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Transplant to Westchester Co. seeks tips on family friendly ethnic food without the Westchester attitude and prices.

As a recent and temporary transplant to the White Plains area, I am seeking tips on restaurants to explore with my family over the next year. We are very adventurous eaters (my 5 year old's favorite dish is ikura sushi) and we do not shy away from visiting less gentrified locales if the food warrants the trip.

Our favorite restaurant, so far, is Los Gemelos Restaurant & Tortilleria in Port Chester. In addition to the authentic Mexican food there, we like the friendly service. It seems like smiles and courtesy are rare among Westchester wait staff, who confuse attitude and indifference with exclusivity.

We would prefer to stay within a 30 minute drive of White Plains. Some of our favorite cuisines are Chinese, Indian, Thai, Middle-Eastern, Eastern-European and Mexican. When eating out with the family we look for places where one can eat for less than $15 per person.

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  1. Well you have found a good one to start (Los Gemelos). Our 4 year old likes it as well. There are many others in Port Chester that we have on our "to try" list that we have not got to yet so I cannot give a personal rec- we like Inca y Goucho but that is bit more $. Search for old post sfrom adamclyde - he had good recs for pupusas and also for Columbian food in PC as I recall. We live off Central Ave near the WP border and tend to stay pretty local when eating as a family. These options may not be the best - but they are all family and wallet friendly, and we like them:

    Indian: We like Masala Kraft in Hartsdale village - its street food and veggie (think dosas, samosa chat and sandwiches) so dont expect a full Indian meal there. For the full meal, we go to Royal Palace on Knowllwood Road but its more solid than great.

    Chinese: Our go to place is Central Seafood, next to Best Buy on Central Ave in Hartsdale, both for dim sum and dinner. We like Aberdeen in WP but its more $. We have not tried the new-ish place on Central Ave (blanking on the name - it was Global Gatherings before becoming a Chinese restaurant).

    Mexican: Not as good as Los Gemelos, but we like Mariachi Loco on Central Ave in WP for a local alternative.

    Thai: We have not found great options here. We usually go the Thai House in Ardsley. they are family friendly and again, solid. Have not tried the new one (D) in Thornwood yet.

    MIddle Eastern: Have not been in a while and I think there have been some downhill alerts, but Turkish Cuisine on Mamamaroneck Ave in WP has been good to us.

    Other: Kalbi House for Korean - also on Central Ave in WP.

    Good luck and let me know if you make any more good finds!

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    Global Gatherings
    156 S Central Ave, Hartsdale, NY 10530

    Kalbi House
    291 Central Ave, White Plains, NY 10606

    Central Seafood
    285 N Central Ave, Hartsdale, NY 10530

    Mariachi Loco
    394 Central Ave, White Plains, NY 10606

    Masala Kraft Cafe
    206 E Hartsdale Ave, Hartsdale, NY 10530

    3 Replies
    1. re: Bloombee

      the Persian restaurant Shiraz in Elmsford is very good

      1. re: Bloombee

        Bloombee, thanks for great the tips. I picked up a take-out menu for Kalbi House after an expensive and disappointing meal at the Greek place next door.

        We tried Central Seafood but I was turned off by a very oily sizzling black bean and chicken dish, We'll have to return for the dim sum some day.

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        Kalbi House
        291 Central Ave, White Plains, NY 10606

        Central Seafood
        285 N Central Ave, Hartsdale, NY 10530

        1. re: Bloombee

          My favorite source for pupusas is definitely Rinconcito Migueleno on Westchester Ave in Port Chester. It's not a fancy place. At all. And they don't speak english. But the menu has pictures and translations and it's easy to navigate. Stick to the pupusas ($1.50 each!). They have ones filled with beans and cheese, chicharron (think bacon chopped to oblivion), cheese, and cheese and loroco (a pungent salvadoran herb). They are fantastic.

          Colombian... Lately I've been going to Aqui es Santa Fe, at the corner of Irving and Broad (directly across from the train station) in Port Chester. It's clean, fresh, and good, even if a bit pricey for most Colombian.

          I used to like Asi en Colombia in Port Chester (there's a sister restaurant by the same name in Ossining). Last time I went there it was more run down than I'd remembered, but the Bandeja Paisa was still very good (thin steak, rice, beans, avocado, egg, arepa and chicharron). They also do a mean guanabana con leche. If you haven't had it, you'll love it. And so will your kids (at least my brood does). Best thing about Asi en Colombia is it's across the street from the Kneaded Bread, my favorite bakery, so if you eat at Asi for lunch, stock up on breads. (speaking of which, the thing I absolutely miss the most about leaving the East Coast is the Kneaded Bread. And my kids miss it more than I do).

