NYCGuide

Where To Eat Near Penn Station

Penn Station can be a painful experience. The least we can do is help you find a good place to eat.
Where To Eat Near Penn Station image

photo credit: David A. Lee

Congratulations, you’ve found yourself at Penn Station. Whether you’re catching an Amtrak train, a Knicks game, or the New Year’s Eve Phish show at Madison Square Garden, the 34th Street experience can be a painful one, especially when looking for a meal. We’re here to help with that. All of these restaurants are a short walk from Penn Station, and they're ideal for when you need to grab a quick bite or eat a full meal with some folks who just came in from Jersey.

THE SPOTS

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Koloman serves decadent, inventive Viennese food with a French twist in the Ace Hotel. The open kitchen gives major Ratatouille vibes, the service is tight, and every dish has a surprising element, from a tartare of celery root to a crème brulée made with duck egg. Come hungry, and order at least two things from every section of the menu. Don’t skip the the salmon en croute that’s neatly pressed between two slices of toast.

The menu at this Italian spot from Danny Meyer centers around live-fire cooking, but your focus should be on the breads and pastas. Always start with the melty caramelized onion torta, then order the rabbit stracci or the slightly spicy cavatelli with crab. In the Manhattan West complex, just a short walk from Penn Station, Ci Siamo feels like checking into a nice, glitzy hotel in Milan. Despite the massive space, it can still be tough to get a table—so make a reservation a few weeks in advance.

Also in Manhattan West, this upscale Mediterranean spot from the team behind Don Angie and Quality Eats has creative food and big, shareable portions. Bring a group of friends for some lamb tartare, duck borek, and crispy manti stuffed with spiced beef. The high-ceilinged, glamorous dining room has a socialites-in-evening-wear grandness about it, but you’ll still feel right at home doing a casual get-together here. Even if you never have a reason to be in the Hudson Yards area, plan a special trip just so you can try this place.

To get to Sushi 35 West, you’ll walk into a smoke shop a couple blocks north of Penn Station, turn right, and head up a grungy industrial staircase, at which point you’ll arrive in what feels like a freight elevator hallway. Yes, you’re in the right place. Here, you’ll find some of the best takeout sushi we’ve ever had. Try the $22 lunch set that comes with six nigiri and a roll, or get one of the donburi options. The quality of the nigiri is as good as many omakase-style spots.

Our go-to KBBQ spot in K-Town is Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong, but if the wait there is too long, this spot (right next door) is a great backup. Love Korean is a fun three-story place with spinning rainbow lights, a bar in the basement, and DJs every weekend after 6pm. Order one of the combos ($109 to $229) that come with a cornucopia of vegetables to throw on the grill. Add peppery japchae and custardy truffled steamed egg. We’d come here just for those two things.

​​Tengri Tagh, located four blocks from MSG, is one of the few Uyghur restaurants in NYC. Grab a seat in the long narrow dining room and get a filling meal by ordering a couple of our favorite dishes: a lamb and cumin bun, and the chili oil-infused pearl noodles. The chopped pearl noodles look like little kernels of corn, and come with peppers, onions, and tingly lamb. This spot stands out in a sea of chain restaurants and forgettable delis, so start memorizing the menu if you work nearby.

Woorijip is a New York City institution, and it’s where you should head for a quick grab-and-go meal around 32nd Street. While it previously featured a buffet setup, the brightly lit space now looks like a bookstore—but instead of beach reads, the shelves are stacked with packages of satisfying, homestyle Korean food. There’s kimbap, fried chicken, bulgogi, mackerel, japchae, and roughly a million other things, most of which cost less than $10. Take your food to go, or heat your meal in one of the microwaves and grab a table.

It’s so packed at this bagel spot on 35th that there’s someone who’s dedicated to managing the ever-present line like a traffic cop. The bagels here are nice and crispy on the outside and pleasantly chewy on the inside, and they have a ton of interesting cream cheese flavors. Oreo might sound gimmicky, but if you like sweet cream cheese, you’ll love it. For a unique savory option, go for a jalapeño everything bagel with chipotle cream cheese. If it's too busy, try Best Bagels across the street.

If you’re overwhelmed by the options on this list, let us make things easier. Head to Samwoojung and eat beef. There are other things on the menu at this Korean spot on 32nd, but it’s a bulgogi house run by bulgogi specialists, so your choice is pretty much made. The bulgogi here is different than at other Korean BBQ spots—it’s piled on a copper vessel, and cooked in a sweet and peppery soy broth at your table. Get a smaller portion for a casual, pre-Amtrak meal, or a larger one for a group dinner that’ll result in a slew of empty soju bottles, and a spur-of-the-moment ticket purchase to Madison Square Garden.

