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Unique foodie destinations - what are they?

I will be entertaining a group of chefs from London who work in a very high-end restaurant. We have all been to the classic gourmet shops around town: Russ & Daughters, Zabar's, Dean & DeLuca, Murray's, Kalustyan's, Chelsea Market, Eataly, Despana, etc. We've also done the classics like hot dog, halal cart, pastrami sandwich, pizza and whatnot. And all the great top 50 restaurants.

The only place I haven't been yet is Union Sq Greenmarket.

What I am looking for are unique, more off the beaten path type of stuff. I don't want to venture too far out of Manhattan, since they are only around for a couple of days and have their own schedule to worry about. But I do want some ideas and I want them to be worth their time. Some people have said that we've "hit all the best spots", but I refuse to believe that. I want some real food adventures, some great spots…the best of the best.

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  1. "And all the great top 50 restaurants."

    What would those be?

    If in fact you've covered Manhattan as you claim, it's time to head to Brooklyn. Start with Roberta's.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Blumie

      And Blanca, Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare, The Elm, Luksus, etc.

    2. Time to post a query on the Outer Boroughs board. You'll get some great referrals.

      1. Shopsin's

        Carmaje Bistro (dark dining)

        Ninja Sushi

        1. Can you give a list of the "top 50 restaurants"? Or "all the best spots"? According to who, Michelin? San Pellegrino? Does the list include newer venues like Juni, Betony, The NoMad, Atera, Jungsik? More casual but still ambitious spots like Louro, Alder, Empellon Cocina, Acme, Pearl & Ash? Maybe they'd want to do one of the Louro Monday night tasting menus?

          What about older but not necessarily on their radar like Aquavit? Kyo Ya? Takashi?

          Maybe go to Red Rooster?

          What about the smaller & ethnic joints -- especially in Queens? It only takes twenty minutes to get to Woodside or Flushing via the LIRR from Penn Station.

          Golden Mall in Flushing, now that's an adventure.

          1. How about uptown to Harlem or downtown to Chinatown. Get off the beaten track and poke your nose into restaurants and stores where the locals eat and shop. Since these are chefs from a "very high-end restaurant" maybe just letting them explore these areas without a set agenda will expose them to new and exciting things. Sounds like you've all had your fill of the popular, trendy and "foodie" type places. Just a suggestion.

            1. I would say depending on how inform they are about certain Asian foods, KTown (the fried chicken?) or non-sushi Japanese (Hakata Tonton? yakitori?) or Fuzhou part of Chinatown.

              And yeah, Queens for even better regional Chinese, Thai, Philippine, and Spanish-American flavors. Along under Roosevelt is a food cart paradise that I assume would be hard for London to match.

              1. What everyone said about the Outer Boroughs. If you want to get off the beaten path, get off the beaten path.

                Sunset Park is fairly easy, right on the N/R train - you've got great Chinese and Mexican out there, could do a crawl. There's a great little Mexican herb shop on 5th Ave that's one of the few places in the city to get certain fresh Mexican herbs like hoja santa, papalo, etc. And the Sunset Park Chinatown markets are fun, though not as crazy as the ones in Flushing.

                For higher-end places, Aska in WIlliamsburg is very adventurous. I'd probably do them before The Elm, for something more unique.

                A day in Flushing is another idea. But better to post on the Outer Boroughs board for that.

                I notice, though, you didn't mention Chinatown in your original post - there's good stuff in Manhattan as well, if not as extensive in style as Flushing or Sunset. But you could do Xi'an Famous, hit up one of the crazy markets like Hong Kong or New York Mart, which might not be as bonkers as J-Mart in Flushing but are easier to get to. There's also Koreatown, mainly 32nd St from Broadway to the East.

                How large a group is this? Some places might be unwieldy with a large group;

                1. These two websites have considerable information about the outer boroughs and you can sort by neighborhood:


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Ttrockwood

                    Take a close look at Aska and Jungsik for sure

                    There are all sorts of goodies in Brighton Beach I've discovered over the years. Spending an afternoon there is not a bad idea. Some examples on what to eat

                    Tone Cafe - Georgian bread..


                    Gletchik for Pilmeni and Naploean tart

                    Another idea is Sri Lankan in Staten Island (close to the ferry).. Sanrasa, lakruwana. The latter like a Sri Lankan museum with every inch covered