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The Hottest Restaurants in Queens Right Now, January 2015

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Whether it's authentic Tibetan food, dishes from Bhutan, or a whole food court of various Chinese offerings you seek, Queen's is like the U.N. of food, there's a bit of almost everything. Here is our guide to the 12 hottest places to try this month. Even if it's a long subway ride, remember, it's a whole lot quicker than a flight half-way around the world.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Tacuba Mexican Cantina

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35-01 36th St
Astoria, NY 11106
(718) 786-2727
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Julian Medina, the man behind the Mexican mini-empire of Toloache restaurants, opened this taco-centric cantina in Astoria. Tacos range from carne asada to spicy lobster to grasshopper, and the menu also includes dishes like nachos, ceviche, chicken mole, and fried whole snapper. [Bess Adler]

2. Kitchen 79

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37-70 79th St
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
(718) 803-6227
Robert Sietsema is impressed by this new southern Thai restaurant in Jackson Heights. There, he says, you'll find dishes "rarely seen" in New York, like gaeng tai pla, "a dark and brooding fish curry heavily accented with chiles...One bite and you'll wrinkle up your nose; by the second you may or may not love it." [Paul Crispin Quitoriano]

3. Dumpling Galaxy

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42-35 Main Street
Flushing, NY 11355
(718) 461-0808
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There are over 100 different kinds of dumplings at this much buzzed about restaurant in Flushing's Arcadia Mall. Helen You, the owner, began exploring filling options at Tianjin Dumpling, her stall in the nearby Golden Shopping Mall, but this is her first full-service restaurant, and her first chance to go all out with dumpling creativity. Fillings range from the classic pork and chive to tofu with crab roe, or lamb and celery. [Yelp]

4. The Bonnie

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29-12 23rd Ave
Astoria, NY 11105
The team behind several popular local spots, including Sweet Afton and the Penrose opened this restaurant/cocktail bar as their latest project. The menu includes pub fare like fried pickles, seafood pie, and a burger. [Facebook]

5. Paet Rio

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81-10 Broadway
Queens, NY 11373
(917) 832-6672
Phimploy Likitsansook, the woman behind Wondee Siam in Hell's Kitchen, opened this Thai restaurant in August. In a recent review, Ligaya Mishan notes that much of the menu here is the spicier food found on the "secret menu" at Wondee. Favorites include the khua kling (a dry pork belly curry), the khao soi (noodles in coconut broth), and the miang kha-na (a salad of Chinese broccoli leaves, pork, peanuts, and chilies). [Facebook]

6. El Coyote

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70-09 Austin St
Forest Hills, NY 11375
This Mexican mini-chain with locations in Jackson Heights and Connecticut opened its newest outpost in Forest Hills. The menu is mostly standard American Mexican fare like fajitas and chimichangas, plus larger meat entrees like mole poblano chicken and cochinita pibil (pork slow-cooked in banana leaves). There's also one novelty cocktail: the lime boat margarita, which is a regular margarita with an extra shot of tequila floating in half a hollowed out lime. [Facebook]

7. Mu Ramen

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1209 Jackson Ave
Queens, NY 11101
(917) 868-8903
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Joshua and Heidy Smookler's first brick and mortar ramen-ya changes its menu regularly, but expect stellar and creative renditions of ramen, plus foie gras-stuffed wings, and possibly quite a few truffles. Call the day of for a reservation, or be prepared to wait for a table. [Courtesy of Mu Ramen]

8. End of the Century Bar

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104-08 Metropolitan Avenue
Flushing, NY 11375
718-544-1624
Ian Present, Sofia Present, and Valentin Gonzalez, vets of Pegu Club, PKNY, and Maison Premiere are hoping to bring the cocktail revolution to Queens with this new tiki bar/cocktail lounge. [Google Street View]

9. Gakyizompe Restaurant

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47-11 47th Ave
Sunnyside, NY
The menu at this Robert Sietsema recommended spot "offers not only standard Tibetan fare, but Nepalese and Bhutanese dishes." Try the mutton thali, several curries, and vegetarian momo. Many of the dishes come in at a cool $6. [Paul Crispin Quitoriano]

10. Bhutanese Ema Datsi Restaurant

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67-21 Woodside Ave
Woodside, NY 11377
(718) 458-8588
Trained monk Lekay Drakpa recently opened what he calls the only Bhutanese restaurant in New York. The menu offers chili dried pork, several rice dishes, and the national food of Bhutan, which is also the restaurant’s namesake, Ema Datsi, a mix of cheese and chiles. Rounding out the offerings are some Indian and Tibetan dishes. [Yelp]

11. Spicy Tibet

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75-04 Roosevelt Avenue
Flushing, NY 11372
Owners of Friends Corner Cafe opened Spicy Tibet right down the street late in 2014. At the new, larger space, there’s an expanded menu that includes a number of hearty soups, dropa khatsa (tripe marinated in spices), and something curiously called “American” chop suey. Some favorites like the original restaurant’s momos made their to the new place too. [Wikicommons]

12. New York Food Court 紐約美食廣場

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133-35 Roosevelt Ave
Flushing, NY 11354
The newest food court to hit Flushing is pretty similar to longtime favorite New World Mall, but Queen’s-based food blogger Joe DiStefano still finds a few dishes worth checking out here. He says the spicy cold noodles from Szechuan Taste, No. 25, “might be the best $3.75 I’ve ever spent in Flushing.” Food courts like this are best enjoyed with a group, so you can try lots of things. [Yelp]

