Two years ago we shared our picks for where to eat near Penn Station, one of New York's transit hubs in a...let's say challenging food neighborhood. But there's plenty of good food if you know where to look, and much more if you're willing to walk a little bit. To help, here's our updated field guide with everything from quick bites to a full-service meal. Want the guide on a map? Hit it up at the bottom of the post.
Pizza Suprema: The recommendation we give most often. Just across the street from Penn Station, Suprema does a more-than-solid cheese slice and a memorably good "upside down" slice, a Sicilian slice that goes crust, cheese, sauce instead of crust, sauce, cheese. If you're coming from out of town and want to know what New York pizza's about, this is a great place to do it.
Don Pepi Pizza: Suprema makes a much better slice, but if you're really pressed for time, Don Pepi in Penn Station itself does a decent one, too.
HIT Korean Food & Deli: Korean and traditional deli food? Sounds suspicious, but tastes incredible. The bibimbap and reuben are particularly good.
Brooklyn Bagel: If you're looking for good New York bagels within a 10-minute walk of Penn Station, this is your best bet. We actually prefer their "mini" bagels to their standard ones; they have the better crust-to-doughy-innards ratio.
mmm...Enfes: There aren't that many Turkish bakeries in midtown, and this happens to be a good one. Breads, layered savory pastries, and bright lentils balls are particularly good.
Culture Espresso: Cute cafe, great coffee, good sandwiches.
Stumptown: Coffee shop in the lobby of the Ace Hotel, serving some of the best joe in the city. Take your coffee to go or hang in the hotel's free wi-fi lobby for a while.
Vivoli: Creamy gelato that isn't too sweet. The riso flavor, like rice pudding with chewy grains of rice, is a standout.
Kati Roll Company: Kati rolls are the Indian cousin of the burrito. We like the vegetarian fillings the best here.
No. 7 Sub: Definitely an "only in New York" experience. The sandwiches at No. 7 Sub use some of the strangest ingredient combos in town—roast pork with melon and cheddar; bologna with parsnip mole, ricotta, and pumpkin seeds; the list goes on. Whether they're awesome or just crazy depends on the sandwich (and the eater), but they're guaranteed to be interesting.
Piccolo Cafe: Although they offer various excellent sandwich options, their tuna focaccia is our top pick.
Salumeria Biellese: From the outside, it looks like the most nondescript, generic steam-table Italian deli you can imagine. But this venerable Italian meat shop cures like nobody's business. Their weekly sandwich specials (Monday roast beef, Thursday roast pork...) are worth a try, too.
Mooncake Foods: Fresh Asian food with the atmosphere of a retro diner.
Blue Dog Cafe: There isn't much space to sit here, but the sandwiches are good to go.
Stella 34: A pretty and tranquil Italian restaurant in...Macy's? Yup, with pizza and sandwiches too. Not the best in town, and not as cute as your favorite neighborhood place, but for decent (if a little pricey) food immediately in Herald Square, it's a good thing. Take the express elevator straight to the restaurant to avoid the crowds.
Macaron Cafe: Crusty bread and fresh, tasty ingredient combinations (we liked smoked salmon with capers, and goat cheese with Granny Smiths) make for great sandwiches.
Go Go Curry: Tasty Japanese curry in huge portions.
Mr. Broadway Kosher Restaurant: A kosher deli with an expensive but pretty great shawarma. Be sure to load up at the salad bar to get the most of your lunch.
Lezzette: A Middle Eastern kabob place with some sandwiches you shouldn't ignore. We dig the Casablanca.
Milanes: Huge portions of classic Dominican food. Go for the Cubano.
Num Pang: Cambodian-inflected sandwiches in American portions, a menu we keep coming back to. Their rice noodle bowls are also quite filling and satisfying.
Hill Country: Texas-style barbecue with killer brisket.
Szechuan Gourmet: A top Sichuan Chinese spot in the heart of midtown.
Co.: A fancier pizzeria from Jim Lahey, one of the city's best bakers. Creative pies like the Popeye with spinach, Gruyere, and black pepper are worth the walk to Chelsea.
