For a city as on-the-go as New York, it only makes sense that food trucks—NYC’s meals-on-wheels once slinging simple fare like burgers and hot dogs—have started rivaling Gotham’s best brick-and-mortar restaurants. With pristine seafood, fresh-fried falafel and other sophisticated bites, most of their moderately priced plates are also our favorite cheap eats. Some roam the streets while others park it for good—here's where to find the best food trucks in NYC.
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Best food trucks in NYC
Formerly parked in tucked-away Mill Basin, Brooklyn, this serious burger truck quickly achieved a cult status among patty aficionados that has propelled it onward and upward to easier-to-access Williamsburg. Ground beef purist Andrew Zurica now slings his improbably juicy single-, double- and triple-stacked burgers from behind the Pfizer Building. Get 'em hot with free raw or grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, pickles and jalapenos, or pony up an extra $1.25 for a helping of crisp bacon.
From this roving truck, self-taught chef Adam Sobel dispatches vegan dishes like Korean barbecue seitan and acclaimed desserts including fig pancakes and crème brulee donuts.
Fares “Freddy” Zeideia is a sort of local celebrity in Astoria, Queens, where he’s been doling out Vendy Award–winning falafel, shawarma and kebabs from his roving truck since the early aughts. While the Manhattan cart and Queens truck continue to operate seprately, his brick-and-mortar restaurant turns out crowd favorites like thinly sliced beef-and-lamb shawarma, as well as an expanded menu of newfangled creations such as daily baked pita bread and a falafel burger with zaatar and tomato.
Husband-and-wife team Rafael Soler and Reina Bermudez have been serving cheese, meat and veggie pupusas with all the fixins—pickled jalapeños, tomato sauce and coleslaw—since 1998. Grab their acclaimed Salvadoran-style grub at the Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg markets every weekend year-round, and at the Red Hook Ball Fields April through October.
This fleet of roving ice-cream sandwich trucks gained a cultish following in Los Angeles. The New York operation features most of the same baroque, artisanal flavors—including blackberry-ginger, Thai iced tea, and pistacho-truffle ice creams sandwiched between red-velvet, snickerdoodle, and double chocolate cookies. Choose from one-story, two-story or skyscraper (five scoops and six cookies) versions.
Often imitated but never replicated, Halal Guys have become a critical component of midtown, often causing a line to form down the block. Order the chicken platter over rice, with plenty of white and hot sauces, or grab a lamb gyro. The food really is that good, so you won't be sorry you waited.
This tiger-striped food truck offers tacos, burritos, and rice bowls filled with Korean-style meats like beef bulgogi, braised short ribs and spicy chicken—plus house-made kimchi to pile on top.
Onetime Good Humor man Ben Van Leeuwen and his brother Pete operate this classic ice cream truck, based at the corner of Greene and Prince Streets. Local, hormone-free milk is the base for their madcap scoops (black sesame ash, peanut butter marshmallow crunch) but even the most elemental flavors sport a flourish: Vanilla contains the brothers' own bourbon-and–Tahitian-bean extract, aged for four months in vodka-filled oak barrels. Another scoop truck often camp outs in Williamsburg, but sometimes roams around town.
The popular Middle Eastern takeout shop, run by wife-husband team Einat Admony and Stefan Nafziger, takes its famed falafel show on the road. Nab best-selling items from the brick-and-mortar Taïm location, like the traditional green falafel and the date-lime banana smoothie, plus tabouli flecked with plenty of peppery chopped parsley.
This uber popular Belgian truck slings warm and toasty waffles stacked with a slew of sweet toppings like speculoos cookie spread, fresh strawberries, Belgian-style chocolate sauce, and classic maple syrup. Wash them down with a cup of Belgian hot chocolate or custom Brooklyn Roasting Company coffee.
Late-night tummy fillers (Philly cheese steak, gyros) and Mexican staples (burritos, quesadillas) are given an artisanal touch at this taco truck—which started as a street cart selling tamales—where handmade corn tortillas are piled with your choice of chorizo, salted beef or chicken, along with cilantro, onions and tomato.
Sure, the name isn’t that conducive for a spur-of-the-moment iPhone search, but Mysttik hits the spot if you're looking for a filling biryani (rice bowl) with veggies or chicken. Add some naan, and top it off with cilantro, hot sauce or yogurt garnish. Other dishes include chicken tikka or chickpea masala, gobi aloo (potato and cabbage in cumin) and chicken lazeeza (garlic, onion and tomato).
Anton Yelyashkevich, the young chef-owner of this popular West Village truck, crafts the small Russian dumplings known as pelmeni. His version boasts sturdy but tender skins that may come stuffed with a juicy mix of ground pork, beef and onions (Siberian), chicken or smooth mashed potatoes. All get a brief griddle post-boiling, plus liberal squirts of sour cream and a shower of dill and chives. Plus, you get a free snappy pickle with each order.
Andrew Bozzo goes all-natural at this roving food truck with his apple-cider doughnuts, using locally sourced cider and organic flour. Get them plain or as a sandwich with Blue Marble ice cream. Bozzo also serves cioccolata (Italian hot chocolate) and hibiscus iced lemonade.
The homestyle Oaxacan tacos griddled up by this Sunset Park has received top honors at the Vendy Awards, and it’s easy to see why: fillings like lengua (tongue) and cecina (salted beef) are well seasoned and rigorously authentic, and the soft corn tortillas that enfold them are always fresh. The family-run truck also offers little-known Oaxacan street food like tlacoyos (stuffed masa cakes) and quesadillas stuffed with milky Oaxacan string cheese.