, the tacos are only $1.25 apiece.

43. Lucy's Vietnamese Kitchen

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262 Irving Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11237
(347) 921-4062
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The menu at this former laundromat in Bushwick couldn’t be simpler: a couple of bowls of pho and a handful of banh mi sandwiches. The operators grew up in the neighborhood and this Vietnamese café is light years away stylistically from any other Southeast Asian restaurant in the five boroughs. Its modest contribution to pho-ology is using smoked brisket as the meat centerpiece of the iconic soup, which makes it a liquid species of Texas barbecue. Another is a vegetarian-based broth that sings with flavor. Lucy’s is a must-stop establishment on your food tour of Bushwick.

44. Buff Patty Restaurant & Bakery

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376 Myrtle Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11205
(718) 855-3266
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What’s the cheapest meal you can get in Ft. Greene? Probably the patty and coco bread at Buff Patty, just east of the hilly park on Myrtle. This long-running Jamaican café and bakery specializes in meat patties, the island equivalent of the empanada, with a crisp, annatto-laced dough and finely minced filling of beef, chicken, fish, or vegetables. The patty is around $1.75, and for another $1, the coco bread can be acquired to go around it. Together they constitute a full meal. The café also has a fine selection of other Jamaican food, including a delicious escovitched fish, breakfast porridges, braised oxtails, and, of course, jerk chicken. Buff Patty is one of Ft. Greene’s culinary treasures.