Long Island City, a Queens locale known for its stunning waterfront views and vibrant art scene, is also home to a culinary landscape that’s every bit as diverse and dynamic as the neighborhood itself. From eclectic food halls to charming bistros, this neighborhood has something for everyone. Here are some must-visit places to get you started.
Tucked away on 44th Drive, Jora is your ticket to a culinary journey through Peru. This cozy and inviting space, complete with colorful décor and friendly staff, showcases the vibrant flavors of Peruvian fare. The ambiance makes it the perfect place for a romantic dinner or an intimate gathering. Keep in mind that Jora is quite popular, and consider making a reservation in advance to avoid the wait.
The empanadas are always a deliciously safe bet, and the zesty ceviche, prepared with fresh fish and a tangy citrus marinade, is a must-try dish. When it comes to the main course, the Lomo Saltado – a savory stir-fry of beef, tomatoes, and onions, served with perfectly cooked French fries – is a flavor-bomb of a meal.
This Michelin-starred LIC standout is a must-visit destination for food enthusiasts. Casa Enrique is known for its wide range of exquisite and inventively presented Mexican dishes. The interior is elegant but understated, which isn’t to say this restaurant is in any way underrated: this is another hotspot you should plan on booking in advance.
The guacamole is an essential starter, prepared tableside to your preference. The true star of Casa Enrique, though, are its legendary mole dishes, with a variety of options available to appeal to a wide range of tastes.
Jacx & Co. Food Hall
For those who crave variety, Jacx & Co. Food Hall is a one-stop shop offering a diverse culinary experience. Located in the Jacx & Co. building on Jackson Avenue, this Long Island City hotspot gathers some of the city’s most beloved food vendors under one roof. Here, you’ll find a global smorgasbord that caters to every craving. Consider this your go-to if you’re dining with a group that has trouble deciding on just one type of cuisine.
From gourmet sandwiches to Korean barbeque, artisanal pizza to fresh seafood, Jacx & Co. Food Hall presents a world of flavors to explore. The bustling communal atmosphere completes the scene, making it a total foodie paradise.
With its authentic Japanese ramen and delicious small plates, Takumen gives you the impression you’ve just stepped off the bustling streets of Tokyo. This cozy, minimalist restaurant is a favorite among locals and visitors alike, offering the perfect environment to enjoy a steaming bowl of tonkotsu during a solo lunch or intimate dinner. The dining room is on the smaller side, so be prepared for a short wait during peak hours.
Of course, the ramen here is the star of the show, with a wide variety of broth bases and toppings to choose from. The Miso Ramen is a particular favorite. Whether you’re looking to explore Japanese flavors or simply seeking some comfort food, Takumen is a worthy choice.
John Brown BBQ
Barbecue enthusiasts, rejoice! If you thought you’d be missing out on homey Southern cooking in the big city, you’re sorely mistaken, for John Brown BBQ brings all that smoky goodness to LIC. This unpretentious gem’s laidback atmosphere and picnic-style seating will transport you to a backyard cookout – if said cookout were manned by a stellar chef, that is.
Renowned for its slow-smoked meats, you’d be hard-pressed to leave John Brown BBQ without sampling some. The brisket and pulled pork sandwiches are fan favorites, especially when paired with their homemade barbecue sauce.
The rich, traditional Italian eats at Maiella are certainly worth coming for on their own. When paired with breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline, this LIC destination becomes one of the more impressive waterfront establishments this side of the East River. Here, you’ll be able to enjoy an elegant and upscale dining experience while taking in the awe-inspiring scenery: if you’re looking for pure “wow” factor, this is the place for you. It’s a predictably hopping spot for date nights and special occasions, so you’d be wise to make a reservation in advance.
The seafood dishes at Maiella are exceptional, prepared expertly with fresh ingredients. The linguine pescatore is a standout, with its medley of fresh fish and shellfish in a fresh, perfectly seasoned tomato sauce.
A hidden gem for beer enthusiasts, The Baroness offers a casual, relaxed atmosphere where patrons can enjoy a wide selection of craft beers from local brews to international favorites. Vintage touches elevate the quintessentially moody gastropub’s interior.
In addition to the extensive beer menu, The Baroness serves a variety of comfort food dishes. Take your pick: no matter your preference, you can bet that anything on the menu has a drink pairing to go with it. When in doubt, trust the friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you find the perfect brew. Or, forego the booze entirely and come for the undisputedly delicious burgers and buzzy vibe.
Offering a fusion of Latin and Asian flavors, R40 stands out as an avant-garde addition to the Long Island City culinary scene. The restaurant’s interior is modern and sleek, providing a perfect backdrop to their innovative dishes. This is one of the area’s more sought-after dining establishments, so making a reservation is highly advisable.
R40’s claim to fame is its ever-evolving tasting menu, a carefully curated selection of dishes showcasing the restaurant’s creativity and precise expertise. Each visit promises a unique exploration of flavors and textures, making this the ideal spot for food enthusiasts looking to be (very) pleasantly surprised.