Although located across the East River from Manhattan, Queens is often the first borough tourists and visitors to the city encounter as it houses both La Guardia and JFK International airports. Queens is also home to Citi Field, the Mets’ pro-baseball stomping grounds, and the U.S Open tennis tournament.
Despite its raunchy portrayal in the 1988 blockbuster Coming to America, Queens is the safest borough in New York City, is very family-friendly, and has a wealth of attractions, including large parks, museums, and historical landmarks.
Nearly half of Queens’ population is foreign-born, which means that the restaurant scene is as diverse as it is authentic. In my most recent trip to Queens, I got to experience its culinary bounty for myself, touring and tasting numerous Queens restaurants. Whether you’re in Queens for a ball game, a jaunt through Flushing Meadows Park, or a pre-flight meal, you have some of the best options for spectacular meals and dining experiences. Read on to explore my list of the best restaurants in Queens.
Best Restaurants in Queens
- Casa Enrique
- Geena’s Cucina
- Butcher Bar Astoria Queens BBQ Restaurant
- The Alcove
- Park Side Restaurant
- Zum Stammtisch Restaurant
- Taverna Kyclades
- Loukoumi Taverna
- Manetta’s Ristorante
- Casa Del Chef Bistro
- Magna Restaurant
- Vetro Restaurant & Lounge
- Trattoria L’incontro
- Astoria Seafood
- Sugar Freak
- Lhasa Tibetan Restaurant
5-48 49th Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101
Casa Enrique is a Michelin-star winning Mexican food restaurant specializing in dishes from head Chef Cosme Aguilar’s home state of Chiapas. Chef Cosme’s climb from humble porter to Michelin-award-winning chef is truly the epitome of the American dream, and the opening of Casa Enrique is a family dream born of the partnership between Aguilar and his restauranter brother.
The menu has plenty of Mexican favorites like made-to-order guacamole and tacos, but you’ll see a lot of regional dishes from Chiapas that are sure to wow your taste buds. That said, definitely order guacamole with homemade chips to start! I recommend either the chicken Mole enchiladas or the Cochinito Chiapaneco, roasted pork ribs that have been marinated in guajillo chilies.
36-21 Review Ave, Queens, NY 11101
Geena’s Cucina is all about recreating, refurbishing, and adding a modern twist to old classics, and I’m not just referring to food. Their restaurant uses wood recovered from an old factory in Brooklyn to create its beautiful bar. Its shiny, almost marble-like walls use an old-school wall-painting technique, yet they have a modern wood-burning oven to create all their classic Italian pizza dishes.
Geena’s Cucina’s menu features homemade pasta, antipasti, oven-fired main course, and some of the best Neapolitan-style pizza I’ve ever had. I recommend the chicken Rustica dish, which consists of breaded chicken with sauteed peppers, onions, mushrooms, and roasted eggplant topped with mozzarella and Pomodoro sauce, then baked quickly in their wood oven.
2503 40th Ave, Queens, NY 11101
Carla is a family-friendly, casual restaurant featuring Mexican and Latin flavors and plenty of southern, southwestern, and other American comfort food favorites. They have an extensive cocktail and tap beer menu as well as great vegan and vegetarian options. Their delicious menu is also economically accessible.
One of my favorite Mexican street foods is the grilled corn-on-the-cob, and they make an authentic version of Mexican street corn slathered in mayonnaise, red chile, cilantro, lime, and cotija cheese. All their taco offerings are superb, especially the tinga de pollo made with chipotle braised chicken served with chopped cilantro and crumbled cotija cheese. They also make a killer burger. Try the LIC Burger, made with Angus beef, cheese, applewood bacon, a runny egg, pickled cabbage, tomato, lettuce, and house sauce on a potato bun.
