In New York, there are good places to eat and good places to eat, and then there are good places to eat. Sunset Park is a great place. It has the best Yunnan, Szechuan, and Cantonese restaurants, and if you walk far enough, you’ll also find Mexican, Salvadoran, and Vietnamese favorites.
Sunset Park is a great place for fun group dinners that can include whole fish in a hot pan, and if you’re just looking for something to grab and eat in bed, it’s perfect too. For all of our top picks, check out this guide.
Depending on the time of day, people go to East Harbor Seafood Palace for one of two things: good dim sum, or a Cantonese dinner. On Saturday and Sunday mornings, this large banquet hall is filled with cheap carts and tables of people eating pils, tea, and tea. At night, they come here for a family meal built around the famous duck, fried crab, or giant crab steamed with mounds of garlic.
Photo credit: Noah Devereaux
If the population reaches East Harbor Seafood Palace approaching Disney World for summer vacation, try Bamboo Garden instead. The place also has good dim sum and a large dining room that is suitable for large groups and private parties. The siu mai and har gow are our picks from the dim sum side of the menu, but the grilled meats are why we keep coming back. You will see duck and pork displayed near the door, and it is important to have these items in front of you during your meal.
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This is not only the best bakery in Sunset Park, it’s one of the best in the entire city. The conchas here are soft and crumbly in a way that will change the way you think about conchas if you’ve had dry, brittle ones before. They also have a full menu of tacos, burritos, and tortas, and they are all very good. We love chorizo breakfast burritos in the morning when we need our first meal of the day to pull on the weight.
Photo credit: Noah Devereaux
The Tacos El Bronco The brick-and-mortar location of Sunset Park is great, but it’s by car that the area’s real grandeur is achieved. It’s parked at the corner of 37th Street and 5th Avenue, and the street crowd is fun – expect loud music and people eating tacos on camping chairs. We love the birria and al pastor tacos, but the campechano, which includes corned beef, pork sausage, and pork skin, is one you shouldn’t skip.
Bánh mì aficionados know that Ba Xuyen makes some of the best in the city, and the #1 classics with crispy bread, lots of vegetables, and different types of pork (ham, paté, pork roll, etc.) are the best. Don’t make the mistake of getting a sandwich from this place without a drink though—there’s a reason the drink menu is longer than the food menu. Chanh mội đá, a preserved lime soda, is a refreshing summer drink, and the durian shake is one of our favorite things to do with the fruit in the city. There are several tables in a cafe-like setting.
Most places that serve Hainanese chicken and rice stick to the basics: well-cooked chicken and seasoned chicken rice. But at Hainan Chicken House, a modern Malaysian restaurant with wall tiles depicting different types of chicken, there are three different options – a good interpretation of traditional dishes, as well as grilled or fried chicken. The fried version comes with plain rice, egg and coconut curry which we can enjoy as a soup. Weekend specials, like Singapore Chili Crab, are worth planning your day around.
Photo credit: Adam Friedlander
It’s not hard to get a table at Chuan Tian Xia, and there’s no better place for Sichuan food in this part of Brooklyn. The restaurant caters well to a group so you can eat a lot, and the tables are big and wide so you can eat a lot. The mapo tofu and chongqing chicken are both excellent examples of this style, and we recommend building your meal around grilled fish with extra vegetables and lots of DIY options to change up the flavors. It is served over a sizzling fire, swimming in a sauce full of peppers.
Nuan Xin is a grab-and-go place that makes a variety of Taiwanese brown rice, all under $6. Wrapped in seaweed and filled with things like sweet and smoky eel, vegetables, and mayonnaise, these rolls are good to eat. a quick breakfast or lunch. A selection of milk teas and soft drinks complement the rolls perfectly.
On weekends, the line at Xin Fa Bakery may seem daunting, but it moves quickly, bringing you closer to your destination. You’ve come for a big box of tarts, at least half a dozen, to bring to the party so everyone can admire your baked goodies. The custard is very creamy, and the Xin Fa goes on harder on top of the fire than other breads. The sponge cakes and bastes here are also a must.
Photo credit: Noah Devereaux
Outside of Western Yunnan, there is a delicious painting that shows how the dish’s name didn’t start: Bridge noodles, unique to China’s Yunnan province. The footage shows a woman trying to bring her husband lunch by crossing a river without calories. Inside the restaurant, there is a simple solution to this: a large noodle soup, filled with ingredients such as beef and quail eggs, is mixed together at the table by your server.
For a weekday brunch of hand-pulled food, you can have a sit-down meal at Dun Huang and be in and out within 30 minutes. This cafe has plenty of space inside, TVs playing Chinese movies, and quick and efficient service. Bring one cumin-flavored lamb chop per person and smash the cucumber salad at the table before moving on to the noodles. We love cold, hand-pulled drinks.
Photo credit: Carina Finn
There are many Chinese bakeries in Sunset Park, but Golden Steamer makes the best sandwiches, period. The place is dominated by giant cabinet-like giants in the back, like secret bao saunas. A good order here is a pumpkin bun, a roast pork bun, and a salted egg yolk custard bun, with milk tea for good measure. Stock up on their big packs of warmed buns that you can freeze and bake when you need to hunt down an emergency.
Walk past the seafood tanks at BK Seafood Market and enter the dining room with large round tables topped with lazy susans. They have a set menu, but some of the a la carte options – like the garlic fried chicken – are not to be missed. If you need somewhere to have a last minute meal with a large group, perhaps for a special occasion, BK is a good choice. We love this versatile restaurant, and it’s a great choice for a weeknight dinner or date night.
We love the chaos that is Don Pepe Tortas y Jugos, a restaurant that serves—you guessed it—tortas and jugos. The walls are plastered with handwritten signs attached to every available space, tempting you to try a torta, juice, or taco. Everything we’ve had here is delicious, but the tacos arabes are a sleeper. These tacos al pastor starters are seasoned with cumin, sweetened with pineapple chunks, and served in small pieces of flour.
From the outside, the Grill looks like it’s full of grilled meats. And from the inside, it looks like this too. That’s because the Grill—which is about the size of a budget hotel room—is full of grilled meats. At the counter, you can order honey-roasted duck, suckling pig, and chicken wings by the pound, but you must eat them with rice or noodles. The combination of two meats on rice costs about $6 and comes with vegetables on the side.
There’s no shortage of places to get hot pot in Sunset Park, but Chongqing Wharf, on the border of Borough Park, wins for price, food, and experience. At this blue neon fever restaurant, you pay $49 per person for an all-you-can-eat meal, and that includes things like snow crab legs, whole lobsters, and any kind of cut of meat. The place is packed with locals every night, and even if you can’t make a reservation, you can join the waiting list – do this at least two hours before you plan to eat.