Harlem is popular for its political, artistic, cultural expression among the African American society in New York City. It is even popular beyond New York City and that community.
Harlem has enjoyed appreciation for a different feature in recent years, its culinary taste. Authentic restaurants like Little Senegal of Central Harlem to El Barrio of East Harlem are available there. From unique exotic foods to home-like meals, Harlem offers a worldwide collection of tastes.
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Here is our list of the top 7 restaurants to try in Harlem
1. Abyssinia Ethiopian Restaurant
Abyssinia is the first name on our list of the top 7 restaurants to try in Harlem. As the name suggests it’s an authentic Ethiopian restaurant. It is located at 268 West 135th Street, Between Frederick Douglass and Adam Clayton Powell, New York, New York 10030. You’ll get all the authentic Ethiopian foods like key wat, Shiro wat, Doro wat, and other stews. You may also taste the Injera (fermented spongy flatbread), Ubiquitous, and a variety of tibs dishes that actually are stir-fried meat cubes that have been spiced and sautéed in butter.
I’ll suggest you visit this restaurant with a large group. This way you can order every dish and taste them all. Order some meat plates and mixed vegetables, eat them, and finish them with their authentic honey wine. Let me clear one thing; the honey wine is really sweet.
2. La Savane
On our list of the top 7 restaurants to try in Harlem, La Savane is second. It is located at 239 W 116th St, New York, NY 10026, United States. This restaurant is mainly a West African restaurant with influences from Ghana, Senegal, and Ivory Coast.
La Savane also offers authentic cuisine. Foods like Foutou and attiéké come with a variety of stews and soups. In the main course, they serve a braised lamb leg called the Gigot. This exotic dish is so juicy that it will melt in your mouth. They also prepare various types of fried fish. You can choose the fish you like and they will fry it with their secret ingredients and herbs. Be aware of the needle-like bones when you are savoring the fish. Otherwise, it can lead to a dangerous choking hazard!
3. Lechonera La Isla
On the 3rd place on our list of the top 7 restaurants to try in Harlem is Lechonera La Isla. This restaurant is located at 254 E 125th St, New York, NY 10035, United States. This Puerto Rican restaurant is famous for its pork items. Even their name is made up from the word “lechón”, the Spanish word for roasted pork.
One of the most popular dishes of Lechonera La Isla is The Pernil (pork shoulder roasted). They keep the softness of the but make the skin crispy. This dish is served with spicy Garlic sauce that gave the dish complete flavor. Though Lechonera La Isla is popular for its main dish Pernil, they also have some praised items like Rellenos de papa or Alcapurrias.
Clay is at 4th place on our list of the top 7 restaurants to try in Harlem. It is located at 553 Manhattan Ave, New York, NY 10027, US. Be it an upscale occasion or just a casual weeknight meal, Clay is perfect for both. They provide friendly service which is appreciable. Just like their service, their interior is also very welcoming. With terra-cotta flooring, fascinating dim lighting, and soothing music, Clay’s environment is truly refreshing.
The foods are pretty good with exceptional taste. After tasting dishes like Gnocchi with basil, heirloom tomatoes, and maitake mushrooms or beets with pistachio granola and jalapeño, you will surely say that they are made with care. Clay is also pretty popular in the neighborhood for its compact yet outstanding cocktail collection.
5. Sushi Inoue
On the 3rd place on our list of the top 7 restaurants to try in Harlem is Sushi Inoue. It is an authentic Japanese cuisine in the city of Harlem. It is located at 381A Malcolm X Blvd, New York, NY 10027, US. This restaurant is owned by Nagasaki-born chef Mr. Inoue. It’s a Michelin-starred restaurant. In fact, it’s the first restaurant in Harlem to be awarded a star.
Chef Inoue is famous in Harlem for his Omakase sushi. This sushi is served with a handful of kaiseki side dishes such as Hokkaido sea urchin and grilled eel skewers. Both the taste and the environment of this place is top-notch. But before going there you should keep something in mind. This place is pretty costly. The omakase sushi has two variants that start with a hefty price tag of 225 USD!
Lido is at 6th place on the 3rd place on our list of the top 7 restaurants to try in Harlem. This Italian restaurant is pretty unique. It offers two completely different menus for different functions. On Saturday night, it will give you a silent romantic vibe, perfect for dinnertime. But on Sunday, it changes its whole menu and the atmosphere. From a quiet dining place, it becomes a crowded brunch spot.
Just like the atmosphere of Lido, the menu also changes drastically. On Saturdays, you can enjoy their gnocchi with sage and cream. And on Sundays, you can have your brunch with poached eggs and truffle polenta. And don’t forget their 16USD bottomless mimosa when you are having your brunch.
7. Red Rooster
On the last place of our list of the top 7 restaurants to try in Harlem is Red Rooster. It is owned by the celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson and located at 310 Malcolm X Blvd, New York, NY 10027. The decorations of this place symbolize colorful pop culture. When almost all the restaurant is trying to preserve their old school styles, Red Rooster is surely a new-school staple.
Red Rooster is popular for its unique blending of Ethiopian, Swedish, and Harlem flavors. Chef Marcus surely knows how to mix the flavor to create an awesome new age taste. When you visit them, try their awesome foods like Swedish meatballs with stewed olives and tomatoes. You should also try the famous salmon curry with peanut glaze and coconut. And of course their one of the best dishes, the melt-in-mouth fried chicken.