Picking a favorite New York City neighborhood to eat in is like trying to single out the best Seinfeld episode. How do you choose when they're all so good? But for the pickier foodies amongst us, there are a few areas in New York that stand out amongst the rest, housing unique eateries that reliably satisfy (and induce the most delectable of food comas in) even the most discerning of customers. Whether you're a traveler or a local, dining in one of these neighborhoods will be an experience you won't soon forget.
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Here are the 10 best foodie neighborhoods in New York City:
10 East Village
Boasting a mouthwatering diversity of food options, East Village is the perfect place to go when you aren't quite sure what you're craving (we all know that strange type of hunger that seems to scream for sashimi, French pastries and tacos all at once).
From the Taiwanese eateries to the BBQ hot spots to the ramen bars, the streets of East Village are menus in themselves, allowing you to peruse a vast array of cuisines while you try to decipher the strange messages your stomach is sending to your brain. If you're not sure what to try, Momofuku Noodle Bar (for ramen and steamed buns) and Veselka (for 24/7 Ukrainian eats) are reliable crowd pleasers.
Often referred to as Little Poland, Brooklyn's Greenpoint is home to a large Polish community—and some of the best pirogies in town (Karczma never disappoints). But it's not just the Polish eateries and meat markets that have put this neighbourhood on the foodie map.
Greenpoint boasts old school diners, ramen bars and pizza joints that regularly lure New Yorkers to northern Brooklyn when stomachs start to growl. Three particularly revered restaurants are Di An Di (for Vietnamese food), Oxomoco (a Mexican eatery) and Paulie Gee's Slice Shop (for pizza by the slice).
8 West Village
A cultural hot spot in New York City, West Village showcases not only music venues, historic landmarks and trendy boutiques (and for TV aficionados, the Friends apartment), but also some of the most famous eats in Manhattan.
Due to the tourist traffic, you might have to put up with some lines, but the tried and true eateries of this historic neighborhood reliably impress. The Spotted Pig is a crowd favorite for its Roquefort burger and Buvette serves French fare 18 hours a day.
Although it's most famous for its Greek restaurants, Astoria has become a place to sample cuisine from all over the world. Whether you feel like Egyptian, Colombian, Greek, Pakistani or Lebanese food, Queens's Astoria has it all, and its quieter, residential atmosphere offers a break from the busy, taxi-lined streets of Manhattan.
The buzzing vegetable stands, towering Chinese signs and Asian eateries of Flushing come together to create a unique atmosphere that feels more like a busy street in Beijing than the easternmost stop on the 7 train in Queens. One of nine Chinatowns in New York City, this area boasts some of the best Chinese food in town.
From noodles to egg tarts to dim sum, the cuisine in this neighborhood hails from many different regions of China, and there are also some Indian and Korean eateries in the area that are well-worth trying. You'll find plenty of good food to eat wandering Flushing's Main Street, but if you aren't sure where to go, White Bear is a must-visit for its spicy wontons (don't worry, it's got nothing to do with the unsettling Black Mirror episode of the same name) and Tian Jin Dumpling House is another crowd-pleaser (for—you guessed it—dumplings).
The hipster culture in Williamsburg evokes admiration in many (and judgemental eye-rolls in others), but most everyone can agree that the food scene in this unique Brooklyn neighbourhood is top-notch. From acclaimed steakhouses to award-winning Moroccan food, Williamsburg will satisfy most any craving.
For comfort food, the fried chicken and waffles at Pies-n-Thighs are hard to beat, and if you feel like trying something different, the maze-like atmosphere of the Japanese restaurant Zenkichi offers a unique dining experience.
Nestled in the midst of Midtown Manhattan, Koreatown may be small, but it boasts a vast array of restaurants that serve everything from Korean barbecue to stir-fried glass noodles.
For the night owls amongst us, many restaurants in the area are now open 24/7, allowing diners to enjoy Korean cuisine during the small hours of the morning (which is particularly handy after late-night karaoke session). If you're craving dumplings, Mandoo Bar is a must-try, and for tofu dishes, BCD Tofu House is always reliable.
It may be best known for soul food, but Harlem is also home to a diverse selection of eateries that serve food from East Africa, Japan, Italy, Puerto Rico and countless other countries.
If you're craving Japanese, you can watch the chef prepare your meal at the Michelin-starred restaurant Sushi Inoue, and for homemade Rugelach (a Jewish pastry that will melt your tastebuds with its deliciousness) Lee Lee's Baked Goods is a must-visit. And of course, Sylvia's is as much a restaurant as a historical landmark at this point, boasting not just heart-warming Southern food, but also a collection of portraits featuring the countless politicians and celebrities who have dined within its walls.
From the packed eateries of its famous market to its buzzing brunch spots, Chelsea has become a well-known destination in New York for its food culture. A must-visit site for tourists and locals alike, Chelsea Market is one of the most famous spots in the neighborhood, showcasing unique food choices such as Asian tacos at Takumi Taco and charred cauliflower heads at Miznon.
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Both inside and outside the market, Chelsea is home to a large selection of well-reviewed Japanese restaurants, including Morimoto, a creation of Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, and Ushiwakamaru, a popular destination for sushi-lovers. And for the bagel-lovers amongst us (so, all of us, right?), it's hard to beat the hand-rolled bagels of Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company (which, funnily enough, doesn't actually have any locations in Brooklyn).
If you're in the mood for Chinese food, it's hard to go wrong with the restaurants of Chinatown. From the dim sum of Nom Wah Tea Parlor to the noodle soups of Spicy Village, this Manhattan neighborhood is home to a wide selection of restaurants that allow visitors to sample dishes from many different provinces in China.
However, Chinatown is also home to a variety of other cuisines. It may be best-known for its Chinese food, but many popular eateries have opened in the area that offer everything from Mexican food (Lalito) to French-Malaysian fare (Aux Epices).