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Dec 11, 2011 09:21 PM

Harlem Restaurants

Looking to try a restaurant in Harlem with my husband and teenage sons.
Any suggestions?
Many thanks!

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  1. West side? East side?

    Does anything here appeal?

    I'd recommend Zoma for Ethiopian, and Dinosaur BBQ. There are also lots of Senegalese and soul food options, depending on your interests.

    2084 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10026

    Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
    777 W. 125th Street, New York, NY 10027

    1. Do you have an idea of what kind of cuisine you're looking for? (Haute cuisine, family style, US soul food, Ethiopian, Senegalese, Ivorian, Latin or South American, tourist magnet / institution?) Are there particular dishes you want to try?

      In addition to Rose Water's excellent suggestions, there's Red Rooster by celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson. It's probably the best known Harlem restaurant outside of NYC right now, since President Obama ate there with his family earlier this year... and Samuelsson seems to be on every other Food Network show.

      Red Rooster
      310 Lenox Ave, New York, NY 10027

      2 Replies
      1. re: michelleats

        anything top notch would be great. my boys would probably prefer something familiar, like italian, but i could likely convince them to branch out. they love the basics - asian, italian, mediterranean,
        or traditional. tried to get into red rooster but no luck for this friday eve.....
        Many thanks for your help!

        1. re: ldjsue

          Friends who live in the neighborhood say they often walk in and eat at the bar at Red Rooster, without a long wait. If it's a place you really want to try and don't mind sitting at the bar, walking in could be a good option. It's not something I've tried myself, though.

          For more conservative eaters:

          - Rose Water's suggestion of Dinosaur is a good one. You'll find a lot of Dinosaur Barbecue fans on this board. If you're from a place with phenomenal barbecue, you won't think Dinosaur is top notch, but it's good for NYC. Ribs do seem to be hit or miss in my experience, but other dishes are more consistent. It's way far west, close to the 1 train. There might be something like a 30 minute wait to sit down.

          - For fried chicken, do a search on this board (use the search box in the upper right corner or Google "chowhound" + "fried chicken" + "Harlem"). Charles does come up a lot and Amy Ruth's is another popular choice for chicken and waffles.

          - For a dramatized, over-the-top version of southern soul food, a lot of tourists seem to like Sylvia's, esp. for the soul food brunch. (The restaurant also produces a nationally distributed line of packaged soul food products like collard greens in a can, which contributes to its fame / notoriety.) If you are already familiar with southern food, you'll probably find the food fair, not great, but many people I've taken there enjoy the experience.

          328 Lenox Ave, New York, NY 10027

          Charles' Country Pan-Fried Chicken
          2837 8th Ave, New York, NY 10039

          Amy Ruth's
          113 W 116th St, New York, NY 10026

          Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
          777 W. 125th Street, New York, NY 10027

          Red Rooster
          310 Lenox Ave, New York, NY 10027

      2. Red Rooster for brunch and scene but Charles for the real fried chicken with all the fixings.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Duppie

          thnx duppie!
          can you tell me more about charles? location? atmosphere? anything else you recommend besides the chicken?

          1. re: ldjsue

            Charles Southern Style Kitchen has excellent, delicious food, lovely staff, and no atmosphere whatsoever. Fried chicken, mac and cheese, collards, candied yams, rice and peas, etc., all solid. You have to walk past the projects from the 155th St D train stop, and I always get disoriented getting out of the train up there.

            Piatto d'oro II is on 118th? at 5th Ave. Certainly not destination Italian food, but warm space and warm staff. Lido is another option, on FDB at 118th? 117th? Could then get a Levain bakery cookie, or great rugelach at Lee Lee's afterwards. (I've only had weak Lido cocktails, never tried their food).

            Five and Diamond is certainly an option if you want, though my one post-David Santos visit was totally disappointing. Bier International and Harlem Tavern also have "familiar" fare, though the children's pasta at Harlem Tavern (gummy overcooked pasta without the slightest discernible bit of flavor) was a complete abomination. My 3 year old might've eaten it up, but I'll certainly never get that again.

            Native is another option, and brings you onto an architecturally beautiful stretch of Lenox Ave. It just got cited in that restaurants that treat their workers well listing. Familiar (if not totally exciting) fare.

            Lee Lee's Baked Goods
            283 W 118th St, New York, NY 10026

            Charles' Country Pan-Fried Chicken
            2837 8th Ave, New York, NY 10039

            Piatto D'Oro II
            1 E 118th St, New York, NY 10035

            101 W 118th St, New York, NY 10026

            5 & Diamond
            2072 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10026

            Bier International
            2099 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10026

            Levain Bakery
            2167 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10026

            2168 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10026

            Harlem Tavern
            2153 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10026

            1. re: ldjsue

              As Rose Water already explained Charles is located between 151'st and 152'nd streets on Fredrick Douglas blvd and has no atmosphere to speak of and seats perhaps 18 to 20 diners in a pinch but IMHO serves the best pan fried chicken,collard greens,mack and cheese and banana cream pie in Harlem. A real gem and way better than Red Rooster's yard bird.Be prepared to wait on weekends because all the beautiful church ladies and their colorful hats congregate there after service.

          2. I'd recommend 5&Diamond - your sons will find many familiar items and the food and ambiance are cozy.

            5 & Diamond
            2072 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10026

            1 Reply
            1. re: chloes

              i think 5 and diamond it is! looks perfect for our first venture to a new neighborhood.
              THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR HELP!!!!!