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Best Ethnic Eats in Queens

IMG_3050.jpgOne of the best things about eating out in New York is the boundless number of cuisines to choose from.  You could eat a different dish at a different restaurant every night of the year.  Of all the boroughs, Queens is the largest and the most ethnically diverse, and while it’s only a few miles wide, New Yorkers can eat as if they’re anywhere in the  world.   There’s Flushing’s wonderfully spicy Chinese food, Jackson Heights’ mole dishes and even Floral Park’s Indian-style seafood offerings.

Chengdu Heaven

Address: Golden Mall, Stall 31, 41-28 Main St., Flushing

No phone
Who would have thought some of the best Sichuan is being made in a basement food stall?  But hey, in Queens, anything goes.  Chengdu Heaven’s dan dan noodles – a staple of the province where spicy food reigns supreme – is one of our all-time, favorite noodle dishes with expertly layered flavors and textures, like bouncy noodles, fresh crunchy scallions, pork and tongue-tingling chili oil.  Other great dishes include double-cooked pork and anything with offal, including the beef tripe in hot pepper sauce.   And if you’re not sure what to order, check the pictures of menu items posted on the wall.

Taqueria Coatzingo
Address: 76-05 Roosevelt Ave, Jackson Heights
Phone: (718) 424-1977

There are dozens of Mexican eateries under the 7 train, but none quite compare to Taqueria Coatzingo. The décor looks  a lot a rundown Caribbean resort, but there’s nothing kitschy about the south of the border cooking.   The carnitas and chorizo are excellent, but the best finds are often daily specials, usually hand-written on a piece of paper.  Our favorites are the mole poblano, stewed pork with cactus, ribs with tomato sauce and plenty more.

New Kerala Kitchen
Address: 267-05 Hillside Ave, Floral
Phone: (718) 470-6240

The Eastern edge of Queens is admittedly a
bit of a schlepp, but at least we don’t have to travel all the way to
India for such terrific biryanis and dosas.  New Kerala Kitchen
specializes in the food of India’s coastal region, so there’s lots of seafood options.  Try the chili fish, doused in hot sauce, or
the King Fish curry.  And because the dining room is so large, New Kerala
kitchen is perfect for groups venturing out to the city limits.


Address: 137-40 Northern Blvd, Flushing
(718) 353-1808

Hunan House is one of the city’s best and most
legit Hunanese eateries.  If you’re looking for the characteristic hot,
sour & salty flavors that embody this province, you’re in the right
place.  This banquet-style restaurant prepares boldly flavored dishes,
such as smoked bean curd with pickled red chilies and a sweet sauce.
We also love the garlicky, fried fish stomachs and ground pork belly
steamed with rice and chilies, but nothing outdoes the lusciously fatty
“braised pork Mao style,” a dish that the dictator just might bow down to.


Address: 97-04 Queens Blvd, Rego Park
(718) 275-2045

This  Eastern European/Russian eatery is always
packed with locals, so you know it has to be good.  It’s the ultimate
destination for smoked fish, pickled veggies and rich meat dishes you
can eat.  We recommend the kebabs, chops and surprisingly hearty
blintzes stuffed with meat.  Keeping with the holy trinity of Eastern
European food, everything’s got lots of butter, cream and breading.
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Tortilleria Nixtamal
Address: 104-05 47th Ave, Corona
Phone: (718) 699-2434

When Mexico-native Fernando Ruiz moved to New York, he was so frustrated
that he couldn’t find the freshly made corn tortillas he grew up
eating, so he opened his own tortilleria and made  them himself.   Ruiz
grinds nixtamal (partially-cooked corn) into tortillas and masa for some
exceptional tamales. Tortilleria Nixtamal’s products — made by
machines on display in the tiny Corona storefront — are so good that he
sells to restaurants all over New York.   We’d rather eat his chicken
mole tamales and fresh fish tacos.

Renee’s Kitchenette
Address: 69-14 Roosevelt Ave, Jackson

Phone: (718)476-9002
Filipino barbecue is an
underrated, underrepresented genre, but this Roosevelt Avenue eatery
does it right.  The barbecue chicken here could go up against some of
America’s best, thanks to its juiciness and tangy flavor.  All of the
pork dishes at Renee’s are also worth trying, especially the longanisa
sausages — a cross between Chinese sausage and chorizo.


Address: 72-20 Roosevelt Ave, Jackson Heights
(718) 779-1119

With its serene music, gold vases and scenic
paintings, the interior of this Tibetan restaurant is nearly as tranquil as a
Buddhist temple.  Thankfully, the food is anything but tame.  We could
easily make a meal of the  momos — meat-stuffed steamed dumplings – –
but then we’d miss out on the spicy fried potatoes and the other succulent offerings.  Himalayan Yak switches out cow for uses yak,  a
buffalo-like animal that roams the Himalayas, and the results are
superiorly tender and unique.

Los Arrieros
76-02 Roosevelt Avenue, Jackson Heights
Phone: (718) 898-3359

to walk out over-stuffed at this Colombian spot with ridiculously
inexpensive and generous combination platters.  The Country Dish is only
$10 and comes with an entire days worth of food — grilled skirt steak,
black beans & rice, chicharones, an arepa, avocado and a fried
egg.  It’s a heart attack on a plate, but what a way to go.


Address: 40-04 Bell Blvd, Bayside
(718) 224-6188

This unique spot is the love child of a Thai chef and a French chef who happen to be married to each other, but it’s not exactly what you think.  Instead
of fusing the two traditions,  the menu’s features complex, Thai curry dishes,
right alongside hearty bistro fare. Here’s our ideal meal at Bonne Saison: an
appetizer of the roasted duck rolls, the Chilean sea bass in a lobster
peppercorn sauce, and profiteroles for dessert. When Asian and French
food unite, great things can happen here.

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