Chinatown in New York is one of the largest and oldest in the United States and home to the highest Ethnic Chinese populations outside of Asia, so it’s little surprise there are a large number of Chinese Restaurants in the City. New Yorkers are not big cooks either so Chinese takeaway, offering amazing flavors and low prices are always going to be big with the local populations. So anyone looking for an authentic New York Experience is going to ant to grab some Chinese food when visiting the Big Apple.
However with over 2,500 individual restaurants open in the City, finding one will be no issue but finding a good one is more of a challenge! That’s where our list of the 10 Best Chinese Restaurants In New York City comes in to show you exactly where to go to grab the best Chinese Cuisine the City has to offer.
Chinese Food In New York
There is no one style of Chinese in New York and the large population of ethnic Chinese has developed a wide and varied range of food-based on various traditional styles and cuisines. The most popular are the Shanghai Style and The Sichuan, there is also a huge number of Dim Sum Reatraunts with dumplings and potstickers outselling even the legendary New York Hot Dog.
To give you an idea of the variety and depth of Chinese restaurants over 1 in 6 of all restaurants offer a type of Chinese Cuisine! That is an incredible about of restaurants. And naturally, if they were all the same they could not survive.
This also makes it very hard to find the best as no one person could ever try all these restaurants! But the Cream always rises to the top and the best restaurants become clear through word of mouth, inline reviews, and general consensus.
We have included a good array of differing styles. Personally, we lean towards the Sichuan Style with its slightly more piquant and spicy flavors but the Shanghai Style still offers an incredible taste experience more focused on sweet and sour flavors. Like most New Yorkers we cannot get enough of the Cities Dim Sum offerings and can down these tasty little dumplings with seemingly unstoppable appetites!
Best of all, Chinese food is very inexpensive. Some of the Dim Sums joints can provide a filling lunch for less than $15 and a bill for two people for dinner will be under $100 even in the higher-end restaurants. There are not many other places in the City that offer that kind of value!
Where to find the best?
Naturally, you would think you need to head to Chinatown to get the best but this is not at all the case. There are plenty of great restaurants in China Town, but there are also plenty outside too. We made sure our list features some great choices in most parts of the City, a lot of the best Chinatown locations have sister restaurants up near times Square/Midtown.
This means you don’t need to visit Chinatown at all, but you probably should. Rather we look at it as a chance to eat Chinese food Twice per trip, we head to Chinatown to explore and check out the quirky shops and grab some great food. Then another evening, visit a restaurant closer to the hotel or where we are staying. One Chinese Meal in New York is never enough.
And of course, we have a Handy Map for you!
1- Shanghai 21
- Location – Chinatown – Mott Street
- Style – Shanghai Style
- Price – $$
This fairly innocuous outlet, on the distinctly shabby Mott Street in Chinatown, has developed a near-cult following. The restaurant hits the number 1 spot on pretty much every list we have seen.
The Style is Shanghai which uses strong flavors with intense sweet and sour tastes. This seems to suit the American Palate very well. Along with Classics like Shanghai Style Lo Mein, General Tso’s Chicken, and Hot Pepper and Shredded Beef, Shanghai 21 is well renowned for its Dumplings and Noodle Soups.
This is some of the best Chinese food available in the City. The interior is small and cramped, but quite bright and modern considering the exterior. It now has outdoor dining, or consider takeaway, which is a good idea as most things are served on paper plates and takeaway containers anyway.
This is an incredibly popular spot and expects huge queues long waits. Also, price surging has been an issue in recent times as the restaurant pushes the tolerance of consumers based on its popularity.
This is not fancy dining but focuses on the food, which seems universally loved by both tourists and locals alike.
2 – Dim Sum Go Go
- Location – Chinatown – Chatham Square
- Style – Dim Sum
- Price – $
Dim Sum so good it gets a Mention in the Michelin Guide! It’s really hard to reconcile Michelin Dining with this small, basic, canteen-style diner. The Name Dim Sum Go Go brings up an image of a Chain Restaurant with hundreds of branches nationwide, but that could not be farther from reality.
This is the solitary outlet and it’s really unassuming in nature. Tables are basic and lined with basic linin. Service is a little slow, and slightly uninterested and the interior is extremely basic. There is little to get excited about. Until you order off the well-worn laminated menus. Only when the incredible little dumplings start arriving do you really get why this is in the guide and why people will queue around the block for it!
- Location – Midtown – Hells Kitchen
- Style – Dim Sum
- Price – $$
Another Dumpling Shop that gets a mention in the eminent Michelin Guide. While we always make a trip down to Chinatown and normally end up stuffing ourselves with Dim Sum, sometimes we crave them but not the trip downtown. In this case, our go-to is Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns Ramen.
The Name is a little confused, but the concept is dead simple. Serve some of the best Dim Sim in New York. Joyous little fried and steamed dumplings filled with the most wondrous tastes, along with some great Dumpling Soup.
The Restaurant also does great Hand-Cut Noodles, Stir-Fried Ramen and Ramen Soup, but people flock here for the wonderous little steamed buns!
There is also a second outlet on 55th St Lexington on the other side of town if this is more convenient.
4 – Hwa Yuan
- Location – Chinatown – East Broadway
- Style – Sichuan
- Price – $$$$
Hwa Yuan is the first Chinese Restaurant on the list where we would take someone we were trying to impress. The top order of our list is mainly food-focused but they lack a little in overall experience…you wouldn’t want to bring a date to any of them. Hwa Yuan steps up the class somewhat.
Hwa Yuan offers upscale dining with incredible dynasty-era Chinese dishes. Cold Noodles and Sesame, Bejing Duck (NOT Peking!), and Crispy Beef are all stunning.
