A bright, shiny, must-see world for visitors and an unavoidable reality for locals, Times Square can, at times, be a bit controversial. With Broadway shows, seasonal festivities, and work offices, it’s an inevitability for tourists and residents alike. But even in the complete chaos of midtown, speckled in between the chain restaurants and overpriced venues, there are some moments of respite in the form of really great eats.
On our guide to the best restaurants in Times Square, you’ll find unbeatable Italian sandos, stellar Asian cuisine, Indian-style kebabs, revered slices of pizza, artful street-style fare, and so much more. We can’t wait for you to dig in!
13. The Best Sichuan
Hearty Chinese food and Midtown go hand-in-hand. Whether you want to enjoy a long sit-down meal or grab food to go, Best Sichuan is the finest of a slew of Sichuan restaurants in south Times Square. From sizzling dry pots to spicy tripe and braised fish, the menu can be a little overwhelming. If you need somewhere to start, the dan dan noodles are a menu anchor. Enjoy a huge dish of slurpy, bouncy noodles topped with crispy ground beef and tiny, diagonal slices of scallions. It’s all slathered in sweet and spicy sauce that’s so addictive you’ll be tempted to lick the bowl clean.
The Best Sichuan
$$ Chinese, Szechuan
12. Kwick Meal
In addition to collecting accolades through the years, this tiny, beloved halal food cart also nabs a spot on our guide to the best restaurants in Times Square. From kati rolls to falafel, there are plenty of options to get your fix at Kwick Meal. Their platters and pita are top-tier, and you should definitely get the lamb. All halal food carts load their dishes with their own brand of white sauce, but most are poor imitations of tzatziki. Here, the sauce boasts tangy hints of cucumber mixed with Greek yogurt, sugar, lemon juice, and vinegar. It is heaven slathered over the aromatic spices incorporated into the lamb, chicken, or beef. The hot sauce, instead of the typical scorching red sauce, is a peppery green and packs both heat and dynamic flavor.
Kwik Meal NYC
$ Halal, Mediterranean
One of the best restaurants in Times Square is also one of the better known restaurants in Manhattan. Ippudo began as a ramen movement to introduce Japan’s gastronomic culture to the rest of the world. It expanded to the U.S. during the peak of NYC’s ramen craze and now has select locations across the city. Rather than their traditional tonkotsu broth, the 5th Ave location offers their kasane-aji, or “layered taste,” broth with a rich blend of chicken and pork. Made over three stages of careful preparation, the savory broth becomes milky and velvety in texture. The Karaka spicy bowl is the way to go at this location. And don’t forget—you can always order extra noodles so you won’t leave a drop of broth behind.
Ippudo 5th Avenue
Times Square is notorious for subpar Italian tourist traps, but amid all the average spots is a small shop with legitimate Italian sandwiches. Shining like a beacon in a storm, Alidoro provides stunning combinations of mozzarella, prosciutto, sopressata, and much more on really good bread. Some of the sandwiches come particularly well-dressed with special spreads like sun-dried tomato paste, lemon basil pesto, truffle cream, and olive paste, so be on the lookout for those. If you are overwhelmed by their large menu, the most popular are the Gothamist, the Il Sole, or the Pinocchio.
Alidoro – Rockefeller Plaza
$$ Sandwiches, Coffee & Tea, Italian
9. Joe’s Pizza
The pie, the myth, the legend. Joe’s is one of NYC’s reigning slices—and probably will be for millennia to come. But why? There’s no coal-fired oven, crispy frico cheese crust, or specialty toppings. And yet, Joe’s is the slice people think of when they think of New York. The answer lies in its simplicity. Huge, floppy yet foldable, and melodramatically cheesy, it is a pizza pipe dream come true. What’s more, their Broadway location is efficient, methodical, and churns out as many hot ‘zas as visitors. Their plain slice is the way to go; a perfect medley of cheese, sauce, and thin, chewy crust. Enjoy one of the best restaurants in Times Square.
Joe’s Pizza Broadway
8. The Kati Roll Company
What exactly is a Kati Roll? An Indian-style street roll, and an item you’ll definitely want to add to your New York “to-eat” list. To get a little more technical, it’s a spicy mixture of meat and vegetables rolled in traditional Indian flatbread called a paratha. TKRC offers both meat and vegetarian choices, marinating and grilling all fillings in-house with their proprietary blend of hand-ground spices and flavors. Their signature, homemade lime-cilantro chutney is a medley of sautéed, pickled, fresh onions. It graces the top of each Kati Roll, along with a sprinkling of Chat Masala spice. We love the chicken tikka rolls and never skip out on the chicken momos. The Indo-Tibetan dumplings come pan-fried or steamed—get them pan-fried with the soy vinegar sauce for dipping.
