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10 Best Hell's Kitchen NYC Restaurants

10 Best Hell's Kitchen NYC Restaurants

These wonderful fried pork-belly tidbits are served with an arepa and lime wedges at Farmers Rotisserie -- for less than $5.

[See More 10 Bests: Doughnuts | Gelato]

No New York neighborhood offers a denser collection of restaurants, aimed at theater-goers, tourists, local neighborhood types, Times Square office workers, and budget-conscious diners of every stripe. But how to make sense of the welter? Here are our 10 Best, based on years of research.

Note: As defined here, the neighborhood extends from the West Side of Eighth Avenue to the Hudson River, and from the north side of 34th Street to the south side of 56th Street.

10 Best Hell's Kitchen NYC Restaurants

10. Farmers Rotisserie Chicken [Closed!] - Colombian food is a rarity in midtown, and this comfortable retreat provides a rendition that would do Queens proud. The spice-rubbed birds and crisp pork ribs are great, but you don't have to go any further than the case by the front door to cop South American snacks like chicharron de cerdo (above): skin-on pork belly fried in lard, furnished with a puffy arepa, wedges of lime, and a green sauce that tastes of cilantro. 673 Ninth Avenue, 212-315-9797

10 Best Hell's Kitchen NYC Restaurants

9. Marseille - This facsimile brasserie is like a brief trip to Paris, and the food has just the right garlicky zing. There's a bouillabaisse, of course, and a ratatouille appetizer (shown above) that generously provides a bonus squash blossom and jiggy egg, and the menu isn't afraid to reach as far as Tuscany for pastas and Morocco for omelets, as a real brasserie might do on home turf. 630 Ninth Avenue, 212-333-2323

10 Best Hell's Kitchen NYC Restaurants

8. Hallo Berlin - Channeling the Bavarian beer gardens of your dreams, this obscure-but-commodious outpost provides an extensive lager and pilsner list on tap, plus German culinary commonplaces in profusion, including Konisberger Klopse (white meatballs), herring done several ways, dressed schnitzels out the wazoo, and more sausage types than can rightly be counted, including bockwurst, bauernwurst, and bratwurst - to name only the B's. 626 10th Avenue, 212-977-1944

 

10 Best Hell's Kitchen NYC Restaurants

7. Pam Real Thai Food - By my estimate, there are at least 40 Siamese restaurants within the confines of Hell's Kitchen, but which to choose? For over a decade, Pam has turned away from the too-sweet Siamese of Ninth Avenue, and looked to places like Chao Thai and Sripraphai for inspiration. Which means authentic Isaan fare, plus wonderful ducks and noodles. Shown above: the yummy green papaya yum, which doesn't stint on the fish sauce or crushed peanuts. 404 West 49th Street, 212-333-7500

10 Best Hell's Kitchen NYC Restaurants

6. Gazala Place - The original remains superior to its more luxurious Upper West Side counterpart, still turning out wonderful seed-strewn bureks (shown above, with a plate of babaganoush) and the gossamer-thin pitas that are the signature of Druse cuisine, so much better with the standard Middle Eastern bread dips than regular pitas. And if they have it, don't miss the green-wheat salad called phreak. Note: BYOB! 709 Ninth Avenue, 212-245-0709

10 Best Hell's Kitchen NYC Restaurants

5. Tulcingo del Valle - This iconic Pueblan grocery-turned-taqueria preserves its authentic southern Mexican menu, including multiple moles (classic chicken enchiladas mole poblano shown above), hand-formed sopes, and daily specials that can run to hearty village stews and pork cooked with verdolaga (purslane). You can wash it down with beer, and sit in the separate dining room - if you're tired of examing the groceries that still decorate the original storefront. 665 10th Avenue, 212-262-5510

10 Best Hell's Kitchen NYC Restaurants

Some Westchester high school students enjoying a meal at Tulcingo del Valle.

 

10 Best Hell's Kitchen NYC Restaurants

4. Anejo Tequileria - Yes, the primary objective of this corner bar is to sell you booze, but somehow the menu turned out amazing. You can get regular Mexican enchiladas wrapped in corn husks, or Oaxacan-style in banana leaves, and three versions of guac furnished with just-fried whole tortillas (I particularly like the one sprinkled with pomegranate seeds). Above: beef taquitos. 668 10th Avenue, 212-920-4770

10 Best Hell's Kitchen NYC Restaurants

3. Mercato - Step inside this restaurant in an abject corner of the Garment District and suddenly Poof! You're in a perfect Tuscan osteria. The wine list is Italian, the prices merciful, and the pastas earthy and profuse. My favorite is malloreddus (above), a gnarled Sardinian dumpling served with wild boar sauce, but you may prefer the orecchiette with sardines and bread crumbs, or the rigatoni Norma with ricotta salata. The warm octopus-and-potato casserole makes a great starter, or go light and summery with a caprese salad. 352 West 39th Street, 212-643-2000

10 Best Hell's Kitchen NYC Restaurants

2. Tabata Ramen - You won't have to wait hours to get into this ramen restaurant - as you do at Ippudo - secreted behind the Port Authority. And the noodles are every bit as good. The adventuresome can go with geki kara ("hellishly hot"), but there are many mellow selections, too, and a full range of apps (don't miss the grilled whole mackerel). And the prices beat most ramen parlors in town. 540 Ninth Avenue, 212-290-7691

10 Best Hell's Kitchen NYC Restaurants

Yes, this is the hot one!

 

10 Best Hell's Kitchen NYC Restaurants

1. Esca - The chef is from an old Montauk fishing family, and one afternoon a friend and I saw a giant squid - just caught and about four feet long - being carried triumphantly through the restaurant. This is the place that practically invented crudo, the Italian answer to sashimi. Before that it was a Venetian specialty of such obscurity, that most visitors to the city never heard of it. Fish doesn't get any fresher or better than this. 402 West 43rd Street, 212-564-7272

10 Best Hell's Kitchen NYC Restaurants

Sardines done two ways -- they're sustainable!

10 Best Hell's Kitchen NYC Restaurants

And don't miss the grilled octopus.

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Use Current Location

Related Locations

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Farmer's Rotisserie Chicken

673 Ninth Ave.
New York, NY 10036

212-315-9797

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Marseille

630 Ninth Ave.
New York, NY 10036

212-333-2323

www.marseillenyc.com

miles
Hallo Berlin
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Pam Real Thai Food

404 W. 49th St.
New York, NY 10019

212-333-7500

www.pamrealthaifood.com

miles
Gazala Place

709 Ninth Ave.
New York, NY 10019

212-245-0709

www.gazalaplace.com

miles
Tulcingo Del Valle Grocery
miles
Anejo Tequileria

668 10th Ave.
New York, NY 10036

212-920-4770

www.anejonyc.com

miles
Mercato

352 W. 39th St.
New York, NY 10018

212-643-2000

www.mercatonyc.com

miles
Tabata

540 9th Ave.
New York, NY 10018

212-290-7691

miles
Esca Restaurant

402 W. 43rd St.
New York, NY 10036

212-564-7272

www.esca-nyc.com


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