Okay, so it's more of a cart — or carts, actually — than a truck, but that doesn't make Calexico any less tasty. Named for the northern side of a border town between California and Mexico, this beloved cart serves up all the tacos, quesadillas, burritos, bowls, nachos, sandwiches, and enchiladas you'd expect, with a extra helping of their chipotle crack sauce if you want. Not feeling the food cart scene? Luckily for you, they've also opened up full-on restaurants in Greenpoint, Red Hook, the Barclays Center, and the Lower East Side, as well.
For a place that serves primarily pizzas and beer, El Fabuloso has quite the name. But take one look around "the fabulous" and it makes way more sense. Perched atop a building in the luxe Zona Rosa neighborhood, this newish spot features a stunning design from MEMA arquitectos and Colette Studio, inspired by the idea of a rooftop picnic. The result? A space that literally looks like a picnic basket from the outside, and features an interior dominated wood, raw concrete and metal, and neutral-colored fabrics, letting the city views dominate properly.
While this upscale "Southern Public House" hasn't been around all that long, the building in which it resides has been a source for booze and food since the days of Prohibition, which gives Cask & Larder a bit more history than a lot of other businesses in the area. Run by the masterminds behind nearby gastropub The Ravenous Pig, this gathering spot serves up house-cured meats, local fish and shellfish, and Southern-style dishes made from seasonal, fresh ingredients. Oh, and it also serves cocktails, wine, and beer, the latter of which is brewed on-site making it as fresh as possible.
Despite the retro look of the sign outside, Ike's Food & Cocktails hasn't been a downtown staple for decades on decades. It just feels that way. Celebrating 10 short years on the scene, Ike's has quickly become a go-to eatery and bar, offering classy, white-tablecloth atmosphere and a wide-ranging food menu that runs the gamut from sandwiches and specialty burgers to chicken satay and parmesan cracker-crusted walleye. As the name suggests, there's also a full bar serving wine, craft beers, and spirits — the Weekender bloody mary is a particular standout. And if you're only getting as close to downtown as your layover allows, don't worry — there's an outpost of Ike's at the airport, too.
There are more than enough Mexican joints to go around in the Q, but if you can only visit one, Mary & Tito's Cafe should be on the short list. Opened in 1963, this American Classic — no seriously, it was a James Beard Foundation America's Classics Award winner in 2010 — serves up both breakfast and lunch/dinner style Mexican, but is best known for its Carne Adovada — pork strips marinated in red chile sauce and baked to a perfect tenderness — that's available in everything from tacos and enchiladas to omelets and pizzas. She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, kid.
With all the high-end dining options on the island, it's easy to overlook local gems like the Calmos Cafe. This beachside spot serves up Caribbean dishes with a French influence, including tapas-style small plates, salads, BBQ, fish (of course), and tasty desserts. Also notable is the selection of wines, beer, and cocktails, many of the latter made with rooftop rums — imported rums mixed with various savory ingredients and left to infuse on the tin roof for weeks at a time. No matter what you order, one thing remains consistent — the relaxing views of the sea from the back patio.
Chipotle. Pizza. Two worlds that you don't normally associate with one another — yet through a partnership with the booming burrito chain, Pizzeria Locale is taking casual pies to a new level. The secret is in the fresh ingredients — a Chipotle signature — and the one-of-a-kind oven, which heats up to 1,000 degrees, features a spinning floor, and uses a combination of gas and infrared to crank made-to-order pizzas of incredible quality out in just two minutes. You can choose from one of their classic creations or build your own with toppings ranging from arugula to zucchini — but no matter which you choose, you'll have it in your hands in no time, ready to enjoy with a soda, beer, or glass of wine.
Is it a wine bar, or a restaurant? Actually, Monopole is a little of both. Located not far from Elizabeth Bay, this upscale eatery features a menu that's heavy on charcuterie — all made in-house — imported cheese from as far away as France, Italy, and the Netherlands, and other worldly dishes that are expertly conceived and plated with care. And then there's the wine. Over 500 rare and boutique bottles, including over 30 by the glass or carafe. So whether you're hungry or just thirsty, there's plenty of reason to stop by.
If your knowledge of Greek cuisine stops somewhere between gyros and hummus, it's time to expand your horizons — and Opa is an ideal place to start. This Midtown Village eatery offers updated, modern takes on traditional Greek cuisine, including fried kalamari, lentil soup, horiatiki, pastitsio, and lamb shank. The restaurant also offers a reasonable selection of wines, local craft and imported beers, and tasty cocktails — including a Greek take on a margarita. Feel like having another after dinner? Head out to their Drury Beer Garden and continue the evening.
It doesn't matter whether you're looking for lunch, dinner, or even breakfast — if you're up for some Tex-Mex, Bob's Taco Station has you covered. Located one block east of highway 36, this humble eatery is known for its tacos — obviously — but also serves up a diverse menu including huevos rancheros, pancakes, fajitas, quesadillas, and tamales. Depending on the hour, wash it all down with a juice, soda, beer, or — if you're lucky — a tall glass of sangria.
Discover a slice of Italy in the middle of the Longhorn state at Cane Rosso. Located in Deep Ellum, this upscale pizzeria serves up authentic Neapolitan pizza made according to the strict guidelines of the Associazone Verace Pizza Napoletana. It starts with fresh dough made in-house using all-natural "Double Zero" Italian flour and cured meats imported from Salumeria Biellese in New York, which are then cooked in a hand-made wood-burning oven — imported from Italy — by a chef that grew up in Naples. In other words, it's as close to authentic as you're going to get on this side of the Atlantic, whether you're at the original location, in White Rock, or out and about at their mobile oven.
Ever heard the phrase "never trust a skinny cook"? Well, that won't be a problem at Fat Sal's. This West Coast purveyor of delicious, greasy East Coast sandwiches was founded by the namesake chef and his two friends, one of whom just happened to play Turtle on Entourage. The menu is filled with fat sandwiches, which are basically entire meals on a bun, as well as more reasonable sandwiches, burgers, wraps, hot dogs, salads, and "fat fries", which come in variations from plain to Philly cheesesteak- or Carne Asada-topped. And if you're really feeling brave, you can try to tackle the Big Fat Fatty, a 27-inch sandwich topped with cheesesteak, cheeseburgers, pastrami, chicken fingers, bacon, mozzarella sticks, fried eggs, jalapeño poppers, fries, onion rings, chili, marinara, and "fat sauce" — it costs $50, but it's free if you can scarf one down in 40 minutes or less. Good luck with that.