A List of Ethnic Restaurants to Mix Up Your Cuisine

We’re lucky to live in the New York metro area, a virtual melting pot of cultures. So if your budget doesn’t allow for family jaunts to India, South Africa, and other exotic locales, you can still introduce your kids to the world at ethnic restaurants. Here are a few suggestions in Rockland, Westchester, Suffolk, Nassau, and Fairfield counties, as well as Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn.

children in restaurantRockland County

Bombay Grill
261 S. Little Tor Road, New City
This gourmet Indian restaurant serves up authentic cuisine form North and South India such as classic kebabs and biryanis (spiced rice dishes). Picky kiddos might appreciate the buffet, offered at both lunch and dinner.

138 Main St., Nyack
Famed chef-owner Masao “Umi” Umezaki, born in Japan and now a resident of Pearl River, offers an extensive menu of Japanese dishes, including sushi and sashimi. If you’re not a fan of raw fish, try the tuna steak or udon noodles.

Quinta Steakhouse
24 E. Central Ave., Pearl River
It may sound like meat-and-potatoes American, but this steakhouse specializes in Portuguese cuisine. While you can order a burger, you can also get chorico (Portuguese sausage), Portuguese caldo verde (potato and kale soup), and carne Alentejana (a dish that combines pork loin and little neck clams).


Westchester County

30 Division St., New Rochelle
914-235 8390
Dubbed the “best Indian food in the tri-state area” by Zagat, this spot serves up traditional dishes like kebabs and tikka at an affordable price.

Hacienda La Paloma
443 Lexington Ave., Mount Kisco
This family-run restaurant features a stucco exterior and the feel of a friendly Mexican village, complete with colorful pottery tiles, a large palm tree, and vibrant paintings. You’ll find tacos and nachos on the menu, but this is no Tex-Mex spot. The restaurant prides itself on its more traditional cuisine. Kiddos might like the tapas menu, which features small, shareable bites of popular dishes.

Turkish Meze
409 Mount Pleasant Ave., Mamaroneck
This spot specializes in—you guessed it—traditional Turkish cuisine. Try the Turkish-style lamb sauté, stuffed cabbage, or eggplant musakka. And don’t forget an order of baklava (flaky phyllo dough layered with pistachios and sugar syrup) for dessert!



329 W. 51st St., Hell’s Kitchen
A staff member of South African descent raves about this spot’s traditional menu and atmosphere. Try the Boerewors & Soweto Sauce (a traditional beef dish in a rich tomato sauce) or the Prawns Peri-Peri (if you like things a little spicy).

316 E. 53rd St., Midtown East
This Belgian brasserie specializes in traditional dishes from the country known for its French-quality food served in German quantities. Try the frites (fries), croquettes, and maybe a Belgian-style waffle for dessert.

Buenos Aires Restaurant
513 E. 6th St., East Village
Buenos Aires brings a slice of Argentina to NYC, serving up the grilled meats its home country is famous for in an authentic setting filled with photographs of Buenos Aires, Argentinean tunes, and Argentine wines for parents.

152 E. 46th St., Midtown East
Specializing in Indian fare, this eatery serves traditional korma and tandoori preparations, but (in true NYC style) the kitchen also experiments with trans-ethnic fusion dishes.



Café Kiev
1739 W. 7th St., Gravesend
This family-owned, one-room café offers affordable plates (none more than $8) of Ukrainian/Russian specialties such as borscht (beetroot soup), varenyky (stuffed dumplings), and blintzes (thin pancakes).

Café Tibet
1510 Cortelyou Road, Flatbush/Ditmas Park
This cozy spot serves up traditional Tibetan dishes for lunch and dinner. Try the momos (Tibetan dumplings).

Joloff Restaurant
1168 Bedford Ave., Clinton Hill
Recently relocated from its 17-year spot on Fulton Street, this eatery specializes in traditional Senegalese cuisine, from fried plantains and yucca to tiebuu jeun (the national dish of Senegal, which includes baked fish, veggies, and rice). Eat in for a taste of West African music and art with your meal.

195 DeKalb Ave., Fort Greene
A staff member of South African descent gives this spot rave reviews for its traditional menu and atmosphere. The restaurant’s concept is based on the tradition of the Shebeen—the informal dining halls in South Africa where community members gather after work. Try the Pap & Boerewors (beef tenderloin in traditional sauce) or Confit of Cornish Hen Peri Peri (if you like things a little spicy).



Agnanti Meze
19-06 Ditmars Blvd., Astoria
Listed among the top Green restaurants in an area known for its Greek cuisine, this spot serves up home-style Mediterranean dishes. The menu features a lot of grilled seafood as well as small plates that are ideal for tasting and sharing. The décor is cozy and nostalgic, displaying artifacts and photos from the “old country.”

Pio Pio
84-02 Northern Blvd., Jackson Heights
62-30 Woodhaven Blvd., Woodhaven
This Peruvian eatery boasts a lively but kid-friendly atmosphere and specializes in pollos a la braza (rotisserie chicken). Try the standard Chicken Pio (a whole chicken marinated in yummy spices) or go all out with the Matador Combo (Chicken Pio with rice and beans, tostones, salchipapa, and avocado salad).

64-13 39th Ave., Woodside
Named after its owner and founder, who came to the U.S. more than 30 years ago from Thailand, this little place serves traditional Thai dishes full of authentic flavors, which have earned it numerous accolades on the foodie scene and helped it stand out in an area that has no shortage of Thai options.


Long Island

Azerbaijan Grill
1610 Old Country Road, Westbury
2320 Hempstead Turnpike, East Meadow
The Azerbaijan-born owner and chef of this spot specializes in Turkish and Persian cuisine. You’ll find lots of fresh veggies among kebabs, falafel, hummus, and more, all brimming with Mediterranean flavor.

Churrasqueira Carvalhos Rodizo Restaurant
2700 Sunrise Highway, Bellmore
The menu here, created by a husband-and-wife team that hails from Portugal, includes traditional Portuguese BBQ plates, which feature meats and seafood cooked over all-natural Portuguese wood charcoal.

280 Hillside Ave., Williston Park
Named after its owner and founder, who came to the U.S. more than 30 years ago from Thailand, this little place serves traditional Thai dishes full of authentic flavors, which have earned it numerous accolades on the foodie scene.


Fairfield County, CT

Locations in Darien, Newtown, Orange, Stamford, South Norwalk, and Southport
Dubbed the “best Indian food in the tri-state area” by Zagat, this spot serves up traditional dishes like kebabs and tikka at an affordable price.

Layla’s Falafel
2088 Black Rock Turnpike, Fairfield
245 Main St. and 936 High Ridge Road, Stamford
203-316-9041; 203-461-8004
This family-owned restaurant specializes in homemade Middle Eastern dishes, specifically those found in the Levant region (southern Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Israel). The menu features many vegetarian options, including staples such as falafel (made from spiced and fried garbanzo beans), hummus, and baba ghanoush (a tasty eggplant puree). You’ll also find meat options in the form of shawerma (marinated meat cooked on a vertical spit) and kabobs.

Meigas Restaurant
10 Wall St., Norwalk
“Meigas” means “magic” in Galicia, the language of northern Spain, which is where this eatery’s décor and cuisine hail from. Traditional Spanish dishes star on this menu—opt for a hearty entrée portion or go with the tapas, which are small bites meant for sharing (a dream for picky eaters!).


For other restaurant ideas in your area, search for specific cuisines on yelp.com, zagat.com, or menupages.com.


Also see:

One Adventurous Dad Shares Why It's Important to Travel with Your Kids

Cultural Adventures in Your Own Backyard