Your Personal Concierge
Hidden Gem Restaurants in New York City
New York City is known for its world-class dining scene, with many popular Midtown Manhattan restaurants booking reservations months in advance; however, the city is also home to a number of low-key eateries tucked away a little farther south on the island, as well as in up-and-coming neighborhoods in Queens—the city’s second most populous borough. Eugenia Primis, personal assistant at Langham Place, Fifth Avenue, has been a New Yorker for the past 10 years and a concierge for two years. Here she recommends hidden gem restaurants in New York City.
In Queens' westernmost residential and commercial neighborhood Long Island City, Primis suggests a trip to Casa Enrique (5-48 49th Ave., 347.448.6040). “Among all the amazing ethnic cuisines that NYC has to offer, I have always felt that Mexican food was lacking until I found Casa Enrique, which proves that the Mexican flare in NYC is improving,” Primis says. She counts the homemade, fresh guacamole and mini crabmeat tostadas offered on the restaurant’s brunch menu as her favorites. As a post-meal activity “take a stroll to experience one of the most amazing views of NYC on the LIC waterfront.” The restaurant is only one subway stop from Manhattan off the Vernon Boulevard-Jackson Avenue stop on the 7 train.
Back in Manhattan on the Lower East Side—or simply “LES” to locals, Kuma Inn serves a wide array of Filipino, Thai and Southeast Asian dishes. “The LES of NYC has long been associated with amazing, inexpensive Asian cuisine,” Primis says. At this particular eatery, “the flavors are exotic and the restaurant is byob (bring your own bottle), so you will be able to enjoy as much food as you like without a pricey dinner bill that is usually expected in NYC.” The restaurant’s sister location, umiNOM, is located in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
In Astoria, a predominately Greek neighborhood in the northwestern corner of Queens—and where Primis has been a resident for the past nine years, she suggests enjoying a meal at Taverna Kyclades. “Growing up in a Greek household and being spoiled by my yiayia's (grandmother's) home cooked meals, it is hard for me to dine at the overpriced, over-Americanized Greek restaurants in Manhattan,” she says—adding that she often directs guests to Astoria for authentic Greek fare. At Taverna Kyclades—one of her favorites—Primis says be prepared to wait. “There have been times I have waited over an hour on a Monday night; but once seated, the food and ambiance is definitely worth the wait,” she says. The best part of the meal? “The homemade Galaktobureko (custard and phyllo pastry dessert) that comes complimentary after your meal—assuming you arrived early enough that it hasn't run out yet.”