Though its name suggests an exotic location in the Himalayan foothills, Delhi Heights is just a short drive from Manhattan in Jackson Heights. A menu that focuses on traditional Indian and Indo-Chinese fusion dishes makes the short trek worth it. One of the restaurant’s signature dishes is the dahi aloo papri chat, and one bite of the textured blend of crispy potatoes, chickpeas, and tamarind sauce shows why. Chefs prepare dozens of their other entrees in a tandoori clay oven, enhancing jumbo shrimp and achari mushrooms with smoky flavor without having to cook each individually on the tip of a cigar.
The Breadbox Café welcomes the community into a modern space with exposed brick, fresh-baked bagels, healthy salads, and friendly people. The menu emphasizes freshness, using locally grown and organic produce when possible, grinding their own meat, and baking bagels fresh from scratch each morning. Smother a dough ring in your choice of cream cheese ($1.95+), or pile on the lox, cream cheese, tomato, and onion ($7.95). Sandwiches, including the vegan veggie with avocado, shitake mushrooms, sprouts, and pepper relish on ciabata ($8.95), and the steak house with chopped short rib on a brioche roll ($11.95), fill the empty hollows in hands and bellies. For a refreshing mouthful, forkdive into a salad, such as the tuna nicoise ($11.95) and farmer's country, a plate piled high with lettuce and organic veggies, spiced walnuts, blue cheese, and apples ($9.50). Breakfast is served all day.
While it’s listed by TimeOut New York as one of the city’s “best coffeeshops for doing work,” Sweetleaf is also a quintessential Queens hangout. Located in a 19th-century building with exposed tin walls and ceiling, the shop has a turntable with vinyl records, Old World-style furniture, and expansive windows that open up to Long Island City. Sweetleaf has made a name for itself as one of the few shops in Queens brewing Stumptown Coffee Roasters beans. Meticulously made espresso is its other strength—baristas use a Florentine La Marzocco machine, and digitally weigh each espresso shots to ensure extra-precise drinks. Sweetleaf’s Ice Rocket Fuel drinks blends iced coffee with chicory and maple syrup, while its hot chocolate includes homemade marshmallows. Pepper pear goat cheese scones, coconut oatmeal cookies, and other pastries are also available to balance the caffeinated beverages.
Exposed brick walls and a roaring fireplace ensconce Masso visitors in a cozy, rustic atmosphere, complementing the traditional flavors of the restaurant's southern Italian fare. Brunch melds traditional morning meals with latter-day dishes for inventive items including the pesto-, goat cheese-, and prosciutto-filled green eggs and ham ($10) and crispy prosciutto eggs benedict ($12). Masso's lunch menu offers paninis, entrees, pizza, and salads, including options such as the smoked salmon, avocado, and cucumber panini ($10) and roasted chicken breast, goat cheese, pesto, and mesclun greens salad ($11).
Like a spy's costumes, Manducatis Rustica's menu changes daily to showcase innovative dishes and fresh, seasonal ingredients. Set traps to catch grilled octopus and calamari ($9.50) or eggplant rollatini ($8.50) as it emerges from its countryside burrow. The shifting sands of taste flow onto your tongue with secondi such as shrimp and scallops ($24) or chicken radicchio ($17). Manducatis Rustica's pizzas, which are Neapolitan-style and baked in a brick oven, are heaped with savory flavors such as mozzarella, goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, rucola, and basil (the Rustica, $14). Magnumly-lauded calzones (ricotta, mozzarella, ham, mushrooms, olives, artichokes, and parmigiano; $15) are also available.