The Kati Roll Company
$ Indian, Halal
7. Patzeria Perfect Pizza
A mainstay in the Theater District, and one of the best restaurants in Times Square, Patzaria Perfect Pizza is, in fact, the perfect pick-me-up after a long morning or afternoon of walking. Their cheese pizza is everything pizza should be. An optimal cheese-to-grease-to-sauce ratio awaits atop a chewy, airy crust with a flawless snap. If you want to go all in on the sauce, get the grandma pie. The sauce’s deep tomato hues mixed with hunks of basil and garlic provide a juicier, sweeter, and more fragrant option. Whatever you choose, just prepare to go back for seconds.
Patzeria Perfect Pizza
$ Pizza, Italian, Pasta Shops
Two avenues west of Times Square sits the Thai and Vietnamese fusion restaurant of your dreams. OBAO marries the comfort foods of Southeast Asia with their own elegant flair, serving elevated dishes without compromising on authenticity. Start with the kimchi fries for an app. Airy and fluffy yet delicately crispy, the fries are painted in a lip-smacking sriracha mayo sauce with scallions, sesame seeds, and spicy pickled cabbage. Moving on to entrees, their Pho Bò’s 12-hour stewed beef broth with thin-sliced rare beef, brisket, and rice noodles is Michelin recommended. The ultimate dish, however, is the roasted duck noodles: silky, wok-fried noodles interwoven with some of the best duck you’ll find north of Chinatown. It comes with a Thai Sriracha sauce to drizzle on top and culminates in a dazzling jumble of flavors.
$$ Vietnamese, Thai, Asian Fusion
Maybe you can’t technically live off of a diet of liquid sodium, pork fat, and noodles, but Tonchin makes you want to try. One of the most brilliant threads within NYC’s rich ramen tapestry, this Tokyo-based noodle house is also one of the best restaurants in Times Square. And once you taste their broth—complex, layered, slightly tangy—you’ll see why. Their signature Tokyo tonkotsu broth is used as the base for several of their bowls. If you like spicy, definitely go for the spicy tan tan. If you want something with a deeper flavor, try the smoked dashi. Combined with handmade noodles, finely sliced, roasted chasu pork, and a jammy, marinated egg, it’s ramen too good for words. And easy to see why they’ve been given a Michelin-guide nod for the last few years.
$$ Japanese, Ramen, Izakaya
4. Empanada Mama
Empanada Mama is a colorful, vibrant midtown go-to where post-Broadway tourists and late-night locals frequently find common ground. And with fresh empanadas hot out of the fryer served 24/7, it’s little wonder why it is one of the best restaurants in Times Square. Serving predominantly Columbian flavors, it provides great quality Latin food at an incredible price point. Of their 40+ flavors of empanadas, you’ll undoubtedly find one that calls to you. We love their spicy chicken, which comes coated in what they dub their Mama’s Special picante sauce. The shredded beef is another standout, the beef slow-cooked and marinated with traditional Columbian spices and onion.
Empanada Mama – Times Square
$ Empanadas, Colombian
3. Los Tacos No. 1
We’ll sing Los Tacos’ praises until the bitter end. You simply will not find better tacos in all of Manhattan, which means it’s definitely one of the best restaurants in Times Square. Their menu is pretty straightforward. Choose between their marinated adobada pork, steak, chicken, or cactus on either flour or corn tortillas. Any combination is a win, so don’t stress too much about the decision (or just get one of each). Their quesadillas are also a marvel with a perfectly crispy layer of cheese in between the tortilla and fillings. Just make sure to peruse their salsa bar after you order.
Los Tacos No.1 – Time Square
Head to Danji for a fever dream full of bulgogi and fried chicken. This snug, elevated eatery on 52nd Street is the spot for modern Korean food in the area. It serves up small, shareable plates that combine Korean flavors with French techniques, yielding magical delicacies like fried tofu with ginger-scallion dressing and soy-poached black cod with spicy daikon. Immediately upon being seated, order the bulgogi beef sliders for a shocking tangle of flavors atop tiny sweet buns. Nearly everything on the menu is a work of art, but for a true showstopper try the sizzling “wet” kimchi fried rice with bacon, served via crackling-hot cast iron pan. The caramelized bacon bits are as thick as pork belly and contrast the sharp, fiery hues of the kimchi rice. You’ll be scraping your plate clean for every last bite.
$$$ Korean, Wine Bars
1. All’Antico Vinaio
A legendary sandwich shop that originated in Florence, Italy, is now one of the best restaurants in Times Square. The famed Florentine sandwich is notably square, enormous, and stuffed with exceptional ingredients. You can watch as they carve their Tuscan schiacciata bread, which they serve so fresh, whisps of steam rise from the pillowy dough. Each sandwich is as unique as its intentional array of ingredients, from earthy-sweet combos of salame Toscana, pecorino, and truffle honey to denser options with prochetta and grilled vegetables. We love La Paradiso. Whisper-thin slices of pistachio layered through folds of savory mortadella with a thick, rich pistachio cream that sings against your tongue. A star ingredient is the stracciatella, a cheese made from mozzarella curds mixed with cream. Finished with another sprinkle of crushed pistachio for texture, it is an unrivaled sandwich experience.
All’Antico Vinaio – New York
$$ Italian, Sandwiches