Top 5 Hidden Restaurants

Walking around the city, you can find a lot of restaurants varying in shapes, and sizes.   Some are very large and some are so small, earning the title as “hole-in-the-wall” restaurants. Eateries even differ in presence. Yes, you read that right. Most are visible in appearance, whereas others are hardly noticeable.

These dining rooms are so low key that they look like regular buildings. When passing by, one could easily mistake it as abandoned vicinity and would never expect it to be a dining room. Some are discreetly hidden behind a wall. Good luck trying to find these places!

 

  1. Zenkichi

77 North 6th Street, Brooklyn, New York 11211 – between Wythe Avenue & Berry Street in Williamsburg

Photo Taken by Jeff Bachner.

Photo Taken by Jeff Bachner.

I had the hardest time trying to find this place the first time I came here.  Yes, believe it or not, there is a restaurant encased behind those wooden planks. The inside is even harder to navigate through; black wood as well as mirrors takes the space on the walls, making it seem like a maze. The purpose of this is to experience a private dining style. Not only is Zenkichi known for its great disguise, its also known for its exceptional Japanese cuisine.  The prices range from $4.95 to a whopping $65, which is for an 8-course meal per person – total steal!

 

  1. No Name Bar

597 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11222 – between Driggs Avenue & Nassau Avenue in Greenpoint

Photo Taken by nyc.thedrinknation.com.

Photo Taken by nyc.thedrinknation.com.

What I found memorable about this eatery, beside its shabby and plain exterior, is its awesome name. You would never know the name of the restaurant because it is not exhibited on the front of the restaurant like a normal restaurant would. If you ask anyone that works there what the actual name is, expect to get this as your answer: “The No Name Bar.” It’s confusing, but different and unforgettable. This place serves Thai food, and its ramen noodles make this hidden gem a hit. The price ranges from $10 to $15, so you won’t feel bad about breaking the bank!

 

  1. Kuma Inn

113 Ludlow Street, New York, NY 10002 – between Rivington Street & Delancey Street in Lower East Side

Photo Taken by Marriet Hagpie.

Photo Taken by Marriet Hagpie.

We can be thankful that this restaurant at least has its name painted on the doorway. Don’t let the ragged surface of this restaurant fool you.   I found this to be a great place for a cozy and satisfying meal. They have several signature dishes on the menu, from a yellowfin tuna tartare to grilled salmon. Also, it is BYO beer and wine. The food is excellent in price, ranging from $2 to $15. We promise you are inn for a treat.

 

  1. Freemans Restaurant

8 Rivington Street, End of Freeman Alley, New York, NY 10002 – between Freeman Alley & Chrystie Street in Lower East Side

Photo Taken by www.eateryrow.com.

Photo Taken by http://www.eateryrow.com.

Tucked away in Freeman’s Alley glitters the location’s namesake restaurant. Styled as a hunting lodge, it serves a rustic American cuisine. This eatery offers breakfast, lunch, brunch, dinner, and dessert.  When I came here, I was told to order the artichoke dip because it is the star dish at Freemans Restaurant.  Hands down, it was the best artichoke dip I have ever eaten.  The food prices range from $6 to $26. Even without the glittering lights from the lamps, this hideaway would still shine.

 

  1. Hudson Clearwater

447 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014 – between Morton Street & Barrow Street in West Village

Photo Taken by romancingthecity.wordpress.com.

Photo Taken by romancingthecity.wordpress.com.

This place is so disguised that once I walked in, I felt like I stumbled across a secret. The main entrance is this picture above. After you walk through this, you enter a patio. Towards the back of the patio is another entrance to an indoor dining area. The indoor restaurant has an entrance on Morton Street, but it is not used. The food is perfectly portioned rustic American cuisine.  Some favorites are the grilled hanger steak and the butternut-squash cake. What’s great about this place is every dish is made with fresh ingredients from local farms. The food prices are affordable, starting from $3 to $27.