When José Andrés isn’t busy trying to save the world, he’s opening restaurants like Zaytinya (a DC import) in the Ritz-Carlton. The spacious setting, with its blue and white accents and indoor trees, will make you feel like you’re at a seaside resort, even if it's the dead of winter. Start with the soujouk pide topped with a 65-degree egg, then prioritize the seafood mezze like the smoky grilled octopus and chilled, sweet shrimp in a creamy mustard sauce.

Skirt Steak’s concept is simple: Build a space that looks like the inside of a barn, and offer a $45 prix fixe that includes Bibb lettuce salad, steak, and unlimited fries. This place had its moment on TikTok once upon a time, so it does draw crowds and waits can be long. But if you’re at least a little bit curious about an unabashedly gimmicky restaurant, you’ll love it here. Sides like cauliflower gratin and desserts like blood orange cheesecake are extra. The food is not only edible, it’s pretty freakin’ good.

There are three steps you need to follow at this casual Japanese curry spot. Step one: choose between rice, noodles, or creamy curry pasta. Next, choose your spice level, and finally add toppings like crispy cutlets and croquettes, raw egg, and cheese. Whichever route you go, you’ll get a generous serving of rich, deeply spiced curry that tastes even better on a rainy day. There’s plenty of seating in the back, among shelves full of action figures and toy robots.

NY Pizza Suprema has been around since before the city erected MSG in front of it. They serve about 20 varieties of pizza at any given time, including breaded chicken bacon ranch slices, a few vegan options, and a white spinach dip slice that’s just creamy enough without being over-the-top. Suprema has a lot more seating than most slice shops, and there’s always a line, but as long as you aren’t coming directly after an event at MSG, you’ll move through it pretty quickly.

If navigating the Penn Station labyrinth makes you wish you were on a desert island, head to Ichiran. This Japanese ramen chain is filled with "flavor concentration booths,” meaning there are partitions between each seat so you can avoid everyone while you eat your rich, customizable tonkotsu ramen. You won't even see your server, because you order via a form that you slip through a small window. Just be warned there might be a line to get in, because there is no true peace in Midtown.

A solid option for soup dumplings around Penn Station, Nan Xiang’s xiao long bao is bigger than most. This means more soup filling, but also higher potential for a busted dumpling (womp womp). Our favorites are the crab and pork, scallop, and luffa gourd. The rest of the food is a mixed bag though. Expect a boisterous crowd in the brightly lit, modern space with high ceilings and artwork featuring mountains. The room is spacious, but there can still be long waits—especially on weekend mornings.

Blue Ribbon Sushi & Steak, from the team behind Blue Ribbon Brasserie, exists for one reason and one reason only: To feed people who are afraid to wander too far from Penn Station. Located just off the lobby of an enormous office building, this upscale, izakaya-like place serves a mix of Japanese and American steakhouse cuisine. The setting is a bit corporate, but the steak is nicely seared, and the rolls and nigiri are made with quality fish, so you can have a pleasant meal here. You will, however, spend around $75 per person.

Piggyback is an “Asian-inspired” restaurant from the people behind Pig and Khao, and it’s one of the best dining options within walking distance of Penn Station. Grab some lumpia, honey butter wings with gochujang glaze, and lamb rendang with roti before a show at the Garden, or stop by for a drink and a snack with a friend. The space has mural-covered walls and a big bar up front, and the soundtrack includes everything from hip hop to disco.

If the cured meats hanging in Sergimmo Salumeria’s window are a ploy to lure people in, it’s working. This place mainly operates as a takeout deli with food displayed in a glass case, but there are a handful of tables too if you want to dine in. Our go-to sandwich is the Campania (chicken cutlet, speck, mozzarella), but don’t ignore the specials. The spaghetti bolognese and slabs of lasagne are so divine you’ll start praying directly to the salami hanging over your head.

This counter-service shop is a great place for a quick breakfast of piadine with scrambled eggs and prosciutto neatly folded inside the flaky flatbread. The long all-day menu has other types of piadine as well as cassoni and piadizze stuffed with everything from speck to gyro meat. More in the mood for pasta? The creamy farfalle alla boscaiola with peas, ham, and mushrooms is solid. There’s no indoor seating, but they do have a heated outdoor structure.

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