I’m a Jewish New Yorker from Queens which means two things: one, people assume I’m bad at geography (which is true) and two, I am a terrible cook because there are so many Kosher restaurants in the city that I never felt any need to learn to.
And while I am no expert food critic, I have been to pretty much every Kosher restaurant in Queens and in turn have compiled a list of Orthodox Rabbi-approved eateries for you to bring your best Jewish friends or to try out at your own leisure! Enjoy these ten best certified Kosher establishments in Queens, presented in no particular order:
1. Bagels and Co. – Hands down the biggest bagels in New York City, maybe even the world. B and C serves a variety of options for breakfast and lunch including pancakes, pizza and soup. Take your mammoth bagel out to the twinkle-light strewn terrace in the back and enjoy the sounds of the perpetually-playing Israeli radio station, Galgalatz.
18802 Union Tpke Queens, NY 11423
Aviva recommends: Whole wheat everything bagel. Heavenly. You can just pretend it’s a healthier option than getting a regular bagel.
2. Odradek’s Coffee House* - Snuggled between Austin Street and the Kew Garden’s LIRR station, Odradek’s is a fairly new, hip café with coffee, paninis and blueberry muffins baked fresh daily. With deliciously plush armchairs, guests are welcome to sip their coffee for as long as they wish or grab their cups and jump on their train!
82-60 Austin Street, Kew Gardens, NY 11415
Aviva recommends: Shotties- a devious concoction of ice cream and espresso with a variety of add-ins such as peanut butter, bananas and Heath bar. You will marvel at how you managed to live so long without them.
3. L’Bella – L’Bella excels with a warm decorative interior and friendly staff who smile and set down a plate of bruschetta as soon as you sit down. A slightly swankier option of eateries that almost makes you forget that you’re on Main Street. Nice place to take either a date or fussy grandparents.
6926 Main Street Flushing, NY 11367
Aviva Recommends: Fettuccini Alfredo – I love this creamy dish so much I almost feel like I’m cheating on it when I order anything else.
4. Pita Hot – Not the fanciest place, so leave the bow ties at home, but still worth the trip to get some really juicy meaty shawarma or kabobs. Drink some Prigat (fruit juice), watch soccer on the overhead TV and pretend you’re in Tel Aviv.
7543 Main Street Flushing, NY 11367
Aviva Recommends: Turkey shwarama in a “laffa”, massive warm dough wrap for it. Don’t forget your pillow for the inevitable happy food coma that is sure to follow.
5. Benny’s Pizzeria – Every neighborhood needs a local pizza joint and Jews in Queens freaking love this place, whether they’re St. John’s college students, elderly patrons, little league team members or rabbis. The brick-oven baked pizza comes out hot, fast and fresh, and really, isn’t that all you need in a good pizza place? Eat your food and enjoy the whimsical paintings on the wall of Moses playing various sports.
18130 Union Turnpike, Fresh Meadows, NY 11366
Aviva Recommends: Fresh Mozzarella Pizza – a yummy twist on regular pizza, this has plum tomatoes, mozzarella and whole basil leaves. Hopefully there will be some when you go because my mom orders whole pies of it on a regular basis.
6. Cho-Sen Garden – Jews and Chinese food go together like fortunes and cookies and Cho-sen brings this sacred bond up to an art form. Honor this tradition by taking your parents with you, especially if they’ll take care of the bill.
6443 108th Street Flushing, NY 11375
Aviva Recommends: Shredded Crispy Spicy Beef. Simple name, exquisitely intricate taste.
7. Pizza Professor – Two very good reasons for Pizza Professor to be on this list.
First, it’s open until at least 1 a.m. on most nights, which is great for when it’s late and you are way too tired to make food yourself. And the pizza’s pretty good, so it’s win/win.
Second, and perhaps most importantly, the cinnamon sticks. Terrible for calorie counters but amazing for mouths. Order a large size to go, tell them you have friends over and then just eat all of them by yourself.
14125 Jewel Avenue Flushing, NY 11367
Aviva Recommends: See above.
8. Max and Mina’s – Ever try beer-flavored ice cream? How about pizza? Esrog? Do you even know what an Esrog is? I’m sure someone at Max and Mina’s can tell you. This tiny Queens ice cream store is famous and not just locally, Al Roker, Rosie O’Donnell and other celebs are among their fans. Order a “normal” flavor or try something adventurous, just don’t get distracted by the walls or ceiling, which are literally wall-papered in stickers, vintage posters and amusing signs.
71-26 Main Street, Flushing NY
Aviva Reccomends: Cabernet Sauvignon-flavored ice cream. All the sweet sweet taste of wine during daylight hours.
9. Café Muscat - If you ever wish to visit an Israeli café without buying a one thousand dollar El Al ticket, Café Muscat is the next best thing. The Hebrew/English menu offers Middle Eastern delights like Shakshuka and Falafel as well as more traditional Caesar salads and lasagna. Go in the summer when the French doors that make up the front of the café are open. Perfect for a brunch, lunch or mini staycation.
178-07 Union Turnpike Freash Meadows, NY 11366
Aviva Recommends: Pear Salad – lettuce, sweet walnuts, pears and four pieces of bread topped with feta cheese and a light lemon dressing. Almost good enough to make you want to pack your bags and move in to Muscat permanently.
10. Martha’s Country Bakery ** – From the quaint country décor to the adorable frosted cupcakes, this little café could not be any sweeter. Martha’s is jam packed with saccharine treats and is still able to make a mean cappuccino. Sit in a wooden booth and bask in the cute watering cans on the shelves and painted butterflies sprinkled across the walls. Great place to break bad news to someone since it’s almost impossible to frown there.
41-06 Bell Blvd. Bayside, NY 11361
Aviva Recommends – Tiramisu cake. No question.
What are your favorite Kosher eateries in the borough? Sound off in the comments below or join the discussion on Facebook.
* Full disclosure, I have recently started a part-time summer job Odradek’s but if I didn’t I would probably still spend all my time and money at the cafe. If you come in and tell me you found this place on Queens Beat I might just give you a hug.
**Certified by the Orthodox Kashruth Supervision Services