New York City is known throughout the world as a wonderful melting pot of cultures, and this is certainly the case when you look at food in the city! Whether you’re looking for Chinese food, Dominican cuisine or Russian delicacies, you’ll find all this and more in the Big Apple. Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens even have whole neighborhoods devoted to different culinary traditions. It’s clear New York is an absolutely delightful city for foodies!

In this article, we’ll take you on a culinary tour around the world right here in New York City. We’ll start with Korean food in East Asia, and work our way west across the world, ending with Mexican cuisine! We’ll introduce you to the best neighborhoods for each type of cuisine, so you’ll know your way around in culinary New York City by the end of this article!

Korean Food in New York City

Picture of Midtown Manhattan’s Koreatown in New York City
Koreatown on 32nd Street in Midtown Manhattan, New York City
One of the most central culinary neighborhoods in New York City, Koreatown can be found on 32nd Street between 5th Avenue and Broadway in Midtown Manhattan. All along the street you’ll find wonderful restaurants and shops serving the best of Korean cuisine, which is largely centered on rice, meat and vegetables. A meal is often made up of many side dishes, featuring ingredients such as soy sauce, sesame oil, red chili’s and soybean paste. Koreatown is a fantastic place to taste Korean food, and the following are some of our favorite spots along 32nd Street.

For a luxurious Korean dining experience, head to Gaonurri and enjoy the amazing view of the Empire State Building and delicious Korean cuisine! Cho Gan Gol on 35th Street & 6th Avenue is another beloved Korean restaurant that offers great value for your money. Koreatown is also a great place to get take-out for lunch or dinner. Woorjip is one of the most popular Korean delis on 32nd street and it’s easy to see why, as the food is absolutely delicious. E-Mo, a tiny hole in the wall, is another popular take-out place. If you’re staying in a vacation rental apartment in Midtown Manhattan, you can easily bring dinner back to your place to enjoy it!

Chinese Food in New York City

Image of Lower Manhattan’s Chinatown in New York
Chinatown in Lower Manhattan, New York City
Chinese cuisine hardly needs an introduction: fusion Chinese food has taken the USA by storm. Chinese food is just as popular in New York City as it is on other cities across the world, and as a result the city boasts not one but three Chinatowns! Spread out over three boroughs, there are plenty of amazing Chinese restaurants nearby no matter where you’re staying in New York.

The best known, yet smallest of the three is Chinatown in Lower Manhattan. For some great value for your money, head to Prosperity Dumplings on Eldridge Street, which is a must if you’re a fan of dumplings! Big Wong King on Mott Street is another fantastic affordable restaurant. Joe’s Shanghai on Pell Street is a very popular restaurant both around lunchtime and dinnertime, so go before or after rush hour and enjoy your delicious soup dumplings in peace. Vivi Bubble Tea on Bayard Street is a great place to try a variety of bubble teas. Check out our video tour of Chinatown to see what the neighborhood is like!

Flushing Chinatown in Queens is the second-largest Chinatown of New York City. For very affordable and absolutely delicious noodles, head to Xi’an Famous Foods, a small eatery in the basement of a mall on the corner of Main Street & 41st Road. Golden Palace (on Cherry Avenue & Kissena Boulevard) is slightly easier to find, and a fantastic place to try authentic northeastern Chinese cuisine. The Food Court in the New World Mall on Main Street & Roosevelt Avenue offers an amazing selection of Asian food and enough seats to go round, and you’ll find a great supermarket upstairs. SkyFOODS on College Point Boulevard & Roosevelt Avenue is another amazing grocery store offering lots of fresh Asian produce.

Brooklyn Chinatown in Sunset Park recently overtook Flushing as the biggest Chinatown in New York City, although there aren’t yet as many Chinese restaurants as you can find in the two aforementioned Chinatowns. Still, XSG Dumpling House on 53rd Street & 8th Avenue quite possibly offers the best value dumplings in the entire city: they are extremely affordable and delicious. Across the street you’ll find Mister Hotpot, a lovely modern restaurant that serves a mean hot broth. For a less-traditional experience, head to the New Victory restaurant on 48th Street & 5th Avenue. The dishes are a fusion of Chinese and Spanish cuisine, and the result is surprisingly tasty!

Picture of a market stall selling fresh produce in Chinatown, New York
A Chinese shop selling fresh produce in Chinatown, New York City
All three of these Chinatowns are great areas for grocery shopping, as you can buy fresh produce on almost every street corner! The market stalls not only sell exotic Chinese fruits and vegetables such as Chinese chives, silk squash, Chinese broccoli, lotus root and durian, but also offer great deals on common fruits and vegetables. Fish and meat stalls can also be found on many streets in Chinatown, and often offer a great fresh selection. Fresh herbs and spices are offered virtually everywhere, and will definitely spice up your cooking! A great advantage to staying in a New York City vacation rental apartment is that you’ll have access to your own fully equipped kitchen, where you will be free to try as many new dishes as you like. Furthermore, by cooking at home you’ll be able to save money for your next restaurant experience in the city!

