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Wine Director at Eleven Madison Park
This is an old standby for me. Maybe the restaurant that I have been to the most in the 7 years that I have lived in NYC. Its on the second floor of a building, no windows, there is no liquor license, and the service is nice but certainly not out going or detail-oriented. However, the food is great with an offering of Thai and Filipino tapas. I won't venture to say that they are typical or not, but they are tasty for sure. The menu doesn't change, the specials are always the same, but those are the things that I love about it. They have the best edamame I've ever had and the fried prawns dumplings are great. Don't forget to bring your own wine, and be ready to drink it out of some pretty crappy glasses, but for a cheap night out, its hard to beat.
Lebanese food is my speciality
I haven't heard much about Kuma Inn, but based on what you have to say about it they sound fantastic. Love hidden gems like this!
about 1 year ago
SoCal native, freelance writer
This made my night! I love finding these lesser known spots. Thai and Filipino tapas sounds amazing to me.
I loved the sounds of all the menu items you listed, this is right up my alley. Added it to my list!
Really loved this list and reading about Kuma, this sounds like a true hidden gem :)
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@pastryschiff Exec Pastry Chef @MaysvilleNYC & @Kentonsrestaurant New Orleans. Native New Yorker!
If I had to pick a last meal in NYC, this would be it. Lil' Frankie's has been around since before the artisanal pizza boom took the city by storm, and I still think they make some of the best wood fired pies around. It's no frills, open late, cash only and has the rock n' roll spirit of a gritty East Village from days gone by....with a crazy good wine list! I don't think there's a place in the city that holds more nostalgia for me. As a city kid trying to be cool, my high school friends and I would stop by at least once a week, plotting and scheming a way to meet the Strokes over the best margherita pie. I've celebrated my birthday here, first dates, reunions with friends, late night snacks......you name it. Lil' Frankie and his pies have always been there for me. One is perfect to share, but you'll probably just want your own!
Line cook, just moved to NYC
Reading this serious made my morning. I love hearing about peoples all time faves :) I will be sure to check Lil frankies out!
Restaurant Marketing / PR
Wheenver you feel like you've been everywhere in the EV, you find another hidden gem. Awesome piece about these guys!
Lawyer, Brooklyn native, lover of authentic ethnic foods
There's so many great pizza spots its hard to keep track of them all. This was a great endorsement of frankies I will definitely try it out.
PR and social media professional
Wow this just made my evening! Lovely post about Lil Frankies!
New York City
Founder of The Inherited Plate
For the best tacos al pastor, hit up taco mix on 116th st between 2nd and 3rd avenues. This no frills, tiny counter spot has authentic tacos, quesadillas, and off the chart spicy condiments. If you're lucky, you can have your 2nd course outside where a woman makes gorditas with everything from cheese to zucchini blossoms.
Cheap eats to fine dining and everything in between
That looks insanely good! Hole in the wall joints are universally the best tacos in teh city...I will add this to my list!
about 1 year ago
do it! this is the real deal
about 1 year ago
Passionate cook specializing in Asian cuisine
Amazing! This is definitely the right part of town for some great hole in the wall tacos. I have yet to try this place though, glad to hear about it!
so good go for it!
Bartender at CUT by Wolfgang Puck
You beat me to this answer! This place is insanely good. I have not been disappointed with anything. Plus they are open late, and they deliver, although going in person is better.
Manager at Blue Ribbon Federal Grill
This place is odd. It's dimly lit with neons left over from the 80s. The service isn't amazing and it's not super easy to find. It does however have the best soup dumplings in the city (Forget Joe's Shanghai) and the rest of the food is top notch. Pan fried noodles is my go to along with 2 - 3 orders of pork soup dumplings. Be sure to ask for chili oil with the dumplings because they sometimes forget to bring it over.
Freelance food photographer and author
It blows my mind that the lines at Joe's shanghai are always so long, Shanghai Cafe is definitely better!
Writer, culinary adventurer, originally from North Carolina
I just went here this weekend after reading your post about it, I loved the soup dumplings!
Inventory Manager at Momofuku Milk Bar
Don't forget to order the fried pork buns 'sang jeen bao'! As far as the soup dumplings go, you haven't truly experienced umami until you've had them at Shanghai Cafe.
ps- Bob Odenkirk and David Cross were eating a couple tables away last time I was there. They know what's up!
