As August drags us along a slow, but inevitable close to the summer, many of us find our minds drifting off to a faraway place free from the responsibilities of home and the workplace: Europe. We crave the architecture, the atmosphere, and the relaxed pace of life that Europe provides. While all of this exists a lengthy flight away, lucky for us New Yorkers, there is one piece of Europe that we can find within our very own city: the food.
Unlike any other city in the world, New York offers a diverse and authentic array of foods from varying cultures across the globe. So, if you’re craving the taste of Europe that so many of us are at this time of the year, here are 10 authentic European restaurants in New York City that will give you the perfect fix:
10. English: Tea & Sympathy
Tucked away in a cozy corner of the West Village lies a small restaurant decorated with mismatched teapots and newspaper excerpts from England: Tea & Sympathy, which offers a full English breakfast with endless tea and scones so delicious that even a New Yorker will have trouble finding fault with it.
The restaurant also offers lunch and dinner, including traditional British dishes like Shepard’s pie and a variety of finger sandwiches. This quaint, eloquent eatery provides a full British experience right in the center of New York City.
Address: 108 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10011
2. Italian: I Sodi
The trouble with deciding on the best Italian restaurant in New York City lies in sheer quantity. However, quantity does not necessarily mean quality, and it certainly does not mean authenticity. That’s why I Sodi is our top pick. It offers completely authentic Tuscan cuisine, with items like cacio e pepe (spaghetti with black pepper and pecorino), rather than penne alla vodka and $1 pizza slices.
At I Sodi, you can expect to find classic, traditional Tuscan cuisine unlike what you can find at other Italian restaurants in New York.
Address: 105 Christopher Street, New York, NY 10014
3. Polish: Karczma
Right in the heart of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, you can find a quirky Polish restaurant staffed by employees dressed in stroje ludowe, serving draft Polish beers and pierogis. It is called Karczma, and prepares food so seemingly homemade that you’ll forget you’re even in a restaurant.
Whether you order kielbasa, karkowa (grilled pork shoulder), or a plate of Polish specialties, Karczma consistently delivers large portions at a great price. This authentic European restaurant offers honest Polish cuisine in a light-hearted, entertaining environment.
Address: 136 Greenpoint Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222
4. Spanish: Boqueria
Although it has become a chain, Boqueria still offers some of the most specifically Spanish food in the city. While many “Spanish” restaurants often combine Spanish food with Mexican and Latin-American foods, Boqueria sticks to authentic European Spanish cooking.
Its menu includes an extensive list of tapas, such as the classic tortilla Española, Patatas Bravas, Croquetas, and more. It also has several paella dishes, and of course, plenty of Sangria. Although the restaurant has developed a bit of a trendy reputation, when it comes to traditional Spanish cuisine, Boqueria is the place to go.
Addresses: 53 West 19th Street, NYC 10011
171 Spring Street, NYC 10012
1460 Second Ave, NYC 10075
590 Fulton Street, Brooklyn 11217
5. Scandinavian: Aquavit
This homey Nordic eatery is located at 65 East 55th Street in the Park Avenue Tower. Aquavit (actually a type of wine native to Scandinavia) offers an extensive menu including dishes like Shrimp Skagen, Scandinavian Bouillabaisse, and Smoked Trout. Food options also include a popular tasting menu, perfect for someone looking to get an overall feel for Scandinavian foods and a slow-paced, relaxing gastronomical experience.
Though the menu is ever changing, the artistic presentation and exquisite flavor of each course remains consistent. Aquavit is a unique and authentic European restaurant worth visiting.
Address: 65 E 55th St, New York, NY 10022
6. Greek: Pylos
Do not be fooled. Although the modern interior of this restaurant may not scream “Greek,” Pylos offers some of the most traditional and truly delicious Greek food in all of New York City. This restaurant does it all: everything from the simple pita and tzatziki, to more complex Greek dishes like moussaka, dolmathes, and pastitsio.
It even serves homemade classic Greek desserts like galaktoboureko (which is known to be especially delicious at Pylos). This restaurant does not have to be painted in blue and white, and lined with photos of Santorini. The food speaks for itself.
Address: 128 E 7th Street, New York, NY 10009
7. Serbian: Kafana
Kafana, a rustic bistro located on Avenue C, is home to New York’s most authentic and genuine Serbian cuisine. It offers a variety of Serbian wines, cheeses, and of course: meat, meat, meat. Owned by and staffed with native Serbs, Kafana offers a uniquely intimate experience — seemingly transporting customers to its home country with each bite.
Be sure to try the Pljeskavica sa kajmakom (Serbian burger with kajmak) for a traditional European meal unlike anything you’ve ever eaten before.
Address: 116 Avenue C, New York, NY 10009
8. Irish: Molly’s Sheeban Pub
Often named New York’s most authentic Irish pub, Molly’s offers a bucolic ambience that makes it seem as if it were a rustic pub plopped right in the center of the Irish countryside. The word Sheeban actually represents an illegal drinking establishment in Ireland. Though perfectly legal, this word seems to fit Molly’s cool, underground sort of vibe exactly.
The restaurant offers a variety of traditional Irish dishes, like chicken potpie, pub sausage and mashed potatoes, and corned beef and cabbage. It is the perfect place to relax with a pint of Guinness and a plate of potato skins by the fireplace.
Address: 287 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9. French: La Grenouille
No other restaurant in New York captures the glamorous aura of France quite like La Grenouille. Located on E 52nd street, this French restaurant is known for its impeccable service, extravagant floral displays, and of course, delectably authentic French cuisine. Although a bit pricier, the menu includes rare delicacies like pan seared foie gras and frog legs sautéed in garlic and butter. There is also the option to order a la carte.
La Grenouille is the perfect spot to settle down for an exquisite meal painted with the romantic elegance of France itself.
Address: 3 E 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022
10. German: Heidelberg
Heidelberg Restaurant, located in the Upper East Side, is one of the oldest and most authentic German restaurants not only in New York City — but also in the country. Its dim-lit, serene atmosphere decorated with images of old Bavaria radiates old German vibes. The restaurant even brings in live German style bands on the weekends for entertainment.
The Heidelberg has kept the same food it offered when it was first established — and its dishes have only gotten better over time. You can choose from a vast collection of authentic German eats: anything from Bratwurst, to Spinat- Strudel, to Wiener Schnitzel.
Address: 1648 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028
While it’s not quite the same as actually being in Europe, embarking on a food tour of New York’s Best Authentic European Restaurants is certainly a close second. To learn more about New York’s food scene, check out 10 Must-Visit African Restaurants in NYC or look at 10 NYC Food and Cocktail Superlatives.