5 – Cafe China
- Location – Midtown
- Style – Sichuan
- Price – $$$
An unassuming restaurant that could easily be overlooked. Cafe China sit’s amongst bland office blocks and corporate hotels just down from Bryant Park. Take the words Cafe and China off the building and you would straight past.
Inside things take a step in the upmarket direction and the decor is clean, minimal, and stylish. But it’s the food where things really get hot. The Cafe focus’s on the Sichuan Style of Chinese food but it’s a very contemporary interpretation. Sichuan Cooking focuses on hot and sharp flavors, Kung Pao Chicken, Tea Smoked Duck, and a range of pungent Seafood options such as Braised Lobster and Baked Whole Talapia.
It is some of the best Sichuan cuisines outside of China and has repeatedly caught the eye of the Michelin Judges, recently downgrading the Cafes from a single Star to a Bib Gourmand.
Currently, the Restaurant is closed, however, there are rumors of an imposter at the current location. Cafe China is relocating a few blocks away but the old staff have reportedly taken over the old joint and are running it as “chili” with a very similar look and menu!
This sounds like the start of a bitter commercial battle!
- Location – Chelsea
- Style – Dim Sum (+ Shanghai)
- Price – $$
The Excellent Dumpling House pretty much does exactly as it says in the tin. But this classy Chelsea eatery offers far more than just great Dumplings, even though that is enough. Its Menu of Classic Shanghai Dishes offers an authentic Taste either eat-in or take-out.
Really handy if you are looking for Chinese and not heading to one of the more populated districts (Populated with Chinese Restaurants that is), however, The Excellent Dumpling House is probably worthy of heading to Chelsea for alone it really is a stunning menu that rarely gets any criticism and is mainly favored by locals.
It’s a great all-around experience where you can start off with some epic Dumplings and go on to the main courses of Lo Main, Sizzling XO Chicken, or Sizzling Ginger Beef in Basil Sauce. We especially love the Lunch Menu, for $9.75 you get a main served with Rice/Noodles and a Soup. Perfect cheap lunch when Exploring Chelsea from one of the top-rated restaurants in New York for less than $10!
For a shop that focuses on something so basic as Noodles, it’s hard to believe how good this place is! There is nothing fancy here just unpretentious and fantastic food. This is the sort of place where walking by just draws you in. The smell is just unreal and the tasting is every bit as epic.
All the Dishes are fantastic but for a first visit, you have to get the Pan Fried Noodles. If you haven’t guessed they are Hand-Pulled and utterly tasty!
They have a Sister Restaurant in Hells Kitchen Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles II if the trip to Chinatown is too much. The unrelated The Handpulled Noodle is also brilliant if you should find yourself in upper manhattan craving Noodles!
- Location – Various
- Style – Noodles
- Price – $
Super Cheap and Cheerful noodle shop. Xian has started a small noodle Empire and has several stores all over the City. There are outlets in both Queens and Brooklyn as well as Manhatten.
All rate really highly and there really is no need to spend a lot more when you can get food this good for under $10! Noodle Soups, dumplings, Ripped Noodles, and delicious shredded Pork Buns. There is a lot to like here and the Lamb and Cumin Noodles are to die for.
Peking Duck is pretty much one of our favorite foods in the world and we have found no better place in New York to sample this classic. Served whole tableside with all the trimmings it’s a fantastic centerpiece. They offer great Banquet Menus but you only for 4 people.
We tend to be monsters and just order the duck between the two of us. Better Still you can get a whole duck to take out at the Midtown Location, that way no one can see you being a greedy monster devouring a whole duck!
The rest of the menu is fine, but we would prefer other options above unless we are dining on Duck!
10 – Redfarm
- Location – West Village
- Style – Chinese Fine Dining
- Price – $$$$$
We finish off with a very high-end experience. We love the fact that Chinese food in NYC is so inexpensive considering the incredible taste and flavor of the food. But there is no reason it can’t be fancy too and Redfarm offers are real sense of occasion on their dining experience.
If you are looking to impress and enjoy a real occasion dinner then Redfarm is the perfect spot. The Menu is small and dishes are more crafted than the jumbled mess you usually get with Chinese Dishes. It’s far more than Noodles, meat and sauce here.
Shrimp-Stuffed Shishito Poppers and Oxtail Dumplings kick things off, the Duck is an outrageous $95 and comes from the restaurant upstairs oddly, it’s pretty epic as well, not as traditional as above but that’s the point here.
The Crispy Skin Smoked Chicken, Bbq’d Roast Duck Wide Noodle Boat and marinated short ribs are great choices for the Entries. We normally skip dessert at Chinese Restaurants, but there are some nice options here including the amazing Key Lime Pie.
Overall it’s a more traditional Restaurant Experience with amazing flavors and tastes from China.
As we said in the intro, there are over 2,500 different Chinese restaurants in NYC and despite what you read on some TripAdvisor reviews, we have never found a “bad” one. They simply would not survive with such fierce competition.
We have kept this list fairly concise as if we offered too many options it just becomes white noise. This list gives you a great starting point and if you hit any of these spots you are bound to have a great meal.
But it’s definitely a beginner list, and we encourage you to explore. Follow the locals, looks for crowds, and spy which restaurants are filled with Ethnic Chinese, rather than tourists to get that real experience. There is so much to discover about New Yorks Chinese cuisine and this is nearly scratching the surface. Yes, these are the Cream, risen to the top, but there is plenty to sink your teeth into below the surface.
Have Your Say
Let us know your favorites in the comments below. Have you tried one of the restaurants on our list? Did it meet your expectation or was it a letdown? Just let us know in the comments below if you have any thoughts at all on our list. Maybe you have a TOP Restaurant that you think we MUST try on our next visit!