8 Of The Best Ethnic Restaurants In New York

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Ethnic Restaurants In NYC

Living with 8 million people from all over the world definitely has its perks – the easily obtainable array of cuisines from countries near and far is a sharp highlight.

In NYC, you can eat with your hands in an Ethopian restaurant, try a boat of bread stuffed with cheese and eggs at a Georgian place, or eat authentic Tibetan momos from a delicious food trunk in Jackson Heights, all in the same day if your stomach can take it. Read on to learn more about 8 hidden treasures in the Big Apple – hope you’re hungry!

1. Oda House

Photo credit: Oda House

A low-key restaurant in the East Village, Oda House serves authentic Georgian cuisine. Many dishes come served in a giant clay pot that keeps your food warm, also adding to the experience.

The absolute must-have is khachapuri – a heavenly bread boat filled with cheese, eggs and butter. This is the country’s national dish, akin to a New Yorker’s pizza, so you’ll have to save room for this savory addition to your entrée.

Location: 76 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009
Cuisine: Georgian
Oda House

2. Queen of Sheba

Photo credit: Queen of Sheba

One of the West Side’s hidden gems is this authentic Ethiopian eatery, Queen of Sheba. Located in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen, a foodie’s dream neighborhood, the Queen offers you the chance to sit closer to the ground.

You might want to wash your hands as soon as you arrive, as you’ll be eating your meal without utensils to keep it as authentic as possible. Your best bet is to order a Combination Sampler, which allows you to try a whole mix of Sheba’s delicious veggies and meats. You can opt for the vegetarian option instead, but in either case, you’re tasting 7-8 different things from their menu.

Location: 650 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036
Cuisine: Ethiopian
Queen of Sheba

3. The Black Ant

Photo credit: The Black Ant

If you’re feeling extra adventurous, head on over to this East Village eatery for Mexican food with a twist. As the name suggests, you can come here to eat ants, which are a key ingredient of their guacamole. They also have special Shrimp Tacos that are encrusted with grasshoppers. You’ll find that the food tastes so good, you don’t even notice the bugs.

Kick up the adventure another notch by ordering Chapulines from their special menu. These are fried grasshoppers, served straight-up. They taste 20x better than they look!

Location: 60 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003
Cuisine: Mexican

4. Pio Pio

Photo credit: Pico Pico

This Peruvian restaurant has gotten so popular; they now have several locations across 4 boroughs of the city.

They’re famous for their hallmark rotisserie chicken and green sauce, but if you’re really hungry, go for the Matador combo. It feeds two (really more like four) and includes a whole chicken, yellow rice and beans, tostones (fried plantains), an avocado salad and the best but weirdest dish, salchipapa, which are French fries with hotdogs.

Location: Multiple
Cuisine: Peruvian
Pio Pio

5. Miss Lilys

Photo credit: Miss Lily’s

There are two Manhattan locations for this famous Caribbean restaurant, plus a third in Dubai because it’s just that good.

With all the essentials of Jamaican food, Miss Lily’s offers Jamaican Jerk chicken, a stocked bar full of fruity beach-time cocktails, weekend brunch with coconut pancakes, and of course, loud reggae music. If you’re looking to try something new, the oxtail stew is another popular, traditional entrée that many eaters rave about.

Location: 132 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012
Cuisine: Caribbean
Miss Lilys

6. Veselka

Photo credit: Veselka

If you’re looking for a late night alternative to $1 pizza, look no further than this Ukranian hotspot, Veselka. Open 24 hours a day, and located in one of Manhattan’s fun neighborhoods for nightlife, this East Village eatery features some of the best Ukrainian food you’ll find outside of the heartland.

It’s been around since the 1950’s, where they’ve been serving up Ukranian-style dumplings (Pieorgies), meatballs, and amazing beef stroganoff just to name a few.

Location: 144 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003
Cuisine: Ukranian

7. Joe’s Shanghai

Photo credit: Joe’s Shanghai

Sure, Chinese food is a dime a dozen in the Western world, but Joe’s Shanghai is a Chinatown classic. They don’t take reservations, so you may be waiting for an hour, but the wait is well worth it for their famous soup dumplings.

Soup dumplings are a bit harder to find than their other dim sum counterparts, and the brothy deliciousness that they’re filled with is exactly why people wait for so long.

Location: 24 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019
Cuisine: Chinese

8. Berimbau Do Brasil

Photo credit: Opentable

To taste a little of Rio De Janero, try this West Village restaurant that gets the stamp of approval from Brazilian expats all over the city. Pão de queijo is a must; they’re cheesy balls of bread that take a little while to cook, but are worth the wait. From chicken dishes to yucca fries, there’s an assortment of authentic eats you can try here.

They also have Brazilian pastries (salgadinhos) that are a nice sweet extra in if you’ve saved room for dessert. And if you come for brunch you’ll find $6 caipirinhas, a steal for New York City.

Location: 3 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014
Cuisine: Brazilian
Berimbau Do Brasil

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Feature image credit: The Black Ant

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Olivia Poglianich

Olivia lives and works in NYC, living the Mad Men life with a day job in advertising. She’s also an avid travel blogger and adventurous eater – trying any and every ethnic restaurant she can get to, plus the weirdest foods she can find. So far she’s had grasshoppers, rat, snake and zebra to name a few. You can read about her adventures and travel tips at lostwithliv.com (shamless self promotion).


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