If you're exploring Harlem, it's easy to spend an entire day in this vibrant neighborhood—which means you'll definitely need something to eat! From soul food and barbecue to ramen and bistro fare, Harlem has so many delicious restaurants, you'll have to visit many times to enjoy them all.
Since 1998, Amy Ruth's has been serving soul food on West 116th Street and is popular, so be prepared to wait during peak times (particularly on weekends!) Their signature chicken and waffles is truly outstanding. Sides are also great, the macaroni and cheese, cheese grits and collard greens are all delicious. Reservations are available for large parties, making this a popular choice for tour groups.
Charles’ Pan-Fried Chicken
Although the setting is spartan, people make the trek to Charles' to enjoy Charles Gabriel's legendary fried chicken. You can order a la carte or enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet if you want to sample the range of side dishes as well as chicken. Many people take food to go, so if you order a la carte and want to dine in, let them know.
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que's Harlem off-shoot (the original location is in Syracuse) offers great barbecue in a fun, friendly atmosphere. The wings are particularly outstanding and the affordable kid's menu makes it a great choice for families. Reservations recommended when visiting during peak times.
One of the newest additions to the Harlem soul food scene, Red Rooster's chef Marcus Samuelsson has created a Harlem dining destination that is both refined and popular. Reservations are essential if you want to enjoy dinner, which includes seemingly traditional options like fish and grits, jerk chicken but each features a modern twist.
Folks looking for delicious, affordable soul food in a simple setting won't be disappointed with this pick. From short ribs and fried chicken to catfish and ribs, the menu sticks to classic soul food, and all meals start with their popular corn bread.
Probably Harlem's most famous restaurant, Sylvia's has been serving soul food in Harlem since 1962. In addition to serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Sylvia's offers a Sunday Gospel menu with live music from 12:30 - 4 p.m. Diners rave about the fried chicken, ribs, macaroni & cheese, candied yams, and collard greens, but be warned that it's a popular stop for groups, so it can be crowded and filled with tourists.
Ramen might not be the first thing you think of eating in Harlem, but if you want something a little different, but still delicious, consider visiting this Morningside ramen joint. Monday through Thursday they even have a great happy hour deal that spans much of the day (except 6:30-9:30 p.m.) with discounted beverages, including $10 Sapporo pitchers.
This Morningside Heights restaurant serves an American-eclectic menu with numerous vegetarian-friendly options. Popular with neighborhood residents, they serve local, seasonally inspired cuisine and have communal seating.
Need a jolt of caffeine to fuel your Harlem explorations? You can't go wrong with the skillfully prepared coffee drinks and fresh baked goods at the Chipped Cup.