1. Tacuba Mexican Cantina

35-01 36th St, Astoria, NY 11106
Julian Medina, the man behind the Mexican mini-empire of Toloache restaurants, opened this taco-centric cantina in Astoria. Tacos range from carne asada to spicy lobster to grasshopper, and the menu also includes dishes like nachos, ceviche, chicken mole, and fried whole snapper. [Bess Adler]
35-01 36th St
Astoria, NY 11106

2. Kitchen 79

37-70 79th St, Jackson Heights, NY 11372
Read Review |
Robert Sietsema is impressed by this new southern Thai restaurant in Jackson Heights. There, he says, you'll find dishes "rarely seen" in New York, like gaeng tai pla, "a dark and brooding fish curry heavily accented with chiles...One bite and you'll wrinkle up your nose; by the second you may or may not love it." [Paul Crispin Quitoriano]
37-70 79th St
Jackson Heights, NY 11372

3. Dumpling Galaxy

42-35 Main Street, Flushing, NY 11355
There are over 100 different kinds of dumplings at this much buzzed about restaurant in Flushing's Arcadia Mall. Helen You, the owner, began exploring filling options at Tianjin Dumpling, her stall in the nearby Golden Shopping Mall, but this is her first full-service restaurant, and her first chance to go all out with dumpling creativity. Fillings range from the classic pork and chive to tofu with crab roe, or lamb and celery. [Yelp]
42-35 Main Street
Flushing, NY 11355

4. The Bonnie

29-12 23rd Ave, Astoria, NY 11105
The team behind several popular local spots, including Sweet Afton and the Penrose opened this restaurant/cocktail bar as their latest project. The menu includes pub fare like fried pickles, seafood pie, and a burger. [Facebook]
29-12 23rd Ave
Astoria, NY 11105

5. Paet Rio

81-10 Broadway, Queens, NY 11373
Phimploy Likitsansook, the woman behind Wondee Siam in Hell's Kitchen, opened this Thai restaurant in August. In a recent review, Ligaya Mishan notes that much of the menu here is the spicier food found on the "secret menu" at Wondee. Favorites include the khua kling (a dry pork belly curry), the khao soi (noodles in coconut broth), and the miang kha-na (a salad of Chinese broccoli leaves, pork, peanuts, and chilies). [Facebook]
81-10 Broadway
Queens, NY 11373

6. El Coyote

70-09 Austin St, Forest Hills, NY 11375
This Mexican mini-chain with locations in Jackson Heights and Connecticut opened its newest outpost in Forest Hills. The menu is mostly standard American Mexican fare like fajitas and chimichangas, plus larger meat entrees like mole poblano chicken and cochinita pibil (pork slow-cooked in banana leaves). There's also one novelty cocktail: the lime boat margarita, which is a regular margarita with an extra shot of tequila floating in half a hollowed out lime. [Facebook]
70-09 Austin St
Forest Hills, NY 11375

7. Mu Ramen

1209 Jackson Ave, Queens, NY 11101
Joshua and Heidy Smookler's first brick and mortar ramen-ya changes its menu regularly, but expect stellar and creative renditions of ramen, plus foie gras-stuffed wings, and possibly quite a few truffles. Call the day of for a reservation, or be prepared to wait for a table. [Courtesy of Mu Ramen]
1209 Jackson Ave
Queens, NY 11101

8. End of the Century Bar

104-08 Metropolitan Avenue, Flushing, NY 11375
Ian Present, Sofia Present, and Valentin Gonzalez, vets of Pegu Club, PKNY, and Maison Premiere are hoping to bring the cocktail revolution to Queens with this new tiki bar/cocktail lounge. [Google Street View]
104-08 Metropolitan Avenue
Flushing, NY 11375

9. Gakyizompe Restaurant

47-11 47th Ave, Sunnyside, NY
Read Review |
The menu at this Robert Sietsema recommended spot "offers not only standard Tibetan fare, but Nepalese and Bhutanese dishes." Try the mutton thali, several curries, and vegetarian momo. Many of the dishes come in at a cool $6. [Paul Crispin Quitoriano]
47-11 47th Ave
Sunnyside, NY

10. Bhutanese Ema Datsi Restaurant

67-21 Woodside Ave, Woodside, NY 11377
Read Review |
Trained monk Lekay Drakpa recently opened what he calls the only Bhutanese restaurant in New York. The menu offers chili dried pork, several rice dishes, and the national food of Bhutan, which is also the restaurant’s namesake, Ema Datsi, a mix of cheese and chiles. Rounding out the offerings are some Indian and Tibetan dishes. [Yelp]
67-21 Woodside Ave
Woodside, NY 11377

11. Spicy Tibet

75-04 Roosevelt Avenue, Flushing, NY 11372
Owners of Friends Corner Cafe opened Spicy Tibet right down the street late in 2014. At the new, larger space, there’s an expanded menu that includes a number of hearty soups, dropa khatsa (tripe marinated in spices), and something curiously called “American” chop suey. Some favorites like the original restaurant’s momos made their to the new place too. [Wikicommons]
75-04 Roosevelt Avenue
Flushing, NY 11372

12. New York Food Court 紐約美食廣場

133-35 Roosevelt Ave, Flushing, NY 11354
The newest food court to hit Flushing is pretty similar to longtime favorite New World Mall, but Queen’s-based food blogger Joe DiStefano still finds a few dishes worth checking out here. He says the spicy cold noodles from Szechuan Taste, No. 25, “might be the best $3.75 I’ve ever spent in Flushing.” Food courts like this are best enjoyed with a group, so you can try lots of things. [Yelp]
133-35 Roosevelt Ave
Flushing, NY 11354

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