Where to Eat:
About a year ago, I was invited by a friend for brunch at Maria’s Bistro Mexicano (886 5th Ave., 718-924-2904). It’s a quaint place with a charming vibe that really makes me feel that I’m somewhere south of the border. The huevos rancheros I had were delicious, and the bistro has quickly become one of my go-to places for excellent Mexican. When I polled my four resident experts they came up with a wide array of local spots, but it’s notable that Pacificana, a dim sum palace, and Tacos el Bronco, a Mexican spot, both got two votes. Here are all their suggestions:
Tony: I would suggest by “zone”: Eighth Avenue for Asian from 40th to 67th; and Fifth Avenue for Spanish, South American & Central more from 38th to 44th [streets] and then largely Mexican to 62nd. I can’t name a specific–because I rarely go to the same place twice but the genre: street vendors for tacos and burritos, restaurants for full meal burrito dishes; Asian sidewalk vendors for finger food–dim sums and wraps and fish balls, and Chinese restaurants for full meals or a dim sum “explosion.”
Vanessa: I often joke there is only pizza, Chinese, and Mexican food in Sunset Park and that I am forced to cook because of it, but really there are some great places to eat:
Asea (4120 8th Ave., 347-889-5252) is “fusion” but I mainly order sushi. The food is fresh and delicious. The presentation alone makes me want to keep going back. The space is very pretty and I highly recommend going.
Then there is Gia Lam (4810 8th Ave., 718-633-2272) a Vietnamese restaurant. They do not deliver but there is plenty of space to sit. They actually have two locations in Sunset Park both are worth going. I like the curry dishes but also really like the squid and lemon grass rice meal.
For dim sum, Pacificana is the place. (813 55th St., 718-871-2880). A family of four will eat like a king for under $30–no kidding. I always order something different and truthfully cannot remember what I have ordered. The waiters push carts around with small plates of food. We point to what we want and eat. The waiters mark our tickets with a price.
Ba Xuyen, (4222 8th Ave., 718-633-6601) has an amazing Vietnamese chicken sandwich. It is what they are famous for: order it spicy. They also have an avocado smoothie that is very good and worth a try.
Floridita (4523 5th Ave., 718-686-0666). I like the chicken soup because it is homemade–and very much like how my grandmother made it.
Tacos El Bronco (4324 4th Ave., 718-788-2229) is probably the most famous Mexican food spot in the ‘hood. Sadly, the restaurant space is under construction, but there is a food truck that some argue is better than the restaurant itself. I like the beef burritos. If you like some spice, ask for the green sauce, you will be glad you did!
Don PePe (3908 5th Ave., 718-435-3326) has the most amazing smoothies and is also a great quick stop for food. I like the Sunset smoothie and have ordered the empanadas although the pressed sandwiches are good too.
International Restaurant (4408 5th Ave., 718-438-2009) is the only place I will get Cuban sandwiches from in the ‘hood. They have been there for years.
La Gran Via (4516 5th Ave., 718-853-8021) is where I like to order birthday cakes. They also have a selection of diabetic cookies.
El Comal (4711 5th Ave., 718-438-3060) for aguas frescas. They also have something called chamoyadas, which are quite hard to find. Made with mango ices and chili powder. Very fancy looking and tasty.
Greta: Wong Wong (5410 8th Ave., 718-633-5633) Hand-pulled noodle soups
Tacos El Bronco (4324 4th Ave., 718-788-2229) -The truck and the restaurant. The tacos are unbelievable. And the birria is also delicious.
Tacos Matamoros (4508 5th Ave., 718-871-7627) Fresh orange juice, chicken with blended pumpkin seed sauce, sopes.
Ba Xuyen, (4222 8th Ave., 718-633-6601) Vietnamese sandwich shop–we love the sandwiches and also the seafood noodle soup.
Pacificana (813 55th St., 718-871-2880) Dim sum. Expect a long wait on the weekends. It’s also open all week for dim sum.
Hot Bagel (4805 13th Ave., 718-633-4009) It’s not in Sunset Park, in Boro Park, but it’s close by and so worth a visit!
Clay: The grandma pizza at Johnny’s, (5806 5th Ave., 718-492-9735); the fried shrimp dumplings at Hob Boh, (5110 7th Ave., 718-972-4625); fried chicken from the Chinese cart on Eighth near 57th; and banh mi from Ba Xuyen (4222 8th Ave., 718-633-6601) probably represent 80 percent of my return business over the last two months. Also, I love the sesame balls from pretty much every Chinese bakery in the area.