Food & Drink

Why Queens Is Actually the Best Borough

Published On 07/03/2015 Published On 07/03/2015
MoMA PS1
NY Ganesh Temple
Flickr/MomentCaptured1
Andrew ZImmer
Neir's
The Noguchi Museum
Flickr/Gary Stevens
Dutch Kills
Andrew Zimmer
Queens County Farm Museum
Food Bazaar
Louis Armstrong House
Museum of the Moving Image
Stray Vintage
Queens Museum
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1. Museum of the Moving Image 3601 35th Ave, Astoria, NY 11106 (Queens)

This Queens museum is the only one in the US devoted to film, television, and digital media.

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2. The Noguchi Museum 9-01 33rd Rd, Long Island City, NY 11106 (Queens)

This Long Island City museum is devoted to the artistic works of Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi. It features two stories of Noguchi's sculptures, drawings, architectural models, furniture designs, and stage designs.

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3. MoMA PS1 22-25 Jackson Ave, Queens, NY 11101 (Queens)

Founded in 1971, MoMA PS1 is one of the oldest and largest nonprofit contemporary art institutions in the US, and serves as an exhibition space rather than a collecting institution.

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4. Louis Armstrong House Museum 34-56 107th St, Corona, NY 11368 (Queens)

This National Historic Landmark is the actual former home of Louis Armstrong and his wife, and it remains nearly exactly the way it was when the couple lived there in the 1940s. It is available for tours in which you can listen to actual recordings made by Louis while living there.

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5. Ganesh Temple Canteen 45-57 Bowne St, Flushing, NY 11355 (Queens)

Authentic, buttery dosas are waiting for you in the basement cafeteria of a Hindu temple in Flushing. Open to anyone, Ganesh Temple Canteen serves a full menu of vegetarian south Indian food that includes tiffin items like puri roti and deep-fried lentil donuts, rice dishes, and of course, the aforementioned dosas. Made from a thin dough of rice and lentils, the dosas are huge, flaky, and served with toppings like red chutney and green chiles.

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6. Uncle Zhou 83-29 Broadway, Elmhurst, NY 11373 (Queens)

Owner Steven Zhou draws from his roots to serve up traditional Henan-style eats at this pint-sized Elmhurst restaurant. All of Zhou's specialties are spicy, savory, complex and far from the run-of-the-mill Americanized Chinese dishes. The regional da pan ji (big tray of chicken), a stew-like dish with bone-in chunks and potatoes doused in chile, star anise, and peppercorn seasoned sauce, is a must-try. Note: Uncle Zhou's is cash-only.

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7. Wafa's 100-05 Metropolitan Ave, Forest Hills, NY 11375 (Queens)

Chef Wafa Chami and her two sons give this Mediterranean Forrest Hills eatery a serious family feel. They'll serve you up some of their signature eats like chicken shawarma, their warm cheese pastry dessert, and even homemade hot sauce.

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8. La Porteña Restaurant 74-25 37th Ave, Jackson Heights, NY 11372 (Queens)

When it's steak night, point your knives in the direction of this Argentine locale. With servers dressed up in handkerchiefs at the neck and fancy belts that conjure thoughts of gauchos, you'll find your mark by either ordering the mixed grill - pork sausage, blood sausage, shirt steak, short ribs are all thrown in - or just the shirt steak.

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9. Dutch Kills 27-24 Jackson Ave, Queens, NY 11101 (Queens)

Make a reservation for a booth as bar space is small but the crowds are not, and arrive a little early as you might walk right past this speakeasy with only a simple neon "BAR" sign as signage.

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10. SriPraPhrai Thai Restaurant 6413 39th Ave, Woodside, NY 11377 (Queens)

Not too many Manhattanites would trek to Woodside on the 7 train for a burn-your-face-off, please-extinguish-the-flames-in-my-esophagus spicy culinary experience, but that’s just the type of “Thai hot” you’re going to get at SriPraPhai. This cash-only joint is decorated sparingly but tastefully; the lime green walls are reminiscent of the curry you’ll order, and are a welcome addition to an otherwise ascetic dining room. The 130-plus item menu is dizzying, but the good news is you can’t go wrong with any of SriPraPhai’s traditional hot and spicy dishes. Follow your papaya salad appetizer with drunken noodles and Massaman curry, and when you can’t handle the heat anymore, give in and cool your insides with green tea ice cream, you masochist.

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11. Ayada Thai 7708 Woodside Ave, Elmhurst, NY 11373 (Queens)

Small storefront, big taste when you ask for the "crispy pork upgrade" that you can request on any dish. Yes, crispy pieces of pork on any dish that just add on to the already sensory punching plates. N worries if it's too hot - which it will likely be; - there's coconut water to go around.

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12. Ploy Thai 81-40 Broadway, Elmhurst, NY 11373 (Queens)

Between their crispy pork and their fresh, succulent papaya salad, Ploy Thai is known for being one of the freshest, most vibrant spots in Queens.

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13. Chao Thai Too 8437 Dongan Ave, Elmhurst, NY 11373 (Queens)

Chao Thai Too is the place to head if you're craving super authentic fish balls, soft shell crab, and sweet chili fried rice. Customize as many orders as you want, and leave feeling super fulfilled.

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14. Rockaway Taco 95-19 Rockaway Beach Blvd, Rockaway, NY 11693 (Queens)

This Mexican food stand right by the water is undeniably as authentic as you're gonna get by the beach. Sidle up with some fresh pineapple mint juice, fresh plantains, and delectable tacos.

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15. Sayra’s 91-11 Rockaway Beach Blvd, Far Rockaway, NY 11693 (Queens)

In Far Rockway stands Sayra's, a wine bar that's readily serving up pungent cheese platters, succulent olives, and a great assortment of vino.

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16. Uma’s 92-07 Rockaway Beach Blvd, Rockaway Beach, NY 11693 (Queens)

Uma's is a hardcore Russian eatery that's got a great BYOB option, as well as a seriously juicy leg of lamb.

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17. Singlecut Beersmiths 19-33 37th St, Astoria, NY 11105 (Queens)

Singlecut's a brewery that runs at ~30 barrels of beer/day, meaning there's lots of good beer to go around. The tasting room is outfitted with a stage for impromptu jam sessions and various small bites are available for you to get your nosh on.

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18. Neir's Tavern 87-48 78th St, Woodhaven, NY 11421 (Queens)

Neir's Tavern is a great stop in Woodhaven with live, local music, hearty pub food, and a list of house cocktails to back up their beer selection. Johnny Cash rules the jukebox, Mae West's visage looks out at the bar where she once performed, and they filmed part of Goodfellas inside.

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19. Stray Vintage & More 4809 Skillman Ave, Sunnyside, NY 11104 (Queens)

Stray Vintage has everything from musical instruments to clothing to wall hangings and furniture, plus an impressive collection of vinyl (records, not furniture).

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20. Food Bazaar Supermarket 4202 Northern Blvd, Astoria, NY 11101 (Long Island City)

Standing proudly in the old Pathmark spot, the Food Bazaar is conveniently open 24hrs to offer you ethnic delicacies like Jamaican Scotch Bonnet pepper hot sauce and Ecuadorian sardines.

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21. Dani's House of Pizza 81-28 Lefferts Blvd, Kew Gardens, NY 11415 (Queens)

This pizza spot has been around since slices were going at 25 cents a pice (1963 to be exact). There's a larger Italian restaurant connected next door, but this is the place to hit up when you're in desperate need of a quick, tasty, no-frills slice.