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The 8 best Chinese restaurants in NYC


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I recently received an email from Zagat linking to this list of, purportedly, the 8 best Chinese restaurants in the city. According to this list they are:

Pacificana

813 55th St., 2nd fl. (8th Ave.)

Phone: 718-871-2880

Wa Jeal

1588 Second Ave. (bet. 82nd & 83rd Sts.)

Phone: 212-396-3339

Shun Lee Palace

155 E. 55th St. (bet. Lexington & 3rd Aves.)

Phone: 212-371-8844

Tse Yang

34 E. 51st St. (bet. Madison & Park Aves.)

Phone: 212-688-5447

Oriental Garden

14 Elizabeth St. (bet. Bayard & Canal Sts.)

Phone: 212-619-0085

Phoenix Garden

242 E. 40th St. (bet. 2nd & 3rd Aves.)

Phone: 212-983-6666

Philippe

33 E. 60th St. (bet. Madison & Park Aves.)

Phone: 212-644-8885

Nice Green Bo

66 Bayard St. (bet. Elizabeth & Mott Sts.)

Phone: 212-625-2359

I think we can do better than this list.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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By "best" they mean, the ones top-ranked in the Zagat survey, yes? Presumably a lot of the respondents are looking for egg rolls, chop suey, orange beef, etc. when they dine out at a Chinese restaurant.

"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure
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By "best" they mean, the ones top-ranked in the Zagat survey, yes? Presumably a lot of the respondents are looking for egg rolls, chop suey, orange beef, etc. when they dine out at a Chinese restaurant.

If you know a place where I can get great chop suey and an awesome egg roll, I'm all ears :smile: .

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Pacificana is in Brooklyn so I assume it's for all the boroughs? Nothing from Flushing? Thats farcical.

And when I see Philippe but not Grand Szechuan I turn off completely (regardless what novices it was created for or derived from).

Though I do agree with Oriental Garden.

That wasn't chicken

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  • 2 weeks later...

I understand exactly. Chin Chin may be my favorite Chinese restaurant, as well, but I don't think it is the best. It is just the one that I most enjoy, so I go there the most often. Plus, of course, it is the best Chinese restaurant within a few blocks of my office.

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Yes on that basis I'd recommend Mr. Chow, which I think blows Chin Chin out of the water.

But I suspect what the OP was asking about was real Chinese food in the city. Off the top of my head, I'd suggest something like:

Wah Fung No. 1 Fast Food - Chinatown

Xi'an Famous Foods - Flushing location

Spicy & Tasty - Flushing

Szechuan Gourmet - 39 St.

Oriental Garden - Chinatown (and actually on the Zagat list!)

Super Wang, Inc. - Chinatown

Cheng Du Tian Fu - Flushing

There are other places I've been in the Golden Mall in Flushing that were amazing... but I can't remember the names.

I quite like Fried Dumplings on Mosco St. in Chinatown, but it recently got slammed by Serious Eats.

I used to love the two 9th Avenue Grand Sichuans, but I get the impression they've gone downhill. Or been overtaken by the Sichuan newcomers.

I haven't been out to the Sunset Park / Homecrest Chinatown in years - I was there in the late '90s, and wasn't impressed. But from Sietsema's reports, it's come up in the world (maybe as much for Vietnamese as for Chinese).

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I am too a fan of Oriental Garden

I like Big Wing Wong on Mott which are the orginal people from Big Wong.

for fast food I have to go with Wah mei on Hester. I love the Taiwanese style fried pork or chicken, I always insist on extra "sauce". Its a very hole in the wall kind of place.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I haven't been to these but want to try them and heard good things:

Congee Village

Amazing 66

NY Noodletown

Hop Kee

Big Wong

Congee Village is good with a big crowd. And if you order right. Not everything is wonderful, but the congee is great. Off-menu lamb chops rock. Their house special chicken is good. I stay away from msot stir-fries. Gloppy and greasy.

Great NY Noodletown is my favorite for roasted meats over rice and their wontons in noodle soup are super. As are their noodle dishes.

Haven't been to Hop Kee in a long time, and was just discussing Big Wong with a friend last night as we were headed to Peking Duck House...which I think serves the best Peking Duck around.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Mitch, have you been to Noodle Village recently? I think their wontons are better than Great NY Noodletown's. Though I'll still go to Great NY Noodletown for roast pig, roast pork, roast duck, salt baked squid, beef with flowering chives....

Also: M Wells appears to be serving Peking Duck as well for dinner (Tues-Thurs).

Edited by kathryn (log)
"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure
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Mitch, have you been to Noodle Village recently? I think their wontons are better than Great NY Noodletown's. Though I'll still go to Great NY Noodletown for roast pig, roast pork, roast duck, salt baked squid, beef with flowering chives....

