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Staten Island restaurants: Ho' Brah Tacos
Photograph: Courtesy Dave Giordano/ValPak Staten Island restaurants: Ho' Brah Tacos

The best Staten Island restaurants

Find pitch-perfect pizza, regional eats and a damn good burger at the best Staten Island restaurants

By Time Out New York contributors and Dan Q Dao
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In some ways, Staten Island isn't like the other four boroughs: there's no underground subway and you'll see more sky than skyscrapers (unless you look toward Manhattan). But when it comes to food, the oft-forgotten southernmost borough has proven to be a standout time and again, boasting some of New York City's best pizza counters, ethnic eats and the Time Out Battle of the Burger champion patty Standard Burger. From Cajun to tapas, these are the best Staten Island restaurants.

RECOMMENDED: Find more things to do in Staten Island, New York

Best Staten Island restaurants

Alor Cafe
Photograph: Michael Kirby Smith

Alor Café

Restaurants Staten Island

Deep in the quiet Staten Island enclave of Grant City you'll find Alor Café. During brunch, the usually pulsating lounge foregoes the DJ in favor of flat screens playing cartoons. Grab a booth at an arched window and dig into the avocado breakfast burrito, sweet corn omelette or fried-egg-topped chicken schnitzel. Tear the kids away from the restaurant's stash of Wikki Stix by offering them a PB&J and banana sandwich.

Beso

Restaurants Spanish Staten Island

Though Beso is billed as a Spanish tapas bar, the menu at this sexy little spot goes far beyond Iberia (by way of Cuba, Mexico and Puerto Rico, for starters). What it lacks in focus, it makes up for in big flavors and conviviality. Grab a fruity-sweet glass of tequila-spiked sangria and go straight for the shrimp-and-calamari ceviche marinated in orange and lime juice, or the pan y cerdo with garlic-infused shredded pork with melted Mahón cheese on crostini.

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Sausage pie at Denino's Pizzeria Tavern
Photograph: Michael Skigen

Denino’s Pizzeria Tavern

Restaurants Pizza Staten Island

If there's pizza worth taking a ferry for, this is it. Connoisseurs should focus on two menu items: the lightly sauced cheese pizza and the distinctive white pie, topped with a layer of onions, fresh garlic and gooey mozzarella.

Photograph: Courtesy of Ho' Brah Tacos

Ho' Brah Tacos

Restaurants Mexican Bay Ridge

The Staten Island outpost of this Brooklyn-based, beachy, Cali-inspired taqueria features unorthodox fillings, like chipotle-orange-pineapple pulled pork, and jalapeño-lime braised chicken.

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Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/scaredykat

Jade Island

Bars Cocktail bars Staten Island

A tiki bar not far from the Fresh Kills Landfill may not always be the ideal spot to appreciate a sea breeze, but this irony-free place will help you forget that thought. Take a seat in a bamboo booth illuminated by a taxidermic blowfish lamp, and enjoy rum drinks served in coconuts or hula-girl glasses.

Lee's Tavern
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Adam Kuban

Lee's Tavern

Restaurants Pizza Staten Island

Dongan Hill's landmark tavern still turns out a golden-crusted pepperoni bar pie, loaded with concave little half moons of cured meat that get fantastically crispy and crackly-edged in the oven. You'll be glad you properly padded your stomach—this is the kind of joint where you want to sidle up to the bar for a few beers, watch whatever is on the tube and shoot the shit.

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Standard Burger
Photograph: Gilad Kfir

Standard Burger

Restaurants Hamburgers Staten Island

Despite the name, this Great Kills patty purveyor goes beyond standard hamburgers, tricking its burgers out with elevated foodstuffs like grilled plantains, goat cheese and truffle aioli. Diners can also DIY their own burger, with choice of bun (potato, pretzel), protein (beef, lamb, veggie) and toppings (sautéed onions, jalapeños, angry mayo).

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