 

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Top 5 Best Oyster and Seafood Happy Hours

Just last year, a friend introduced me to one of the best times of the day.  I am not talking about a period of time where drinks are discounted.  I am talking about a seafood and oyster happy hour.  This is like your five-o’clock-somewhere-happy hour, but cooler.  Seafood can be overpriced and very expensive.  Thankfully, there are certain restaurants around NYC offering this enjoyable hour with extremely cheap and affordable prices.

Heading to one of these five places – or all five – is the perfect way to end a long week. Chow down on some Blue Points for a low price.  Include drink deals and the occasional cheap seafood specials and you’ll find some of the happiest happy hours in the city.  Get slurpin’.

1. The Mermaid Inn
568 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10024 – between 88th Street in Upper West Side96 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10003 – between 5th Street and 6th Street in East Village

Photo Taken by Gulsah G.

Photo Taken by Gulsah G.

Luckily, we have two tasty places to choose from.  From Tuesday to Thursday, 5pm to 7pm, and Friday to Sunday, 4pm to 7pm, their seafood happy hour menus are offered.  Little neck oysters and West Coast oysters are $1.  Their snack bar serves $7 shrimp & avocado slider, $6 fried coleslaw and clam sliders, $3 shrimp corndogs, mini mermaid fish tacos, mini spring pea soup, and fried oysters.  It’s not over yet.  During this period, wine by the glass goes for $6, draft beers are $5, and cocktails are $7.  When I went here, I had to wait on a bit of a lengthy line, so get there about a half hour early!  But don’t worry, the wait is TOTALLY worth it.  

2.BLT Fish Shack

21 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011 – between Avenue Of The Americas & 5th Ave in Flatiron
This restaurant definitely deserved a spot in our top 5 specifically for it’s friendly staff, comfortable interior, and for it’s delicious array of seafood specials.  My friend and I went here during happy hour, and we got $1 littleneck and $1 Blue Point oysters.  This special is offered with top-neck clams Monday through Friday from 5pm to 7pm.  While you wait, the bartender brings you fresh bread covered in melted cheese.  Yep, I just described heaven for you. 

3. Maison Premiere

298 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211 – between 2nd Street & 1st Street in Williamsburg

Photo taken by Kirsten Kay Theon.

Photo taken by Kirsten Kay Theon.

Photo Taken by Robb Report.

Photo Taken by Robb Report.

 

 

 

 

 

While I ate my seafood, I couldn’t help but feel like I was in an old Parisian cafe.  What’s as beautiful as the interior?  The seafood happy hour!  Monday through Friday, from 4 to 7pm, and on Saturday and Sunday, from 11am to 1pm, EVERY oyster on the menu goes for $1.  There’s over twenty oysters to choose from!  As you sit at the bar, the chefs shuck away at the oysters for you.  There aren’t any drink specials during this time, however, there is a cool beverage fountain to get drinks from.  A bronze statue of Napoleon is placed at the top of the fountain, overlooking the place.  

4. The John Dory

1196 Broadway, New York, NY 10001 – between 28th Street and 29th Street in Midtown West

Photo Taken by Melissa Hom.

Photo Taken by Melissa Hom.

This seafood restaurant is a fun place to go to because of its bright furniture and its friendly staff.  The John Dory Oyster Bar is a part of the Ace Hotel, and what a great asset it is.  The happy hour here is $18, and is offered from Monday through Friday from 5 to 7pm and 11pm to midnight.  This deal includes six clams or Oysters, and a glass of beer or sparking wine.  On Saturdays and Sunday, the special is given from noon to 7pm.  It is common to order the Parker House rolls and sea whelks with garlic butter while you wait for your meal.  Awesome?  Shuck yea!

5. Upstate Craft Beer and Oyster Bar

95 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10003 – East Village
Photo Taken by Upstate Craft Beer and Oyster Bar.

Photo Taken by Upstate Craft Beer and Oyster Bar.

