7. El Sabroso

There are few hidden places that keep their character over time in New York City without succumbing to the trendy crowd, but the hole-in-the-wall restaurants tucked away in Garment District freight entrances were created to cater to manufacturing workers and continue to serve them at cheap prices. The doors constantly open and close for deliveries at the active loadings docks, adding to the unique ambience.

El Sabroso has been open for over twenty years with the same owner serving affordable Hispanic food. The non-descript sign outside reads “Aqui ahorra y come bueno” meaning “Here you will save and eat well.” Despite a full menu on the wall, your best bet is to ask Tony what he recommends for the day. For $6, you can get the stews that come with a plate of rice, beans and lettuce. Don’t forget to add some of the hot sauce, a secret family recipe Tony won’t reveal. Empanadas with cheese or chicken are just $1 each. There are five stools at the counter and a small wooden table (sometimes) if you want to eat in.

Located at 265 W. 37th Street, Manhattan.

Read about more secrets of the Garment District. Discover 90 of NYC’s hidden bars and restaurants in the new book New York: Hidden Bars & Restaurants.