It's no secret that New York City functions as a cultural hub where America's so-called melting pot truly, visibly mixes. One very tasty upside of this: These concentrated neighborhoods present opportunities to sample some of the most authentically-prepared ethnic cuisine you'll find within the United States.
Below, Big Apple diners can find Metrowize-approved recommendations for small ethnic hubs to explore, all of which feel worlds away from Times Square — yet are easily reachable from it!
Italian Food in the Bronx
Skip the ever-contracting tourist trap that is lower Manhattan's so-called Little Italy and head north to the Belmont section of the Bronx for your best shot at traditional Italian fare. At approximately 187th Street, Arthur Avenue (the neighborhood's main strip) is lined with delis, bakeries, cafes and other various stores owned and frequented by Italian residents whose families have lived and worked on these same blocks for more than a century.
-- Ann & Tony's Restaurant on 2407 Arthur Avenue, Bronx, 718-933-1469
-- Mario's Restaurant on 2342 Arthur Avenue, Bronx, 718-584-1188
-- Trattoria Zero Otto Nove on 2357 Arthur Avenue, Bronx, 718-220-1027
-- Antonio's Trattoria on 2370 Belmont Avenue, Bronx, 718-733-6630
Chinese Food in Chinatown, Manhattan
Manhattan's Chinatown notably boasts one of the largest ethnic Chinese communities outside Asia. The neighborhood is bordered by Canal Street to the north, Bowery to the east, Worth Street to the south and Baxter Street to the west. Though it's worth a glimpse, hungry diners may prefer to skip the crowded tourist trap that is Canal Street in favor of heading deeper south towards Chinatown's more authentic culinary offerings — many of which are quickly served and indisputably budget-friendly.
-- Hop Kee on 21 Mott Street, Manhattan, 212-964-8365
-- Prosperity Dumpling on 46 Eldridge Street, Manhattan, 212-343-0683
-- South China Garden on 22 Elizabeth Street, Manhattan, 212-964-2229
-- Dragon Land Bakery on 125 Walker Street, Manhattan, 212-219-2012
Korean Food in "K-town," Manhattan
Koreatown, or "K-town" as it's known, is bordered by 31st and 36th streets, and Fifth and Sixth avenues in Manhattan. Its densest strip is 32nd Street between Fifth Avenue and Broadway, and is officially named "Korea Way." The area is mainly a business district, with very few Korean people living there, but is still loaded with traditional Korean dining options.
-- Don's Bogam BBQ & Wine Bar on 17 East 32nd Street, Manhattan, 212-683-2200
-- Arirang on 32 West 32nd Street, Manhattan, 212-967-5088
-- Gahm Mi Oak on 43 West 32nd Street, Manhattan, 212-695-4113
-- HanGawi Vegetarian on 12 East 32nd Street, Manhattan, 212-213-0077
Indian Food in "Curry Hill," Manhattan
Little India is an area along Lexington Avenue between East 26th and East 30th streets in Manhattan that features a cluster of Indian restaurants and shops. Because this area sits just south of Murray Hill, it's sometimes referred to as "Curry Hill." In New York City, there are other "Little India" neighborhoods — on East 6th Street between First and Second avenues in Manhattan, and another in Jackson Heights, Queens — but "Curry Hill" is the most historic of them.
-- Vatan Indian Vegetarian on 409 3rd Avenue, Manhattan, 212-689-5666
-- Dhaba on 108 Lexington Avenue, Manhattan, 212-679-1284
-- Tiffin Wallah on 127 East 28th Street, Manhattan, 212-685-7301
-- Chennai Garden on 129 East 27th Street, Manhattan, 212-689-1999
Polish Food in Greenpoint, Brooklyn
Greenpoint inhabits the northernmost part of Brooklyn, not too far from the East River waterfront and immediately north of trendy Williamsburg. Historically and statistically, the neighborhood stands as a working-class, mostly Polish neighborhood, and your best bet for authentic Polish cuisine like pierogies, kielbasa, and more.
-- Christina's Restaurant on 853 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-383-4382
-- Lomzynianka on 646 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-389-9439
-- Karczma Polish Restaurant on 136 Greenpoint Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-349-1744
-- Krolewskie Jadio on 694 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-383-8993
Greek Food in Astoria, Queens
Astoria, in northwest Queens, has served as a Greek cultural hub since the 1960s, when the influx of immigrants created the largest Greek population outside of Greece. Since then, the neighborhood's population has expanded to include Italian, Lebanese, Brazilian and Albanian residents — though Astoria is still the main go-to spot for authentic Greek cuisine and often, a side of Greek culture.
-- Zenon Taverna on 34-10 31st Avenue, Queens, 718-956-0133
-- Taverna Kyclades on 33-07 Ditmars Boulevard, Queens, 718-545-8666
-- Ovelia Psistaria & Bar on 34-01 30th Avenue, Queens, 718-721-7217
-- Stamatis Restaurant on 2909 23rd Avenue, Queens, 718-721-4507
Where have you found the most authentically-prepared ethnic food in NYC? Let us know your top spots in the comments!