Unless you live or work in Hell’s Kitchen, we’re betting you don’t spend a lot of time eating in this part of town. But there are lots of excellent restaurants in the area. You just need to know where to look.
A general rule of thumb when it comes to Hell’s Kitchen dining: Your options vastly improve as you move north from the Javits Center and away from the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Then again, that’s probably true for life in general. The less time you spend near those places, the better off you’ll be.
Here are our favorite restaurants in the neighborhood, from exceptional Thai and Korean spots to a few a places where you can get some quick pizza before a Broadway show.
Grilled skewers have reached a Harry Styles-level of popularity at restaurants around NYC, and Kochi is the best place to get them in Hell’s Kitchen. This Korean spot serves a $135 tasting menu with skewers ranging from crispy monkfish to confit duck with tomato marmalade, and they’re all delicious. Sit at the long bar with a date and watch the chefs prepare all nine courses in front of you.
This Korean spot from the Kochi team serves a $135, 12-course tasting, the bulk of which is dedicated to U-shaped hand rolls filled with marinated meat or fish topped with crunchy accessories like pickled daikon. Unlike some handroll places you may have been to before—like Nami Nori or DomoDomo—Mari incorporates Korean sauces and spices into every two-bite roll. There are a couple tables in the back, but you should sit at the big rectangular counter in the middle of the restaurant.
Marseille bills itself as one of Broadway’s favorite dining destinations—and while we’ve never spotted Ben Platt there reviewing sheet music over moules frites, you will find plenty of theater goers having pre-show dinners and green Ricard apéritifs at this warm French brasserie. The menu is standard, but the tartare, escargots, and duck frites do not disappoint, and they’ve got a pretty fun oyster Happy Hour. This place doesn't have the Parisian cool of Frenchette or Le French Diner, but, surprisingly, it doesn't feel as dated as a Times Square-adjacent white tablecloth restaurant could.
It’s all in the name—chicken on rice, prepared three ways. This small Thai spot actually puts their fried, poached, or grilled chicken in seven different dishes, but you get the idea. Everything is served with an intensely flavorful clear chicken broth on the side, khao mun gai style, on thoroughly gingery rice. Even with so few options on the menu, it’s hard to choose, but the juicy lemongrass grilled chicken is so expertly marinated it’s usually our first choice. This small shop is made for easy lunch orders. Start with the signature plates, then branch out and try the Thai tacos when you’re back for the fourth week in a row.
LumLum is a Thai restaurant that specializes in seafood, and it’s a top-five option for a casual meal in Hell’s Kitchen. The space is bright and beachy, with bamboo walls and rattan furniture, and you'll probably hear the Beach Boys playing when you stop by. Lean into the coastal theme, and get some crab fried rice and massive river prawns. Charred, juicy, and served with tart chile-lime sauce, the prawns are some of the best things you’ll eat within a one-mile radius.
The original Rice ‘n’ Beans closed in 2021, but the same chef is now running this updated iteration on 10th Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen. The new space has a more modern feel—exposed brick, Edison bulbs, etc.—but the feijoada remains fantastic. It comes packed with bacon, beef, pork ribs, and Portuguese sausage, and it's a non-optional order. To round out your meal, start with some pão de queijo or crispy fried yucca tossed with slivers of smoked sausage.
Ñaño is tiny, and it isn’t especially flashy, but it’s one of your best options for a casual meal in Hell’s Kitchen. The menu is Ecuadorian, with items like ceviche, tripe in a rich peanut sauce, and seco de chivo with big chunks of tender goat. Order the bandera if you want to try all three of these things, and be sure to get the bolón mixto—a softball-sized ball of smashed plantain mixed with cheese and crispy pork. Despite the small space, it isn’t especially tough to get a table, and you can sit in a streetside structure if you want to eat outdoors.
Sushi of Gari serves our favorite sushi in Hell’s Kitchen. Their original UES location is famous for deluxe omakase experiences, including an incredible broiled tomato and salmon piece that’s hot, cold, and juicy all at the same time. And you can get all of the same pieces at their Hell’s Location location as well. If you don’t want to spend over $100 on an omakase, the sushi or sashimi platter are excellent choices.
