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3 weeks in Sunnyside - the Queens eating adventure

It's a long story, but for various reasons I find myself living in a sublet in Queens until May 1st, right near the 46th St/Bliss stop on the 7 train. I keep hearing how Queens is now the place to go for the best ethnic food in the city, so tell me - where exactly do I go? When I say "ethnic" I mean just about anything short of burgers & fries (though if it's a really good burger & fries, I'll make an exception), preferably not too pricey, and I'd love to find great examples of cuisines that are harder to find around Manhattan (I keep hearing about Romanian places near here?). Recs for both my immediate area (44th St & 47th Ave, there seem to be a lot of S. American chicken places around) and greater Queens are much appreciated. I'm excited to be on the same subway line as Flushing; definitely going to spend some quality time exploring the Chinese places out there. So tell me - what's not to miss in Queens?

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  1. it's not super adventurous, but when you're feeling lazy, take out from i am thai is pretty darned good.
    their spicy is spicy. and when you don't feel like heading to sripraphai (or if it's too late, or a wednesday), it really hits the spot.

    i've noticed that their steamed veggie dumplings aren't as insanely delicious as they used to be (a little greasy these days and veggie / skin ratio is out of whack now), but I don't hold it against them.

    3 Replies
    1. re: tracyk

      Is that all we can do for Sunnyside? OK, let's see, Mexican El Mole, or the taco trucks on Queens blvd. We are close to Jackson Heights, so you can go to Coatzingo on roosevelt, South asian to the heights too, try the Indian buffets on 74th street for lunch. and For dinner there is Spicy Mina's in Woodside. Son Thai is good vietnamese in JH too, all within walking distance. Sripraphai is the most famous Thai in our area, so you should have lunch there. "Best Burger in NYC" at Donovan's on roosevelt also in woodside. All of those if you wan to take a enjoyable walk from where your staying, not to forget El Flor on Roosevelt, one of my favorites. Up the block from you are Quaint, which has nice specials; and also Romainian Gardens on Skillman. Go to Pio Pio Rico on the other side of the Blvd for Peruvian. You can have a good glass of wine and a snack on the corner of skillman and 46th at Claret. There are two good turkish in Sunnyside, Mangal for take out and Turkish grill on Queens blvd. I'm sure others can expand the list, these are just some of my favorites.

      1. re: Paulomet

        It's De Mole, and it's a favorite. I am Thai is okay for inexpensive takeout, but it's not in the same class as Sripiphrai by a long shot. Go to Srip, if you haven't been, but remember they are closed on Wednesdays. Mangal, is highly recommended, and Turkish Grill has mixed reviews. So, that's Mexican, Thai, Turkish. Not exactly nearby, but close enough in Queens, and worth the trip, is the best French Bakery, Cannelle Patisserie. I think this is one of the best Queens has to offer, besides the rugelach at Andre's in Forest Hills. There are also a couple Romanian Pastry shops in Sunnyside as well. --tried to add the others with place a link, but it's not working out too well....

        -----
        Mangal
        46-20 Queens Blvd, Queens, NY 11104

        De Mole
        45-02 48th Ave, Queens, NY 11377

        1. re: janie

          Paulo and Janie made some excellent recs. My favorites on their list are Sripraphai and Cannelle Patisserie. Here are my additional recs by neighborhood.

          I don't know Sunnyside's food scene that well, but my favorite is the Korean restaurant Natural Tofu. They have a small menu but they do it well. Their Soon Dobu comes with very fresh silky tofu and nicely spiced (can also be ordered not spicy).

          Around 70th is Filipino cuisine. Ihawan and Renee's are my favorites. I go to Ihawan for their Chicken BBQ stick meal, and Renee's for Beef Kaldereta. You can't go wrong with Halo halo at either places for dessert. Before you leave the area checkout Phil-Am at the corner of 70th Street for some Filipino snacks.

          Flushing will take more than one visit, but here are my favorite restaurants. Crab Soup Dumplings at Joe's Shanghai. Dim Sum at Jade Asian, most dishes are $2 on weekdays, or Ocean Jewel. Imperial Palace or Canton Gourmet for Cantonese. For Sichuan I vacillate between Szechuan Gourmet, Little Pepper, and Spicy and Tasty.

          You should also search the boards for recs on Flushing food stalls and must eats in Astoria.

          -----
          Imperial Palace
          136-13 37th Ave, Queens, NY 11354

          Joe's Shanghai
          136-21 37th Ave, Queens, NY 11354

          Little Pepper
          133-43 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11354

          Ocean Jewels
          133-30 39th Ave, Queens, NY 11354

          Ihawan
          40-06 70th St, Queens, NY 11377

          Renee's Kitchenette
          69-14 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11377

          Canton Gourmet
          38-08 Prince St, Queens, NY 11354

          Szechuan Gourmet
          135-15 37th Ave, Queens, NY 11354

          Spicy & Tasty
          39-07 Prince St, Queens, NY 11354

          Jade Asian
          136-28 39th Ave, Queens, NY 11354

          Natural Tofu
          40-06 Queens Blvd, Queens, NY 11104

          Phil-Am Food Mart
          70-02 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11377

    2. A good chow spot is one of the Turkish places on Queens Blvd. I forget the name, but it is the restaurant with 2 storefronts (one more formal, and one that looks more like a small cafe/pizzaria). Go in and order a Doner Kebab. Good food and the prices are reasonable.

