The Best Restaurants In Hell’s Kitchen

Korean handrolls, brick-oven pizza, exceptional Thai food, and more.
The Best Restaurants In Hell’s Kitchen image

photo credit: Kate Previte

People often ask us where to eat in Midtown or where to grab a bite in the Theatre District. Both of those neighborhoods do actually have some worthwhile restaurants, but half the time we wind up saying “Just go to Hell’s Kitchen.” The neighborhood that should— but will never be—referred to as “Midtown West” has lots of great dining options, and they’re only getting better. Current standouts include a Hyderabadi spot with excellent biryani, and a burger counter where you can watch a person in a paper hat fry a mountain of onions.


photo credit: Melissa Hom


Hell's Kitchen

$$$$Perfect For:Date NightDining SoloEating At The BarFine DiningPre-Theater Eats
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Grilled skewers have reached a Harry Styles-level of popularity at restaurants around NYC, and Kochi is the best place to get them in Hell’s Kitchen. This Korean spot serves a $145 tasting menu with skewers ranging from butter-poached halibut to dry-aged pork collar with pistachio ssamjang, and they’re all delicious. Sit at the long bar with a date and watch the chefs prepare all nine courses in front of you.

photo credit: Mari

This Korean spot from the Kochi team serves a $145, 12-course tasting, the bulk of which is dedicated to U-shaped hand rolls filled with marinated meat or fish topped with crunchy accessories like pickled daikon. Unlike some hand roll places you may have been to before, like Nami Nori or Domodomo, Mari incorporates Korean sauces and spices into every two-bite roll. There are a couple tables in the back, but you should sit at the big rectangular counter in the middle of the restaurant. If you want a more extensive meal, you can also go for the $185 menu with a few additional courses.

There are roughly 50,000 rice dishes in NYC, and Hyderabadi Zaiqa’s biryani ranks in the 99th percentile. We’re partial to the dum biryani with tender chunks of goat, but this tiny basement spot also serves 14 other varieties, from paneer to gongura chicken. Come with a group, and split an order or two, with some bagara baingan and saucy chicken 65 on the side. There are a few other Hyderabadi dishes here, although, despite the name, the menu is all over the place. If you’re looking for Punjabi or coastal South Indian food, you can get that too.

LumLum is a Thai restaurant that specializes in seafood, and it's somewhere you should eat several times a month. The space is bright and beachy, with bamboo walls and rattan furniture, and you'll probably hear the Beach Boys playing when you stop by. Lean into the coastal theme, and get some crab fried rice and massive river prawns. Charred, juicy, and served with tart chile-lime sauce, the prawns are some of the best things you’ll consume within a one-mile radius.

Lovely’s Old Fashioned is a luncheonette-like spot on 9th Avenue that’s going for an American Graffiti level of nostalgia. Grab a stool at the 10-seat counter, and watch a fry cook in a paper hat work a crowded griddle while you eat a mid-sized burger on a fluffy potato bun. You can also get a hot dog topped with a heap of fried onions, and there’s a messy mushroom reuben if you’re looking for a vegetarian option. This place is perfect for a quick lunch, but you can also stop by until at least midnight every night of the week.

In every neighborhood, you’ll find at least one restaurant doing an impression of a Parisian bistro. In Hell’s Kitchen, that restaurant is Steak Frites, and the impression is spot-on. The namesake dish, which comes topped with a half-melted slab of butter, is the main thing to get, although you should also try the escargots, pâté, and gnocchi parisienne. The space can feel loud and bustling at times, but you can grab a bar seat if you want to avoid the chaos.

If you go on dates in Hell’s Kitchen (or often appease your uptown friends by meeting them halfway), you should know about Kashkaval. This Mediterranean small plates restaurant is brick-walled, candle-lit, and generally quiet, without being too romantic. You can share wine, Turkish flatbreads, and some skewered meats. Plus, there’s a fondue list with four different variations, and you can get your fondue portioned for one. Just thought you should know.

If you like your broth thick and your restaurants closet-sized, stop by Kohoku-Ku for a casual bowl of ramen. The soup here is especially rich—bordering on gravy—and you can supplement your order with a range of classic izakaya dishes. Bring a friend for a quick dinner under strings of paper lanterns, and be sure to get some yakitori. The charred and lightly marinated saba is essential.

photo credit: Corner Slice



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Frankly, you’re not going to have a life-changing meal at Gotham West Market, a food hall on 11th Ave. But a Sicilian pie from Corner Slice is the closest you’ll get. The slices here are crispy on the bottom and fluffy in the middle. They do delivery, but if your only option is to eat pizza inside of the market, the cafeteria-style seating will at least make you feel young again.