Butcher Bar Astoria Queens BBQ Restaurant
37-10 30th Ave, Queens, NY 11103
Butcher Bar Astoria Queens started as an old-school butcher shop whose barbeque offerings were so popular that they opened an adjoining smokehouse to wild acclaim. You can buy locally sourced, organic grass-fed beef at the butcher shop and pop over to the BBQ restaurant for succulent slow-cooked pork and beef and spectacular classic southern side dishes like seasoned steak cut fries, mac n cheese, and baked beans.
I would start with the meat candy, their award-winning smoked beef burnt ends, and their half-baked mac n cheese served in a cast-iron skillet and topped with beef chili, bacon bits, and jack cheese. Their barbeque sandwiches are out of this world, namely the Monster 50/50 with smoked brisket and pulled pork topped with onions, pickles, coleslaw, BBQ, and habanero sauce. They have a whole menu of incredible burgers and Barbeque mixed plates as well. If you’re a meat lover, welcome to paradise!
41-11 49th St, Queens, NY 11104
Located close to La Guardia airport, The Alcove is a tapas bar, offering delicious craft cocktails and numerous small, shareable plates to enjoy a communal meal or happy hour pre- or post-flight. They even offer drink “flights” or tastings of different takes on the same drink, like different flavored margaritas on the rocks.
I recommend trying their mojito flight that comes with four different flavored mojitos, crafted with fresh fruit juices and herbs. While they offer burgers, sandwiches, and nachos, I recommend their shareable tapas plates, especially the chimichurri truffle fries and the Cuban-inspired plantain patacones smashed, fried, and topped with pulled pork and guacamole.
4610 Center Blvd, Queens, NY 11109
Maiella is a high-end classic Italian restaurant located right on the waterfront of Long Island City, with a beautiful interior that combines industrial-chic exposed brick walls with Tuscan-villa tiled floors and bar. The outdoor patio faces Gantry State Park and seats up to 100 people. No matter where you sit, you will have spectacular surroundings in which to enjoy a stunning meal.
I recommend their charred grilled octopus with smoked, grilled Yukon potatoes for antipasti. Their handmade pasta dishes are utterly decadent, my favorite being the rigatoni alla Norcia with cream, pork, sausage, and Grana Padano. The best main dish is also the most classic Italian fish dish. The whole Branzino served with swiss chard, pesto, and Calabrian chili vinaigrette.
Park Side Restaurant
107-01 Corona Ave., Queens, NY 11368
Park Side Restaurant has been a Queens neighborhood fine-dining favorite for over 30 years, offering classic Italian food, seafood, and steaks. Their portions are quite generous, and their service is warm and welcoming, indicative of a long-standing neighborhood restaurant. Over their long tenure as a Queens favorite, they’ve had celebrity customers like Johnny Depp, Adam
Sandler and even famed Chef Bobby Flay.
The crab cakes at Park Side are the Chef’s special and certainly worth trying. I also recommend their homemade manicotti and their pork chop Milanese. All seafood dishes are served over house-made spaghetti and marinara sauce. I recommend the crispy fried calamari with hot marinara.
40-1 Queens Blvd, Sunnyside, NY 11104
SoleLuna is a traditional Italian Bistro created by Northern and Southern Italian restaurateur friends and partners who strive to bring customers the most authentic taste of Italy. The quaint small restaurant has classy wood furnishings, a cocktail and espresso bar, and an enticing Italian confectionery case.
Their house-made pasta’s authenticity and beautiful plating make SoleLuna a special dining experience in a cozy, lively setting. I have never had better, fresher, or more beautifully plated twisted fresh trofie pasta with basil pesto in my life. I also recommend the ravioli-style fagottini alla Valerio stuffed with pear and cheese in butter and rosemary sauce.
Zum Stammtisch Restaurant
69-46 Myrtle Ave, Queens, NY 11385,
Zum Stammtisch Restaurant is German cuisine at its very best and has been featured in Food Network shows like “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” countless local and national newspapers and magazines, and ZAGAT’s highest-rated restaurants. Family-owned and operated since 1972, Zum Stammtisch has an inspiring story rooted in hard work, family cooperation, and a German immigrant’s dream come true.
