100 best New York restaurants: RedFarm
100 best New York restaurants: New York Noodle Town
100 best New York restaurants: Xi'an Famous Foods
100 best New York restaurants: Spicy & Tasty
100 best New York restaurants: Nom Wah Tea Parlor
New York has a long lineage of Chinese restaurants, from swank stalwarts in Midtown to destination-worthy Szechuan fare in Flushing. With some of the best New York restaurants serving pork buns, dim sum, Peking duck and ma po tofu, even the most seasoned eaters may be overwhelmed. That’s where we come in. We’ve unsheathed our chopsticks at Gotham’s greatest and most authentic Asian eateries, and distilled it all into this tidy list of the best Chinese restaurants in NYC. Did we miss your favorite spot? Join the conversation in the comments.
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Restaurateur Ed Schoenfeld and head chef Joe Ng (Chinatown Brasserie) offer a playful homage to the golden age of Chinese fine dining at this groundbreaking eatery. The farm-to-table decor makes an unconventional backdrop for a Chinese joint, and the eclectic menu is just as hard to pin down. You might begin with a few old-school Chinese-American bites, like room-temperature shards of extra-crispy spicy beef, and playful seafood dumplings dressed up to resemble Pac-Man characters. Some of Ng’s creations can be extraneously showy, but he turns out plenty of hits: sautéed black cod with black bean and thai basil, and a beautiful Creekstone Farms rib eye, all served family-style. In a neighborhood with a dearth of Sino options, RedFarm isn’t just filling a void—it’s reinventing a genre.
Over the years, New York Noodle Town has proved that it can deliver on the promise of its name. Choose from panfried selections (boiled angel-hair noodles that are lightly fried for a crunchy-soft texture) or softer preparations (served floating in flavorful chicken broth); they can be ordered with roasted pork, duck, chicken or ribs. Suckling pig is also a treat, but the supply usually runs out by 8pm. In a signature combination, Chinese flowering chives are sautéed with duck, scallops, fish or squid. The chives lose their pungency and sweeten in the flash of heat, making them a great accompaniment to delicate fowl or seafood.
This Chinese chainlet, with eight additional locations around NYC, highlights the mouth-tingling cuisine of Xi'an, an ancient capital along China's Silk Road. The short menu features cumin-spiked “lamb burgers,” tangy liang pi cold noodles and warm tofu submerged in crimson chili oil, along with the cultish lamb-face salad. Unlike its sparely appointed siblings, this location features a mix of antique touches (porcelain figurines from the Ming dynasty) and modern effects (framed photos of frequent customer Anthony Bourdain) in the 40-seat dining room.
Any serious trip to Flushing for volcanically spicy Szechuan food should begin here. Revered by in-the-know regulars, this brightly lit eatery serves plates of sliced pork in garlic sauce and beef tripe in hot pepper sauce that’s sure to set even the most seasoned palate aflame. Make sure to stock up on cold-bar options, like zesty sesame noodles, crunchy chopped cucumbers and smooth, delicate tofu—you’ll need the relief. Service is speedy and mercifully attentive to water requests.
New York's first dim sum house opened in 1920 at a crook in Doyers Street known at the time as "the bloody angle." That Chinatown passage bore witness to the grisly havoc of the Tong gang wars—shootings and hatchet murders—but the bakery and tea shop had a sweeter reputation: Its almond cookies and moon cakes were legendary. For more than three decades, the Choy family ran Nom Wah, but in 1974, Ed and May Choy sold the operation to longtime manager Wally Tang, who started there in 1950 as a waiter when he was 16. In 2010, Wally passed Nom Wah on to his nephew Wilson Tang, a banker at ING Direct. The 90-year-old stalwart had fallen into disrepair, so the young Tang gave it a remodel. He and his wife raided flea markets for vintage lamps and the restaurant's storage room for archival photographs. They painted the dingy green walls a mustard yellow, and cleaned decades of dust and grease off the tea tins lining the restaurant's shelves. The most important tweaks, though, were behind the scenes: Tang updated the kitchen and did away with the procedure of cooking dim sum en masse. Now, each plate is cooked to order. The nips and tucks transformed a health department nightmare into a charming old-school institution, completely unlike the chaotic banquet halls that dominate Chinatown's dim sum scene. The dining room is transportive—checkered tablecloths cover Art Deco tables and couples huddle beneath an old poster of a glam Chinese movie star. The food, too, stands apart. Try the ultra-fluffy oversize roasted-pork bun ($1.95), the flaky fried crepe egg roll ($5.25) and the tender stuffed eggplant ($4) filled with a spiced shrimp-and-squid mixture.
On an unassuming side street in the Fulton Mall district of Downtown Brooklyn, the traditional street food of Shanghai comes alive at Yaso Tangbao. The venerable Chef Zongxing Tu—former executive chef of Joe’s Shanghai—serves as the ‘yaso’ (uncle) to three twenty-something partners from Nanxiang, who sought to bring the chef’s famous xiao laong bao steamed soup dumplings to an area poised for rapid growth. It’s a clear fit, as the casual, counter-order eatery is ideal for the constant stream of workers from the nearby municipal buildings to grab a filling, low-cost lunch. But the word is out among locals, as well; all of the restaurants’ seven long, wooden communal-seating tables were occupied at 7 p.m. on a recent Sunday evening. Chef Zongxing is sort of a big deal among fans of Chinese dumplings, so be sure to start your meal with the blue crab and pork soup dumplings ($6.95), which shimmy on the special spoon provided for their enjoyment. Gently bite off the orange-hued tip, and a fresh burst of briny Maryland blue crab broth rushes onto your palette. Sip it up to get to the ground pork filling. A few seats down, a little blonde girl cries out as some of her succulent broth escapes; she desperately lifts the bamboo steamer over her spoon in an attempt to catch it. Don’t skip the pan fried pork baos ($5.65), tangerine-sized rolls of soft white dough with a juicy pork filling in a tiny reservoir of broth, topped with black sesame seeds and a pleasant sheen of grease. Anothe
Venue says: “Try Yaso Tangbao's signature Soup Dumplings and tasty Noodle Soups!”