Proof that the neighborhood surrounding Penn Station isn't a dining desert after all.
Commuters and visitors know that New York City's Penn Station isn't exactly a dining destination. Sure, the subterranean Shake Shack is a great option for on-the-go burgers and milkshakes. But despite being a massive station for travelers using Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, the Long Island Railroad, or one of six major subway lines, dining in Penn Station has always been disappointing. Fortunately, the surrounding streets (which include Koreatown and the textile-filled Garment District) have no shortage of excellent restaurants. Whether you want to grab a sandwich before your train or are looking to unwind over a more upscale dinner, the best restaurants near Penn Station will satisfy every imaginable craving.
This trendy new food hall on the edge of Madison Square Garden features ample seating, both indoors as well as outside, and high-end quick-service food. The names attached to the 8,000-square-foot Pennsy are legendary: there's a cheesy lobster panini by Iron Chef Marc Forgione, a steak salad from legendary meat purveyor Pat LaFrieda, and gluten-free quinoa bowls from Franklin Becker, of Top Chef Masters.
This narrow restaurant doles out some of the best no-frills Italian food above Little Italy. Order a Neapolitan pizza, or one of the house-made pastas (like creamy veal and mozzarella lasagna) finished in the custom oven crafted from Italian vesuvio volcanic clay.
If a good sandwich is what you’re after, look no further than this old school Italian deli, which serves hefty hot and cold heroes topped with everything from prosciutto to Mozzarella-covered meatballs. Salads, soups, and pastas are also on the menu, as are daily specials (like Thursday’s roast pork).
Though this tiny ramen outpost often goes unnoticed, it can still be tough to snag one of its few seats. If you can't dine in, grab a container of noodle soup to go and eat elsewhere. While the coconut-based Tabata ramen is probably the most popular dish, try the seriously spicy Dark Men Ramen, which is full of ground pork, curly noodles, and sesame seeds. Add an extra drizzle of chili oil if you can handle it.
Michelin-caliber chef George Mendes runs this Portuguese restaurant near Penn Station that's suitable for both relaxing lunches as well as large group dinners. Prepare to pass small plates, like Manila clams soaked in vinho verde and fava beans with sausage — though there are also large, entree-size dishes like a stellar wood-grilled octopus or organic chicken in Portuguese piri-piri marinade.
On the edge of Koreatown — just around the corner from Penn Station — this modern Korean spot stands out for its exceptional range of dishes, including sweet potato noodles with peppers and prawns, gochujang-marinated meats, and dumpling soup.