The Big Apple is known for a few things, and mouthwatering grub is definitely one of them—food is even in its nickname! Although one can find a never-ending list of ethnic eateries in all four corners of this sprawling metropolis, there are still a few Manhattan neighborhoods that are known for housing tons of restaurants that offer one particular type of cuisine. Here are a few below.
Harlem: Soul Food – Known as “the area above 125 Street,” historically, Harlem is an African-American enclave, as many people migrated to this section of Manhattan from the south during the early 20th century. They brought with them a love for regional southern cuisine, commonly called soul food. Today, the area is still teeming with several eateries that offer hearty fare of the fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, collard greens and cornbread variety, including the neighborhood mainstay Sylvia’s, where diners feast on favorites like Sylvia’s Down Home Fried Chicken and Sylvia’s World Famous Talked About Bar-B-Que Ribs. A new kid on the block comes in the form of Red Rooster Harlem, celebrity chef/owner Marcus Samuelsson’s Lenox Avenue outpost where fancy fare meets down-home cooking.
Chinatown: Chinese – In downtown Manhattan, Chinatown is home to the largest number of Chinese people in the Western Hemisphere—possibly only rivaled by its San Francisco counterpart. In the area, visitors will find smaller eateries with appetizing roasted meats, normally duck, hanging in storefront windows, and signs for different types of Chinese cuisine around every corner. One place to definitely check out is Nom Wah Tea Parlor, where diners can choose from a wide variety of Dumplings (think vegetarian, shrimp and even soup), plus daring items like Chicken Feet—all for a reasonable price. The ‘hood is also home to Bo Ky Restaurant, the perfect place for Egg Noodle Soup, Wonton Flat Noodles and even Pig Intestines.
Hill: Indian – Located in Midtown Manhattan and bordered by East 34th St. to the south, East 40th Street to the north, Madison Avenue to the west, and Third Avenue to the east, Murray Hill—aptly nicknamed Curry Hill—is home to numerous Indian restaurants, many of which are vegetarian kosher. One such place is Madras Mahal, where items such as Iddly, Cheese Uttappam and Samosa Chaat grace the menu. Omnivores can head to Roomali, where veggie options like Aloo Roll and protein-packed items like Chutney Chicken are popular picks.
Washington Heights and Inwood: Latin – Northern Manhattan, or Uptown as it’s known to locals, is home to a large population of people that hail from the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and other Latin countries, and food like tostones, yucca and mangu are found on most restaurant menus. For the best Roast Chicken in town, head to Malecon Restaurant, where crispy, crackly skin covers moist meat. Guadalupe is great for Enchiladas, Burritos and Tacos.
Koreatown: Korean – Koreatown, located on West 32nd Street between Fifth & Sixth avenues, is bustling with several Korean-owned businesses, including plenty of restaurants. A great spot for a quick lunch is Woorijip. Best described as a Korean diner, the establishment has a buffet area, packed with everything from Korean staples—like Beef Bulgogi and Kimchi—to chicken wings and salad. Food Gallery 32 offers an assortment of rolls, as well as the popular dish Bibimbop.
Of course, when those hunger pangs hit and you aren’t necessarily near one of the ‘hoods mentioned above, you can’t go wrong with NYC’s staples—including pizza bagels and even pickles—with plenty of worthwhile options all over town.