German food is a unique treat that you hardly get to experience outside of Germany. I recommend starting with hot giant pretzels with mustard and horseradish sauce. As for a main, I recommend the Jaegershcnitzel, a breaded veal cutlet with fresh mushroom and veal stock sauce, served with traditional German potato salad.
228 1st Ave, New York, NY 10009
Taverna Kyclades is a traditional Greek and seafood restaurant, serving light lunches and elaborate dinners in a welcoming, family-run environment. Owners and chefs travel to the local fish markets and fishermen in the wee hours of every morning to choose the freshest catches to serve for lunch and dinner.
The menu is as authentic as Greek food gets. I highly recommend the classic rich spinach, feta, and filo dough pie known as spanakopita and the pan-fried Greek cheese saganaki. For a fresh Mediterranean fish dish, I recommend the glossa gemisti, a fillet of sole stuffed with crab meat served with a side of Greek lemon roasted potatoes.
45-07 Ditmars Blvd, Queens, NY 11105
Meaning “Turkish Delight” in Greek, Loukoumi Taverna is a Mediterranean fine-dining restaurant in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens. You’ll find all of the Greek classics, made with the highest quality lamb, seafood, cheese, and produce with an excellent selection of wines that bring out the fresh Mediterranean flavors in your food.
I recommend starting with the Meliasti, a rich, savory, and sweet blend of fried feta topped with honey, sesame seeds, and seasonal fruit. The Chicken souvlaki marinated in Greek seasonings and served on skewers with dried dates continues the delicious combination of sweet and savory appetizers. As the main course, I recommend the Greek seasoned baby lamb chops.
10-76 Jackson Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101
Founded by Roman Italian couple Phyllis and Mario Manetta in 1992, Manetta’s is a family creation built by Mario, who was originally a construction worker, and his sons with Phyllis as chef and menu creator. As a family-owned and run restaurant, they want to make customers feel like a part of the family, serving the very best of Italian comfort food.
They serve traditional pasta dishes, meat and seafood dishes, and wood-fired Neapolitan pizza that I highly recommend. My favorite pizzas are the Bianca with sliced fresh tomato, arugula, prosciutto, fontina cheese, and the Quattro Stagioni with tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella artichoke, olives, mushrooms, and prosciutto.
Casa Del Chef Bistro
39-06 64th St, Woodside, NY 11377
Casa del Chef Bistro offers New American food with colorful presentations in a small, cozy wood-floor restaurant. Casa Del Chef’s head Chef has been called one of Queen’s top 5 chefs in the It’s Queens Magazine, and the Michelin Guide gives Casa Del Chef Bistro raving reviews.
The menu is locally sourced and seasonal, changing as different local produce comes into season. I recommend trying the cheese plate with all local cheeses and house-made green tomato marmalade. The NY strip steak with Korean sweet potato, red cabbage confit, and balsamic and red wine reduction is my pick for the main course.
35-25 Farrington St, Queens, NY 11354
Magna Restaurant is an Italian American restaurant serving daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Magna is a family-friendly restaurant located a mere two miles from La Guardia airport, making it a favorite spot for locals and airport goers looking for a quality meal. Their daily breakfast buffet and happy hour deals are unbeatable.
Their breakfast offerings are classic American continental, and the dinner menu is classic Italian. I recommend heading to Magna for the hot and cold breakfast buffet with all-you-can-eat salad bars, cereals, oatmeal, eggs, French toast, hash browns, and so much more.
Vetro Restaurant & Lounge
164-49 Cross Bay Blvd, Queens, NY 11414
Vetro Restaurant and Lounge is a high-end, upscale fine-dining contemporary Italian restaurant offering the very best service, ambiance, and cuisine. The large restaurant has many private rooms and banquet halls, making it a favorite destination for corporate events, Christmas parties, and weddings.
