photo credit: David A. Lee
The Best Late Night Restaurants In NYC
Where to eat pasta, tater tots, and deep-fried hot dogs after midnight.
As a New Yorker, there are a few things you should know how to do. You should be able to do a pretty good impression of that PA voice on the subway, for example, and you should also be capable of finding a good late night meal. If you need a little help with that, here’s a guide for you. It has everything from burgers and tacos to shellfish towers and bone marrow, and it will be one of the single most valuable resources for your life in NYC.
photo credit: Emily Schindler
7th Street Burger
There are only four things on the menu at 7th Street Burger, and this simplicity will work in your favor when you want to do minimal thinking after a long night of chasing whiskey with Miller Lights. Your options are: a cheeseburger, a double cheeseburger, an Impossible burger, and fries. This place stays open until 3am on weekends, so stop by and let one of the best cheeseburgers in the city put you to bed.
Taco Mix has roots in late-night eating from its early days as a food cart, but nowadays all three of their brick-and-mortar locations have some combination of indoor and outdoor seating. Come here when you want to sit down and eat meat piled on top of tortillas after dancing for three hours straight. Your focus should be the al pastor tacos—you’ll need at least four of them.
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Medusa Greek Taverna is a neon-lit party where you can order from a menu that has over 100 options on it. It’s hard not to be skeptical of a menu that large—especially when the kitchen is open until 2am four nights a week—but Medusa holds everything from their gyros to their full platters of biftekia up to high standards at any hour. Come for a midnight order of branzino, or stop by for some late-night beet hummus and beef-stuffed grape leaves that will make for great leftovers the following morning.
photo credit: Emily Schindler
Sometimes, you finish a truly glorious rendition of "Bohemian Rhapsody" at a karaoke spot in K-Town, then realize that all you’ve consumed for the past five hours is soju and light beer. Fortunately, Gammeeok is open 24 hours, and the food here is exactly the kind of sustenance you’ll want after a long night of drinking and singing. They specialize in noodle soups, and we recommend getting some fried chicken and kimchi pancakes as well.
photo credit: Teddy Wolff
Dr. Clark is as sceney as one would expect from a restaurant profiled in Vogue before it even opened. Equally captivating as the scene—perhaps more so, depending on your interest in Cool Downtown Life—are the tables filled with smoky salmon jerky, fresh crab, and squid stuffed with uni rice. This place specializes in food from Hokkaido (with tabletop grilling options), and it's open until 2am every night.
photo credit: David A. Lee
Thelewala is a fun kati roll and chaat counter open until 2am where you can grab something portable to eat around MacDougal Street. You can get a chicken phall roll that’s spicy enough to give you the same thrill as a Stephen King novel or some jaal muri to sneak into the IFC theater a couple blocks away.
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. If you can’t decide what to order, go for the simple corn empanada filled with beef.
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
Turntable Chicken Jazz
After a show at MSG, you usually have to make a few decisions. Are you going to keep this party going? If so, where's the closest, most delicious refueling station? Turntable Chicken Jazz is a great spot nearby where you can keep dancing to DJs playing housey jazz and eat a lot of Korean fried chicken. Get a few orders of wings for your group—you can mix and match flavors—and be sure to have a neon beer tower on your table. If you’re solo, get the bulgogi burger.
Uva is a neighborhood Italian restaurant that’s perfect for date night on the Upper East Side, and it’s open until 1am every day except for Sunday and Monday (when it’s open until 12am). Take advantage of this, and come eat some pasta the next time you take a five-hour nap, wake up, and realize you were supposed to take someone out to dinner. The interior is decorated like an Italian farmhouse made out of brick, and the food is better than what you’ll find at your average neighborhood Italian spot.
Bandits is a diner-themed West Village bar where you can go (until 2am on weekdays and 4am on weekends) to eat the type of food you’d expect at a kitschy diner. They have four different kinds of loaded tater tots, deep-fried hot dogs, a smashburger, and more. There are also a few late-night options for the vegans, like an excellent chickpea “tuna” melt and everything bagel shishito peppers.
This classic, fancy cocktail bar is for when it's late at night and you want to get decadent. (The poppers on the menu are bone marrow, not jalapeño.) They offer their full dinner menu until 3am, so you can get a whole rainbow trout or truffle grilled cheese if you’re dressed too nice for pancakes at the local diner.
If you've ever stumbled out of a Greenwich Village comedy show in search of late-night food, you're probably familiar with Mamoun’s. This place serves inexpensive falafel, hummus, and shawarma all day and night. It’s takeout only, so you won’t have to watch people drop falafel on their laps at 4am.
