clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Sietsema's Favorite International Greasy Spoons

View as Map

12013_greasy_spoon_map12.jpgWhile we often associate the term "greasy spoon" with Greek diners, this list proves that nearly any nation or cultural group can launch one successfully.

All photos by Robert Sietsema

· All Posts by Robert Sietsema [~ENY~]

Read More
Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process.

Elza Fancy Food

Copy Link

Located on a side street in Brighton Beach, this small bright spot features Korean-Uzbek fare that sometimes skews toward the strange, but even then remains oddly familiar. Examples are mash-hurdy, an omelet wrapped around a mayo-slathered minute steak; and a version of chicken tabaka that reads as fried chicken swamped in an improved version of ketchup.

La Taza De Oro

Copy Link

This ancient Chelsea Latin lunch counter sports a menu that rotates by day of the week, offering pig-centric dishes as unctuous and old-fashioned as you might desire, and cut-rate espresso, too. Sit on a swiveling stool at the long formica counter for maximum enjoyment.

Downtown Bakery

Copy Link

Long ago it was an Italian bakery, then it turned into a Mexican bakery. Finally, a few tables were thrown down and a massive menu of southern Mexican peasant fare was added: enchiladas drenched in chile-based sauces, masa antojitos in multiple permutations, plus some Tex-Mex stuff thrown in for good measure, including a perfect versionof one of New York’s most elusive dishes, breakfast tacos.

David's Brisket House

Copy Link

It started in the last century as a Jewish deli, but was bought by devout Muslims early in this one. They lovingly maintained a menu consistent with both kosher and halal principals, and a premises that suggests a diner where traveling salesmen might hang – chowing down on the splendid roast brisket hero swamped in brown gravy.

Dosa Hutt

Copy Link

Can a strictly vegetarian southern Indian restaurant qualify as a greasy spoon? Step inside this long-running establishment – hard by a picturesque Hindu temple festooned with bas reliefs of the elephant-headed Ganesha – and your answer will be an emphatic “Yes!”

Laliguras Restaurant

Copy Link

Offering Nepalese, Tibetan, and even some Bhutanese fare in a greasy spoon setting, this compact spot is named for the national flower of Nepal: the red, red rhododendron.

Abidjan

Copy Link

This Ivory Coast gem under the J tracks serves up marvelous orders of lamb in peanut sauce with a side of mashed white-yam fufu, and if you squint your eyes it looks for all the world like Salisbury steak in gravy with mashed potatoes.

This Pakistani cabbie hang handily fulfills all the imperatives of a greasy spoon -- quick in and out, food ladled from a steam table and all the better for it, lots of seating jammed into a small area, and a certain shabbiness – and don’t forget cheap as hell. Upstairs room preferred.

New York Bakery

Copy Link

A tiny walk-up space in what is sometimes known as the Merchandising District – surrounded by all sorts of wholesale establishments selling cut-rate watches, crappy umbrellas, and plastic jewelry – offers a menu that combines Korean and Mexican fare. All have an engagingly thrown-together quality. And the view out the smeary window is sublime. But was it ever really a bakery?

Sapporo East

Copy Link

One of the first Japanese restaurants in the East Village’s Little Tokyo, this modest and now-shabby space has been a defacto neighborhood diner for going on 30 years. Believe it or not, the sushi isn’t awful, and their katsudon qualifies as some of the city’s greatest comfort food.

Mr. Gyros

Copy Link

Proving that a Greek restaurant doesn’t have to be a diner to be a greasy spoon, the raffish-sounding Mr. Gyros provides a full range of Greek kebabs, pastries, and mezze in a brightly lit setting at cut-rate prices in a western Astoria strip mall.

EL Nuevo Bohio

Copy Link

What is the world’s best type of grease? Lard, of course. And this Tremont Puerto Rican greasy spoon specializes in pork in all its myriad variations, from ears and tails to garlic-rubbed roast shoulder to crumbly blood sausage, at bargain prices.

Elza Fancy Food

Located on a side street in Brighton Beach, this small bright spot features Korean-Uzbek fare that sometimes skews toward the strange, but even then remains oddly familiar. Examples are mash-hurdy, an omelet wrapped around a mayo-slathered minute steak; and a version of chicken tabaka that reads as fried chicken swamped in an improved version of ketchup.

La Taza De Oro

This ancient Chelsea Latin lunch counter sports a menu that rotates by day of the week, offering pig-centric dishes as unctuous and old-fashioned as you might desire, and cut-rate espresso, too. Sit on a swiveling stool at the long formica counter for maximum enjoyment.

Downtown Bakery

Long ago it was an Italian bakery, then it turned into a Mexican bakery. Finally, a few tables were thrown down and a massive menu of southern Mexican peasant fare was added: enchiladas drenched in chile-based sauces, masa antojitos in multiple permutations, plus some Tex-Mex stuff thrown in for good measure, including a perfect versionof one of New York’s most elusive dishes, breakfast tacos.

David's Brisket House

It started in the last century as a Jewish deli, but was bought by devout Muslims early in this one. They lovingly maintained a menu consistent with both kosher and halal principals, and a premises that suggests a diner where traveling salesmen might hang – chowing down on the splendid roast brisket hero swamped in brown gravy.

Dosa Hutt

Can a strictly vegetarian southern Indian restaurant qualify as a greasy spoon? Step inside this long-running establishment – hard by a picturesque Hindu temple festooned with bas reliefs of the elephant-headed Ganesha – and your answer will be an emphatic “Yes!”

Laliguras Restaurant

Offering Nepalese, Tibetan, and even some Bhutanese fare in a greasy spoon setting, this compact spot is named for the national flower of Nepal: the red, red rhododendron.

Abidjan

This Ivory Coast gem under the J tracks serves up marvelous orders of lamb in peanut sauce with a side of mashed white-yam fufu, and if you squint your eyes it looks for all the world like Salisbury steak in gravy with mashed potatoes.

Haandi

This Pakistani cabbie hang handily fulfills all the imperatives of a greasy spoon -- quick in and out, food ladled from a steam table and all the better for it, lots of seating jammed into a small area, and a certain shabbiness – and don’t forget cheap as hell. Upstairs room preferred.

New York Bakery

A tiny walk-up space in what is sometimes known as the Merchandising District – surrounded by all sorts of wholesale establishments selling cut-rate watches, crappy umbrellas, and plastic jewelry – offers a menu that combines Korean and Mexican fare. All have an engagingly thrown-together quality. And the view out the smeary window is sublime. But was it ever really a bakery?

Sapporo East

One of the first Japanese restaurants in the East Village’s Little Tokyo, this modest and now-shabby space has been a defacto neighborhood diner for going on 30 years. Believe it or not, the sushi isn’t awful, and their katsudon qualifies as some of the city’s greatest comfort food.

Mr. Gyros

Proving that a Greek restaurant doesn’t have to be a diner to be a greasy spoon, the raffish-sounding Mr. Gyros provides a full range of Greek kebabs, pastries, and mezze in a brightly lit setting at cut-rate prices in a western Astoria strip mall.

EL Nuevo Bohio

What is the world’s best type of grease? Lard, of course. And this Tremont Puerto Rican greasy spoon specializes in pork in all its myriad variations, from ears and tails to garlic-rubbed roast shoulder to crumbly blood sausage, at bargain prices.

Related Maps