NYCGuide

The Best Late Night Food In NYC

Where to eat pasta, tater tots, and deep-fried hot dogs after midnight.
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photo credit: Steve Hill

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 yakitori, and it will be one of the single most valuable resources for your life in NYC.

THE SPOTS

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Korean

Koreatown

$$$$Perfect For:Big GroupsLate Night EatsBirthdays
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Is it lame to say that the name of this Koreatown restaurant is exactly how we feel about it? Yeah, but it’s too late now. Open until 4am on weekends, this fun three-story place has spinning rainbow-colored lights, a bar in the basement, and DJs every weekend after 6pm. They have several combos ($109 to $269) to choose from that come with a cornucopia of vegetables to throw on the grill, and our favorite is the one that comes with both beef and pork. Add some smoky and peppery japchae along with their custardy truffled steamed egg. We’d come here just for those two things.

This dark, smallish basement restaurant in Midtown East feels like a sake den in the East Village, and it’s open until at least 1am every night. You can get small plates here like chicken karaage and gyoza, but the main reason to come is the yakitori. Most of it costs around $4, and you can specify how you want each skewer seasoned (with salt or tare). Our favorites are the straightforward chicken thigh with scallions and the roe-filled smelt, but be sure to save room for the scallop and quail egg kushikatsu.

It’s surprising when you find a slice of pizza that reminds you why NYC is the pizza capital of the world (sorry, Italy) in the middle of Times Square. But that’s exactly what you’ll get at Zillions, a slice shop in a bright yellow space with a couple of tables. The cheese pizza is our favorite thing here, but you should also try the Zillionaire slice, which comes with sausage, pepperoni, and banana peppers. We’re not even going to ask why you’d be hanging out in Times Square late at night—mostly because we’re afraid of the answer.

At Itaewon Pocha, you’ll drink a bunch of cocktails that taste like they’re equal parts sugar and soju. That might sound reckless, but this neon-lit Korean gastropub in K-Town serves exactly the kind of food you need to soak up a ton of booze. Get some kimchi dumplings smothered in a cream sauce and an order of cheesy rice cakes mixed with a ton of seafood, and don’t skip the bulgogi fries. Bring a few friends after 10pm for the full experience, and try not to fall off your little plastic stool.

There are only four items on the menu at 7th Street Burger in the East Village, 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. Get one of the cheeseburgers, grab a chair in their outdoor structure (the only seating available), or just stand around and block the sidewalk like everyone else. Stop by anytime before 3am on weekends and let one of the best burgers 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 both of their brick-and-mortar locations have some combination of indoor and outdoor seating. Come to the Harlem outpost (the other being in the Industry City food hall) when you want to sit down at a counter 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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This Park Slope restaurant 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.

The owner of this Chinatown restaurant is behind fun spots like Nowadays in Ridgewood, so it’s no surprise that Dr. Clark is sceney. Equally captivating as the scene—perhaps more so, depending on your interest in Cool Downtown Life—is the food. This place specializes in dishes from Hokkaido, and you have the option to grill things like lamb and mushrooms at your table. We recommend the smoky salmon jerky, fresh crab, and squid stuffed with uni rice, and you can order these things until 2am every night. Try to get a seat at one of their covered kotatsu tables outside. They’re a lot cooler than what you’ll find in your average outdoor setup.

For great kati rolls and chaats on MacDougal Street at 3am on a Friday night, head to Thelewala. This counter-service spot serves a variety of portable items, which works well because this place only has a small ledge and a few stools, so there’s a good chance you’ll have to take your food to go. Try the bhel puri and jaal muri, or if you're looking for something spicy enough to give you the same thrill as the latest Blumhouse flick, get the chicken phall roll slathered in habanero chutney.

There aren’t many places in NYC where tourists and hungover New Yorkers come face to face. But that’s exactly what happens at this 24-hour Latin spot in Hell’s Kitchen. (There’s another location on the LES that’s also open late.) Unsurprisingly, this place specializes in empanadas with flavors like cheesesteak, pernil, and Buffalo chicken. If you can’t decide what to get, go for the simple corn empanada filled with ground beef. We like the Colombian breakfast plate too with a half arepa. Make sure to add some sausage.

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 midnight). Use this to your advantage, 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.

Crif Dogs looks like it was put on this earth to host a bunch of drunken college kids looking for something to eat after six straight hours of drinking at multiple bars. That’s exactly what happens here, so congratulations to Crif Dogs for fulfilling their destiny. Expect a mass of people, but join the line anyway. Order anything bacon-wrapped with cheesy tots, and you’ll be good. If you want craft cocktails with your hot dogs, snag a reservation at PDT (the speakeasy here that you get to via a phone booth).

Coppelia is a Latin diner in Chelsea. It may not be your first choice in the neighborhood at 8pm—but when it’s super late and everything is closed, this spot suddenly feels like one of the best restaurants in the city. Grab a stool at the long counter or a booth if you’re with a group, and have some early-morning arroz con pollo, ropa vieja, or huevos rancheros. The Cubano—with the ideal ratio of roasted pork, ham, and swiss—is another solid choice. You can get one at 5am, because this place is open 24 hours.

This little Soho restaurant is an undisputed NYC classic, and it's one of the first places we think of at 11pm when we want a sit-down meal at a table with white tablecloths. (It’s open until 2am every day.) The beef marrow with oxtail marmalade, rack of lamb, and anything from the extensive raw bar are still go-to items after all these years. But don’t overlook the garlicky strips of sautéed calamari and the buttery collard greens. Every time we come here, it feels like reconnecting with an old friend and picking up right where we last left off.

The fried chicken at this Williamsburg spot is crispy, juicy, and very hard to put down. Their biscuits are pretty great too. We’re not the only ones who think these things, so you’re going to have to deal with some crowds here. If you come on a weekend (when this place stays open until 2am), expect a lot of drunk people in a small, dark, and packed 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.

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