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Top 5 neighborhoods for ethnic foods...

amandas1228 May 3, 2005 10:17 AM

For a Manhattanite wanting to branch out, what are the top five neighborhoods to visit in Brooklyn and Queens for interesting and AUTHENTIC ethnic foods? Could be any type of food, I'm very adventurous and I need to venture outside of Manhattan!

  1. p
    Peter Cherches May 11, 2007 04:54 PM

    So, several people have recommended Mexican food in Sunset Park. Maybe there are good tacos and tortas at some of the bakeries and bodegas, but is there a single great sit-down Mexican restaurant out there? If there is I certainly haven't found it.

    1. janie May 11, 2007 04:11 PM

      If I had to choose 5 neigborhoods, I would go to 2 places in Queens, 2 in Brooklyn, 1 in the Bronx, and 1 in Staten Island...I can reccomend my 2 destinations for dependable excellence in Queens, and lots of way for you to be adventurous...and budget conscious as well....my 2 queens picks..Woodside for Thai, Sripiphrai..(tons of postings on Chowhound..see my posts and you'll see my favorite dishes there--and more from more adventurous eaters than myself)---and Flushing for Authentic Szechuan Chinese..Spicy and Tasty (tons of postings, and again see my posts for my specifics about dishes)---I would certainly imagine you'll get some Arthur Ave suggestions for the Bronx, and I'm sure Staten Island has something special to offer...the poor forgotten borough...as far as Brooklyn....tons of posts, from downscale to upscale..-----I think you should read through the outer borougs board a bit...and see what interests you..the question is rather broad..in my opinion, Astoria is a Greek neighborhood, although I've yet to have good Greek food there..I've found it elsewhere...but I have found Great Greek pastries and staples at the food markets there....Rego Park, is very Bukharian, and if you like that sort of food, then there are several places there that would interest you...it's kinda like asking where Little Italy is in Manhattan and then you there, and the food sucks...so, sometimes you find the best ethnic examples, out of the main drags....Also, ethnic is a broad term, everything is ethnic in NY, from Jewish Deli, to Chinese, Thai, Indian, Chinese Indian, Turkish, Greek, Cuban, Spanish, Korean, Southern USA!!!--Real Barbecue!!, tell us where you go in Manhattan and we'll have a better idea where to send you???

      1. t
        tigerwoman May 5, 2005 05:04 AM

        Flushing Chinatown - Malaysian, Chinese, Vietamese, Taiwanese, Fukanese, and more...

        Astoria for Greek and Mediteranian

        Jackson Heights for Indian, South American & Asian (Thai, More Chinese, Vietnamese)

        Sunset Park in Brooklyn for Asian

        Brighton Beach in Brooklyn for Russian

        Forest Hills/Rego Park for Jewish Russian or former Soviet Block food

        Corona Heights (Queens) for Italian

        Greenpoint Brooklyn for Polish/Eastern European

        Arthur Avenue in the Bronx for Italian Specialities

        Liberty Avenue in Queens for West Indian

        the list goes on... New York = Food Diversity

        3 Replies
        1. re: tigerwoman
          Eric Eto May 5, 2005 05:02 PM

          To expand on this:

          Flushing: Korean, Sichuan
          Astoria: Egyptian (north of 28th Ave)
          Jackson Heights: Mexican, Ecuadorian, Colombian, Argentine
          Sunset Park: Mexican, Chinese
          Bensonhurst: Vietnamese
          Corona: Peruvian, Mexican, Italian
          Elmhurst: Thai, Indonesian, Chinese, Peruvian, some African, Argentine
          Glendale: German
          Richmond Hill: Indian
          Woodside: Filipino, Thai
          Bayside: Korean

          1. re: Eric Eto
            racer x May 9, 2007 04:50 PM

            AFRICAN in Elmhurst? How did I miss that? What place(s) are you referring to?

            1. re: racer x
              JH Jill May 11, 2007 10:29 PM

              I haven't seen any restaurants there myself (and I'm married to a Ghanaian), but Eric may say that because of the area around Lefrak City. We go to a shop on 57th Ave a block and a half from Junction to get our food supplies, and I know there is another one in the basement of one of the Lefrak Buildings off 57th Ave. A number of West Africans I know who have been here a long time first lived in Lefrak, and it is full of Ghanians today. The Food Bazaar on 57th also has a lot of interesting African and Caribbean produce and lots of Caribbean products. Strange that there aren't more restaurants around, but people tend to cook at home.

