Craving some deep-fried veggies or seafood selections? Here in New York we have some of the best Japanese cuisine around, from Michelin-starred omakase restaurants to AYCE sushi joints. In this list though, we’re going to walk you through our favorites for tempura in NYC, a typical Japanese dish usually consisting of seafood, meat and vegetables that have been battered and deep fried.
From formal establishments to street-side Boba tea cafes, these are the best places to go if you’re craving some crunch.
1. Blue Ribbon Sushi, SoHo
If you’re looking for some cosmopolitan tempura in NYC, look no further than Blue Ribbon Sushi. Founded by Bruce and Eric Bromberg with the expert culinary advice of chef Toshi Ueki, Blue Ribbon Sushi offers a broad array of Japanese cuisine favorites including the Popcorn Shrimp Tempura with Homemade Wasabi-Mayo Sauce pictured above. Their upscale atmosphere and freshly sourced fish daily from the Sea of Japan, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans makes it a must-hit. Full menu here.
Where: 119 Sullivan St
2. Takahachi, Tribeca & East Village
For a “punny” tempura-eating experience, check out Takahachi, home to the cleverest chefs around. With a creative menu inspired by dishes from both the Eastern and Western hemispheres, Takahachi presents its offerings with subtle plays on words and cultural insider jokes. In terms of the tempura, we always recommend the scallop tempura, but the shitake mushroom isn’t bad either. Full menu here.
Tribeca – 145 Duane St
East Village – 85 Avenue A
3. Secchu Yokota, East Village
Secchu Yokota prides itself as a contemporary take on traditional Japanese food, which includes a healthy array of tempura options. Their menu is focused in an omakase fashion, serving seasonal tempura that constantly varies but is always delicious. Their $145 experience is a bit pricy, but worth it, as long as you can secure one of their limited six available seats. As you can imagine, reservations are highly recommended ahead of time. Learn more here.
Where: 199 E 3rd St
4. Koi Restaurant, Bryant Park
Located at the memorable Bryant Park Hotel and just steps away from the Empire State Building, Koi Restaurant is a symbol of luxurious tempura dining in NYC. Walk through the establishment’s recognizable steel double doors and wait to be seated in their multi-level dining room which seats 177 guests. Their Creamy Shrimp Tempura is of course our favorite of the small plates, but they also offer a Chef’s Tempura Selection of Seafood or Vegetable, if you’re up for a little surprise. Full menu here.
Where: 40 W 40th St (Bryant Park Hotel)
5. BONDST, NoHo
Located on Bond Street (hence the name), BONDST offers diners a specialized, full sushi bar along with some of the best tempura menus in NYC. As opposed to other places where tempura may be a smaller dish or an appetizer, this restaurant proudly serves tempura-focused dishes like the Sea Bass (18 Serrano, Red Onion, Micro Cilantro, Sweet Ponzu) and Lobster (w/ Creamy Japanese Mustard Dressing). Of course they have classic tempura with shrimp, veggies, etc as well. Full menu here.
Where: 6 Bond St
6. Sushi Yasaka, Upper West Side
Sushi Yasaka offers both tempura and sushi at an affordable price, making it one of our favorite spots on the Upper West Side. For tempura options, you can always go with the Chef ‘s Omakase Vegetable Tempura, a curated selection by the boss himself. Or what we suggest, is trying their tempura noodles which are from a different planet. Give either the Ebi Tempura Soba or Vegie Tempura Soba noodles a try.
Where: 251 W 72nd St
7. Tempura NYC
Tempura NYC, as the name suggests, has the tempura game under lock. While their extensive menu features all sorts of mouth-watering options, the tempura is the star of the show. Our favorites include the Godzilla Roll (Cooked tuna, tempura’d salmon, Kani sticks, drizzled with Sweet sauce and Spicy mayo topped with jalapeños) and the appropriately named Manhattan Roll (Spicy tuna, spicy salmon, avocado, with a drizzle of spicy mayo and sweet sauce). There’s also even more options too. Full menu here.
Where: 511 9th Ave
8. Yaya Tea Garden, Multiple Locations
For an unexpected (and significantly cheaper) tempura experience in NYC, make time to visit Yaya Tea Garden, which is technically a cafe and boba tea spot. Of course we suggest crabbing one of their teas because they’re so flavorful, but be sure to pair it with a tempura rice ball which are handmade. The Shrimp Tempura onigiri (which can add crab as well) are extremely memorable and the perfect light bite!
Where: Find your location here
9. Lure Fishbar, SoHo
Last but not least on our list is Lure Fishbar, an award-winning seafood spot that deserves all of the recognition it gets. Their long legacy of high-end cuisine makes them one of the most pleasant seafood dining experiences in NYC. In terms of their tempura, they have a regular Shrimp Tempura Roll, but we suggest one of their signature rolls, the Lure House Roll (Shrimp Tempura, Cucumber, topped with Spicy Tuna) or Hellfire Roll (Spicy Tuna, Cucumber, Tempura Flake, Brûléed Tuna, Avocado, Kimchi Sauce).
Where: 142 Mercer St