Indian Food in New York City

Image of Queens’ Indian restaurant Jackson Diner in New York City
Jackson Diner in Queens, New York, has an amazing all-you-can-eat Indian buffet
A section of the Jackson Heights neighborhood in Queens is often referred to as Little India. Along 74th Street you’ll find restaurants and shops selling Indian staples such as naan bread, tandoori chicken and Masala tea. Jackson Diner on 74th Street & Broadway offers all this and more: the restaurant has a splendid all-you-can-eat buffet – serving among other things chicken tikka, murg korma, goat curry and keer – that offers great value for your money. Thakali Kitchen on 74th Street & 37th Avenue serves both Indian and Nepalese dishes. Rajbhog Sweets on 73rd Street & 37th Avenue is a cute mix between a deli and a diner, and a great place for lunch.

Patel Bros on 74th Street & 37th Avenue is a fantastic grocery store simply stocked to the brim with Indian ingredients. Not only does the store offer a huge selection of spices and rice, but also a selection of frozen pre-cooked meals that you can take home to enjoy in your own apartment! If you can’t get enough of Indian food, you can also try one of the many other places in New York City that center on Indian cuisine. In Manhattan, you’ll find ‘Curry Row’ on 6th Street and 1st Avenue in the East Village, as well as another ‘Little India’ on Lexington Avenue between 26th and 31st Streets in Midtown Manhattan.

Russian Food in New York City 

Picture of Brighton Bazaar’s Russian buffet in Brooklyn, New York
The Russian buffet at Brighton Bazaar in Brooklyn, New York City. Photo: Howard Walfish.
Russian cuisine is extremely varied, but main dishes often include hot or cold soup such as borscht, a variety of meats and fish, savory and sweet pies and pancakes, and several vegetables. In the seaside neighborhood of Brighton Beach in Brooklyn you’ll find several amazing Russian restaurants and shops.

To get the whole Russian experience, including a spectacular show, make reservations at National Restaurant on Brighton Beach Avenue & Brighton 2nd Street. This luxurious restaurant / show room / nightclub will make for a night to remember! Nargis Café on Coney Island Avenue & Kathleen Place is another trendy Russian restaurant in the area. It’s very popular, so you might want to visit during the week to avoid having to wait for a table. For even more affordable but still delicious fare, head to Elza Fancy Food on Brighton Beach Avenue & Brighton 4th Street.

Brighton Bazaar on Brighton Beach Avenue & Brighton 11th Street is the biggest supermarket in the area. The bakery, butcher and fish sections are fantastic, and offer a huge selection of breads, cheeses, fish, sausages and hams. The hot buffet, featuring dishes such as shchi (hot soup), okroshka (cold soup), pirozhki and blini, is simply delicious. You can easily walk the two blocks south from the Bazaar to enjoy your food while sitting on a bench at the boardwalk with a great view of the beach. For more information about the beaches around the city, check out our Top 5 Beaches in and around New York City.

Italian Food in New York City

Back in Lower Manhattan, Little Italy is probably the most touristy of all the neighborhoods listed here. You’ll find most of the restaurants of the small neighborhood along Mulberry Street, and some more authentic than others.

Pellegrino’s Italian Restaurant is one of the nicest restaurants along the street and has a great atmosphere. The homemade pasta is simply divine, and the service is always attentive. Close-by Benito One the Original has a great prix-fixe menu, solid food and also impeccable service. Florio’s Ristorante on Grand Street near Mulberry Street serves simply delicious food, from typical Italian appetizers such as prosciutto to hearty pizzas and pastas. The restaurant has a lovely old school charm, and the service is about as good as it gets.

Dominican Food in New York City

Food in the Dominican Republic combines flavors of Spanish and African cuisine with flavors indigenous to the island of Hispaniola.

In Washington Heights, El Malecon Restaurant on 175th Street & Broadway provides a great introduction to hearty Dominican cooking in New York City. Try the succulent rotisserie chicken with beans, rice and plantain on the side. Tipico Dominicano on 177th Street & Broadway is another nice restaurant, and it’s open late as an added bonus. Margot Restaurant on 159th Street & Broadway serves some truly delicious authentic comfort food, and has been a neighborhood staple for many years now. To find out more about the neighborhood, check out Live Like a Local in Washington Heights.

Mexican Food in New York City

Image of a home-made taco in Manhattan’s East Harlem
A delicious home-made taco in East Harlem, Manhattan
Like Dominican cuisine, Mexican cuisine was heavily influenced by Spanish food. However, Mexican cuisine also showcases many ingredients native to the country, such as avocado, chili, corn, tomato and cocoa. In New York, East Harlem (or Spanish Harlem) showcases many fantastic Mexican restaurants.

Taco Mix on 116th Street & 2nd Avenue is a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant that serves the most amazing tacos, and at a great price. Café Ollin on 108th Street & 1st Avenue is a cute and cozy place that serves some mean burritos. For a proper Mexican restaurant and bar, head over to El Paso on 116th Street & 2nd Avenue. The fish tacos are delicious, the salsas are spicy, and the guacamole is heavenly. For dessert you can try a colored cake at one of the Mexican bakeries in the area.

If you’re just looking for a quick lunch or dinner, there are many delis (or taquerias) in the neighborhood where you can buy a delicious empanada, tortilla, taco or burrito to go. The same goes for street vendors, which can be found all over the neighborhood. Alternatively, you can head over to the El Tepeyac grocery store on 102nd Street & Lexington Avenue to find everything you’ll need to prepare your own Mexican dinner at home for friends and family! Check out our Video Tour of East Harlem to find out more about the neighborhood.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this foodie tour of the world in New York City! What’s your favorite type of cuisine?