Manhattan’s Harlem neighborhood has always attracted a diverse crowd. With today’s booming restaurant scene, the area is welcoming more soul food-seekers and restaurant regulars than ever before. Here, we’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite Harlem haunts just in time for brunch this weekend.
With its classic soul food fare, popular neighborhood spot Amy Ruth’s wins the hearts and business of Harlem locals. The traditional menu includes numerous fried chicken and waffle variations and down-home staples such as fried catfish, smothered pork chops, and salmon croquettes. Great for comfort food-cravers, Amy Ruth’s food is good for the soul.
Seasoned Vegan Nori Roll | Image Courtesy of Seasoned Vegan
Self-described ‘Afro-Asian-American’ restaurant The Cecil is sure to satisfy adventurous appetites. With inventive menu options like sake-braised lamb ribs and oxtail dumplings, this unique joint promises patrons an exciting culinary experience. For curious skeptics and fans of more traditional Harlem flavor, try The Cecil’s Piri Piri fried chicken with yam flapjacks, a riff on the classic dish of fried chicken and waffles.
Seasoned Vegan Nori Roll Image Courtesy of Seasoned Vegan
Bistro, Restaurant, Vegan, $$$
The mother-and-son duo behind Seasoned Vegan aims to deliver ‘the food you love, veganized’. More savory than sweet, the menu features ‘crawfish’ mac and cheese, hearty stuffed avocados, and ‘crab’ quiche alongside its popular smoothie and dessert options. With its playful atmosphere, crowd-pleasing food, and warm service, Seasoned Vegan invites you to try something new.
Not your standard soul food spot, BLVD Bistro delivers refreshing twists on your favorite Southern classics. Centering around fresh, seasonal ingredients, the menu features peach and mascarpone buttermilk pancakes (a delectable part of the summer menu, only), seven-cheese macaroni, and spicy crab cake benedict topped with creole hollandaise dressing. Boasting a comfortable outdoor seating area and dependably great service, BLVD Bistro is an excellent option for an alternative brunch.
Connect with the community at Red Rooster, a beloved local establishment celebrating food and friends in the heart of Harlem. Indulge in decadent dishes such as brioche toast with chocolate gravy, flavorful Caribbean bacon, and the restaurant’s famous ‘fried yard bird’, super-sized fried chicken pieces smothered in smoky gravy. Offering neighborhood cooking classes as well as live musical performances and art displays by local artists, Red Rooster invites patrons to become a part of Harlem’s community.
Great for a non-traditional brunch, Pisticci offers an exciting menu of Italian-inspired dishes you won’t find anywhere else. Fluffy ricotta pancakes, Nutella-topped ciabatta, and homemade pastas round out the restaurant’s unusual midday menu. Honor Pisticci’s nonconformist spirit by sampling one of its original cocktails, such as the vegan espresso martini or fresh blackberry margarita.
Giving a creative twist to classic American fare, Solace Bar & Grill makes the case for a new type of tradition. Serving up lobster grilled cheese, breakfast burgers, and a flavorful fried fish sandwich, this innovative joint succeeds in reinventing your favorite familiar dishes.
With its balanced menu of traditional and original options, Chez Lucienne delivers a ‘Parisian escape’ with a New York City twist. At this French haunt classic recipes such as croque madames and French onion soup are served alongside experimental dishes like veal sausages and jambalaya crêpes. The restaurant’s high-quality food, warm interior, and exceptional service ensure that at Chez Lucienne, everyone feels at home.
Start your day off right at Tsion Cafe, an Ethiopian restaurant specializing in healthy and hearty Mediterranean dishes. Shakshuka, Mediterranean pancakes, and feta-topped bison burgers are sure to satisfy any fans of flavor, while the cafe’s selection of freshly-baked goods offers tasty lighter options.
Drawing inspiration from Harlem’s eclectic community, the menu at 5 and Diamond effortlessly incorporates Southern, Latin, and American cuisines. From Dominican mangú to Southern fried chicken, classic mac and cheese and smoky chorizo, this trendy restaurant and bar offers something for everyone.