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Five restaurants we'd still eat at even with a bad health grade

By Christina Izzo

New Yorkers are pretty ballsy when it comes to food safety—one of our most signature dishes is known as a dirty water dog, for crying out loud. So it's not all that surprising when a local eatery has a run in with the New York State Department of Health and gets slapped with a less-than-stellar grade. But even questionable cleanliness wouldn't stop us from eating at these five beloved NYC restaurants. 

Prosperity Dumpling
After shots of a rat-crawling back-alley prep area hit the web this week, the health department stripped the dollar-dumpling favorite of its A grade and the joint temporarily closed (thanks a lot, Gothamist). But even those stomach-turning photos can't hamper the delicious novelty of five tender, pan-fried pork-chive dumplings for a mere Washington. 

Di Fara
The famed pizzeria's brushes with the DOH over the years are notorious. In 2011 alone, it racked up an impressive 67 points in health-code violations, securing a failing grade thanks to mice droppings, flies, hair, you name it. And frankly, my dear, we don't give a damn because Di Fara's classic pie is the best pizza in the city, and that's saying something. 

Mission Chinese Food
The O.G. Lower East Side location of MCF was shuttered twice in late 2013 due to mouse infestation, eventually reopening in a new space in Chinatown. And though the spick-and-span new digs are nice, we had no problem whatsoever scarfing down kung pao pastrami and sinus-searing ma po tofu in that original dingy den. 

Dominique Ansel Bakery 
In spring 2014, Cronut king Dominique Ansel was smacked with an order from the city's health department after a Youtube video surfaced of a mouse scurrying across the floor of the bakery's kitchen area. But our cravings for Ansel's buttery, revelatory kouign amann have way more might than one little mouse. 

Per Se
Health-code violations can reach all the way to the upper echelons of New York eating, as when Thomas Keller's fine-dining titan scored a shocking C grade in 2014, but that subpar mark (since appealed by Mr. Keller) does little to take away from the restaurant's three-Michelin-starred status and stunning food. 


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