Also: M Wells appears to be serving Peking Duck as well for dinner (Tues-Thurs).

I wonder if it's the same place which used to be called New Hong Kong Noodles, written about back in February, 2008. New ownership, possibly?

At that time, there were some other really good offerings on the menu but we rated the wontons slightly below NY Noodletown. You also seem to like the claypot rice dishes - which definitely weren't on the old place's menu.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Possibly new ownership. I wouldn't know. I was turned onto it by my Chinese-speaking aunt, who found it in a Chinese language magazine as the ranked #1 of 8 different wonton noodle soups in Chinatown. She (of course) being skeptical of magazine results quickly ran through the whole list of 8 to see if she would come up with the same conclusion. And did.

I do also really like their bo zai fan/claypot rice dish.

Edited by kathryn (log)
"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure
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Possibly new ownership. I wouldn't know. I was turned onto it by my Chinese-speaking aunt, who found it in a Chinese language magazine as the tranked #1 of 8 different wonton noodle soups in Chinatown. She of course being skeptical of magazine results quickly ran through the whole list of 8 to see if she would come up with the same conclusion. And did.

I do also really like their bo zai fan/claypot rice dish.

Is it possible to post the list? (Translated, of course)

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Possibly new ownership. I wouldn't know. I was turned onto it by my Chinese-speaking aunt, who found it in a Chinese language magazine as the tranked #1 of 8 different wonton noodle soups in Chinatown. She of course being skeptical of magazine results quickly ran through the whole list of 8 to see if she would come up with the same conclusion. And did.

I do also really like their bo zai fan/claypot rice dish.

Is it possible to post the list? (Translated, of course)

It was in a print magazine 2 years ago, I doubt she still has it.

"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure
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  • 1 month later...

Shun lee can kiss my arse. And I will charge them 200 dollars for the pleasure.. Where is Chin Chin on this list of over priced Chinese Places?

My favorite chinese restaurant in Flushing is Imperial Palace, I think it's my favorite in NYC.. The oysters with XO sauce a lone is worth the trip..

I like the Hunan Kitchen of Grand Sichuan in Flushing. I like A Fan Ti in flushing.. I also like Golden Palace in Flushing. Henan Flavor in Chinatown.. I go to Great NY Noodletown late night, especially during soft shell crab season. I like a lot of Chinese food.. Nothing on their list though.

Anyone been to East Boat Lobster?

Edited by basquecook (log)

“I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted" JK

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I'll throw in a vote for the newer outpost of Szechuan Gourmet on 56th St and 8th Ave. Same menu as 39th but consistently better food and service, plus a nicer atmosphere.

The main difference I found with the 56th street branch, as opposed to the 39th street one, was a more liberal hand with the Scezhuan peppercorns. One of the things I am going to miss most about no longer working at Columbus Circle is lunch at that branch. Two dishes in particular really stood out to me, too: the Ma Paul Tofu and the Chicken with Roasted Chile and Green Chile (I've seen this called 3-Pepper Chicken elsewhere). I bet they stand up to any other versions in the city.

aka Michael

Chi mangia bene, vive bene!

"...And bring us the finest food you've got, stuffed with the second finest."

"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

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  • 1 month later...

Does anyone value Zagats as much as I do for funneling all the knuckleheads into the same places?

BTW I'm in Hong Kong now, and I'm assuming I pretty much have to wander Flushing to have a taste of what I have here... or is our own Manhattan Chinatown finally getting better?

It is not, not by a long shot.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I think it's too easy to dismiss Chinese in Manhattan, but when looked at as a whole there is a lot more going on than a lot of people assume. I've spent a considerable amount of time in Flushing these past few years, and while there's some wonderful food there that you can't really get in Manhattan, there's also wonderful food in Manhattan that you can't get in Flushing. I think when it comes to the newer immingrant groups you do better in Flushing, so for example the Northeast (Dongbei) places in Flushing are not yet being duplicated well in Manhattan (though I just walked by a new place on Bayard the other day and need to check it out). Whereas, for Cantonese and seafood there's some great stuff in Manhattan Chinatown, such as Cantoon Garden and Oriental Garden. I still love Nice Green Bo (formerly New Green Bo) for having the best price/quality ration for Shanghainese I've ever heard of. And I agree that Manhattan Chinatown street food and hole-in-the-wall food has improved a lot in the past few years. Also elsewhere in Manhattan you have excellent Sichuan -- I think both Szechuan Gourmet and Lan Sheng in Manhattan are better than Spicy & Tasty in Flushing.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Agreed on those two Szechuan places over Spicy & Tasty!

How are the branches of Xi'an Famous Foods in Manhattan? I've been meaning to check out the Bayard Street place to see how it compares to the original in Golden Mall.

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