Not to be biased, but Italian food is the best
Where do you think they rank among soup dumplings spot in Chinatown? The best?
The best in Chinatown, no doubt about it.
Executive Pastry Chef at Riverpark
This place is the definition of hole in the wall. If I wasn't looking for it I might have mistook it for an abandoned apartment building. But once you walk up some dilapidated stairs leading to the entrance, you are greeted by the owner. It's a tiny spot with only 4 counter spots and enough room to hold maybe 10-15 people (you will most likely take your food to go). The Korean owner, who also speaks Spanish, told me it used to be a bakery but business was poor. So he changed it to Mexican food to attract more business. I guess they haven't gotten around to changing their storefront sign! I had the fish tacos, which were delicious. Nice sized portions and spicy. The chilaquiles were delectable too. I have only scratched the surface of the menu, but I look forward to trying it all!
NYC bartender & specialty cocktail creationist
This is definitely my favorite thing I have discovered on this list of hidden gems. Very nice writeup. Thanks for sharing!
Born in Hong Kong, Instagramaholic
This was literally my favorite thing I've read all day. Super cool find!
Corporate Chef, Altamarea Group
Coming up as a cook in New York's kitchens working a difficult schedule, I don't think I would still be alive if it weren't for Sunny and Annie's. There was a time when picking up a breakfast bagel on the way to work and an East Side Ink or a P.H.O. Real coming back home from the bar was a normal activity. Get any sandwich you want and you will not be disappointed. Plus, it's a bodega, so pick up your toilet paper, toothpaste, and cereal. I envy anyone within their delivery radius.
Definitely have lots of funky and amazing sandwiches here. Great to see these guys on the list!
Foodie, Travel Lover, Deloitte Consultant
Whatever is pictured there looks unbelievably good!
Loved reading this! Best bodega sandwich spot in the city? :)
How have I never been here? The photo of the Pho-Real made my mouth water! Thanks for sharing Amador!
Ruinart Brand Ambassador
So valid! I love this place. The Mona Lisa is my go to
AGM at The Dutch
Macdougal Street between Bleecker and West 3rd has never had much to offer in the way of food and drink aside from decent falafel and college bars, but that's changed in the last few years. The best of several new great options is Thelewala, located in a tiny storefront, up a small flight of stairs. This is amazing Indian street food. I always get the chicken phall roll - it is no joke super spicy (even though I've been going there for years, they still warn me every time since I'm a white guy). I usually balance it out with the less spicy but equally delicious smoky Gobi roll.
Hallelujah! Mamouns is about the only thing I've eaten in this area in the past few years, I will love to go check this out!
Private chef, wine lover, coffee addict
Well, I love the dutch, so I'm going to take your word that this place is dope ;)
Mmmm that chicken roll looks delish! Bring the heat!
I will definitely be trying this next time I am down there. I love hitting the dive bars on Bleecker this looks like a perfect snack for before or after.
NYC gets a lot of hate from West Coasters for not having decent Mexican food, which is total bullshit. A lot of the good stuff is a little off the beaten path for the average Manhattanite, so if you don't feel like heading out to Corona or Sunset Park, Downtown Bakery is a great option. It doesn't look like much from the outside,or from the inside for that matter, but the food is legit. The tacos are good, the tortas are some of the best in the city, and you can get a sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich for under $3.
Brooklynite, freelance journalist/photographer
Amen to that! Plenty of excellent mexican food in the city. I don't konw much about downtown bakery though I will have to check these guys out! Thanks for the tip!
I first read about them on SeriousEats, it's a totally underrated spot. Nice to see them on the list!
The EV is the mecca for these hidden gems. I added this to my list looks awesome!
