Walk down most streets in Manhattan and you’ll find that most restaurants make themselves known with massive signage and lights. But some of the city’s best places to eat are harder to find. Whether it’s in the basement of an unassuming building or up an unmarked flight of stairs, these hidden restaurants in NYC give you the best possible taste of insider New York.
Dine with celebrities at Bar Centrale, an infamous haunt of Broadway stars. After they finish their big performance, they head up a hidden flight of stairs in an unassuming apartment building where the food is anything but homey. The extensive menu is tapas-style, soyou can sample everything from the spoonbill caviar to the Maine lobster quesadilla.
Bar Centrale: 324 W. 46th St., 212-581-3130
If you’re open to unmarked, graffiti-tagged doors, you’ll find the most exciting and flavorful food in the city. Kuma Inn disregards restaurant conventions. There are no windows, you can hear your food cook in the tiny kitchen, and it’s BYOB (and cash-only). The menu changes frequently, but it’s always packed with flavor. The mainstay, sauteed Chinese sausage, is not to be missed.
Kuma Inn: 113 Ludlow St., 212-353-8866
Truth be told, La Esquina has become one of the worst-kept secrets in New York. But the high-end take on Mexican street food, perfect margaritas and insidery-feel of the cafe’s hidden downstairs club have proved to be a winning combination. Order everything from cheese-smothered corn on the cob to veal tongue tacos in the basement lounge, where wall candles drip wax to the beat of ambient pop music.
La Esquina: 114 Kenmare St., 646-613-7100
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