The 10 Best Restaurants in Sunnyside and Woodside
Neither the 7 train thundering overhead nor the rising bourgie Brooklyn overflow into Sunnyside and Woodside have robbed these bordering neighborhoods of their charm. This may be the most diverse corner of the city's most diverse borough, and the area's annual St. Pat's for All Parade -- which, unlike Manhattan's version, embraces LGBT participants -- is emblematic of its inclusiveness. Restaurant-wise, your options span the globe, from Irish pubs to taquerias to Filipino fast food, and almost all are uniformly affordable. Here are the 10 best in the neighborhood.
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10. I Love Paraguay (43-16 Greenpoint Avenue, 718-786-5534)
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This cozy and colorful shop is one of the only Paraguayan spots in the city, so you'll be forgiven if you're not more familiar with the South American nation's cuisine. Staff here are happy to explain the menu to you, which includes some of the best empanadas we've had: crispy and grease-free, encasing fillings like oozy ham and cheese and yucca. Try a few of the traditional Paraguayan dishes, like chipa guazu, which tastes like a cross between a soufflé and cornbread, with a rich fluffiness that likely comes from a generous amount of lard. Vori vori de pollo is another Paraguayan mainstay, a chicken soup with little balls bound together with corn flour and cheese, and a generous amount of cilantro -- it would be especially comforting in winter.
9. Papa's Kitchen (65-40 Woodside Avenue, 347-724-9586)
Woodside's Little Manila enclave comprises a number of Filipino restaurants, shops, and groceries, but Papa's Kitchen is the only place where you can belt out your best rendition of "Purple Rain" while waiting for your meal. Karaoke is taken seriously in the Philippines, but the mood is relaxed in this teeny, family-owned spot. Filipino cuisine's roots come from culinary traditions of Southeast Asia, Spain, and the U.S., and that makes for bold and complex flavors, evident in the items here. Laing reminds a bit of Indian saag in appearance, but is in fact made with taro leaves, coconut milk, and crab. Dynamite lumpia are spring rolls filled with pork and jalapeño, and chicken adobo, likely the best-known Filipino food, is braised in vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic -- its resulting sauce is a singularly delicious byproduct.
8. Mangal Kabob (46-20 Queens Boulevard, 718-706-0605)
This Turkish halal spot is popular with cabbies, often a good indicator of affordability and authenticity. The eggplant salad, with its strong smoky flavor, makes for a sumptuous start, and the cheese pide, though simple, is also compulsively edible. Falafel have a pleasing crunch and taste fresh and green from the parsley on the inside. On the carnivorous end of things, there's the usual round up of kebabs, with the charcoal-grilled lamb adana as a standout; a chicken gyro also stands up well to the spit, retaining its juiciness along with a nice char.
46-20 Queens Blvd., Long Island City, NY
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