Just a few stops from Manhattan, you will encounter Sunnyside, Queens – a neighborhood marked by its famous arch and known for its amazing culinary options, from Italian and Latin to Romanian and Tibetan food, you’ll find it all off the 7 train.
EVERYTHING YOU’LL WANT TO EAT IN SUNNYSIDE
Take a trip to Ecuador at Rincon Melania. Family-owned, this gem offers delectable options such as Llapingachos (pan-fried potato cakes), Seco de Chivo (slow cooked goat stew), Guatita (beef tripe stew cooked slowly in peanut sauce), and so much more.
During a recent visit with MTA Away and the James Beard Foundation, Nestor and Lucila "Melania" Dutan, members of the family that run Rincón Melania, offered up a little more about their restaurant, as well as a look at some of their own favorite spots in the area, including Go Natural for a healthy snack or smoothie.
Meanwhile, Colombian venues line Greenpoint Avenue and Queens Boulevard – you will feel like you are in Bogota, Cali, or Medellin when you taste the many flavors of treats that La Viennesa,1 BuenSabor, MiraCali Bakery and Café Colombia have to offer. La Pollera de Mario also serves a variety of Colombian dishes, like their La Bandeja Paisa, which offers a little bit of everything from Colombian cuisine.
Sunnyside is also home to the only Paraguayan and Bolivian restaurants in the city. I Love Paraguay, a neighborhood staple, is a hidden gem that serves up traditional ChipaGuazu, a cheesy corn souffle. And don‘t sleep on their Mbeju, a cheese yuca starch flatbread; their ChipaSo’o, a salty corn-based cake with ground beef and eggs; and their amazing variety of Paraguayan soups and sandwiches. They have music on Saturdays and Sundays, making it an oasis for a wonderful meal with incredible service.
Head another block south, and you run into the Bolivian Llama Party. Be ready for your tastebuds to celebrate as you bite into your first Saltena, described as a combination of empanada and a soup dumpling. They also have delicious entrees including their spicy Diablada Fried Chicken Sandwich, and Silpancho, one of Bolivia’s most iconic dishes, featuring a thinly pounded breaded beef cutlet served with toasted white rice and crispy yellow potatoes. You can pair any of these with their Cilantro Papitas, parmesan garlic fries tossed in white wine, served with their green cilantro sauce.
Sunnyside is also home to the Turkish community, and you’ll want to swing by Turkish Grill for some of the best Lebni around. Sarah, the owner, will serve you up a feast of Iskender Kebab, which is Et Doner Kebab (marinated beef) served over homemade croutons with fresh tomato sauce and yogurt; Lahmacun (Turkish-style pizza – flatbread topped with ground lamb and chopped vegetables); and their amazing Pides, stuffed dough dishes with either chopped meat, cheese, or a combination of the two.
Looking for amazing high-end Italian? Look no further than Sole Luna, which has an amazing Fagottini Alla Valerio – pear and ricotta ravioli style in butter and rosemary sauce. At nearby Senso Unico you'll want to try the amazing Fusilli Avellinesi, a fresh twist pasta with sausage and truffle – it will bring incredible joy to you and your mouth! Want to grab a pizza pie? Sotto Le Stelle is not your average pizza, these are wood-fired pies by a pizzaiolo from Naples.
Craving some Asian flavors? Sunnyside is home to the newest all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ,Wonder Pig, where you can get an all-you-can-eat deal for 90 minutes (and $35) — you will love their spicy Kalbi and Bulgogi. Ariyoshi delivers wonderful Japanese cuisine and even has the famous Sunnyside roll (salmon, white fish, avocado, cucumber, crunch) on their menu. And who doesn’t want some ramen? Fuyu Ramen is home to the best ramen, Miso, Tsukemen, and so much more!
Sashimi anyone? Well, head over to Takesushi where the fish is hand-selected and imported daily for the freshest experience. Sunnyside is also the home to Tito Rad’s – one of the top Filipino restaurants in NYC, renowned for their Beef Adobo.
Wondering what Romanian cuisine is like? Come try the Stuffed Cabbage at Danubius Restaurant served with polenta. The flavor is simply out of this world!
DRINKS, SPORTS & MORE
After you are done eating, you are going to want a drink. Unwind at Maggie Mae’s, one of the most welcoming bars around, with a cactus pear margarita with a spicy salt ring on top. You could also tryThe Goat for some classic cocktails, or Ida’s Nearabout for amazing frozen drinks (though we’d recommend Ida’s Old Fashioned – one sip and you will soon understand why Ida’s is a must visit!).
Still thirsty? Sunnyside also has some amazing Irish bars, including Courtyard Ale House, Greenpoint LoungePub, and McGuinness. And Sunnyside’s brewery, Alewife, is an amazing space to visit with its beer garden and a wide array of IPAs, lagers, and ales.
Across the street is QBK Sports – a new indoor beach volleyball facility with three courts on sand, and summer camps for the youth and tournaments for any age group. For the adults, they’ve also got a full bar.
If you are looking for coffee, look no further than Avenue Coffee,Chakra Café, Brookside Market, Baruir Coffee (since 1966), and Alpha Donut (since 1970). Each coffee shops has an array of options. Baruir toasts its beans every morning, the aroma of this process is a delight to wake up to. Chakra Café has many options, from chagaccino to avocado toast, but what captivates our sweet tooth is their homemade Turkish Delight, which packs on layers of deliciousness.
Once you’re fueled up on caffeine, take that energy on a walk and visit the famous Sunnyside Arch, which was built in 1983. You have seen the Arch in many cameos throughout the film industry—notably, it’s been a part of the Spider-Man universe. And Sunnyside has been used in TV shows like Broad City, Blue Bloods, 30 Rock, and more. In fact, the neighborhood even had its own namesake sitcom on NBC, after Kal Penn and Matt Murray were inspired by the multicultural diversity the neighborhood has to offer.
The plazas under the 7 train often host cultural performances and pop-up markets, so before you explore, you’ll want to check out the full schedule on the Sunnyside Shines website — the BID hosts many events on 40th Lowery St and on 46th Bliss Plaza under 7, like Beats in Bliss, Drag Queen Story Hour, La Placita, Zumba, art installations and so much more!
The area’s big annual events include the Taste of Sunnyside food crawl in October, which gives local food establishments a spotlight. Every participating food establishment has a tent set up in front of their store and gives passerby a literal taste of all of Sunnyside’s cuisine. And to close out October, you’ll find the biggest Day of the Dead event in Queens at Bliss Plaza on All Saints Day, which commemorates the departed and honors loved ones with performances.
But the entertainment is year-round, Sunnyside Shines regularly hosts events designed to market the area’s merchants, including Sunnyside Restaurant Week in the spring, and Sunnyside Spa & Salon Fest in the summer. And you’ll also want to check out the schedule of performances from the Thalia Spanish Theatre, which is the only Hispanic theater in Queens.
With so many businesses within just a block of the 7 train, Sunnyside is an extremely convenient and destination-worthy day trip for any New Yorker (or visitor of NYC!).
4 min walk