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You may have occasion to be eating Chinese food in a couple days, and if so, you're likely looking for a movie theater afterward. With that in mind, here are some of our favorite Chinese restaurants with directions to the closest movie theater.

This isn't an exhaustive list of course. For one, it's only sit-down restaurants, not take-out or quick counter-based operations. And with apologies to Sunset Park, it focuses on restaurants that do have nearby movie theaters, as well as decent options for neighborhoods that lack a strong Chinese presence. We'll get to a true Best Chinese of New York post soon enough.

Chinatown

Beef Chow Fun at New Hon Won. [Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Chinatown is the most obvious, and perhaps most appropriate eating out destination for December 25th. There are good restaurants beyond number, but these are a few of our tried and true classics. (So the closest movie theater is a schlep away on Houston, but you can't not include Chinatown.)

Great New York Noodletown may be the most Chinatown of the lot, with inconsistent but frequently delicious roast meat and classic stir fried noodle dishes. It's a similar but quieter and cleaner scene at New Hon Won, where rice noodles and congee are the must-orders.

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Spicy Fish Filet Sichuan Style at Shanghai 456. [Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

For slightly more upscale, Shanghai Cafe Deluxe and Shanghai 456 are our most frequently visited restaurants. The tourists come in droves at times, but I'm betting they'll be all over Royal Seafood now, the subject of the recent Times review, freeing up tables for the rest of us.

Prefer dim sum? Nom Wah Tea Parlor remains totally solid for a cart-free experience; 88 Palace (not to be confused with Palace 88) is my favorite cart-based dim sum, with some dishes you don't find most other places.

Nearby Theater: Sunshine Landmark Cinema, 143 East Houston Street, New York, NY 10012 (map)

Flushing

Spicy & Sour Lamb Dumplings at Biang!. [Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

If you go to Flushing you've already shown your commitment to traveling, so you probably don't mind walking past Norther Boulevard to the College Point Multiplex. And if you're debating whether or not to go—do it. The food is worth it.

To start, Biang!, the flagship full-service restaurant from the Xi'an Famous Foods empire. All the amazing noodles and killer sauce you've come to expect, plus a lot more dishes to try. Fu Run is one of the leaders of the northern Chinese food revolution in Flushing, and their Muslim Lamb Chop, a braised, spice-crusted, deep fried rack of ribs, is one of the most interesting plates of food in the city.

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Small Fried Turnip Cakes at Ocean Jewel. [Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

Looking for hot pot? Little Sheep is an international chain, but a good one, and its reliable, well-trained staff make it easy for first-timers to dig right in. For other communal eating, Ocean Jewel does my favorite Flushing dim sum. It's smaller and cleaner than the others, and they know their way around a fryer. Ask for the small fried turnip cakes that you see above—they're even better than the more common thick slabs.

There's some debate as to who does the best soup dumplings in Flushing, but Nan Xiang has some pretty delicious ones. Their soy sauce-laced rice cakes and display case of cold appetizer dishes are other highlights.

Nearby Theater: College Point Multiplex Cinema, 28-55 Ulmer Street, Flushing, NY, 11354 (map)

East Village

Pea Shoots at...Everywhere

Pea Shoots at Grand Sichuan. [Photograph: Robyn Lee]

It's slim pickings in the East Village for good Chinese, but the movie theater options are plentiful. As for eating, the Saint Mark's Grand Sichuan is my go-to restaurant for some spicy meat stir fries and garlic spinach. If you're in a small group you can probably fit into the cramped quarters of the Village's Xi'an Famous Foods outpost.

Nearby Theater: Village East Cinema, 189 2nd Avenue, New York, NY, 10003 (map)

West Village

"Pac Man" Shrimp Dumplings ($4 for 12)

"Pac Man" Shrimp Dumplings at RedFarm. [Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

RedFarm feels like it's made for Jewish Christmas: Chinese-American food that knows how to have fun. The soup dumplings cost more here, but they're on a whole other level of flavor, and the steak is a real thing of beauty.

Nearby Theater: IFC Center, 323 6th Avenue, New York, NY, 10014 (map)

Lower East Side

Chrysanthemum Leaf Salad ($7)

Chrysanthemum Leaf Salad at Yunnan Kitchen. [Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Mission Chinese Food will likely be even more packed than usual, so you may want to consider another new LES restaurant that's delicious in its own right: Yunnan Kitchen, Manhattan's best source for Yunnan Chinese cooking. Don't miss the chrysanthemum salad.

Nearby Theater: Sunshine Landmark Cinema, 143 East Houston Street, New York, NY 10012 (map)

Chelsea

Mapo Tofu at Legend. [Photograph: Alice Gao]

When you call yourself Legend, you better mean it. Fortunately, this place does the best Sichuan cooking—and Chinese generally—in Chelsea. We love the Tears in Eyes and Sweet Potato Cakes.

Nearby Theater: Clearview Chelsea, 260 West 23rd Street, New York, NY 10011 (map)

Midtown

Spicy Diced Rabbit at Cafe China

Spicy Diced Rabbit at Cafe China. [Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Midtown can feel like a dessert for delicious, affordable food, but with the arrival of Cafe China late last year, things look a little brighter. The Spicy Diced Rabbit and Chungking Spicy Chicken are both done well here, and the wontons in chili oil are delicate with juicy fillings. We'll also extoll the virtues of the Crispy Lamb Filets with Chili Cumin at Szechuan Gourmet.

Nearby Theaters: AMC Empire, 234 West 42nd Street, New York, NY 10036 (map); AMC Loews 34th Street 14, West 34th Street, New York, NY, 10001 (map)

Upper West Side

Boneless Whole Fried Fish with Pine Nuts

Boneless Whole Fish with Pine Nuts at Grand Sichuan International. [Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Ed thinks the quality of Grand Sichuan International has waned since his favorable June 2011 review, but he still gives props to the Boneless Whole Fried Fish with Pine Nuts, Shrimp with Sichuan Sauce, and ChongQing Spicy Chicken. The UWS outpost Legend is also now open, and we hope that it matches the quality of its downtown location.

Nearby Theater: AMC Lincoln Square 13, 1998 Broadway, New York, NY 10023 (map)

Where Are You Eating?

Your turn, serious eaters—where are you celebrating December 25th? Let us know in the comments.

Related Reading: Ed's eternal question, Chinese Food, Christmas Day, and the Jews: Where Can We Go for Old-School Chinese?

About the author: Max Falkowitz is the editor of Serious Eats: New York. You can follow him on Twitter at @maxfalkowitz.

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