What’s this place doing across the street from the Lincoln Tunnel? It’s almost like it’s avoiding you. But don’t let it. Chi isn’t just one of the best-looking restaurants in the area, it’s also where you’ll find some of the most impressive food. If you’re planning a group dinner and need something a little more upscale, snag a gray leather booth and split some mapo tofu under a hanging glass sculpture. The menu is mostly Sichuan, but it also has everything from dim sum and Peking duck to general tso’s and great spicy cumin lamb.

Marseille bills itself as one of Broadway’s favorite dining destinations—and while we’ve never spotted Ben Platt there reviewing sheet music over moules frites, you will find plenty of theater goers having pre-show dinners and green Ricard apéritifs at this warm French brasserie. The menu is standard, but the tuna tartare and escargots do not disappoint, and they’ve got a pretty fun oyster Happy Hour. This place doesn't have the Parisian cool of Frenchette or Le French Diner, but, surprisingly, it doesn't feel as dated as a Times Square-adjacent white tablecloth restaurant could.

It’s all in the name—chicken on rice, prepared three ways. This small Thai spot actually puts their fried, poached, or grilled chicken in seven different dishes, but you get the idea. Everything is served with an intensely flavorful clear chicken broth on the side, khao mun gai style, on thoroughly gingery rice. Even with so few options on the menu, it’s hard to choose, but the juicy lemongrass grilled chicken is so expertly marinated it’s usually our first choice. This small shop is made for easy lunch orders.

Chalong is from a chef who used to work at Fish Cheeks, so it’s not surprising that you can get an excellent crab curry here. This place focuses on Southern Thai cuisine, which means that, in addition to crab curry, you can expect plenty of other seafood dishes like shrimp and crab stuffed in crispy tofu skin and a spicy herb salad with raw oysters. The earth-toned room works for almost any occasion, but it’s especially useful for when you’re seeing a Broadway show and don’t want to have to eat at Dos Caminos beforehand.

The original Rice ‘n’ Beans closed in 2021, but the same chef is now running this updated iteration on 10th Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen. The new space has a more modern feel—exposed brick, Edison bulbs, etc.—but the feijoada remains fantastic. It comes packed with bacon, beef, pork ribs, and Portuguese sausage, and it's a non-optional order. To round out your meal, start with some pão de queijo or crispy fried yucca tossed with slivers of smoked sausage.

B Side is your best bet for brick-oven pizza in Hell’s Kitchen. The pies here taste like whoever’s making them cares more about bread than finding somebody to love. This dimly-lit restaurant on W 51st Street mostly only has bar seats, but you can usually walk right in and get a spot. We especially like the carbonara pizza and the Roberta’s ripoff topped with chili oil, honey, and enough soppressata to feed a family of four.

There are many ways to enjoy a meal at Tori Shin. You can order à la carte skewers, do a chef’s tasting, or sit in a private room alone with a chef who will make you a meal so special that you’ll daydream about chicken parts for weeks to come. But no matter what you choose, you’ll find some memorable chicken skewers at this yakitori spot on 53rd street.

There aren’t many places in NYC where tourists and hungover New Yorkers come face to face. But that’s exactly what happens in this 24-hour empanada spot. Empanada Mama is essentially a neighborhood diner that caters to the masses. Like most diners, you won’t find any food here that will make you want to Airdrop photos of soup to strangers on the train. But every neighborhood needs a solid option that never closes. If you can’t decide what to order, go for the simple corn empanada filled with beef.

If you visit Guantanamera in the daytime, you’ll think it’s just a Cuban restaurant with ceiling fans and an empty stage set-up. That’s because, like owls and animated cowboy dolls, this kitschy 9th Avenue spot comes alive at night. The live band, crowded bar, and kind man selling hand-rolled cigars are the real reasons why you should come here. The next time you want to simultaneously hear some live music while eating a Cubano and learning how to mambo, try this place.

Totto Ramen serves some of the best ramen in the area, as evidenced by the long waits (even at lunch). Dining solo is your surest move for speedy seat acquisition, so bring a book or fully charged phone and go at it alone during your Midtown lunch break. Also, Totto now takes cards after years of being cash-only.

Inti is a quiet restaurant on 10th Avenue that feels unremarkable in almost every regard, aside from their very good Peruvian food. Everything here comes in large portions at pretty affordable prices, including things like ceviche and a whole rotisserie chicken with fries, fried plantains, rice and beans, and salad that will easily feed five adults. So the next time you need a group dinner before a show at Terminal 5, or a night out in Hell’s Kitchen, Inti is the place.

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