Check out the 14 food destinations in Queens featured on New York Times ‘100 Best’ list 

Queens street food vendors were recognized among mostly brick and mortar restaurants as some of the top 100 dining destinations in the city this year.
Photo by Anthony Medina

Over a dozen Queens dining destinations made an appearance on this year’s New York Times list recognizing the best restaurants across the city. 

While the majority of the restaurants are located in Manhattan, fourteen of the hundred lauded establishments are spread across Queens. But what is most notable about the world’s borough’s presence on the list is the recognition of street vendors and food markets – not necessarily restaurants – that the other boroughs don’t have. 

The list was compiled by restaurant critic Pete Wells, who has been writing about food for the outlet since 2012. According to his bio, he makes an emphasis on highlighting establishments that may not have the funds to self promote. 

On last year’s inaugural list, Corona Plaza Vendors ranked 46 for a vast variety of Latin American street food that rivaled pricey restaurants with impossible to snag reservations. But after the street vendors were forced out from the plaza by the city’s administration last summer, a fraction of them were able to resettle at another spot beneath the 7 train. This year, Vendors on Junction Boulevard was recognized as a top food destination. Wells recommends stopping at Tacos El Borrego and Chalupas Poblanas El Tlecuile for traditional Mexican and Ecuadorian bites. 

Also in Corona, Queens Night Market, which attracts 20,000 visitors every Saturday from April to October, is another unconventional food destination on the list. Despite the market dropping down in rank by 14 points this year, it remains incredibly popular for a variety of international stands reflecting the diversity of the borough. Now in its ninth season, the market is the most affordable stop on the list with everything $6 or less. 

Flushing had the most establishments to make the list in the borough. Wells says that ChongQing Lao Zao on Prince Street is an ideal destination for those who can handle their spice. But beware, the wait time for Sichuan style hot pots can be over two hours.

On the other side of Flushing is Temple Canteen, a South Indian eatery located in the basement of a Hindu temple on Holly Avenue. An impressive variety of dosas are served on paper plates and trays, cafeteria style, and everything on the menu is under $10. 

This year, the spot jumped 16 spots on the list and is ranked 80th across the city. A couple spots behind it on the list is Mapo Korean BBQ on 41st Avenue. Wells refers to it as the “Peter Luger of Queens” and recommends ordering the galbi, short rib grilled over charcoal and sliced up at the table with wielding scissors. The longtime Flushing institution also serves seafood and pork ready to be made at your table. 

While Flushing may be a foodie paradise, the New York Times didn’t overlook South Ozone Park. Two restaurants on Lefferts Boulevard, one new to the area and another that’s been around for decades, made the list this year. 

Don Peppe, an old school Italian joint is known for its large serving of Italian classics that could feed a village. The spot wafts with garlic and is lined with old New York memorabilia. Just a mile away is the highest ranking Queens establishment on the list the Trinciti Roti Shop, which offers a variety of Trinidadian cuisine. The takeout only spot is a newcomer on the list, but Wells recommends ordering the “greatest fish sandwich in the five boroughs” along with chicken curry doubles and aloo pies. But due to its popularity, the Bake n Shark sandwich is only available on weekends. 

Several of the spots that appeared on last year’s inaugural list have since expanded with more locations in other boroughs. 

The Thai restaurant Zaab Zaab, which opened its first location on Woodside Avenue in Elmhurst, recently opened a new location in Williamsburg under the name Zaab Zaab Talay and also gained presence in several food halls in Manhattan. 

Birria Landia, a Mexican truck serving tacos for $3.50 each in Jackson Heights, also expanded in recent years with trucks into the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan. While the spot did drop 52 points on the list after ranking 18th in the city last year, Wells says that that the quality of the birria tacos and consomme to dip them in hasn’t changed. 

Some Queens spots went up in ranking from last year. AbuQir Seafood, an Egyptian restaurant on Steinway Street in Astoria, jumped up six spots. The ambience of the eatery evokes seafood stalls in Alexandria. Wells recommends ordering anything on the menu with eggplant, especially the baba ghanouj. But he says you can’t go wrong with any of the fresh seafood spread out to view on ice, and prepared in your choice. 

Close by in Long Island City, Quebecois bistro M. Wells also remained on the list this year, but dropped 33 spots. The restaurant is known for its avant-garde presentation and culinary experiences. The menu pays homage to traditional French-Canadian dishes, but with a modern twist like the duck tartare and liver mouse banh mi.  

The list also featured two Latin American spots, recognized for their raw seafood offerings. 

Mariscos El Submarino, on Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights, was referred to by Wells as a “shining contribution to the city” with a menu of memorable Mexican raw seafood. He recommends the aguachiles, which are similar to ceviche, but spend significantly less time “cooking” in the citric juices. 

On Jamaica Avenue in Richmond Hill, Caleta 111 also serves notable raw seafood like tiger’s milk ceviche. But the Peruvian restaurant also has traditional dishes like causas, mashed potatoes with various ingredients layered in. 

Last on the list is the longtime eatery Zum Stammtisch on Myrtle Avenue in Glendale. The restaurant has been serving house made wursts, cooked in the restaurant’s own smokehouse, since 1972. This year it moved up a couple spots on the list. 

Two  Queens restaurants featured last year didn’t make the cut this year – Papa Paplean, a Thai restaurant in Elmhurst, and Adda Indian Canteen in Long Island City.