B Side is your best bet for brick-oven pizza in Hell’s Kitchen. The pies here taste like whoever’s making them cares more about bread than finding somebody to love. This dimly-lit restaurant on W 51st Street mostly only has bar seats, but you can usually walk right in and get a spot. We especially like the carbonara pie and the Roberta’s ripoff topped with chili oil, honey, and enough soppressata to feed a family of four.
There are many ways to enjoy a meal at Tori Shin. You can order à la carte skewers, do a chef’s tasting, or sit in a private room alone with a chef who will make you a meal so special that you’ll daydream about chicken parts for weeks to come. But no matter what you choose, you’ll find some memorable chicken skewers at this yakitori spot on 53rd street.
Capizzi is a one-room, cash-only pizza place where you can eat a solid wood-fired margherita pie in Hell’s Kitchen. It’s essentially Lucali, if you take away the BYOB policy, Mark Iacono’s DILF charm, and the long waits. You can usually walk right in, which makes this a useful option the next time you’re looking for lunch or dinner near Port Authority Bus Terminal.
Frankly, you’re not going to have a life-changing meal at Gotham West Market, a food hall on 11th Ave. But a Sicilian pie from Corner Slice is the closest you’ll get. The slices here are crispy on the bottom and fluffy in the middle. They do delivery, but if your only option is to eat pizza inside of the market, the cafeteria-style seating will at least make you feel young again.
There aren’t many places in NYC where tourists and hungover New Yorkers come face to face. But that’s exactly what happens in this 24-hour empanada spot. Empanada Mama is essentially a neighborhood diner that caters to the masses. Like most diners, you won’t find any food here that will make you want to Airdrop photos of soup to strangers on the train. But every neighborhood needs a solid option that never closes. If you can’t decide what to order, go for the simple corn empanada filled with beef.
If you visit Guantanamera in the daytime, you’ll think it’s just a Cuban restaurant with ceiling fans and an empty stage set-up. That’s because, like owls and animated cowboy dolls, this kitschy 9th Avenue spot comes alive at night. The live band, crowded bar, and kind man selling hand-rolled cigars are the real reasons why you should come here. The next time you want to simultaneously hear some live music while eating a Cubano and learning how to mambo, try this place.
Every New Yorker should be a regular somewhere. If you live in Hell’s Kitchen and don’t have a local spot yet, choose The Marshal. We discovered this small, 10th Avenue restaurant back in 2013, and it’s still one of our favorite places to eat in the neighborhood. It’s always filled with dedicated regulars and a few non-regulars who just want to eat meatloaf, a piece of fish, or some other American dish that they probably could have made at home, but didn’t.
If you go on dates in Hell’s Kitchen (or often appease your uptown friends by meeting them halfway), you should know about Kashkaval. This Mediterranean small plates restaurant is brick-walled, candle-lit, and generally quiet, without being too romantic. You can share wine, Turkish flatbreads, and some skewered meats. Plus, there’s a fondue list with three different variations, and you can get your fondue portioned for one. Just thought you should know.
Totto Ramen serves the best ramen in the area, as evidenced by the long waits (even at lunch). Dining solo is your surest move for speedy seat acquisition, so bring a book or fully charged phone and go at it alone during your Midtown lunch break one day. Also, Totto now takes cards after years of being cash-only.
Briciola is owned by the same people behind Aria and Cotenna, and they all feel pretty much like the same Italian wine bar. Briciola is small, and it's usually crowded with people on dates or having obligatory catch-up drinks. They have a huge list of pastas (all $18), small plates, and great daily specials.
Inti is a quiet restaurant on 10th Avenue that feels unremarkable in almost every regard, aside from their very good Peruvian food. Everything here comes in large portions at pretty affordable prices, including things like ceviche and a whole rotisserie chicken with french fries, fried plantains, rice and beans, and salad that will easily feed five adults. So the next time you need a group dinner before a show at Terminal 5 or a night out in Hell’s Kitchen, Inti is the place.
Pure Thai Cookhouse is one of the best Thai restaurants in the city, despite having a name that makes it sound like a line of vegan noodles from the Whole Foods freezer section. Speaking of noodles, most of the ones at Pure Thai are handmade, so focus on those dishes, and make sure to start with an order of vegetable dumplings.
This cute little wine bar serves something called a “Pig’s Ass Sandwich” and one of the best pieces of chocolate cake you’ll come across in a restaurant. That said, you could skip both of those, order a huge plate of cheese, and have just as successful of a meal. Proceed as you see fit.