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Top 5 neighborhoods for ethnic foods...

  • a

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!

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  1. 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

      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'')

        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'')


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

      2. re: DeeDee

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

      3. j
        John N. Knoesel

        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. Astoria for Greek food
          Flushing for Chinese
          Jackson Height for Indian

          1 Reply
          1. re: meb903
            Astoria Lurker

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

          2. 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. 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

                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

                  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

                    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

                      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

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

                2. re: Captain

                  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: Peter Cherches

                      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. 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. 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. b
                      Brooklyn Boy

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

                      1. 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

                          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

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

                            1. re: racer x

                              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. 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. 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.