I’ve been meaning to post about this for a while, in light of recent attacks against Asian Americans—and there’s no shortage of incredible Asian owned restaurants, bars, and cafes in the City. Here are some of my favorites—
Yokocho / Angel’s Share: One of the best restaurants / bars in New York, IMHO. I listed the two together because Angel’s Share is a speakeasy hidden behind an unmarked door inside the restaurant. I’ve been going there since I was eighteen and always, always take out of town guests. Yokocho serves authentic, cheap, and delicious Japanese food, and has an extensive menu that will leave you spending half and hour deciding what you want. Since the prices are so great, I usually get a few small dishes and the bill is still under $25. Angel’s Share has incredible if expensive cocktails, and feels like something out of the Great Gatsby if Gatsby was a Harry Potter style wizard. My vibe exactly.
Chinatown Ice Cream Factory: Small but much loved ice cream shop in Chinatown with a wide variety of flavors, some more unusual than others. I have immensely enjoyed everything I’ve tried there, but my favorite is their lychee ice cream. Afraid of their durian, but I’m sure it’s actually wonderful.
Bodhi Kosher Vegetarian Restaurant:
I don’t usually love veggies, but this place is great and their fake meat is actually really good. They certainly don’t keep kosher as strictly as the name suggests—they’re not under Orthodox supervision, FYI. Aside from that, no footnotes or complaints.
Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao: Incredibly dank dumplings in Flushing (particularly great soup dumplings). Nice ambiance too, and plenty of Instagrammable menu items. Many of the dumplings are very colorful.
Málà Project: Simply wonderful, chic and kinda retro Chinese food in the East Village. They’re known for their Sichuan wok-fried dry pot—you can make your own, with a wide selection of meats, veggies, among other ingredients like tofu and noodles. Really fun for groups.
Madame Vo: Vietnamese food in a modern, classy casual setting with with decent prices and phenomenal pho. Although everything on their menu is pretty great, especially the wings.
Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong: Authentic Korean barbecue in Midtown. Meat is grilled at the table. It’s an experience as well as a very, very satisfying meal. A little pricey, but worth it in my opinion. I am also consistently impressed with the service—fast and friendly. Good energy all around.
Peking Duck House: One of my best NYC dining experiences EVER. I first went with my roommates my first semester at NYU, and was blown away. You really should get the duck, because it’s famously amazing and it’s also cool watching the waiter carve it tableside. One of Chinatown’s most iconic restaurants, and a damn near perfect night out.
Milk and Cream: Cereal and ice cream are a match made in heaven. At Milk and Cream, you can pick from a long list of toppings (whole lotta cereal) and a few well-chosen flavors. You can have them blend the cereal into the ice cream and basically get Fruit Pebbles flavored soft serve…or whatever your personal cereal preference may be. Worth the price, nearly $10 a cup / cone. Sometimes I count a cone from Milk and Cereal as my lunch. Makes for a perfect summer day on the LES.
Van Da: Updated Vietnamese classics, sophisticated feel but well-priced and unpretentious. The pho short rib grilled cheese is to die for. There are also plenty of vegetarian options. East Village eating at its finest.
Somtum Der: Well-known Thai (Isan) restaurant which now has a New York location. Famous for their papaya salad, and best for those who like spicy food, although there are good options for everyone. They specialize in sharable small plates, so it’s a great place to go with friends.
Hi-Collar: Japanese coffee shop and restaurant that doubles as a sake bar by night. I’m also a big fan of their desserts, so Hi-Collar basically does everything well. Cozy AF—perfect for a winter day. I like to stay a while and work while sipping a cup of their house blend.
Sao Mai: Flavorful and fresh Vietnamese. It feels super authentic (it is super authentic), and it won’t leave you broke. Sao Mai is also usually BYOB, although the policy is currently suspended due to COVID. Another East Village joint—IMHO the East Village has the best restaurants in the City.
Yoon Haeundae Galbi: Korean barbecue
and plenty more. The menu isn’t huge, but it’s varied. This place really does have something for everyone. It’s fairly upscale and thus fairly expensive, but not ridiculous for New York. And I can honestly say that the one time I went here was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Large portions, so keep that in mind. A great start to a night out in Midtown.
Bar Goto: LES Japanese cocktail bar with great atmosphere and complex, expertly crafted drinks. They have a small food menu, but everything on it is really good. Especially the wings. Years ago, I saw in New York Magazine that the miso wings were some of the best in the City, which is what originally prompted me to try it out, and one major reason I keep coming back. Plus, just being there makes me feel cool.
*All of these places are open as of now, most of them with indoor dining.