A Tale of Two Communities: Our Neighborhood Guide to Sunset Park


Where to Eat:

Maria's Bistro Mexicano serves delicious brunch like this plate of scrambled eggs, rice and beans. Photo: David Chiu

Maria’s Bistro Mexicano serves delicious brunch like this plate of scrambled eggs, rice and beans. Photo: David Chiu

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.

The Tacos El Bronco restaurant and truck on Fourth Avenue. They don't serve that Taco Bell/Chipotle-style stuff, they make the REAL thing. Photo: David Chiu

The Tacos El Bronco restaurant and truck on Fourth Avenue. They don’t serve that Taco Bell/Chipotle-style stuff, they make the REAL thing. Photo: David Chiu

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.

Vegetarian dim sum at Pacificana. Photo: David Chiu

Vegetarian dim sum at Pacificana. Photo: David Chiu

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.

2 Responses

  1. Sunset Parker -

    Shutup shutup shutup! Stop telling outsiders about Sunset Park, goddamt! The fucking hipsters are already ruining it for everybody!


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