          For middle eastern... there's also the new Ethiopian Restaurant in Mt Kisco. It's actually not bad. And it's exactly next door to Taste of Jamaica, a decidedly good Jamaican restaurant, considering you are in the burbs (their goat curry is pretty good, I like their jerk chicken and they hand make their beef patties there).

          In Greenwich, CT, which is well within your 30 minutes, there's a decent Thai restaurant, Little Thai Kitchen. It's surprisingly good, if your expectation isn't Sripraphai. I think Kit's in Stamford is a bit better, but that's nearing the outer limits of your 30 minute range. But if you do Stamford, post on the Southern New England Board... it's a great eating town, particularly for the Indian food.

          As someone else mentioned, Port Chester has a million Peruvian restaurants. You already went to Misti, which is good. But there are a few new peruvian chicken places that just opened up on Irving between broad and pearl. Both warrant a try, though I didn't get there before I left. There are two ceviche centered peruvian restaurants in the PC nabe too... Acuario Cevicheria... not bad. Some people seem to like the lomo saltado at El Plebeyo, but I found it to be better at both Misti and El Chavin.

          The other part of Port Chester that I'm frustrated that I didn't get enough time to really delve into before I left was a little farther down, where Main St forks right into the Post road. Right next to El Zarape, there are a few Guatemalan restaurants that are totally worth trying. And up going toward Home Depot there's an Antojitos Chapines - another guatemalan place worth trying. I'll leave it up to other intrepid explorers to check them out, I guess.

          Good luck and enjoy your year there. It's a great eating county, even if it isn't the Outer Boroughs.

          -----
          El Zarape Restaurant
          24 Grace Church St, Port Chester, NY 10573

          Kneaded Bread
          181 N Main St, Port Chester, NY 10573

          Aqui es Santa Fe Cafe
          32 Broad St, Port Chester, NY 10573

        2. In Port Chester, we take our kids to Misti Pollo a La Brasa for Peruvian food. Definitely cheap and my kids like it a lot (and my husband and I do, too).

          For Thai, we have gone a few times to Tyrynda Thai in Sleepy Hollow. Although I haven't taken my kids there yet, you definitely could. We just always end up there before or after a movie so kids are at home

          http://tyryndathai.com/About.htm

          4 Replies
          1. re: valerie

            Not as etnic as you are looking for but JT Straws in Port Chester had awesome pizzas and fun thai chili wings. Very inexpensive and friendly service. has kids menu and a pool table. Like an seedy collge town bar but with great eats.

            1. re: valerie

              Thanks Valerie. Misti was a great tip. We ate there yesterday and all enjoyed our meals. When informed that my son had dairy allergies, the waitress even helped him choose his meal. Overall we had great comfort food, received friendly and efficient service and brought enough home to feed us today.

              1. re: Dingod

                Glad you liked it. We like taking our kids there because it's different. Also, if you like bbq, we also like Q, right next door. Very kid friendly too.

                1. re: valerie

                  And I think Q has a kids eat free on Wednesdays... which defrays a bit of the high costs of BBQ in Westchester County...

            2. Churrasqueira Ribatejo (Portuguese grill) in Ossining is very family friendly and very good.
              http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/15/nyr...

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              Churrasqueira Ribatejo
              39 Spring St, Ossining, NY 10562

              1. Mexican - I would definitely recommend Los Abuelos in Ossining for the best Mexican I have had in Westchester.

                Indian - Ambadi cafe in White Plains. This is a small take-out place, but they do have a few tables that you can sit at. Food here is incredible - often found it better than Bengal Tiger across the street (which recently succumbed to fire).

                Thai - Tyrynda Thai in Sleepy Hollow is very good, and very family friendly.

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                Bengal Tiger
                140 E Post Rd, White Plains, NY 10601

                Los Abuelos
                38 N Highland Ave, Ossining, NY 10562

                1 Reply
                1. re: wpfoodie

                  Second Los Abuelos--also just thought of another fun, very family friendly restaurant which would meet your criteria--Umami in Croton http://www.umamicafe.com/

                2. How about good Greek restaurants--Lefteris Gyro in Tarrytown or Santorini in Sleepy Hollow.

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                  Santorini's
                  165 Atlantic Ave, Lynbrook, NY 11563

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: otisman

                    Santorini is MUCH better than Lefteris.

                    1. re: MisterBill2

                      Except damn those auto-links. Santorini Greek Restaurant is in Sleepy Hollow at 175 Valley Street.

                      1. re: Elisa515

                        Fixed my post and added the correct link here (or at least I tried to). Thanks for pointing it out.

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                        Santorini Greek Restaurant
                        175 Valley St, Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591

                        1. re: MisterBill2

                          Thanks Mr. Bill. Santorini's was great.

                          -----
                          Santorini's
                          165 Atlantic Ave, Lynbrook, NY 11563

                  2. I find Turkish Meze in Mamaroneck superior to the Turkish place on Mamaroneck Ave in White Plains. Nice decor and service too which cannot be said about the place in WP. Some of the entrees are pricey but they have good $9.99 lunch deals and i think 20 or 30 percent off for takeout orders.

