While New York City is considered one of (if not the) food capitals of the globe, the enormity of the wide-ranging and diverse culinary scene can be intimidating enough to make you feel ready to call it quits and opt for the simplicity and ease of a TGI Fridays. Because the frustrating reality is that while the Big Apple is home to truly inventive, groundbreaking restaurants, finding them amidst the thousands of more generic establishments can feel like a tremendous and exhausting challenge.

That’s why taking a neighborhood by neighborhood approach to dining can be one of the greatest ways to experience the stunning myriad of options. From ethnic enclaves to up-and-coming Brooklyn neighborhoods, some of the most interesting developments in the food world are focused around one block spans that are acting like tiny microcosms. (Witness the Torrisi-ization of Mulberry Street if you have any doubts about the power that a single restaurant can have over one street.) Gabe Stulman is transforming the West Village with his stable of charming, low-key spots, while the opening of several beloved bakeries on a strip in Gowanus has transformed an entire region. These movements not only alert you to amazing food, they also hint at larger movements at work in the urban landscape. The Italian-American population of the Bronx’s Belmont area has made it a longtime destination for traditional red-sauce establishments, but owing to demographic shifts, those spots now stand next to some of the city’s greatest Ghanian and Puerto Rican restaurants.

Tour these 10 neighborhoods for some of the best eats you’ve ever had the privilege of enjoying. From cheap bites to Michelin-starred dining rooms and from old school Chinese to nouveau American, they symbolize the crazy eclecticism that New York City has to offer.

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