New York City is known for a lot of things today: theater, fashion, spectacle, history, concerts, the best restaurants, and more. But if there’s one thing that people from around the world will tell you is so magical about NYC, it’s that beneath the lit-up, eye-catching surface, there are “holes in the wall” that provide food and ambiance like you wouldn’t believe.
That’s the special NYC charm, and it requires a little work to find these secret spots. Fortunately, I’m happy to share my top 3 recent dining secrets that took me a few years to stumble upon.
You can expect Korean food that is just as good – if not better – as the establishments you’ll find in Koreatown; but instead, if you won’t have to deal with the long lines and inflated prices. Simply hop on the F, A, C, 2/3, or 4/5 trains to get to this little hole in the wall, right on Smith Street in Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill. As an up-and-coming neighborhood with live music and welcoming boutiques, Ssam can quickly skirt under the radar when you’re shopping around the area.
Built like a rustic, wooden enclave reserved just for you and your dining experience, this place is lit with candles, Christmas lights, and equipped with an impressive saki bar. The best part of all is that it’s never overly crowded, and the wait-staff doesn’t bombard you, pressuring you to leave the establishment once you’re finished.
Not as secretive as Ssam, Joe’s Shanghai has some of the best dim sum you can get in all of Chinatown. The menu is slightly more authentic and rich in flavor, leaving out the grease pools you can encounter at other establishments. You’re also able to sit down at round tables while the waiters bring by the different dim sum selections. Reasonably priced and easy to locate, Joe’s Shanghai has the dingy, cozy ambiance that is so quintessential in Chinatown.
People don’t generally think of Wall Street for dining options. However, Clinton Hall is one nestled away sports-meets-gaming bar that you won’t want to pass up. Equipped with life-sized board games, like chess and checkers, you can grab a beer and physically play your favorite games. As a partially open-air establishment, they bring out heaters in the winter that make it a fun alternative to sitting inside.
Also hot on the Instagram bandwagon, they offer limited edition, crazy menu options like rainbow-colored waffles and pyramids of fried chicken for a serious social media delight. Plus, their hot wing cauliflower bites are to die for. Situated right off of the 1, you can walk here in just 2-minutes from the 4/5.
Stay tuned for additional hole-in-the-wall discoveries! I love to share my findings with New Yorkers and visitors alike.
A unique take on entrepreneurialism in a travel-centric setting, Zandra Rose offers up readers travel reviews, recommendations, and suggestions based on the findings of one 24-year-old solo female traveler. The blog does a great job of highlighting safety precautions for other solo women thinking of hitting the open road.