                    And Rani Mahal is good for Indian in Mamaroneck. Friendly service and reasonably priced for a sit down place in westchester.

                    If you're willing to go a bit seedy locale-wise check the Sunshine deli near you in White Plains for good no-frills Mexican. Or if you're willing to drive some for an experience... the El Charrito taco truck in Stamford CT is probably just within your 30 minute drive specification and definitely worth checking. Very affordable, friendly and delicious.

                    Also in Mamaroneck I've been singing praises of Bertha's Kitchen - a Guatemalan grill leasing space in the country general store. Very good for pupusas, tamales, etc. Very affordable and friendly but the seating in the back looks really unappealing, so it's a takeout place. Also friendly + affordable + quality takeout around the corner at the Portugese grocery / deli Chaves.

                    Two very unimaginatively named Mexican places worth a try in New Rochelle: Little Mexican Cafe and Corner Mexican Restaurant. Favorites at LMC: the mole, the chips and salsa, pozole on weekends, the tacos pastor when the spit is out. CMR has delicious sopes and a good variety of deals. Also a nicer ambiance (sunlight!) ... But if salsa fresca and guac are important to you go with LMC.

                    Coromandel and Red Lotus in NR are pretty good for Indian and Thai.

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                    Little Mexican Cafe
                    581 Main St, New Rochelle, NY 10801

                    Rani Mahal
                    327 Mamaroneck Ave # 320-322, Mamaroneck, NY 10543

                    Coromandel
                    30 Division St, New Rochelle, NY 10801

                    Turkish Meze
                    409 Mount Pleasant Ave, Mamaroneck, NY 10543

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: rafi

                      Thanks Rafi. We have already found the Sunshine Deli. Once inside, the climate was very welcoming. I had some great El Pastor there. Still, I prefer Los Gemelos. Cheers.

                      1. re: rafi

                        The carnitas tacos at El Michoacano in New Rochelle are among the best anywhere. Another place to add in NR if in the neighborhood, though it's decidedly more divey than both LMC and Mexican Corner Restaurant.

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                        Mexican Corner
                        497 Main St, New Rochelle, NY 10801

                        El Michoacano
                        485 Main St, New Rochelle, NY 10801

                        1. re: rafi

                          YOu named the two restaurants I would have recommended - Rani Mahal and Turkish Meze. Both have great food and a wonderful staff!

                          -----
                          Rani Mahal
                          327 Mamaroneck Ave # 320-322, Mamaroneck, NY 10543

                          Turkish Meze
                          409 Mount Pleasant Ave, Mamaroneck, NY 10543

                        2. Here are some of my favorite but not necessarily listing "the best" since the OP is looking for family friendly:

                          Chinese - Aberdeen in White Plains and Central Seafood in Hartsdale
                          Japanese - Fujinoya in Hartsdale and Nishi in Ardsley
                          Peruvian - Acuario and Misti in Port Chester
                          Mexican - Sunshine Deli and Roberto's in White Plains, Azteca Deli in Elmsford, Azteca in Mt Kisco, Little Mexican Cafe in New Rochelle
                          Korean - Kalbi House in White Plains, Kang Suh in Yonkers
                          Middle Eastern - Taiim in Hastings

                          -----
                          Little Mexican Cafe
                          581 Main St, New Rochelle, NY 10801

                          Fujinoya
                          26 S Central Ave, Hartsdale, NY 10530

                          Kang Suh
                          2375 Central Park Ave, Yonkers, NY 10710

                          Acuario Restaurant
                          163 N Main St Ste 209, Port Chester, NY 10573

                          Kalbi House
                          291 Central Ave, White Plains, NY 10606

                          Central Seafood
                          285 N Central Ave, Hartsdale, NY 10530

                          Azteca Restaurant
                          295 E Main St # 125, Mount Kisco, NY 10549

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: pabboy

                            Thanks for all the suggestions. Cheers.

                            1. re: Dingod

                              Mamaroneck Ave in WP has a slew of great bar/pub style restaurant. I like Lazy Boys- great beer selection. For Thai, I prefer Rekha's or Red Lotus in NR. There is a GREAT Peruvian restaurant in portchester directly across from the mall/theater that is 10/10. For indian, look no further than Rangoli Indian in NR- exceptional service and tops food. If you want some good mexican, The Mexican Corner in NR is my favorite of all time. Real down home mexican, with the best taste you can experience.

                              P.S. FYI, the only restaurant I suggested that would come under $15pp would be Rangoli(if you are careful), Mexican Corner, and Lazy Boys)

                              -----
                              Mexican Corner
                              497 Main St, New Rochelle, NY 10801