        2. b
          Brooklyn Boy May 3, 2005 05:02 PM

          If you like Polish food, then Greenpoint is a must. Take the G train to Nassau and walk north.

          1. d
            DeeDee May 3, 2005 04:17 PM

            I would also recommend the Flatbush neighborhood in Brooklyn for the best and most authentic Caribbean food around. My personal favorite is Nio's on Church Avenue -- great rotis and doubles.

            1. d
              Dave May 3, 2005 04:00 PM

              Bay Ridge has a great mixture if you're looking for Greek, Viatnamese, Malaysian and Middle Eastern. There may not be a huge amount of diversity but the places we do have are some of the best in the 5 boroughs.

              1. c
                Captain May 3, 2005 03:15 PM

                My top three in Queens below.

                Jackson Heights is number one on my list, not jsut because you can get Indian. You can also get other cuisines like Ecuadorian and other Latin American cuisines. Plus is has a smattering of non-Indian Asian restaurants, Malaysian, Korean, etc.

                Flushing and Astoria are next.

                Astoria has a number of good restaurants with different European cuisines, Italian, Istrian, Greek, Bosnian, etc. It also has a great number of Latin American restaurants, Brazilian, Mexican, Ecuadorian, Colombian, etc., and a few Asian (mostly Thai and Middle Eastern) places that are pretty good. It misses Indian and anything from Eastern Asian, but oh well.

                Flushing is heaven for someone looking for Eastern Asian food. Enough Korean and Chinese to make anyone happy, if you can find your way around.

                8 Replies
                1. re: Captain
                  Harlan May 4, 2005 12:51 PM

                  I certainly agree about Jackson Heights...

                  Regarding Astoria, you said:

                  Astoria has a number of good restaurants with different European cuisines, Italian, Istrian, Greek, Bosnian, etc. It also has a great number of Latin American restaurants, Brazilian, Mexican, Ecuadorian, Colombian, etc., and a few Asian (mostly Thai and Middle Eastern) places that are pretty good. It misses Indian and anything from Eastern Asian, but oh well.

                  What is "Istrian"?

                  There are decent neighborhood-grade Indian and E. Asian places (Ghandi, on 30th, and JJ's, on I think 31st?), but neither are worth a trip from Manhattan. (There are also any number of inedible take-out Chinese and bargain-basement sushi places, too, of course.)

                  Regarding the original question, Astoria has a number of good restaurants, but the good ones are fairly widely scattered. The good places in places like Jackson Heights and Elmhurst are much closer to each other...

                  1. re: Harlan
                    Captain May 4, 2005 03:25 PM

                    Well most of the Istrian places could also be considered Italian. But Istria is the area that was once part of Italy, then most of it became part of Yugoslavia after WWII. Find Trieste on a map, and you're there.

                    I cannot call Astoria's take-out Chinese food inedible, because I have lived on it from time to time. It was late, they were open, right there, and I was hungry. But these are not places worth walking a few blocks out of the way for. Does that disqualify me from ever being considered a true chowhound?

                    Never really explored Elmhurst. My reading of this board have made me aware that it far surpasses Astoria with regard to the quality of certain cuisines, most Asian for example.

                    1. re: Captain
                      Peter Cherches May 11, 2007 04:53 PM

                      As far as Istrian is concerned, Istria Sports club was awful on my recent first & last visit. Piccola Venezia was great when I went some years ago, but it's pretty pricey. What other Istrian places are there?


                      1. re: Peter Cherches
                        hatless May 11, 2007 07:20 PM

                        There's another social club: Rudar, on 34th Ave. around 45th. I just moved back to the nabe after years away and haven't been yet, so I can't speak for how good it is.

                        1. re: hatless
                          Peter Cherches May 12, 2007 06:58 AM

                          Thanks. If nothing else, Rudar has a much more interesting menu than Istrian Sports club. I'll have to try it.