Sommelier at Marea
Most of the time, when a food trend takes off in NYC, it is the result of a group of highly experienced restaurant professionals who have experienced a phenomenon somewhere else in the world, and adapted it to our unique and crazy way of dining. My favorite exception to this rule is the recent surge of high end “New York Jewish” cuisine in the form of such treasures as Russ and Daughters Café and Sadelles. One cannot forget however, the little dairy counter on second avenue that has been plugging away for decades with some of the most delicious and authentic New York cuisine. When I first moved to Manhattan, I lived on St. Marks place, had very limited resources, and no kitchen. The cornerstone of my diet at that time was B&H dairy bar. Whether it was the massive (3 or 4 egg?) omelettes stuffed to the brim with sautéed vegetables and feta served alongside a perfectly toothsome bagel smothered in cream cheese in the morning washed down with a venti sized orange beetroot carrot ginger juice, or the perfectly soft thick slabs of challah bread stacked high with whitefish salad, everything was always perfect. After a brief shutdown after the explosion on the block last year, B&H is back and better than ever. Here’s hoping it never leaves us!
Ah man I read about this during the explosion in the EV but had never been here. Loved getting some intel on it, thank you!
WOW! I had no idea this place had been around for so long. I live right in the area so I will definitely see what it's all about!
Fantastic piece about these guys! Just sent it to one of my friends who lives right by there.
Baker, Blogger, Dog-Lover
What a pleasant little discovery! This definitely seems to fit the hole in the wall category but with the history they have and coming back from the terrible tragedy last year I will be happy to support them!
This place is a go-to of mine whenever I'm looking for a really solid, not overly expensive, delicious dinner and I'm in the St. Marks Area. My go-tos are the Agadashi Tofu (some of the best I've had in the city) Saikoro Steak, Pork Gyoza and on the yakitori menu, the beef tongue, chicken balls, and chicken skin are all great. This spot is rarely good for large parties but it's relatively unknown so I've never had a hard time getting a table for 2 to 4 people even on a semi-popular night like Friday/Saturday.
Coffee addict and proud
This sounds like a nice strange assortment of foods that are all right up my alley. Yum!
Definitely my favorite of the ethnic spots on st marks. Well said!
Food & Beverage Manager for Neuehouse
I love a good hole in the wall place, especially one serving delicious Hong Kong style food late into the night. This place is great for a late night binge on Beef Chow Fun and Fried Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings as well as a nice big bowl of wonton noodle soup on a bitterly cold day. And for the slightly more adventurous eater, I highly recommend slow cooked beef tendon and tripe!
Upon walking in, you feel like you've been transported to a noodle shop off an alley way in Hong Kong. Chinese opera music blaring in the background, weird and confusing game shows that seem to have no purpose, the chef standing outside slowly sucking down his cigarette and a woman, most likely his wife, loudly clacking away on an old school calculator play as a backdrop to your dining experience in one of the many gems in Chinatown
Reading this just made my day. Amazing! Thank you!
I'm always looking for new and interesting spots to try in Chinatown -- I loved this! I will definitely be the one at the table munching on the beef tendon :)
Aspiring chef, food blogger
Love love love! I'm also a sucker for the hole in the wall spots.
I spend a disproportionate amount of my income of food
I was reading more about them online after seeing this, you can get a noodle bowl for like $4.50? God I love Chinatown!
Corporate Executive Chef of Paige Hospitality
This hole in the wall is perfect for Chinese comfort food. They have the largest selection of clay pot rice dishes. Imagine pork ribs with black bean sauce over rice! Also if you just moved into a new apt and need dishes order this to go. Every Clay pot dish thats for takeaway comes in the actual clay pot itself!
I would order this just for the clay pot, which is super cool. But wow does that look good! Great photo!
This looks amazing. Thank you for sharing!
One of my favorite ethnic eats in the city. Very glad you added to this list Stephen!
Executive Pastry Chef at Great Performances
While on a 15 mile run on a hot summer day, My girlfriend and I were about to pass out from idiocy (what's wrong with a ChefBod, I tell her) only to stumble onto the perfect Taco joint. Great flavors and generous portions. the kitchen is a converted horse stable attached to a small patio with an air-stream trailer for a "dining room". Its been my once a week go to for short rib tacos and grapefruit soda. Cool funky staff and fun atmosphere. Located in the South Street Seaport area, it get's crowded with the Financial and Tourists but definitely a good local spot for those of us how live in the area.
Hahaha lol @ chefbod. Loved this review!
Awesome description. I love this area during the spring I will definitely add this to my list to try out. Thank you!
Midwest girl, love to cook and dine out in NYC!
Reading this made my day. This will be the first spot I try down in the seaport this spring!
