The Best Restaurants In Sunset Park

Our favorite places to grab dumplings, tacos, and noodles in Sunset Park.
The Best Restaurants In Sunset Park image

photo credit: Kate Previte

In New York, there are good food neighborhoods and decent food neighborhoods, and then there are great food neighborhoods. Sunset Park is a great one. It has some excellent Yunnan, Szechuan, and Cantonese restaurants, and if you walk around long enough, you’ll find your new favorite Mexican, Salvadoran, and Vietnamese spots as well. 

Sunset Park is an ideal area for a fun group meal that might involve a whole fish in an enormous heated pan, and if you’re just looking for something to pick up and eat on your couch, it’s perfect for that as well. For all our top picks, check out this guide.




$$$$Perfect For:Big GroupsBreakfastImpressing Out of TownersLunch
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Depending on the time of day, people go to East Harbor Seafood Palace for one of two things: excellent dim sum, or an extravagant Cantonese dinner. On weekend mornings, this giant banquet hall is packed with dim sum carts and tables of people catching up over dumplings, egg tarts, and tea. At night, they come here for a family-style dinner built around an exceptional peking duck, the fried dungeness crab, or giant king crab steamed with piles of garlic.

photo credit: Noah Devereaux

If the crowd levels at East Harbor Seafood Palace are approaching Disney World during summer vacation, try Bamboo Garden instead. This place also has great dim sum and a big banquet hall-style dining room that’s ideal for big groups and private parties. The siu mai and har gow are our picks from the dim sum side of the menu, but the roast meats are why we keep coming back. You’ll see duck and pork on display near the entrance, and it’s important that you have these things in front of you at some point throughout your meal.

This is not only the best panadería in Sunset Park, it’s also one of the best in the entire city. The conchas here are soft and squishy in a way that will change your mind about conchas if you’ve only had dry, underwhelming versions in the past. They also have a full menu of tacos, burritos, and tortas, and all of them are very good. We especially love the chorizo breakfast burrito for mornings when we need our first meal of the day to really pull its weight. 

The Tacos El Bronco brick-and-mortar location in Sunset Park is pretty good, but the truck is where this local institution achieves true greatness. It’s parked on the corner of 37th street and 5th Avenue, and the sidewalk crowd is fun—expect loud music and people eating tacos in camp chairs. We love the birria and al pastor tacos, but the campechano, which includes salty beef, pork sausage, and crispy pork skin, is the one you must not skip. 

Bánh mì aficionados know that Ba Xuyen makes some of the best in the city, and the classic #1 with crispy bread, plenty of vegetables, and pork in various forms (ham, paté, pork roll, etc.) is pretty much perfect. Don’t make the mistake of grabbing a sandwich from this counter spot without getting a drink though—there’s a reason the beverage menu is longer than the food menu. The chanh muối đá, a salty preserved lemon soda, is a refreshing summer drink, and the durian shake is one of our favorite items with the fruit in the city. There are a couple of tables in the cafe-like space.

Most places that specialize in Hainanese chicken and rice stick to the basics: flavorful poached chicken and chicken-flavored rice. But at Hainan Chicken House, a modern Malaysian cafe with wall tiles illustrating different chicken breeds, there are three different options—a perfect rendition of the traditional dish, as well as roast or fried chicken versions. The fried option comes with unflavored rice, an egg and a coconut curry that we’d happily drink like soup. Weekend specials, like Singapore Chili Crab, are worth planning your day around. 

It’s never hard to get a table at Chuan Tian Xia, and there’s no better place for Sichuan food in this part of Brooklyn. This restaurant is best experienced with a group so you can eat a lot, and the tables are large and spacious to accommodate a lot of eating. The mapo tofu and chongqing chicken are both excellent examples of the form, and we recommend building your meal around a whole grilled fish with added vegetables and a lot of DIY options to adjust the spice level. It’s served on a big sizzling tabletop grill, swimming in a broth packed with chili peppers.

Nuan Xin is a grab-and-go spot that makes a variety of Taiwanese purple rice rolls, all of which are under $6. Wrapped in seaweed and filled with things like sweet and smoky grilled eel, vegetables, and mayonnaise, the rolls are great for a quick, filling breakfast or lunch. A selection of milk teas and fruity drinks complement the rolls perfectly. 

On weekends, the line at Xin Fa Bakery can seem intimidating, but it moves fast, bringing you quickly closer to your objective. You’re here for a big box of egg tarts, at least half a dozen, which you’re bringing to a gathering so everyone can admire your impeccable taste in baked goods. The custard is extra silky, and Xin Fa goes a little harder on the charred top than some other bakeries. The sponge cakes and buns here are also worthwhile. 

Outside Western Yunnan, there’s a sweet mural illustrating one possible origin of the name of its signature dish: crossing bridge noodles, a specialty of China’s Yunnan province. The mural shows a wife trying to bring her husband lunch across a river without the noodles getting soggy. Inside the restaurant, there’s a simple solution to this: the big noodle soup, full of things like beef and quail eggs, is mixed together tableside by your server. 

For a casual weeknight dinner of hand-pulled noodles, you can have a sit-down meal at Dun Huang and be in and out in under 30 minutes. This cafe has plenty of seating inside, TVs playing Chinese movies, and quick, efficient service. Order at least one spicy cumin lamb burger per person and smashed cucumber salad for the table before moving on to the noodles. We especially love the extra-wide, hand-pulled cold noodles.

There are a bunch of Chinese bakeries in Sunset Park, but Golden Steamer makes the best steamed buns, period. The place is dominated by giant cabinet-like steamers in the back, like private saunas just for bao. A perfect order here consists of a pumpkin bun, a roast pork bun, and a salted egg yolk custard bun, with milk tea for good measure. Stock up on their large packs of steamed buns that you can freeze and steam on demand for snacking emergencies. 

Walk past the tanks of live seafood at BK Seafood Market and into a dining room crowded with big, round tables with built-in lazy susans. They have a bunch of set menus for group meals, but some of the a la carte options—like the fried garlic chicken—should not be missed. When you need somewhere to get a last-minute dinner with a big group, possibly for a special occasion, BK is a good choice. We love a versatile restaurant, and it's also a solid pick for a casual weeknight dinner or date. 

We love the pure chaos that is Don Pepe Tortas y Jugos, a restaurant that serves—you guessed it—tortas and jugos. The walls are plastered with hand-written neon signs stuck on every available bit of space, tempting you to try some particular torta, juice, or taco. Everything we’ve had here is delicious, but the tacos arabes are a sleeper hit. These predecessors to tacos al pastor are richly spiced with cumin, sweetened with bits of pineapple, and served in little flour tortillas.

From the outside, The Roast looks as though it’s filled with roast meats. And from the inside, it also appears this way. That’s because The Roast—which is about the size of a budget hotel room—is actually filled with roast meats. At the counter, you can order honey roast duck, suckling pig, and chicken wings by the pound, but you should probably make a meal of it and add some rice or noodles. A combo of two meats over rice costs about $6 and even comes with some greens on the side.

There’s no shortage of places to get hot pot in Sunset Park, but Chongqing Wharf, which sits right on the border of Borough Park, wins in terms of value, food, and experience. At this blue neon fever dream of a restaurant, you’ll pay $49 per person for unlimited food, and this includes things like snow crab legs, whole lobster, and every kind of sliced meat. This place is packed with a mostly local crowd every night, and while you can’t make reservations, you can join a virtual waitlist—do this at least two hours before you plan to actually eat.

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