Restaurants , Italian Harlem
  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(3 user reviews)
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Photograph: Courtesy Lido

Named after a fabled Venetian beach, Lido sailed into town in 2011, landing in a mainly West African neighborhood in Harlem. The restaurant falls into the modern-Italian camp, which means that chef Serena Bass—disclosure: Bass is a friend of Time Out founder Tony Elliott—incorporates influences ranging from North African to French into her cooking.

The best approach to Lido is to treat it like a tapas bar, snacking your way through dinner. The salt-cod fritters are particularly good, fluffy and furnished with a garlicky French aioli, while a pea-shoot salad is sent spinning in a Roman direction with mint leaves and burrata. Among the starters, the only bomb when we visited was the octopus, tossed with potatoes, olives and cubed Italian sausage in a sticky-sweet fruit glaze that undermines the savory flavors.

Pastas too tend to suffer from extraneous ingredients: plump, homemade ricotta ravioli with slivered almonds and orange rind is marred by eggplant that seems to have been soaked in Karo syrup. And the secondi simply lack the excitement of the smaller dishes. In the restaurant's early days, it offered a wonderful sautéed trout; now we have a bowl of seared scallops in a soupy lentil broth that robs the mollusks of all flavor, on an entrée list that’s half seafood and bottoms out with a dull, crumbly cheeseburger.

The brick-walled spot fills up most evenings with a convivial crowd. Stick with the fritters and maybe a salad or second app washed down with a glass of the lagrein-schiava blended red, and you’ll have a decent neighborhood meal. Venture into main-course territory, and you’re off the beach and into swampy waters.

Venue name: Lido
Address: 2168 Frederick Douglass Blvd (Eighth Ave)
Cross street: between 116th and 117th Sts
Opening hours: Mon 11:30am-10pm, Tue-Thurs 11:30am-11pm, Fri 11:30am-midnight, Sat 10:30am-midnight, Sun 10:30am-10pm
Transport: Subway: B, C to 116th St
Price: Average main course: $22. AmEx, Disc, MC, V
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Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
1 person listening

Once again, I found myself at an Italian restaurant that serves gnocchi.

Although a little too oily, it was delicious. Just needed some bread to soak it up -- a pretty good quick fix. 

The service was okay. I'll be back....especially to try those bottomless mimosas everyone keeps raving about.

Frances Smolenski

How come only 2 stars?. The cooking at this place is absolutely SUPERB! You must have hit a very rare off night. The perfection of everything we ate there was astonishing - and also surprising for such a small and unpretentious restaurant. The crisp and melting way a humble potato was roasted was nothing sort of perfection - plus the seasoning and amount of reduction to the sauces was immaculate. This place beats many of the best restaurants in France where I lived for several years. Thoughtful and friendly service...... I recommend you go back straight away and try again!

Freddie Foodie

I'm not sure if the Time Out reviewer went to the same Lido that I go to. If I haven't loved everything I've eaten at Lido, then I've liked the few things I haven't loved very, very much. I think the chef is creative without being overwhelming and adds a personal brilliance to each dish. Lido is my favorite restaurant in Harlem (amongst many great restaurants) and one of my favorites in all the five boroughs.