78° Good Morning
78° Good Morning

Explore a block: 37th Avenue brings global flavor to Jackson Heights

The Big Apple is known as America's melting pot, and nowhere is this more apparent than on the streets of Jackson Heights.

All that cultural diversity brings with it a smorgasbord of global cuisine. A turn down 74th Street takes you to the heart of Little India with ornate saris and glistening jewelry displayed in store windows and, of course, the Jackson Diner, a neighborhood staple of Indian cuisine.

A short walk up Roosevelt Avenue and you hit Himalayan Yak, serving up delicious Tibetan momo (dumplings) and other iconic Himalayan dishes. Meander through the neighborhood and you'll come across Colombian, Ecuadorian, Peruvian and other Latin American spots.

But a stroll up 37th Avenue, right in the heart of the nabe's historic district -- designated as such by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1993 -- is sure to take your palate on a trip around the world. Check out some of our favorites and stick around to find some more of your own.


It's easy to pass right by this corner
Photo Credit: Rozanne Rosenberg

It's easy to pass right by this corner spot, as the modest storefront doesn't reveal much about the appetizing flavors housed inside. The restaurant serves up Peruvian favorites, including several ceviches, chicharrones and, of course, grilled meats. If you're brave and not sure what to order, try the grill sampler, which comes with things like chicken and steak but also various grilled organ meats -- all delicious, if you're willing to try them. A side of yuca frita -- almost like thick, starchier fries -- rounds out any meal, and the simple white rice at this eatery is super tasty. Wash it all down with a little chicha, a Latin American maize beverage.

Where: 86-20 37th Ave. Contact: 718-672-2224

La Gran Uruguaya Bakery

Cakes, empanadas and pastries, oh my! Situated next
Photo Credit: Rozanne Rosenberg

Cakes, empanadas and pastries, oh my! Situated next door to the La Gran Uruguaya Restaurante & Bar (also recommended!), this South American bakery will stun you with its counter chock full of delectable treats. The casual cafe offers light fare, like sandwiches, empanadas and breads, and, of course, mouth-watering desserts. Try something guava-filled -- trust us. Get a treat for later or grab a table and enjoy with a cup of café.

Where: 85-06 37th Ave. Contact: 718-505-0404,

Jahn's Family Restaurant and Ice Cream Parlor

Don't be deterred by the vintage decor at
Photo Credit: Rozanne Rosenberg

Don't be deterred by the vintage decor at this old-school American diner. The family-owned spot -- the last operating location of a franchise that first opened in the Bronx in 1897 -- serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the choices from the colossal menu are plentiful. Eggs, waffles, burgers, take your pick; or try one of the chicken sandwiches named for Queens neighborhoods -- Elmhurst, Woodside, Astoria and, of course, Jackson Heights. You certainly can't leave Jahn's without having dessert. If you're brave, try the renowned Kitchen Sink, which claims to serve 8 for $55.95. A more modest party or stomach may want to stick with one of the Tummy Ticklers with kitschy names like Cherry Delight, Rainbow Mountain and Brooklyn Kibitzer. The menu doesn't offer up much in the way of description, so don't be afraid to ask a waiter for help in deciphering the full page of dessert choices.

Where: 81-04 37th Ave. Contact: 718-651-0700

Oh LaLa! Crepes

Savory or sweet? That is the question you
Photo Credit: Rozanne Rosenberg

Savory or sweet? That is the question you should be asking yourself upon entry to any crepe shop. Either way, you can't go wrong with the delicious offerings at Oh LaLa! Crepes, a relative newcomer to the area. Stop by for lunch, dinner or a late-night bite (hours are from noon to 9:30 p.m. daily) and try a classic combination, like ham and gruyere on the savory side, or strawberry, banana and nutella on the sweet side. If you're feeling like a bit of local flavor, go with a guava or dulce de leche crepe. Eat in or take it to go in a convenient crepe sleeve.

Where: 80-14 37th Ave. Contact: 917-832-7971,

Table Wine

A palate-pleasing global tour wouldn't be complete without
Photo Credit: Rozanne Rosenberg

A palate-pleasing global tour wouldn't be complete without some worldly libations. Enter Table Wine, a quaint and well-stocked wine store with a friendly and knowledgeable staff. Handwritten labels on each bottle describing the wine's attributes add a personal flare to the extensive, worldly selection, which also includes a small section of liquors. If you're itching for something a bit more regional, a section by the door labeled "Locals Only" showcases bottles from New York State. Make sure to sign up for their mailing list to hear about Friday wine tastings and store events.

Where: 79-14 37th Ave. Contact: 718-478-9463


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

Things to Do Photos & Videos