Harlem restaurant guide: The best places to eat now

Our Harlem restaurant guide points you to the best places to eat in the neighborhood, from trusty favorites to the latest hot spots.

Known for soul food and the West African eateries of “Little Senegal” (W 116th St between St. Nicholas Ave and Morningside Park), the neighborhood’s restaurant scene has been revitalized by the arrival of Marcus Samuelsson’s eclectic hot spot Red Rooster Harlem, which spawned a subterranean lounge, Ginny’s Supper Club. Our Harlem restaurant guide also includes cheap eats and best brunch places.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Harlem, New York

Chez Lucienne

Harlem gains an ambitious French bistro from Daniel alums Jerome Bougherdani and chef Matthew Tivy. The 60-seat space, with its globe lights and powder-blue banquettes, evokes a classic bistro, while dishes from the Lyon, France-born executive chef, Thomas Obaton, range from the traditional (beef bourguignonne) to the bold (calf’s-foot croquettes).

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Harlem

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

Weathered gas-station signage and barbershop mirrors constitute the artfully gritty decor at this honky-tonk saloon. The old Harlem meatpacking warehouse sees a heady parade of low-country favorites like fried-green tomatoes, chicken wings and beer-boiled shrimp. But true ’cue lovers should go straight for the meat: Fork-tender beef brisket, succulent ribs and juicy pulled pork get a dry rub, up to 18 hours of smoking over hickory, apple and cherry woods, and are finished with a slather of sweet-spicy secret sauce.

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Harlem

Lido

The team behind Upper West Side café Zanny's brings refined Italian food to Harlem. The 73-seat restaurant—featuring stainless-steel chandeliers, a red oak bar and light-green banquettes—channels its namesake, Lido de Venezia, with sepia photos of the Italian beach town (also the setting of Thomas Mann's novella Death in Venice). But the contemporary menu draws on influences from all over the country, featuring dishes like ricotta ravioli with eggplant, mint and pine nuts; gnocchi with guanciale, truffle butter and pecorino; and sea scallops with lentils and speck. To drink, choose from an Italian-focused selection of cocktails and wines.

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Harlem

Red Rooster Harlem

Some of the city's most popular restaurants serve food that satisfies on a visceral level—consistent, accessible, easy to like. Places where the music, crowd, drinks and space explain, as much as the menu, why it's packed every night. Which sums up precisely the instant and overwhelming success of Marcus Samuelsson's new Harlem bistro, Red Rooster. The restaurant's global soul food, a "We Are the World" mix of Southern-fried, East African, Scandinavian and French, is a good honest value. But it's outshone here by the venue itself, with its hobnobbing bar scrum, potent cocktails and lively jazz.

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Harlem

Zoma

Elevated Ethiopian food matches the sleek environs at this uptown eatery, featuring a crisp white dining room, warmly lit by candles and an elegant chandelier. Sample lemony azifa, a lentil spread served in crunchy endive shells instead of on traditional injera bread, and doro wot, a slow-cooked chicken stew, given a craveworthy kick from a blend of ginger and berbere spices. Considering all this decadence, settling your bill brings a welcome surprise: A meal at Zoma comes refreshingly cheap.

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Harlem

Comments

2 comments
red rooster
red rooster

I didn't experience the food but the music and people were beautiful............

Chocolat
Chocolat

Absolutely delicious....great service...