Best-of Guides New York

The Best MICHELIN Guide Restaurants for Spicy Food in New York City

5 Restaurants
New Yorkers like to bring the heat. This melting pot is home to one of the most dynamic culinary scenes in the world, and plenty of these places spotlight fiery, pungent spices that tease your tastebuds. From kicky Thai food to Sichuan cooking that doesn't pull any punches to fiery Indian, New York isn't shying away from spice. So, if you're seeking something with a kick, check out our list below.

New York City by The MICHELIN Guide

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Updated on 14 June 2024
Ugly Baby
407 Smith St., 11231 New York
$$ · Thai

Named "ugly" to avoid tempting fate, this Thai baby is in fact bright and cheery. It's a wildly successful operation thanks to the authentic nature of its cuisine—fiery spice, vibrant flavors and bright raw ingredients being some of the classic hallmarks.

Inspector notes: "The menu spans the nation's specialties, honing in on such rare items as tum kanoon (young jackfruit) paired with pork belly and curry paste."

Szechuan Gourmet
21 W. 39th St., 10018 New York
$$ · Chinese

Few would expect to find some of the city’s best Sichuan food along a quiet street near Bryant Park right under the nose of Midtown office workers. But such is the case at this long-established haunt that has finally rebuilt and reopened after a terrible fire in 2018. Miraculously, the kitchen hasn’t missed a beat, and those who long for the tingly heat of Sichuan peppercorns and the burn of bright red chili oil will not leave disappointed.

Inspector notes: "Thin, crispy scallion pancakes and plump pork dumplings in chili oil make for a fine start, before moving on to spicy hot and sour cellophane noodles and braised fish fillets with bean curd."

119 Delancey St., 10002 New York
$$ · Indian

This rousing Indian restaurant in Essex Market is refreshingly unapologetic with its complex spices, fierce heat levels and inspired preparations of more unusual items (kidneys, anyone?). Dhamaka, which means “explosion” in Hindi, is a bold love letter to the country’s more rustic dishes, many of which are drawn from the owner’s childhood.

Inspector notes: "The kitchen grinds many of its spices daily, and the crowds have been quick to recognize such attention to detail."

190 N. 14th St., 11249 New York
$$$ · Thai

Husband-and-wife Chefs Ohm Suansilphong and Kiki Supap are behind KRU, which is Thai for "guru." Indeed, you will get a lesson in traditional Thai dishes albeit ones that have been spruced up in a decidedly contemporary way.

Inspector notesL: "Thai dip is a smoked whitefish relish with anchovy, shrimp paste and coconut cream, but for a mind-blowing modern (and vegan) spread, order the olive lon."

Miss Lily’s
109 Avenue A, 10009 New York
$$ · Jamaican

Authentic Jamaican flavors and thumping reggae go hand-in-hand amid Miss Lily’s brightly colored booths and banquettes, retro artifacts and Formica-topped tables. A well-stocked bar and bins filled with produce set the mood for enjoyable classics brought to you at the hands of glam servers.

Inspector notes: "Start with jerk chicken that is insanely moist yet nearly black with intense spices, served with a Scotch bonnet sauce that will have your mouth tingling for hours."