Executive Sous Chef at Neuman's Kitchen
In my trek to always have a good ramen place within 20 blocks of wherever I am, I came across Meijin in the UES. Offering both chicken and beef broth based dishes, Meijin consistently puts out quality ramen with very good service. Normally I stick to pork broth only but I'm willing to make an exception in this case. The wait, if there even is one, will be considerably shorter than trying to eat at Ippudo, Minca, or Totto.
Great ramen without the hour-long wait in line? Yes please! This sounds awesome!
How do you think this stacks up vs. the more well known spots like Totto, Minca, etc? Just as good? I hate the lines so I might trek out of my way if its of comparable quality.
It's not quite as good, but I like going there because it's in my area and has quality ramen. Solid flavor but it lacks some of the depth of an Ippudo or Minca. To sum it up, I wouldn't transfer trains to get here but if it's a straight shot for you I say go for it.
Any time's a good time for a margarita
One of my go to spots in the neighborhood. Not spectacular I would say but definitely very solid and a great choice when you don't want to have to wait.
Yum! Do you hav ea preference between the beef and chicken broths?
I prefer the spicy beef but the chicken is no slouch.
This is a true gem right here, kind of like a taiwanese greasy spoon tucked into Hester street. If you're hungry in Chinatown with five bucks in your pocket, May Wah is the move. They offer a larger menu if you sit in the dining room, but really you should be going for the chicken leg or pork chop over rice, or a beef noodle soup. The rice dishes come with pickled mustard greens, mouthwatering ground pork sauce, and the option of a tea boiled egg. It's not the healthiest option around, but the food is excellent.
Unhealthy taiwanese food in Chinatown? Sign me up! Great rec!
Awesome recommendation sir. Thanks for sharing!
I'm regularly surprised at how many people haven't heard of Corner Bistro these days. When I first moved here it was THE go-to burger and beer spot. Expect old school dive-bar vibes, lots of noise, less than enthusiastic bartenders and super cheap fare. The menu is simple and small but the burger is a great, classic, no frills experience. It's 8 ounces of classic Pat La Frieda broiled to tender goodness and served with lettuce, tomato, bacon and cheese served on a paper plate for $8.75. This bar also carries both of McSorley's signature brews and is well located for any night you're out and about in the West Village.
The burger seems to polarize some people who think its overrated, but I would agree that its great bang for the buck for only 9 bucks. Especially when you're hammered ;)
I think a lot of that has to do with misaligned expectations from not understanding the difference between a great no frills burger and a chef driven gourmet burger.
Amen to that!
Restaurant Consultant, former Sommelier at Le Bernardin
Also a great Late night spot to eat and drink!
Wine Director at Juni
After being in Thailand I realized that the food we are having here in NYC is not even half Thai. This place serves the closest thing to the food I have had in Thailand, except for the fried rice which you can find all over Bangkok. This is only because tourists like it, not because it is very traditional.
Must Try: Tom Yum, Chicken Pad Thai, Go Chai. Actually, try everything.... I just wish they would sell some Kerner or Verdicchio, that would make my day. Be careful with the spicy dishes (they can be Thai level spicy).
Ah I was hoping it might be BYOB, I would love to take your wine suggestions to pair with the food! :)
I would love the same :(
Media/PR, wine lover, cheese addict
So hard to fine reliably and authetnically Thai establishments. I will most certainly be checking this out, thanks for the tip Juan!
You welcome and yes please try it and let me know
Lawyer, craft beer aficianado
This was my go to Thai spot when I lived in the neighborhood glad to see it get some love on here
I've heard there's tons of good thai in this area, is this your favorite or you have any other good spots?
This spot is easy to miss if you're walking down the restaurant and bar packed street that is Macdougal between Bleeker and West 4th but this spot has never let me down. If you're not familiar with Kati Rolls, it's traditionally grilled, skewered meat on a kabob served in an Indian flatbread called roti. In layman's terms, spicy Indian burritos. They're delicious, they're inexpensive, they're spicy, they travel well (read: walk and eat) and they have vegetarian options. When I'm in the area and I'm craving a snack this is always my first choice and because no one seems to know about it, the wait is typically pretty short.
