Arepas, Arepa Lady
The handheld street food of Venezuela has made a local star of Maria Cano, the so-called Arepa Lady, who began by doling out the stuffed corn cakes from a cart under the 7 train and now has a small storefront in Jackson Heights.
Gnocchi al “Telefono,” Babbo
Let’s start with a basic tenet: you can’t go wrong using tomatoes, basil and mozzarella together. Add in Babbo’s deft touch with handmade pasta (OK, potato dumplings), and you’ve got a recipe for a timeless Italian treat.
Caspian Kebab, Persepolis
Kebab and rice is a staple of Persian cuisine. At Persepolis, the dynamic duo of chicken and sirloin emerge from separate marinades to be grilled and paired on the same platter.
Flat White, Bluestone Lane
Less milk than a latte, more than a cortado, microfoam instead of plain old steamed milk. Whatever this Australia-born espresso drink uses as its calling card, we tend to just refer to it as “delicious.” Find it here.
Fresh Lumpia, Purple Yam
Down in Ditmas Park, Romy Dorotan turns out Filipino standbys like adobo, lechon and fresh lumpia, a take on the spring roll that pops with garlic and peanutty goodness and, let’s face it, looks darn good on the plate.
Sri Lankan Buffet, Lakruwana
Deviled chicken, an assortment of curries—pineapple, egg—and vegetables like green beans, kale and eggplant are all part of this Staten Island stalwart’s fragrant clay-pot buffet.
Eggplant Napoleon, Tanoreen
Palestinian-American Rawia Bishara runs the show here, turning out deeply flavored Middle Eastern dishes like this savory veggie-forward layer cake—a study in textural contrast.
Moules Marinière, Le Garage
Mussels steamed in white wine and garlic is a classic French dish; taste Le Garage’s version and you’ll have no problem believing the Parisian provenance of this Bushwick restaurant.
This Middle Eastern sandwich has been a favorite of hungry vegetarians, NYU students, late-night bar crawlers and cost-conscious visitors since Syrian-born Mamoun Chater debuted his Greenwich Village cubbyhole in 1971.
Jerk Chicken, Miss Lily’s
Renditions of this fiery Caribbean specialty bound in the five boroughs. This East Village hot spot puts out an admirable version, not hiding the Scotch-bonnet-pepper-and-allspice kick of the jerk sauce.
Ichiju Sansai, Okonomi
Sushi and ramen places are a dime a dozen; those serving a proper Japanese breakfast, much less so. Here you’ll find it served proper: rice, fish, miso soup and a few sides, including a slow-and-low-cooked egg, which ought to make for a harmonious start to a Williamsburg morning.
Mango Chicken Curry, Safari
Somali cuisine takes in influences from all over: East Africa, Italy, the Middle East, South Asia. A few of those meld at Harlem’s Safari in this sweet-hot dish, redolent with berbere spice.
Tel Aviv–trained chef Nir Mesika offers a steak take on shakshuka, the baked-egg-and-tomato Israeli breakfast favorite that’s become a NYC brunch staple in recent years.
Brazil’s signature cocktail mixes cachaça, cane sugar and lime—refreshing and surprisingly powerful in its effect. Visit this Alphabet City mainstay for the epitome of the form.
Saltah, Yemen Café
A few Yemeni spots dot the Boerum Hill stretch of Atlantic Avenue, doling out homey dishes like saltah, a meat-based broth that bubbles away in a stone hot pot; it comes with charred flatbread to sop it up. Fill up on comfort food here.
Taste the World in NYC
You don’t have to travel the world to eat your way around it. Just visit New York City. Everyone knows about the five boroughs’ Italian and Chinese cuisines, but NYC’s international food bazaar has room for every country in its big tent. Middle Eastern salads and spreads, Southeast Asian crepes, Somali spices, Jamaican jerk—take a trip through our global gallery and then start digging in.