The 10 best Cheap Eats restaurants on Long Island: Eat here now
Some of the best places to eat on Long Island are also some of the least expensive. While the ambience at these top spots ranges widely, they share, at heart, a commitment to flavor and quality.
Here are our top 10 picks.
Biscuits & Barbecue(Credit: Alessandro Vecchi)
Biscuits & Barbecue, Mineola: Secreted away in an industrial section of Mineola, this vintage railroad-car diner offers soulful Louisiana-style cooking along with slow-smoked chicken and ribs. Truly exceptional is the flaky hot biscuit with andouille sausage gravy. Other recommended dishes include the spicy-sweet blackened catfish, shrimp and grits, mac and cheese and warm peach cobbler (pictured). Cash only; BYOB.
Alligator sausage is served at Biscuits & Barbecue in Mineola.
Bosphorus Cafe Grill(Credit: Aaron Zebrook)
Bosphorus Cafe Grill, Port Washington: The hot, puffy bread known as lavas is eaten with the hands -- and hard to stop eating, especially when slathered with hummus or eggplant salad. And that's just the start at this friendly Turkish spot that also serves a fine pide, the savory boat-shaped pastry filled with meat, cheese, and/or vegetables. Shepherd's salad (pictured) is vibrant, kebabs are juicy, and house-made gyros are a treat. So, too, is kunefe, a baked-to-order cheese-topped dessert.
Kunafah, a cheese pastry topped with semolina pastry and soaked in a sweet rosewater syrup, is served at Bosphorus Cafe Grill in Port Washington.
Morning Rose Cafe(Credit: Yana Paskova)
Morning Rose Cafe, Bellmore: Chef Roberto Baez cooks at a level you don't usually find at a breakfast and lunch eatery. This one is prettier and more refined than most. You may want to start your morning with a Havana pork skillet featuring roasted pork shoulder, garlic potatoes, Cuban black beans and fried sweet plantains. Light, fluffy pancakes, simple or baroque, are superior. So, too, are burgers at lunch. Creative sandwiches, like the terrific Cuban Reuben, and salads round out the menu. Expect to wait for a table on weekends. (Pictured: French toast.)
Voodoo berry lemon pancakes at Morning Rose Cafe in Bellmore.
Relish(Credit: Doug Young)
Relish, Kings Park: Chef co-owner Steve Cardello, who recently launched a nearby fish market, has amassed a devoted following. And for good reason: Whenever possible, he sources ingredients with a locavore sensibility. Perennial favorites include his fluffy ricotta pancakes with strawberries and first-rate burger served with hand-cut fries. Daily specials deserve attention. Consider yourself lucky if hot-smoked salmon hash with eggs or shrimp gumbo are on the list. (Pictured: Linguine and clams with homemade sausage.)
Traditional meatloaf is served with mashed potatoes and seasonal vegtables at Relish in Kings Park.
Smokin' Al's Famous BBQ Joint(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
Smokin' Al's Famous BBQ Joint, Massapequa Park: Barbecue boss Al Horowitz is smokin' at a whole new level of late. To appreciate this, order your 'cue without sauce. His spice-rubbed baby back and St. Louis ribs are deeply smoky and tender. Brisket is exceptional, as are his fries, mac and cheese and the Big Al's Bow Wow, a ridiculously oversize hot dog topped with just about everything. Here, the excess works. (Pictured: The mile-high burger with bacon, onions and cheese.)
Sliced Smoked brisket with baked beans and collard greens on the side is served at Smokin Al's Famous BBQ Joint in Massapequa Park.
Ahuva's Grill(Credit: Newsday / Erica Marcus)
Ahuva's Grill, Hewlett: A gratis assortment of bright salads kicks off a meal at this glatt kosher gem, which recently spawned an express takeout shop in Lawrence. If you've never tasted chef-owner Ahuva Tsadok's Yemenite chicken soup, you owe yourself a fragrant, ingeniously spiced bowlful. To go with cold appetizers and spreads (pictured), order freshly baked laffa, a puffy, warm flatbread. Other standouts: kibbe, or fried ground beef balls and the highly juicy baby chicken shish kebab, made with boneless marinated dark meat.
Poached eggs in a spicy sweet tomato sauce are served at Ahuva's Grill in Hewlett.
Thomas's Ham & Eggery(Credit: Heather Phelps-Lipton)
Thomas's Ham & Eggery, Carle Place: Tom Koukoulas' breakfast repertoire keeps this perennial modern. These days, you can find a proper Irish breakfast, along with pulled pork sweet potato waffles and a spinach and egg scrambler (pictured). Dishes like these, as well as standards, such as the richly satisfying oatmeal, homey house-baked muffins and omelets served in shiny skillets, explain the long lines out the door weekend mornings.
Egg sliders at Thomas's Ham & Eggery in Carle Place.
Swingbellys Beachside BBQ(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
Swingbellys Beachside BBQ, Long Beach: With pitmaster Dan Monteforte back in the game, this recently renovated house of 'cue has made a major culinary comeback. Plump meaty chicken ''swingz'' are juicy, nuanced. So, too, are smoky, tender St. Louis ribs (pictured) and pit-smoked chicken. One specialty that should not be missed is the opulent "mac and Pete," a bowl of creamy, al dente mac and cheese laced with brisket burned ends. Finish with pecan pie, rich and properly Southern.
Pork Belly, fish and pulled pork tacos are served at Swingbellys Beachside BBQ in Long Beach.
Cook's Scratch Kitchen & Bakery(Credit: Jin Lee)
Cook's Scratch Kitchen & Bakery, Northport: Top-notch pancakes and waffles offer reason enough to check out this casual counter-service cafe owned by brothers Josh and Dave Cook. Here, chef Stacey McDevitt makes virtually everything from scratch, including English muffins for a ham and egg sandwich and croissant. Menu items include a ''brunchwich'' of fried chicken in a waffle with cheddar and bacon, as well as two kinds of Reuben sandwiches. McDevitt also bakes scones, croissants, muffins and cookies -- absolute carb heaven. (Pictured: House pancakes topped with mixed fruit.)
The Ham is a breakfast sandwich with two organic local eggs, with country ham and Gruyere cheese, topped with arugula and Dijon mayonnaise on a house-made English muffin served at Cook's Scratch Kitchen & Bakery in Northport.
Ephesus(Credit: Maria Boyadjieva)
Ephesus, Massapequa: Spread some hummus, ezme (a spicy vegetable salad) or baba ghanoush on warm, fluffy house-baked bread and you'll be hooked on the skillful Turkish cooking of chef-owner Funda Duygen. Her shepherd's salad is fresh and vibrant, her kebabs juicy and savory. And the pide, a savory-filled pastry, is hard to beat, especially if filled with a peppery potato puree. For dessert, try the fragrant baked-rice pudding. (Pictured: A large combination plate of cold meze.)
A trio of Turkish desserts for sharing is accompanied with traditionally served Turkish coffee and tea at Ephesus in Massapequa Park -- from bottom left, two logs of pistachio baklava, custard baklava in rear, and fistik sarma, a pistachio roll.