Exec Chef Quality Meats
Growing up n NYC with a single working mother, we ate out a lot. Always in the neighborhood at a place called La Taza de Oro between 14th and 15th Street on 8th Avenue, which has since closed. They served Puerto Rican Comida Criolla...so good. I recently found a little gem called El Sabroso Restaurant. It's literally in a delivery entrance hallway...a small kitchen, a few stools and one cook with a stove, cooking up all kinds of delicious things, goat, pernil, carne asada, oxtail. Super cheap and super good. Comfort food at its best.
Thanks for sharing your hidden gem with us, this sounds amazing!
11 months ago
I always look for something to surprise me when I go to a restaurant. If I find something, then it usually means I will go back. What makes this a standout is I continue to find something every time: the food, the drinks, the space, the staff, the value. The crowd has always been lively so I like the energy. Add a beverage program that matches and this is a hidden gem.
Talk about hidden gem...I lived in Soho for 3 years and never heard of this. It sounds amazing though I'll have to head back and visit my old hood!
Sounds fantastic! ANy favorite menu items you'd recommend to try when going here?
Moved to San Francisco, doing Istanbul-themed pop-ups every week with my wife at www.feastly.com/lauraandsayat
My wife and I both are cooks and we love to eat. After having a great tarte flambee at Jadis, we set on a little journey in Manhattan to decide if that really was the best tarte flambee. This is an Alsatian flatbread, traditionally served with a combination of fromage blanc and creme fraiche, lardons (cured but not smoked bacon), and sweated (not-caramelized) white onions.
We saw the amigo behind the counter, with effortless elegance and nonchalant care, prepare our third tarte flambee at Jadis, and we knew we had the right place after eating at Gabriel Kreuther, La Tarte Flambee, Cafe d'Alsace, and Benoit. Not that any of the other tarte flambees were anything close to unpalatable but Jadis's was our favorite.
Jadis also has a charcuterie program that offers great value and unapologetically pungent flavor in its pates and mousses. All other plates, mainly bistro food, are flavorful and playful, if not refined.
Definitely a great spot to satisfy your Parisian bistro craving with a touch of Alsace.
Wish I could work as an ice cream tester for Ben & Jerry's
Sounds reallly lovely! There are so many great, undiscovered places in the LES -- it's one of my favorite neighborhoods to just wander around in. I will check this out next time I'm down there!
Co-founder of RoundTable
Looks awesome. I have this and Mimi on my list.
Wine Director at Campagna & The Barn at Bedford Post Inn
For about 25 years I've been going to this Brazilian restaurant on 34 West 46Th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenue called Via Brazil!
It is not a 'Churrascaria' or a Brazilian Steakhouse, like many others around town. It offers more of the great regional Brazilian dishes, such as Chicken Stew with Okra and Polenta (my favorite), or Collard Greens and potatoes soup for reasonable prices, live piano music on the weekends and good personal service make this place my go-to for a cozy, home food!
Also, fresh Caipirinhas are made and the wines by the glass always offer something interesting from the 'Serra Gaucha' region in south of Brazil!
Wow! i had no idea they've been around for so long. Looks like a great neighborhood spot :)
I moved into this area not long ago so I will definitely be stopping by, thank you for the tip!
Man, I probably wouldve never come across this place otherwise. Thank you thank you!
Added this to my list, thanks for the recommendation!
Culinary Manager at The Brooklyn Kitchen
What a find! Just tried this place a few weeks ago and was really blown away by the experience. There seemed to be a staff of just a few passionate employees behind the lines, but my friends and I felt as though we were thoroughly wined and dined like royalty. Only one chef appeared to be putting all of the dishes together, and every item we had (which was a huge portion of the menu) was really top notch with unique flavors and interesting textures. It's a very innovative menu. The wines were all selected by the sommelier and she could not have done a better job. My friends and I tend to enjoy some unusual wines, sometimes the weird ones, and they had a great balance to their menu of off the beaten path bottles. It was obvious that the other diners had a similar appreciation for the place, and it looked as though there were many regulars who came to eat alone at the bar. Always a great sign!
Very cool and very unexpected....thanks for sharing your experience here!
12 months ago
Originally from Shenzhen region of China, living in NYC for 4+ years
I just moved to the east village and I have been amazed how much great cuisine is here, especially these less talked about but still incredible places. Looks very inviting!
Definitely a spot I have not heard much about, it sounds great though!
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