Street Food: Two words that can be simultaneously mouthwatering and terrifying. But no longer! Street food is having a major moment in NYC and casual countertop and brick-and-mortar joints are popping up everywhere, providing the perfect casual nosh-portunity for when you just feel like a damn good bite to eat without a whole production. Here’s our list of our fave places to experience NYC’s Street Food Revolution — places where “street food” is elevated by fresh ingredients and accomplished chefs, so that you only get the scrumptious and not the scary. Many of these are open way late — i.e. perfect for those nights when you juuuuuustt might need a fourth meal before you go home.
This Venezualen street food joint has already become a fave in other boroughs and just landed in Manhattan (though that’s not yet reflected on their website). Consider it a build-your-own adventure heaven. Patacones are plantain sandwiches, where the plantains serve as the bread, and you can fill them with whatever your little heart desires. They also serve empanadas and hero-style sandwiches, but we’re all about the patacones. Also: patacones = gluten free. Bomb.
139 Essex Street, New York, NY 10002
Dubbed “Indian Cart Food” this super-casual joint is famous for their nizami rolls. It’s also open ‘til 5AM on weekends, so it’s the perfect name to keep in your back pocket for, you know, those nights when you need a full meal at 3AM.
112 MacDougal Street, New York, NY 10112
The world-renowned Roman street food restaurant recently opened in NYC. They’ve got seats, or you can grab and go, and their food is especially grabbable. What do we mean? We mean that they specialize in trapizzino, which are sandwiches stuffed into pizza bread. Think: eggplant parm, meatballs, or chicken cacciatora surrounded by pillowy pizza bread. Yeah. That.
144 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002
We can’t say we’d ever heard the phrase “Singaporean Hawker Food” before encountering Chomp Chomp, but we can say that we’re glad we did. Go to Chomp Chomp when you’re craving spicy chicken dishes served in a clay pot or things you never knew you craved: Chili Crab Cheese Fries, to be exact. Also: They serve cocktails. Plus.
7 Cornelia Street, New York, NY 10014
Tacombi Fonda Nolita
If you don’t know, now you know. Tacombi serves up some of NYC’s best tacos and their Nolita location gives the ultimate street food experience in a space that looks like a bright, cheery garage. Yep, that’s the first time we’ve ever written “bright, cheery garage.”
267 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY 10012
We first discovered this magical vegetarian spring roll stall at Madison Square Eats and we ate them every day for the whole time Madison Square Eats was open. Not joking. You can catch them now at UrbanSpace Vanderbilt, and popping up around the city. (Also on Caviar you lazies!)
E. 45th Street and Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10169
If you really want the “street food” experience, you’ll have to track down the adorable blue food cart. But we love the casual vibe of the tiny trattoria on the LES, too. Casual enough to feel like street food, but also: wine.
116 Stanton Street, New York, NY 10002
This pop-up spot is from the famed NYC restauranteurs behind Xi’an’s Famous Food. While they’ve been a Chinatown staple in NYC for decades, their new pop-up is focused on dumplings. The chefs will be experimenting with flavors and combinations in this small, casual gem, but you need to hurry here because they may not be around for long.
106 Mosco Street, New York, NY 10013
Mimi brings us a modern take on her Taiwanese-Chinese family dumpling recipe with everything from special chef collaborations to traditional pork veggie and all veggies versions. All of her creations are made with local, organic produce and suppliers that are as like minded and modern as Mimi herself.
East Village Location
179 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10003
380 Broome Street, New York, NY 10013
This new East Village restaurant is focused on bringing a more refined approach to Vietnamese street food. From two Steven Starr alums, the menu is a high/low mix with a slightly more sophisticated take on the flavors of the country, like the Uni Banh Mi, while also offering staples like traditional Pho. The space has a great vibe and bar to grab craft beers and a good wine selection.
119 St. Mark’s Place, New York, NY 10009
The famous Japanese chain is one of the latest additions to the NYC Ramen scene. Taking over the old Union Square Cafe, you’ll find an ever rotating menu of noodle dishes plus sushi, sashimi, and other great favorites. The menu can be a little overwhelming so ask the staff for recommendations.
21 East 16th Street, New York, NY 10003