Upstate Craft Beer and Oyster Bar serves as a hidden gem in the East Village.  This hole-in-the-wall place is fully committed to its seafood and its drinks, which are from the New York area.  Happy hour is served from 5 to 7pm on the daily.  For $12, you can get a draft beer and 6 oysters.  When I came, I watched the chefs shuck my oysters, and I chose draught beers from a list that updates frequently.  Here, you get the best of both worlds:  the beer and the seafood.  You’ll thank me later.

Top 5 Hole in the Wall Restaurants

I don’t know about you guys but I LOVE GOOD FOOD! Growing up in an Indian household in a Latin American country really forces you to learn to appreciate flavor. It’s probably one of my favorite things to do, along with sleeping and Amazon shopping (Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, this girl has no life but hey! I enjoy a sedentary state when I’m not interning or going to school). These might not be the best spots to impress a first date but they’re pretty darn cheap and their food is delicious even though the ambiance is not all that impressive.

5.Pure Thai Cookhouse

JuneSLR-074 Photo Cred: http://www.twofatbellies.com

This place is tiny tiny and gets mad crowded on the weekends so if you’re not willing to wait for a table I would recommend going on a weekday/night. My best friend and I were checking out an Off Broadway show and we were starving afterwards so we came across this place after a quick Nearby search on Yelp and decided to give it a try. This is the place you go to if you want to have your usual Thai dishes (except they will blow your mind because you’ll finally realize that all this time you were living a lie by eating mediocre Thai takeout).

766 9th Ave
New York, NY10019
b/t 51st St & 52nd St in Hell’s Kitchen, Midtown West, Theater District

4.Great Burrito

01-The-Great-BurritoPhoto Cred: http://www.mightysweet.com

This Mexican place in Chelsea is probably one of the dingiest places I’ve ever been to eat. However, it’s definitely worth noting that it was probably one of the yummiest! Their enchiladas are to die for and they’re so cheap. They have quite a variety of Mexican dishes and they all look like they were made by the Mexican grandmother you wish you had.

100 W 23rd St
New York, NY10011b/t Avenue Of The Americas & 7th Ave in Chelsea

3.Lam Zhou Handmade Noodle

dumplingaPhoto Cred: http://www.feistyfoodie.com

So I had bookmarked this place on Yelp ages ago but I only got around to going about a week ago. After watching my friend get tattooed at a tattoo parlor in Chinatown we ran over to this little spot to grab a quick yet extremely satisfying dinner. Their noodles and dumplings are handmade in house perfection, you can actually hear the guy slapping around the noodles as you eat. And the best part is it’s probably the cheapest Chinese meal you could expect to eat anywhere in Manhattan, $3 for 12 dumplings? And $9 for 50?! Um, yes please!

144 E Broadway
New York, NY10002
b/t Pike St & East Broadway in Chinatown, Lower East Side

2.Esperanto

Photo Cred: http://www.eyechow.com

This remotely located Brazilian place is a long time favorite of mine, I used to live on Avenue C so it was literally a couple of steps away. And man, can I just tell you, their brunch deal is TO DIE FOR! $12.50 for a drink (Orange juice, mimosa, bloody mary or screw driver), an entree and coffee or tea. Their regular menu is a little pricier but it’s so worth it and the place is really cute, it’s a great spot to catch up with friends over some drinks or to grab a super satisfying meal if you’re hungover.

145 Ave C
New York, NY10009
East Village, Alphabet City

1.Margon

cubanPhoto Cred: http://www.cheapassfood.com

Hands down the best Cuban sandwich in Manhattan. If you’re ever craving a good Cuban I would recommend trekking up to the 30 Rock vicinity to pick up a perfectly toasted sandwich from Margon, it’s heavenly. I’m not even a fan of pickles or mustard but this sandwich is too good to pass up. I intern in the area and I look forward to lunch time so I can get my Cubano fix and go!

136 W 46th St
New York, NY10036
b/t Avenue Of The Americas & 7th Ave in Midtown West, Theater District

So next time you’re craving some yummy cheap noms, try one of these places out and let me know how it went!

-Ashi