El Floridita Restaurant
You've had enough late-night pizza. So go get a huge, fatty Cubano at Floridita in Washington Heights. The next time you realize you've stayed at a bar too long for a weeknight, come by for crispy bread, swiss cheese, and salty pork products. The location on Broadway is open until 12am every night, and a second one on 10th is 24-hours, in case you need a sandwich and a coffee at 5am.
If you’re out at a bar in the East Village with a date, some friends, or eight of your coworkers, and you suddenly feel inspired to sit down and eat pasta, go to Lil Frankie’s. It’s a big cash-only Italian restaurant on 1st Avenue, and it’s where you should be eating baked eggplant and spaghetti limone at 1:30am. They’re open until 2am daily and 4am on weekends, and just about everyone will like this place.
Empellón Al Pastor
Imagine a rowdy East Village bar, but instead of alcohol, they specialize in casual Mexican food. That's pretty much what Empellon Al Pastor is (although they do have alcohol as well). Everything here comes on paper plates, and all of the food is pretty great. Use this place for quick late-night tacos and guac or as a party spot when you might want to spend $20 in a photo booth taking sepia-toned pictures with people you met 15 minutes prior.
If you listen closely to the walls of this St. Marks late-night establishment, you’ll hear the echoes of drunken shouts from the past, demanding hot dogs and cheesy tater tots and complaining about how they didn’t get into PDT. Even if you just found a few dollars in your jacket, you’ll be able to get something to eat here. Expect a crowd.
photo credit: Chris Stang
When you’re looking for food after midnight, you usually don’t need anything too complex. A piece of meat between two pieces of bread will probably suffice, so try JG Melon. There are few locations around the city, but we prefer the original on the UES. It’s open until 4am on weekends, and it's where you'll find one of our all-time favorite burgers.
BCD Tofu House
BCD Tofu House is a chain with locations on the East and West Coast, and their location on 32nd Street is open until 3am on weekends. So if you go out for some karaoke in K-Town or see a late show at Madison Square Garden, keep this place in mind. They’ll start you off with some banchan, and then you can move on to some tofu stew and bibimbap.
On weekends, Harlem Shake is open until 2am. If you live uptown, you should consider this vital information. Once you call it a night, you can stop by for a burger topped with French fries or a deep-fried hot dog that comes wrapped in bacon, and you might as well finish your meal with a red velvet shake. This place is extremely casual, they have a fun retro theme, and there's another location in Park Slope.
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
Corner Bistro is a classic late-night move in the West Village. They’ve been open for over 40 years, and it feels like they’ve been around longer. Stop by any time before 1:30am on weekdays and 3:30am on weekends, and get a burger that’s more beef than bun. Go often enough and behave yourself, and the bartender might choose to remember you. This is one way to become a New Yorker.
Plan a date in the East Village, and meet up for gimlets at Holiday Cocktail Lounge, or stop by Blue and Gold for a round of pool. That way, if the date winds up being awkward, you can find a consolation prize at Taqueria Diana. Tacos are an option, and nachos are encouraged. But what you should really order is the al pastor burrito.
Sticky's Finger Joint
What if Tom Hanks hadn’t found the Zoltar machine at end of Big? And what if his employers had fired him for faking his identity? He probably would’ve opened Sticky’s. This place serves s’mores fries and salted caramel chicken fingers. There are a few locations, all of which are open extra late on weekends, and you don’t have to know the plot of Big to appreciate their assorted chicken poppers or bacon fries.
During the day, there are probably other places where you’d rather eat. But when it’s 3am, other late-night options in the area make Coppelia look like Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Here, you can have some early-morning arroz con pollo, ropa vieja, or huevos rancheros. This is a very nice Latin diner in Chelsea, and it’s open 24 hours a day.
photo credit: Blue Ribbon Brasserie
Blue Ribbon Brasserie
What else can we say about Blue Ribbon Brasserie? It’s open until 2am every night, and it’s excellent. But this isn’t a spot for a cheap late-night snack. Go here with someone who wants to spend money, then play the game where you stuff your cheeks with bone marrow and fried chicken.
This Williamsburg spot is very much a (somewhat divey) bar, but their fried chicken is wonderful. On weekends, the kitchen is open until 2am, but if you come on a Friday or Saturday, expect many drunk people in a small, dark, crowded room. (The backyard is even smaller, so don’t pin your hopes on that either.) Just loosen your definition of personal space, and you’ll be fine.`