      1 Reply
      1. Thanks all for the suggestions! Sripraphai is definitely at the top of my list. Never tried Romanian before (though I'm familiar with Hungarian & Polish food), love Turkish & Mexican, and I definitely appreciate a nicely-done chicken. Can't wait to try all of these!

        4 Replies
        1. re: Emmmily

          Although it's not a restaurant a favorite is Butcher Block at 43-46 41st St. This is take out home cooking at its very best. Everyday they have 3 entrees served with potato and vegetable and the orders are enormous. They also have over stuffed sandwiches at very low prices - ex: today is corned beef which is about 1/2 lb meat on a roll for $4.50. The dinner with 2 sides is just $8. I really like the Fresh Turkey or Ham Dinner (Sunday). If I lived near this place, I would never cook. This place is awesome.

          1. re: Emmmily

            A longtime neighborhood favorite for a cheeseburger and fries that on most days will rival the esteemed Donovan's offering is P.J. Horgan's on Queens Blvd. 42nd- 43rd Streets right next to the Centre Theater. Been there for over 25 years. They pour a good pint of Guiness.
            Regards,
            JK

            1. re: Emmmily

              For Romanian try Romanian Garden on Skillman at 46th St. - try the polenta with sour cream and feta cheese, the tripe soup, "mici", "papanasi"
              Nita's European bakery at 40th and Greenpoint. for pastries.
              Second Natural Tofu (very nice seafood pancake, grilled octopus, la galbi, seafood tofu soup) and Mangal Kebab (lachmacun is fantastic, salads are some of the best, the lamb kebabs are melt in your mouth)

              1. re: RedVelvet

                my 2 MUST places are DE MOLE and BCD.

                de mole: i go almost every week for either their weekend brunch/lunch or dinner. the brunch options are so cheap (all under $5) and so good. i love all of their dinner items, never disappoints. they are also expanding next door; it will be a lounge area while ppl wait for tables.

                bcd (book chang dong): this is the korean spot mentioned above. even if you have no idea or no inkling towards tofu, this is a different beast altogether. it's under $10 for the tofu stew thing. just go. if you don't like it, which i don't doubt you will like it, there are other korean items, such as kalbi.

                other spots i go to for eats:

                butcher's block for my lunch necessities, like cold cuts.

                superior market has cheap greek yogurt ($1.70 for the small, it's all above $2 anywhere else)

                lowry wine factory: cheap, decent selection, some of the older guys there are knowledgeable

                greenpoint market: fresh produce, i like the owneres

                sugar and joe: i'm craving a sweet bite, owners are also nice

                yogurtberry/starberry: fulfills froyo cravings when i can't get to a red mango

                sripriphai: ok, it's 2 stops from you on the 7. it's a must.

                aubergine: decent coffee and cake slices

                ten full: decent chinese take out

                el shater: spinach pies and my fill of a falafel

                there's a korean deli right by there (43rd & 43rd), sunnyside deli or farm or so? i go there for my korean food necessities

                oh, and the farmer's market will be starting again? should be any day now. i've found good fruits and veggies there

                mediterraneo: craving big heaping bowl of cheap pasta

            2. Update so far:
              -Sripraphai: ate there twice. Fantastic. Great lunch special, and enough food to cover dinner too. I will be back.
              -Natural Tofu: I don't usually even like Korean food, but damn that was good. And like 10 bucks for dinner, incl tax & tip.
              -Yeti Japanese & Nepalese Cuisine: Not mentioned above, but I saw it from the train and was intrigued. I had the marinated boiled potatoes for an appetizer and while I'm sure they were very authentically done, they had a flavor to them that I just couldn't stomach. The pork chowmin (stir-fried noodles) were mild but quite good, obvious Chinese (soy sauce) influence.
              -Mangal Kebab: Baklava was great, I was unimpressed by the ground lamb pide. Though after everything I've read I feel like I should give them a second chance and try the doner.
              -Various bakeries on & near Queens Boulevard: some fantastic empanadas, pastries, cheese pies, etc, all for insanely cheap. Probably the source of my best lunches so far.

              Which only leaves about a million places to try between now and when I go back to Chelsea May 1st (or when my monthly metrocard runs out May 6th). I have to keep reminding myself: Queens isn't going anywhere, and the 7 is pretty convenient from my place - I can always come back. Thanks all for the great suggestions!

              4 Replies
              1. re: Emmmily

                Thanks for the updates! happy to see you're eating well so far.

                And Chelsea??!! as in Manhattan? not London?? you can come whenever you want!

                1. re: Jeffsayyes

                  Yup, Manhattan. Somehow the other boroughs seem so far away, I need to keep reminding myself that the river is not an insurmountable obstacle. And based on my experiences so far, totally worth the 20-minute train ride.

                2. re: Emmmily

                  Add to that a very enjoyable meal at Pio Pio Riko (which may have been enhanced by a rather large jug of sangria split between just two people...) and some cheap and not half bad ravioli at Mediterraneo. Going back to Manhattan today but I plan to continue exploring from these suggestions. Thanks everyone for the great guidance!!!

                  1. re: Emmmily

                    Mangal Kebab - Lamuchan and the lentil soup. You will be a happy girl.