They have seasonal dinner menus and make special menus for Thanksgiving. They also have a separate menu for their cocktail lounge more geared toward small plates. I recommend the Italian egg roll appetizer stuffed with Italian sausage, peppers, onions, and two cheeses, served with a sweet and spicy Calabrian dipping sauce. I recommend the Shrimp Santino stuffed with crabmeat, cheese, and herbs for the main dish, then baked with breadcrumbs covered in a lemon butter sauce.
21-76 31st St, Queens, NY 11105
Run by Italian-native Head Chef Rocco Sacramone, Trattoria L’incontro is adorned with frescos of his hometown painted by hand directly onto the restaurant’s walls, interspersed with exposed brick walls. Chef Sacramone strives to uphold the authenticity of classic Italian dishes while also delivering a modern and artistic presentation.
Most dishes are prepared in the giant brick oven that is the centerpiece of the open dining room. I recommend the baked clams topped with seasoned breadcrumbs to start, the black pappardelle with shiitake mushrooms, lobster, and lemon thyme sauce as a second course, and the Italian braised short ribs over polenta as a main dish.
50-12 Vernon Blvd, Long Island City, NY 11101
Tournesol is a French Bistro specializing in rich French meat and chicken dishes in a small, intimate restaurant with a European café feel. You’ll find all the classic French dishes like foie gras, escargot, and beef bourguignon, along with an equally Francophile wine list.
I recommend their super-rich French onion soup topped with large slices of French bread covered in melted cheese. For an equally decadent main course, try the buttery duck breast
with celery puree and honey sauce.
3710 33rd St, Queens, NY 11101
Astoria Seafood was originally a fish market run by the Christakos family who brought their expertise as fishermen and fishmongers from their native Greece. Their Long Island City fish market was so popular that they opened a seafood restaurant to showcase traditional Greek and Mediterranean flavors and preparations.
Astoria Seafood is now both a market and seafood eatery. I recommend the grilled lobster tails with olive oil, garlic, and Greek seasoning and the crab-stuffed mushrooms to start. As for the main dish, their fried whole red snapper is to die for.
37-11 30th Ave, Queens, NY 11103
If the name doesn’t grab your attention, the over-the-top food and décor certainly will. Sugar Freak is a creole restaurant with a funky, fun, and casual vibe. You’re in for a good time and the most delectable southern creole fare outside of Louisiana when you dine at Sugar Freak.
Creole food is the most flavorful and comforting American fare I’ve tasted, and every rendition by Sugar Freak’s talented kitchen was spot on. I recommend the hush puppies, or deep-fried cornbread, with spicy and sweet condensed milk sauce. Everything from the seafood jambalaya to the chicken and waffles to the fried catfish po’boys is excellent. They even have a whole menu of different creole-inspired mac n cheeses like crawfish mac n cheese, Jambalaya sauce, and andouille sausage mac n cheese.
Lhasa Tibetan Restaurant
76-03 37th Ave, Queens, NY 11372
Visited by the beloved New York native Anthony Bourdain on one of his travel-food series, Lhasa Tibetan Restaurant is a local Queens treasure offering the most authentic Tibetan dishes out of a modest kitchen and casual yet comfortable restaurant. Tibetan food consists of flavorful and hearty bowls of meaty soups, steamed dumplings, and fried noodle dishes.
Their signature dish is the Thentuk, a large bowl of small rice noodles with mushrooms, cabbage, and your choice of lamb, pork, beef, chicken, or tofu in a flavorful broth. I also recommend their steamed dumplings or Momo with your choice of stuffing from beef, beef, and chive, chicken, chive, or potato.
Queens is a neighborhood of foreign-born immigrants bringing the most authentic and delicious aspects of their culinary cultures to one of the most diverse and colorful restaurant scenes in the U.S.
Whether you’re looking for fine dining or a local food truck, my list of the best restaurants in Queens has the best food and dining experiences for you to enjoy a panoply of cultures. Now you know where to eat in Queens!
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