NYC loves making things hard to find: cabs at 4 pm, any place you can afford to live without having to sustain yourself on ramen flavor packets and saltines, and things that are fun like dark bars, supper clubs, sex parties, and secret and hidden spots to eat around the city. So, we’re arming you with this beginner’s guide to 7 great restaurants you might otherwise not be able to find.

  1. SRO
    334 Bowery New York.
    Behind a door in tapas spot Espoleta, this pizza speakeasy from pie champ Giulio Adriani is firing off private goods like the Monatanara (deep-fried pizza), or a lardo, burrata, truffle, and leek pie.
  2. La Esquina
    114 Kenmare St, Soho New York
    Below the taqueria, which is delicious, there’s a brasserie where you can snag margaritas, queso fundido, chile relleno, and carne asada with chimichurri in decidedly sexier environs.
  3. Beauty & Essex
    Lower East Side
    “Hidden” through a pawn shop, this one is relatively easy to spot due to the large groups of people usually milling about and waiting to get in. Grab some grilled cheese, smoked bacon, tomato soup dumplings, or duck confit chilaquiles — this place is a party scene for sure.
  4. Sons of Essex
    Lower East Side
    Similar to nearby Beauty & Essex, the secret is out on this joint situated behind a coffee shop/commissary. There’s a party atmosphere inside, and dishes like sweet tea-brined fried chicken, lobster tostadas, and the Essex St Burger with cheddar and applewood smoked bacon.
  5. Sushi Azabu
    Accessed through the soba izakaya Daruma-Ya, this tiny basement sushi bar hooks up next-level sushi, like the signature ikura nigiri topped with a quail egg, flash-fried tilefish with ponzu sauce, and lobster tail with uni sauce.
  6. Turntable
    Located on the second floor above a souvenir shop, a juice bar, and a slice joint on 5th. This flashy Korean spot specializes in Korean fried chicken (Hot & Spicy, or Soy Garlic) and Korean/American grub like panko-breaded cheese sticks, pork fat edamame, and a twister — a spiral potato with Parmesan and chef’s sauce.
  7. Benkei Ramen
    Lower East Side
    Available only at certain times (Monday-Wednesday after midnight, and Sunday after 5 pm) inside Hill & Dale, this late-night ramen spot, formerly housed in Ushiwakamaru, does some fantastic tonkotsu miso ramen with a soft-boiled egg, tender pork, and buttered corn.