Living so close to the insanity that is Times Square comes with its challenges, the crowds, the slow walkers and did I mention the crowds? However, once you walk west and cross 8th Avenue, the pace slows a bit and the further west you walk, the calmer it gets. We have lived in Hell's Kitchen for the past 5 years and in that time have come to frequent certain local gems amongst the tourist traps. We love supporting our smaller, local business owners in the midst of country-wide chains and sub-par food (but don't get me wrong, I still love me some Chipotle & Dunkin).
Whether you're visiting NYC and find yourself in the area visiting Times Square or you're a local who is looking for somewhere to go before a Broadway show, our hood has some great spots that are worth visiting.
Wine & Dine
Bea will always hold a special place in our hearts because that's where we hosted our wedding weekend welcome dinner. Not only is their food incredible but they have unique cocktails and an intimate ambiance. Bea also has an incredible brunch deal for $45 with unlimited small plates and free flowing drinks. Not to be missed: Tuna Tar Guac, Shrimp Toast & Lamb Chops
Aria is the perfect date night spot; a variety of affordable dishes and selections of Italian wines & great service. If there is a wait for tables, grab a seat at the bar and hope that Matteo is your bartender! Not to be missed: burrata, octopus pulpo & shrimp rigatoni
This place is the perfect spot to share small plates with a group. They have an assortment of cuisines and delicious cocktails. Be sure to make a reservation before theater time as it can get very busy!
This local chain has many outposts throughout the city. You can’t make reservations but you can call ahead and put your name on the list and they will give you an approximate wait time. This is a kid friendly spot but also a lively nightly location.
This is our go-to for delivery, but we have also dined in a few times. It's consistently good quality sushi and even though they raised the prices recently, we still keep coming back for more. The decor is nothing to write home about but the sushi will be memorable. Not to be missed: all the funny names of specialty rolls based on Broadway shows
Quick Bites & Beers
Beer Culture opened our first summer in the neighborhood and is the best stop for beers and bites. The owner, and our friend Matt, had a vision for this place and we are so proud of how well its done and he now has opened their second location on the UWS. More often than not nowadays, we opt to create a mixed 6-pack from their hundreds of craft beers and drink at home but this place is a must-stop if you are in the hood. They only serve craft beer & whiskey (sorry vodka soda drinkers!) and a limited selection of red & whites. Not to be missed: cheap beers in "Grandpa's Fridge"
Longest name and sometimes the longest lines, but it's worth the wait! They recently opened a second location a couple doors down so the lines should slow down now. Not to be missed: soup dumplings
The original location in Chelsea Market is always packed and for good reason! This location is new and just off of Times Square and the pandemonium hasn't hit this location yet but the food is the same caliber as their first spot. Not to be missed: Adobada Taco!
THE best bar food! We also love this spot for their outdoor seating in warmer weather. It's a fun place to watch a game, as long as it's not Sunday and the Steelers are playing and then its standing room only. Not to be missed: French onion soup & chicken sandwich
The most delicious ramen that they had to open a second location just blocks away from the original! The Midtown West location is much smaller with limited seating so if the wait is long there, just walk west to their Hell's Kitchen outpost.
Coffee & Treats
Not just for coffee, this place offers creative salads and sandwiches in an instagram-worthy designed space. It's a little further west on 42nd but once you get that there it's a little sanctuary.
This place has become a tourist stop but for good reason. It also opened on the block the same year we moved in and has a cult following for their outrageous flavors and treats. Be prepared for very long lines pre and post theater. Not to be missed: Maple bacon, peanut butter cup & sch'mores cookies
My go-to for any carb needs. Breads, baked good treats and a full coffee bar as well. A great stop for breakfast or before hosting friends.
Every New Yorker has their favorite bodega and this is ours. Gives us the small town feel in our huge metropolis. They know our orders, will let you pay them later if you're not carrying cash & welcome the pups inside. You also can't beat their prices; we can get two coffees & breakfast sandwiches for under $10.