Craving a food you once had in a remote corner of the world? You can probably find it in Sunnyside, Queens. This neighborhood has so many different ethnic restaurants, deciding what to eat for dinner is almost stressful. In fact, according to Grubstreet, there is a 7-block stretch of Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside that has 30 cuisines from 27 different countries. So how do you pick one? After living nearby for almost three years, I’ve narrowed down the best options.
A plethora of affordable Sunnyside restaurants means you can leave town with a full wallet and a full stomach. Here are a few of my go-to spots:
Dee Thai – Sunnyside is saturated with delicious, authentic Thai restaurants, but Dee Thai is my favorite. The decor is modern, prices are affordable, and the food incredibly tasty. My favorite dishes are the spicy basil fried rice, panang curry, and pad krattam prik Thai.
Mangal Kabob – I swear the delivery man from Turkish restaurant Mangal Kabob gets his recommended weekly cardio from climbing the stairs to my apartment. I’m addicted to their chicken Adana kebab pita sandwich, which is a satisfying and flavorful meal for only $6. They also have great hummus and falafel.
Riko – Riko is known for their rotiserrie chicken, but I’ve actually never tried it. The dishes I die for here are lomo saltado (a salty and sinful mix of beef, rice, tomatoes, onions and French fries) and arroz chaufa de pollo (a Peruvian fried rice with scallions).
Sunnyside Pizza – The sesame seed crust of this pizza will blow your mind. I used to belong to a gym nearby, which was bad news: I quickly developed a dangerous gym + pizza habit.
La Vienesa Bakery – Practice your Spanish before you head to this tiny Colombian bakery, which is usually crammed with hungry commuters in the morning. They have great breakfast sandwiches, coffee, empanadas and pastries, and you can get a full meal for under $5.
La Hoguera Paisa – If you are really hungry, make a beeline for this Colombian restaurant. The food is cheap, and portion sizes insanely large.
Alpha Donuts – A slice of old New York, Alpha Donuts has survived for years in Sunnyside. This no-nonsense, old-school diner serves up staples like eggs and bacon at a counter, where you can watch them cook your food.
As much as I love saving money on food, I also love the dining experience. Nothing beats sitting down for an hour or two with good company and having a glass of wine with a yummy meal. Here are my favorite Sunnyside restaurants for dining out:
Salt & Fat – A top pick for gourmet foodies, Salt & Fat is Sunnyside’s most famous restaurant. Salt & Fat serves small plates that I can only describe as Asian fusion tapas. Think steak salad with chili lime dressing and fried chicken with pickled daikon.
The Dog & Duck – The Dog & Duck is a lively gastropub serving a mash up of British, Irish and American comfort food. My personal favorite dish is the carrot ginger soup (HUGE and only $4) but Dave is a fan of the steak and occasional beef stew special. They also serve a pretty great brunch, especially when the weather’s nice and you can sit in the “garden.”
Venturo – A modern Italian restaurant, Venturo opened last year and is quickly becoming one of my favorites. It’s really cozy and the waitstaff is beyond friendly. Their small menu changes seasonally but always includes pizza, cheeses, pastas, and meat entrees.
Marlene Tavern & Wine Bar – This adorable wine bar/cafe has a nice selection of crepes when you’re craving something sweet. I eat the lemon sugar and hazelnut crepes most of the time, but Marlene also has savory options with ham, spinach, mozzarella and more.
Restaurants are the reason to come to Sunnyside, but once you’re full, what’s next? While Sunnyside doesn’t have much in the way of nightlife or shopping, there are a few ways to pass an afternoon.
Go To the Movies For $5 – There might be cracks in the screen and holes in the carpet, but you can’t beat the price of movie tickets at Sunnyside’s Center Cinemas. A matinee is just $5, and tickets are $7 at night.
See the Sunnyside Arch – If you got off the 7 train at 46th-Bliss St, you probably spotted Sunnyside’s Art Deco welcome arch, a neighborhood icon. The sign actually underwent a pricey renovation in 2009, and it lights up at night.
Vintage Shopping – Browse the quirky home decor and conversational knick knacks at Sunnyside’s two vintage stores: Stray Vintage & More (my favorite) and Belle D’Epoque Vintage.
Head to Long Island City – Since you’re already in Queens, you might as well check out one of my other favorite neighborhoods in the borough: Long Island City. Long Island City is Sunnyside’s up-and-coming hipster neighbor, and you’ll pass through it on your way back to the city anyways. Click here to read my post about things to do in Long Island City.
Sunnyside is really easy to get to from popular tourist attractions like Times Square, Bryant Park, and Grand Central. Just take a Main Street-bound 7 train from any of these stations and get off at 40th Street or 46th Street. If navigating the subway in NYC seems stressful, you need to download HopStop, one of my favorite travel apps.
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