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Photograph: Time Out/ Ali Garber

The best restaurants in Queens

New York’s best restaurants in Queens are home to the city's most diverse options: from Chinese to Indian and Greek food

By Emma Orlow, Bao Ong and Time Out New York contributors

You’ve checked the Queens Museum, Flushing Meadows Corona Park and Rockaway Beach off of your bucket list of the best things to do in Queens—now it’s time to explore the best restaurants in Queens. The options are as varied as the borough they’re in—from Greek restaurants in Astoria to Long Island City spots offering some of the best ramen NYC has to offer, and, of course Chinese food in Flushing. Queens is also home to what is said to be America's most diverse neigborhood: our beloved Jackson Heights. Get ready to chow down at Queens’ finest. Many of these spots are not only our favorites from Queens but have landed top spots on our city-wide Eat List

RECOMMENDED: The best restaurants in NYC

Best restaurants in Queens

Usha Foods
Photograph: Emma Orlow

1. Usha Foods

Restaurants Indian Queens

A vegetarian Indian food haven in Floral Park, Queens specializing in fast casual bites, savory snacks and colorful desserts. Usha is one of the best vegetarian destinations for generous portions, combo platters that allow you to try a little bit of everything and a menu that strongly demonstrates you don't need meat to have one of the city's most satisfying meals. It's just down the road from Patel Brothers, one of our favorite supermarkets for hard-to-find Indian pantry staples.

Photograph: Time Out/ Ali Garber

2. Lokanta

Restaurants Turkish Astoria

While chef Orhan Yegen has run numerous Turkish restaurants before, Lokanta is our favorite by far. From soups and stews to braises and a butternut squash dessert, you get a taste of Turkish food not often found in New York. Everything seems simple but tastes soulful. The kelle paca, a boiled sheep’s head, may sound daunting but is worth every bite. Everything from the salads to the desserts are done well and makes you feel like you’ve found that gem of a restaurant in Istanbul.

Photograph: Courtesy Adda/Noah Fecks

3. Adda

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Indian Long Island City

The kitchen at Adda stays true to its roots without imparting gimmicky modern touches on our favorite Indian dishes and lesser known ones. Whether you order butter chicken or a kale pakoda, there’s no holding back on flavors—the heat of peppers and warmth of cumin are just examples—that make you crave even more. Go for a convivial dining experience where the food is as exciting as the vibe.

Lhasa Fast Food
Photograph: Time Out/Ali Garber

4. Lhasa Fast Food

Restaurants Nepalese Jackson Heights

Jackson Heights has no shortage of excellent restaurants, as the city’s most ethnically-diverse neighborhood. Lhasa Fast Food specializes in Tibetan momos, such as the chive version available with a side of chutney. The digs are casual but its doesn’t make it any less of a destination. Fans of speakeasies will enjoy the mysterious journey to find Lhasa Fast Food. Hidden inside You and Me mobile-phone shop, you’d never know there treats over yonder behind the electrical devices.

Photograph: Gabi Porter

5. Pata Paplean

4 out of 5 stars
Restaurants Thai Elmhurst

It doesn’t matter if you can’t read the Thai menu here. Pick any bowl of noodles (we’d recommend the boat noodles) and you’re sure to be satisfied at this bar, which only serves food on weekends. You’ll taste bowls of noodle soups that make you feel like you’re in Bangkok.

White Bear
Photograph: Ali Garber

6. White Bear

Restaurants Chinese Flushing

Dumpling aficionados trek to this closet-size eatery to order the No. 6: A dozen pork wontons ($7), doused in roasted chili oil and topped with a smattering of diced pickled vegetables, arrives on a Styrofoam plate. Despite more than 30 items on the menu, it’s the only dish everyone seems to order—and for good reason.

Arepa Lady
Photograph: Time Out/Ali Garber

7. The Arepa Lady

Restaurants Street food Jackson Heights

What began as a modest cart is now upgraded to a sit-down restaurant specializing in arepas and other Colombian bites in a Jackson Heights. The kitchen is run by Maria Piedad Cano and her family. Expect some of the best South American corn cakes to found in New York.

