Traveling Around the World in New York City

I love New York, partly because it lets me feel like I’m not in New York, all the time.  Here are a few fave spots that transports you to another place!
10. McSorley’s Old Ale House – Sawdust, Dark Ale, and Light Ale. This place is no secret and will probably be in every NYC guide you find, but being served by bartenders from Ireland,  and meeting friendly drinkers can turn into a night of good craic.  Beware though, you do not want to watch them wash those beer mugs.
9.  SriPraPhai Thai Restaurant  – This place is legit. Cycled here from Brooklyn and was happy to see a super nice patio reminiscent of a Thailand Hotel restaurant.  Everything was tasty, the service was good, and the menu was huge.  The prices also seemed rather comparable to prices in Thailand!
8.  Food Gallery 32 – One of the many things I miss about  Asia are their food courts. Western food courts are gag worthy, but Asian food courts makes my mouth drool.  In NYC’s Koreatown, you can get the hustle and bustle of Seoul right at your doorstep.  My personal fave?  Boon Sik Zip’s Tuna Kimbop.
7. Girasol Bakery – Not only does this mom and pop place transport you to Latin America, it also transports you back in time.  The storefront has an array of birthday and special occasion cakes that look like they were designed in 1984, but the real reason to go here are the tacos, tortas, and other savory treats.  Definitely brush up your espanol to give your order.
6. Bedawi Cafe – Nestled in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, this Jordanian place serves fantastic food and allows BYOB.  I wish they would bring back the scarves that were draping the ceilings!  To get the full experience, I prefer sitting in the cool backyard and ordering the assorted plate of hummus, tabouleh, beet salad, baba ghanouj, and stuffed grape leaves.
5.  Brighton BeachAnthony Bourdain has been there, so you should too.  Little Odessa has some of the best people watching in NYC.  You may not necessarily see a bunch of celebrities on the boardwalk, but the characters you will see are definitely photo worthy.
4.  Congee Village – The Lower East Side could never seem more like China than at this restaurant.  The over the top decor and loud patrons eating the house chicken gives Chinatown a run for their money.  I wouldn’t be surprised if some karaoke broke out in their private rooms.
3.  Masal CafeOrtakoy, Turkey changed my view of Turkish food forever.  I tried the Turkish version of the stuffed baked potato called Kumpir, and never looked back.  I scoured the city for this glorious fast food, and finally found it in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.  Order the Turkish tea, feast on Kumpir, and sit outside.  Teşekkür ederim.
2.  Soccer Tavern – An Irish dive, with a splash of Chinese.  I don’t know whether this Sunset Park, Brooklyn bar takes you to Ireland or China, but let’s just say, if these two countries ever merged, their baby might be named Soccer Tavern.  Grab some meat sticks from the Chinese vendor outside, and have your cheap pints of Guinness from the Irish waitress, and watch some footy.

1. Spa Castle – Based on Korean spas, this place located in College Point, Queens, can seem like paradise if you are willing to put up with all the crowds.  Tons of saunas, jacuzzis, sleeping areas, and food areas.  If there were more places like this in New York, I would visit every single one of them.

Know of other places that take you abroad without ever leaving the city?

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