El Quinto Pino: Small space, great tapas. They do some good stuff with sea urchin here.
Txikito: There's no shortage of Spanish tapas-style restaurants in Chelsea (see above, from the same owner), but Txikito's are memorably delicious. Basque cooking is the specialty here.
Bon Chon: Ultra-crisp Korean-style fried chicken. It comes with a 20-or-so minute wait, so plan accordingly.
Song Kran: Totally serviceable Thai. (We used to order "The Sidewalk" for lunch all the time.)
New York's Koreatown is centered on 32nd Street, just a few minutes' walk from Penn Station; in the space of about a block you'll find just about every kind of Korean restaurant you can imagine.
Pocha 32: Very popular come late night, a rowdy, nautical-themed restaurant with a knack for buddae jiggae, spicy noodle soup with everything from cheese to Spam. Don't forget to order the house punch, a scooped out watermelon filled with watermelon juice, Sprite, and soju.
Hangawi: Pricier than most of the Korean spots here, but worth it for some of the best all-vegan food in town.
Kang Suh: Korean barbecue and giant crispy pancakes, open 24/7.
Cho Dang Gol: Specialist in fresh tofu made daily. The cooking here is clean and subtle but very well done.
Gahm Mi Oak: You're here for , a milky, creamy ox bone broth perfect for soothing the stomach after a late night of drinking. Open 24 hours.
BCD Tofu House: Another 24-hour spot specializing in tofu in a range of preparations. Vegetarian-friendly.
Arang: A favorite spot for K-Town's younger crowd for new spins on Korean restaurant classics. Big menu, open late.
Arirang: Tender chicken noodle soup and seafood pancakes are the things to order here.
Tous Les Jours: A popular bakery that knows it's Korean but pretends its French. Baguettes and sponge cake and shaved ice.
Food Gallery 32: If you've got time to kill at Penn Station and you find yourself thinking "Gee, I wish I could sample six different Korean dishes right now," you're in luck. Food Gallery 32 is a futuristic, tri-level food court on 32nd Street (also known as Koreatown), where you can grab anything from ramen to bibimbap to bulgogi to seafood stews.
More Upscale and Pricey
The Breslin: They don't take reservations, so you'll probably have to wait at the noisy bar. But it's worth it for one of the city's finest gastropubs with a pork-heavy menu (brunch included) and an incredible lamb burger.
John Dory Oyster Bar: The Breslin is on one side of the Ace Hotel's lobby; the John Dory is on the other. A fantastic oyster bar with a Mediterranean bent. The prices on small plates add up but are by and large worth it.
Hanjan: Chef Hooni Kim's second Korean restaurant in New York is one of the city's best. The menu is built on small plates that encourage drinking. Prices can build to a big tab, but this is some of the most careful, interesting, and delicious Korean cooking in New York.
Keen's Steakhouse: One of New York's legendary steakhouses, dressing nice required. Mutton chop is the signature dish, but the steaks and hash are awesome, too.
NoMad: The more casual (but still very upscale) counterpart to Daniel Humm's Eleven Madison Park. There is an $82 roast chicken, and yes, we think it's worth it. Great bar, too (see below). You'll want to make a reservation here.
The Breslin: The Breslin's cocktails surpass what they're shaking up in the Ace Hotel's lobby bar. The bar can get crowded during peak hours, and loud, but it's a fun place to enjoy a reasonably well made drink.
NoMad: Cocktails at NoMad are just as good as the food (and they better be at $15 each). The menu offers over 30 different drinks, some high-octane, some low-alcohol, all with thoughtful, layered ingredient combinations that make the most of an expansive booze shelf. The library room is a great place to sit down with your drink; good people watching to boot.
K Town Bar: If you're into sake bombs and soju in a fun, not-too-divey setting, this is your place.
Gallow Green: The drinks are great (punch is the specialty), but what puts this rooftop bar over the top is the space itself on the roof of the McKittrick Hotel (home of the theatrical production Sleep No More).
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