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La Noxe
Photograph: Courtesy of La Noxe

NYC’s 10 best hidden restaurants and bars

Taste tapas near the subway, tip oysters in a restaurant’s restaurant and find après-ski environs behind a butcher shop.

Written by Dan Q Dao, Bao Ong & Amber Sutherland-Namako in association with GetYourGuide.
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New York City’s best restaurants include places with things to see (and to Instagram!), new spots where you can be seen and semi-obscured spaces with hush-hush themes. Like speakeasy-inspired bars, that last category's destinations have the appearance of exclusivity by way of hidden doorways, fake-out facades and staircases this way and that. 

Some are a little less discrete than in years past with the recent addition of outdoor dining, brisk takeout business, or simply time, but the spirit of secrecy can still be a fun departure from the norm. So break out the magnifying glass and wind your way to NYC’s best hidden restaurants.

RECOMMENDED: Find more of the best restaurants in NYC

Best NYC restaurants in weird places

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Fort Greene
  • price 2 of 4

This Japanese restaurant and cocktail bar recently reopened inside Walter’s. The moody spot is lined with midnight-blue walls, wooden kumiko screens, shelves of 1950s jazz records and a curved marble-and-mahogany bar appointed with all manner of spirits and vintage glassware. Karasu’s menu includes oysters and clams, sashimi and a prime ribeye for two. 

  • Bars
  • Chelsea

One of Time Out’s coolest bars in the world, La Noxe fits a lot into its 600 square feet adjacent to the 28th Street subway station. But first, you’ll need to find its buzzer on 7th avenue and descend a staircase to the improbably sumptuous cocktail lounge that can only accommodate up to 35. Somehow, they’re also making multiple tapas options and mixing drinks like the almost aptly named mezcal-based Secret Garden in the MTA’s finest de facto waiting area. 

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Midtown East
  • price 4 of 4

A classic of the genre, The Campbell’s grandeur dates back to the 1920s. You’ll have to pass through Grand Central to find it, where you’ll be rewarded with incredible architecture and ornate design elements, classic cocktails, dips, charcuterie and fancy grilled cheese with gruyère and cheddar on filone. 

  • Restaurants
  • Hamburgers
  • Midtown West
  • price 2 of 4

Burger Joint looks the same as ever, even though the hotel that cloaks its location recently rebranded from The Parker (previously Le Parker Méridien) to the Thompson Central Park. The wood-paneled, circa 1970s-chic space, replete with vinyl booths and kitschy posters, is an aesthetic departure from the modern, recently refreshed lobby you must pass through to take this burger blast to the past. 

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  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Battery Park City
  • price 4 of 4

This white-tableclothed, Michelin-starred charmer aims to create “the personal experience of an intimate dinner party at a chef’s apartment.” To enter, slink through Brookfield Place’s Le District market to meet a host who’ll usher you to one of ten tables. Menus change monthly and are available in tasting format for $230 per person or à la carte. Recent items on both menus included foie gras, diver scallop ceviche and venison. 

  • Restaurants
  • Midtown West
  • price 2 of 4

Gaonnuri Korean viewstaurant hovers over midtown from the 39th floor of an otherwise nondescript office building. Its menu also rises above its similarly situated peers that rely on skyline tableaus to keep the crowds coming. Choose from a japchae that stir-fries glass noodles with beef, mushrooms or seafood, barbecue options like ribeye, bulgogi and duck and entrees like spicy kimchi and pork stew or soybean and beef stew. 

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  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Hell's Kitchen
  • price 4 of 4

This cozy boîte is a Restaurant Row fave that serves theatergoers an eclectic menu that includes guacamole, chickpea fries, fish tacos and an NY strip. Its tucked inside what appears to be a private home from the outside, and almost as small as the average actor’s place on the inside. 

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  • Shopping
  • Specialist food and drink
  • Noho
  • price 2 of 4

As hot as any hidden spot in town even years after it first opened in 2009, this Japanese restaurant is now more visible than ever with the more recent addition of outdoor seating. But, if you are dining inside, you’ll still catch the thrill of entering into the (frankly pretty noticeable) space where Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol each lived and worked. Bohemian is also still running the referrals-only conceit, but you can apply to dine here



Ganesh Temple Canteen
  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Queens
  • price 1 of 4

Now approaching three decades in operation since it first emerged “mainly to prepare “naivedyam” (food offering) to the deities," this South Indian restaurant is as popular as ever. Choose from uttapam varieties, nearly two dozen dosa options and a smattering of sweets.  

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