There are very few places in New York City that locals unanimously despise than Times Square. The combination of obnoxious neon lights, hordes of slow-walking tourists, and the bizarre gathering of Elmos generally produce huge eye rolls. Despite the warnings many of us give our out-of-town visitors, we still find ourselves making this requisite Midtown stop on the NYC tour. So to help ease the annual frustration, we found the best places in Times Square that would impress your BFF from college and even the most jaded New Yorker.
Step inside Los Tacos; a no-frills taco joint that arguably houses one of the best tacos in the city. Each tortilla is handmade on site and filled with marinated beef, chicken or pork and topped with “Con Todo” (Guac! Onion! Cilantro! y Salsa!). After placing your order, slide over and watch your food quickly manifest into delicious tacos, then wash them down with a classic Mexican Coke — because it’s blasphemy if you don’t.
Location: 229 West 43rd Street
Why not follow up dinner with an ice cream sundae with a point of view! Ice & Vice is located smack dab in the middle of Times Square’s chaos in a colorful ice cream truck serving sundaes labeled Plan B and Milk Money. What makes Ice & Vice unique is that 5 percent of all profits go to a human rights charity such as Planned Parenthood or ACLU.
Location: 43rd St & Broadway
Who knew there was a speakeasy to be found in amongst all the throngs of wide-eyed tourist?! Welcome to Bar Centrale – a Theater District favorite tucked in a nondescript brownstone. This place is perfect for sharing small plates and a stiff cocktail after watching Amy and Keegan in Meteor Shower. Be sure to keep an eye out for Broadway regulars after they have taken their final bow for the night.
Location: 324 W 46th St
Get an elevated view of the neon lights at this relaxed rooftop bar. St. Cloud Rooftop is located at the top of the Knickerbocker Hotel. The bar is lit with a mix of twinkle lights and the glow of the billboards below. This is a great spot for kicking off girls’ night out or sipping cocktails with a Bumble date.
Location: 6 Times Square
Chaan Teng is a Chinese eatery draped in everything blue and Buddha, fire up your Instagram — Quick! The menu is filled with classic noodle dishes as well as more adventurous fare such as Crab Rangoon Nachos and 5-Spice Beet Fries. Take a detour to the bathroom for their cheeky Buddha display (don’t say we didn’t warn you…)
Location: 698 9th Ave
Written by Michelle Morgan
Feature image via Asbjørn Hiim