The Big Apple is considered an international mecca for foodies. Home to hundreds (maybe thousands) of ethnic cultures, New York makes an excellent haven for authentic food. So when visiting this great city, don’t eat at the Olive Garden or The Cheesecake Factory, instead, explore the lesser known neighborhoods (mostly in the other boroughs besides Manhattan). Here are the 15 best neighborhoods in New York for foodies.
1. Chinatown (Manhattan)
Visiting Chinatown in Manhattan is a must-do for every foodie. There is nothing like walking the streets to see roasted ducks hanging in the windows and the smell of dumplings wafting through the air. Be sure to stop by one of the many pastry shops and sample something you’ve never had (or heard of).
2. Chinatown (Flushing, Queens)
If you want the genuine Chinatown experience then ditch Manhattan and take the F train to Flushing, Queens. You will feel like you’ve just arrived to a different country and be enamored by plasters of Chinese writings. This neighborhood is so authentic that some of the menus don’t even offer English translations.
Suggestions: Go to the The New World Mall and visit the underground food court. You’ll never want to leave.
3. Little Italy (Manhattan)
Adjacent to Chinatown on Mulberry Street is a scenic and charming street lined with Italian markets and cafes. You can experience upscale dining over your seafood risotto out on the patio. The downside is that this area is also a tourist destination. This means the prices are higher than average and some cafes will tweak their menu to cater to *ahem* boring people with bland taste buds. It’s all about knowing exactly where to go for an authentic meal.
4. Little Italy (Arthur Avenue, The Bronx)
Want to experience REAL Italian food without the fuss of a snooty waiter? Head down to Arthur Avenue to the original Little Italy in the Bronx. There you can see more of a mafioso crowd slurping their pasta. Butcher shops will have Italian sausages hanging from the ceilings with a suspicious meat grinder in the back. Oh, and it’s way more affordable to dine here than Manhattan because the prices are suited for locals rather than tourists.
5. Little Poland (Greenpoint, Brooklyn)
Although it’s not officially called Little Poland, locals refer to Greenpoint, Brooklyn as Little Poland due to its large community of working-class Polish immigrants. Naturally, this means the neighborhood is full of shops and restaurants where you’ll hear locals conversing in Polish. This is a charming spot to sample the authentic pierogies that their grandmothers used to make.
6. Little Senegal (Harlem, Manhattan)
Many city dwellers also call this place by its French name Le Petit Senegal and it’s home to a large community of West Africans immigrants. So explore your tastebuds and try the Ceebu or Yassa. Heck, just try anything on the menus and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
7. Little Manila (Woodside, Queens)
This small neighborhood has a decent amount of Filipino cafes serving authentic dishes. Many people will be surprised to find out that Filipino dishes are similar to Spanish cuisine. So sample their version of paella or their adobo.
8. Little Guyana (Richmond Hill, Queens)
There is no spot on this country to get truer authentic West Indian food than Little Guyana in Queens. You’ll see the streets adorned with exotic vegetables, fruits, and herbs and bee eating the same meals the locals call “comfort food.”
9. Spanish Harlem (Manhattan)
East Harlem is home to many immigrants of Hispanic nationality, and this is your chance to try out fantastic options by eating Puerto Rican, Dominician, Salvadorean, and Mexican dishes.
10. Borough Bark Jewish Neighborhood (Williamsburg, Brooklyn)
Want the best smoked salmon platter on the face of the planet? Then visit NYC’s Jewish neighborhoods including Williamsburg. Home to a large community of ultra orthodox Jews (and more recently, hipsters), you’ll find the streets lined with kosher cafes serving lox or kebabs. Ditch Einstein Bros, and try a real New York bagel.
11. Little Ireland (Woodlawn, The Bronx)
Right behind the famous Van Cortlandt graveyard lies sleepy Little Ireland in the Bronx. Laden with pubs and shops, you can experience the best that Ireland has to offer outside of the country. Don’t go overboard with the brewski though.
12. Little Odessa (Brighton Beach, Brooklyn)
Not far from Coney Island lies Little Odessa in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. This Polish neighborhood harbors all the best authentic pierogies and kielbasa.
13. Little India (Jackson Heights, Queens)
Although Manhattan has its own “Curry Row,” it’s advised for serious foodies to check out Little India in Jackson Heights. Walking down the street will make your mouth water as you smell the spices flowing from the shops. Beware, some food may be spicier than Manhattan’s restaurants.
14. Greek Town (Astoria, Queens)
Most non-Greeks think that authentic Greek food involves gyros and falafels. But true Greeks (especially in Astoria) will tell you that their main cuisine is made up of seafood and cheese. So try the Saganaki or the soupy Bourdeto, and everything you thought you knew about Greek food will be forever changed (for the better).
15. Koreatown (Manhattan)
Koreatown is a fabulous destination to visit to try out various Korean barbeques and buns. While you’re at it, why not try out one of the many karaoke clubs?