Authentic Chinatown: The Best Chinese Restaurants in NYC

Mission Chinese Food with many different types of plates.
Mission Chinese Food with many different types of plates, including sesame chicken. All photos from restaurants websites.

How to find REAL, trendy Chinese food in the Big Apple

New York City is known all across America for its vibrant cultural hotspots. From Little Italy to Chinatown, each NYC zone offers it’s own unique set of retail spaces and restaurants depending on what you’re looking for. If it’s authentic, delicious Chinese food, some places are better than others in terms of avoiding Americanized versions of your favorite meals, and offering both quality, quantity, and ambiance.

Chinatown Classics

  • Shanghai Cafe

100 Mott St. New York, NY, 10013

212-966-3988

If you’re looking for Shanghainese, than look no further than Shanghai café. Xiao long bao, also known as soup dumplings, are the prized jewel of this classic Chinatown eatery, and are the all-around best pork soup dumpling you can find in Chinatown.

  • Nom Wah Tea Parlor

13 Doyers Street New York, NY 10013

Inside of Nom Wah Tea Parlor with hungry patrons!
Inside of Nom Wah Tea Parlor with hungry patrons!

(212) 962-6047

Nom Wah is anything but your average tea parlor. As NYC’s first official Dim Sum restaurant, it offers all the traditional Hong Kong style foods including roast pork buns and delicious sticky rice, and is now a Chinatown staple thanks to its stylish décor.

  • Lam Zhou

144 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

(212) 566-6933

If you love dumplings, Lam Zhou is a must for traditional handmade dumplings and noodles at an unbeatable price. With over 900 reviews on Yelp certifying it as “the best dumpling place in NYC,” you may have to wait in line to be seated in the 20-person restaurant, but it’ll be worth it to taste their classic, house-made dough dishes.

Chic, Midtown Joints

  • Xi’an Famous Foods

24 W 45th St New York, NY 10036

(212)786-2068

This restaurant’s inspiration comes straight from the source: Xi’an, the capital of China’s Shaanxi province. Having already made a name for themselves because of their delicious noodles, the trendy locale has popped up on many “Top 5 restaurant” lists in all of NYC, and recently opened up a new spot for an entirely new kind of noodle: Biang, which is made with spicy lamb or beef. Head over there to try their special “Three Treasure Tea” that is very popular in Xi’an.

  • Má Là Project122 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10009(212) 353-8880

In terms of Sichuan, this new, hip restaurant has everyone talking about Chinese hot pot. Already a certified craze in China, the restaurant offers traditional spicy, dry hot pot, with your choice of added ingredients. As if the East Village wasn’t trendy enough, Má Là Project has perfected the NYC hot pot!

Fine Dining

  • Fung Tu

22 Orchard St. New York, NY, 10002

212-219-8785

Chinese fine-dining is encapsulated at chef Jonathan Wu’s Fung Tu. Featuring Chinese fusions meals that combine ingredients from a wide array of culinary influences, Fung Tu prides itself on only serving the freshest local and seasonal produce.

  • Mission Chinese Food

    One of the bowls on the "Spring menu" at Fung Tu.
    One of the bowls on the “Spring menu” at Fung Tu.

171 E Broadway New York, NY, 10002

212-529-8800

Recently renovated, Mission has transformed its menu and dining area and has emerged as the most popular Chinese restaurant on the trendy Lower East Side. They offer incredibly tasty Chinese soups, salads and fried dumplings, however make sure to get there early-wait lines can sometimes exceed two hours.

Out of the Burroughs

  •  Chengdu 46

1105 US Highway 46 Clifton, NJ

With spices imported all the way from China, and specially trained chefs from Sichuan, this fine dining restaurant is well worth the drive to taste their gourmet cuisine.

  • Peking Pavilion

110 NJ Route 33 West, Manalapan Township, NJ 07726

732-308-9700

A newly designed, modern restaurant, Peking Pavilion is often among the highest-rated eateries in all of New Jersey. They serve everything from crispy whole fish to Angus steaks that are dry aged and specially cut for their customers, and specialize in Peking Chicken, as the name gives away!

Finding a restaurant that’s both tasty and trendy can be hard in such a large city like NYC. The easiest way to navigate and reach the best Chinese cuisine is through Alamo, so you can drive, and eat, in style.

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Isabelle Kagan

Isabelle Kagan

Isabelle Kagan is a writer from the south shore of Massachusetts. She spent five months studying in Paris and exploring Europe, becoming an avid fan of traveling. In her spare time she also writes for a satire blog. She currently lives in western Massachusetts.