                  2. re: Captain
                    Astoria Lurker May 12, 2007 12:47 PM

                    For the sheer variety of ethnicities, Astoria can't be beat. Sure, there may be more variety of Latin American food in Jackson Heights, but in Astoria you can get world class Italian (L'Incontro, Piccola Venezia), great Greek (Agnanti, Cyclades, S'Agapo), the best Brazilian in NYC (Malagueta, Sabor Tropical), very good Mexican (Tacos Mexico, Viva El Mariachi, Luna), Egyptian (Kebab Cafe, Mombar, Sabrys), Moroccan (Jouir Et Nuit), Peruvian (Raices), Chilean (San Antonio Bakery), good neighborhood Thai (Thai Pavilion, Wave), and the best Bosian available anywhere (Ukus, Djerdan, Old Bridge etc) and more. I can't think of any neighborhood in NYC that even comes close.

                    1. re: Astoria Lurker
                      Peter Cherches May 12, 2007 03:22 PM

                      Tell us about Bosnian food.

                      1. re: Peter Cherches
                        Astoria Lurker May 12, 2007 04:26 PM

                        Read this thread for some more info:


                        The Bosnian food available in Astoria focus on grilled meats (like cevapi) and burek, which is kind of like pizza, but with a kind of buttery, flaky dough. Cevabdzinica Sarajevo, which is near the Museum of Moving Image and Kaufman Astoria Studios has been well known on this board for years.

                  3. r
                    Rita May 3, 2005 01:03 PM

                    Atlantic Ave--Middle Eastern food. There are several restaurants to choose from--Personally I like Waterfalls which is between Clinton and Henry, but there are several others all around there.

                    1. m
                      meb903 May 3, 2005 12:08 PM

                      Astoria for Greek food
                      Flushing for Chinese
                      Jackson Height for Indian

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: meb903
                        Astoria Lurker May 3, 2005 09:29 PM

                        Astoria for Greek AND Italian (Ponticello, Trattoria L'Incontro, Piccola Venezia etc)

                      2. j
                        John N. Knoesel May 3, 2005 12:02 PM

                        Main Street Flushing.
                        Joe's Shanghai ( Soup Buns )
                        Spicy and Tasty ( Smoked Tea Duck )
                        Bubble Teas at Sago Cafe
                        Korean BBQ's all over the place
                        East Buffet

                        1. d
                          DeeDee May 3, 2005 10:20 AM

                          In Brooklyn

                          Sunset Park for Mexican food
                          Flatbush for Carribean food (highly recommend Nio's on Church Avenue for roti's and doubles)

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: DeeDee
                            Peter Cuce May 3, 2005 10:40 AM

                            Sunset Park is a huge neighborhood. To be more specific, 5th Ave between roughly 45th and 55th for Latin and Mexican food, although Roosevelt Avenue in Queens might be somewhat better for this.
                            However, Sunset Park has the largest concentration of Vietnamese in NYC, so if you hit 8th Ave between roughly 45th and 60th, with some outposts on 7th Ave between 55th and 60th, and Ba Xuyen at 43rd & 8th, you'll cover that pretty well. Brooklyn Chinatown, clustered on these same streets, doesn't have much in the way of noteworthy food, but there are an awful lot of bakeries, some of them offering interesting takes on the standard Chinese bakery items.

                            1. re: Peter Cuce
                              Amin (London Foodie ''OrientRice@aol.com'') May 3, 2005 12:52 PM

                              Hi Peter,

                              QQ: ''Sunset Park has the largest concentration of Vietnamese in NYC, so if you hit 8th Ave between roughly 45th and 60th, with some outposts on 7th Ave between 55th and 60th'' UQ

                              I posted on the General board on Apr 30th, a topic
                              titled ''Melange of Cultures: US/Canada/UK/Europe''
                              It's slightly longish (my posts tend to be so), but
                              would appreciate if you could please provide some
                              valuable input, and maybe others will soon follow as

                              This OP's request is slightly different from my post,
                              so am sure that both would be of benefit to other
                              hounds as well.

                              Many thanks/Amin

                              1. re: Amin (London Foodie ''OrientRice@aol.com'')
                                josh L May 5, 2005 10:35 AM


                                Why don't you take a trip to Sunset Park and see it for yourself? Let us know what you discover.

                            2. re: DeeDee
                              amandas1228 May 4, 2005 06:32 PM

                              Thanks, everyone- I can't wait to go to some of these places. I especially love Indian- what;s the best in Jackson Heights??

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