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New York City

Alternative places to eat in New York

Last time I was in New York, I couldn't find the alternative, more special, nice places to eat, and we would always seat at random places around the area where we were, that we saw on TripAdvisor or Yelp. We were looking for places that are a bit uncommon, not the standard caffe, pub, restaurant or bistro. We heard about a steet spot in a narrow alley that served amazing quality street food where the NY art community gathers. We look for stuff like that. If anyone can help, I would be greatful. Thanx

5 Answers

answered by
Dorothy from Long Island

I think the alley spot you're referring to is Freeman'sFreeman's and while its atmosphere is lovely, the food is rather overpriced for what it is (not very good, actually, in my opinion!).

If you're willing to venture off of Manhattan (and I hope you are), below are some of my favorite restaurants in the neighborhood of Williamsburg in Brooklyn. I think you'll find the food delicious, the prices really reasonable, and the clientelle on the artsy side. 


  • St. Anselm: Fantastic, fantastic play on a steakhouse (with all grass fed/organic meat) with lots of fish options too. You must go early or late if you go on a weekend for a table or if you can, hit it up during the week because it's so crowded. Don't miss the grilled haloumi salad. 
  • Pies n Thighs: Casual, authentic southern cuisine. Think fried chicken and cherry pie.
  • Diner or  Marlow & Sons: They around the corner from each other, same owners. American style, seasonal, locally sourced cuisine. Super popular on weekends, best hit up during the week if you don't want to wait. You can also do Diner for brunch on the weekends. 
  • Bozu: Unusual little place with Japanese "comfort food." Order lots of little plates and sake-based cocktails. Cozy, tiny, fun.
  • 1 or 8: I love this place. Minimalist, industrial, lofty decor. Get the omasake sushi for 50 per person. Amazing value. 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Freeman's (restaurant)
  2. St. Anselm (restaurant)
  3. Pies n Thighs (restaurant)
  4. Diner (restaurant)
  5. Marlow & Sons (restaurant)
  6. Bozu (restaurant)
  7. 1 or 8 (restaurant)
7 thankscomments (1)

answered first by
Courtney from Los Angeles

I'm not sure if this is on Yelp or TA, but you might want to try  Sylvia's up in Harlem. It's serious soul food that's absolutely fantastic. 

I'd also try  456 Shanghai Cuisine in Chinatown. It's a New York institution that closed down for something like 20 years and is now back. I grew up eating there and they always had the best Chinese food. Can't wait to eat there again when I'm home next!

Even though Little Italy has gotten a bad rap for being too touristy and overpriced,  La Mela Ristorante on Mulberry is always a great choice. The food is excellent and very cheap. 

I'm not sure what the street food is in the alley but I'll try to figure it out. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Sylvia's (restaurant)
  2. 456 Shanghai Cuisine (restaurant)
  3. La Mela Ristorante (restaurant)
6 thanks

answered by
Melissa from St. John's, Newfoundland

I love the niche type of places like S'Mac (all mac 'n cheese), Pommes Frites (really tasty Belgian style fries) and Rice To Riches (tons of flavours of rice pudding). If you're up for a vegan meal I've heard amazing things about Candle 79.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. S'Mac (restaurant)
  2. Pommes Frites (restaurant)
  3. Rice To Riches (restaurant)
  4. Candle 79 (restaurant)
5 thanks

answered by
Annemarie from New York City

If you're downtown, please get a milkshake at Shopsin's General Store. I promise you will love it.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Shopsin's General Store (restaurant)
3 thanks

answered by
Julia from Brooklyn (New York)

A great spot for authentic, cheap, and delicious chinese food (hand-pulled noodles) is a place called Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles Inc., on Doyers street in chinatown. It's appropriately small and dingy so definitely not fancy at all, but special in its own way: And then there's a fancy hip bar right on the same block where you can go for high end cocktails after you finish dinner: Apothéke

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles Inc. (restaurant)
  2. Apothéke (restaurant)
2 thankscomments (1)

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