Astoria Seafood
Photograph: Time Out/Ali Garber

8. Astoria Seafood

Restaurants Seafood Long Island City

For over a decade Astoria residents headed here for their fish filets. But three years ago, the spot expanded with its own restaurant. For those of us who like an interactive dining experience, guests bag their own fish upfront and have it prepared your preferred stylein butter, steamed, friedto order by the staff. Oh, and It’s BYOB.


9. Casa Enrique

Restaurants Mexican Long Island City

The owners of Bar Henry branch out to Queens with this 40-seat Mexican eatery, specializing in the regional cuisine of Cintalapa, Chiapas. Brothers Cosme and Luis Aguilar, the chef and GM respectively, pay homage to their late mother with traditional plates, including some based on her recipes, such as chicken mole and cochinito chiapaneco (guajillo-marinated baby pork ribs). The white-painted spot features a garden and works from Queens artists.

Jackson Diner
Photograph: Dominic Perri

10. Jackson Diner

Restaurants Indian Jackson Heights

This meet-and-eat headquarters for New York’s Indian expat community offers more culinary draws than your standard diner. Watch Hindi soaps on Zee TV while enjoying samosa chat topped with chickpeas, yogurt, onion, tomato, and a sweet-spicy mix of tamarind and mint chutneys. Specials like murgh tikka makhanwala, tender pieces of marinated chicken simmered in curry and cream, are fiery and flavorful—be sure to ask for mild if you’re not immune to potent chilies.

Guan Fu Szechuan
Photograph: Ali Garber

11. Guan Fu Szechuan

Restaurants Chinese Flushing

If the proliferation of Szechuan menus is any indication, New Yorkers crave heat. At Guan Fu Sichuan, platters of bean-jelly salads are amped up with garlicky chili oil, stewed pork legs are swamped in a hearty broth, and the other spicy dishes are great for sharing. The formal dining room sets this restaurant apart from similar spots.

Photograph: Courtesy of The Freakin Rican

12. The Freakin Rican

Restaurants Puerto Rican Astoria

It’s an exciting time for Puerto Rican food in New York (one of our favorite caterers specializing in the cuisine, Que Chevere is about to get their own stall at Essex Crossing). Derick López’s The Freakin Rican has gained much critical acclaim. The pasteles, broiled plantains with pork are worth the trip.

New World Mall
Photograph: Ali Garber

13. New World Mall

Restaurants Chinese Flushing

Weave through the throngs of pedestrians outside the 7 train to find this basement-level food court. You can feast on everything from hand-pulled noodles at Lanzhou to bubble tea at Kung Fu Tea. Pro tip: Go with a group so you can sample more food.

Taverna Kyclades
Photograph: Dominic Perri

14. Taverna Kyclades

Restaurants Greek Astoria

The Greek banter rising from the back patio ought to tip you off: This sunny spot is one of the more true-to-theme tavernas among Astoria’s Hellenic roster. Crisp calamari, flash-fried sardines and succulent grilled scallops are as fresh and deftly cooked as those you’d find at a seaside spot. Dessert, cinnamon-dusted galaktoboureko (custard), is on the house, a gracious touch that makes this odyssey all the more worthwhile.

MU RAMEN mu ramen
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

15. Mu Ramen

Restaurants Japanese Long Island City

Husband-and-wife team Joshua and Heidy Smookler have answered your ramen prayers. After causing a food-world frenzy with their commercially and critically acclaimed pop-up noodle dinners, the cooking couple (Per Se and Buddakan, respectively) are going permanent with a full-time ramen den capped at 22 seats, ensuring that the duo can engage with each guest.

Rockaway Beach Surf Club Tacoway Beach
Photograph: Beth Perkins

16. Tacoway Beach

Attractions Rockaways

Despite the kitschy delight of eating takeaway tacos off a knee-balanced plate at Rockaway Taco, the sit-down setup at this offshoot housed inside the Rockaway Beach Surf Club is a much-welcome upgrade. Like at that OG taco shack, the chef is fueling off-duty surfers and beach-bound locals with exemplary beer-battered fish tacos and watermelon juices, but Tacoway boasts one major feature its predecessor was missing: alcohol.

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