Coffee and pizza are great, but sometimes, a taste of the Caribbean is what you crave. Satisfy your appetite for the islands with ripped-from-the-Caribbean eats and contemporary plates at the best Caribbean restaurants in New York City.
The spiked slushes alone at this Caribbean bistro are worth the schlep to Crown Heights. The colorful cocktails at Glady’s taste even better when paired with straightforward Caribbean classics, like wood-fired jerk chicken, festivals, and Guyanese chow mein. If you’re more of a beer buff, don’t miss Glady’s selection of brews hailing from Barbados and Jamaica.
The closest thing you’ll find to an island escape without boarding a plane, Pearl’s serves Caribbean and Trini cuisine with a side of serious vacation vibes. Snag a spot at this popular Williamsburg hangout for a meal of fried shark and bake sandwiches, stuffed crab backs, and saucy tamarind chicken wings with a soundtrack of calypso.
You’ll have to battle some locals for a seat at this East Harlem eatery, but victory will taste nearly as sweet as the popular pineapple cornbread at Sisters’ Caribbean Cuisine. Unfussy plates of baked jerk chicken and oxtail stew earn this spot a loyal following of island transplants, while coconut milk-infused white rice and kidney beans and coconut pineapple layer cake appeal to all eaters.
Despite its name, you may not have room left for dessert after dining at Miss Lily’s Favourite Cake. Jamaican patty melts, Jamaican greens, and jerk ramen are just some of the culinary remixes you’ll enjoy at this unique Caribbean diner. If you manage not to overeat, reward yourself with one of Miss Lily’s frozen Dark and Stormys or a slice of coconut rum cake.
‘Home-away-from-home cooking’ is what’s on the menu at Freda’s, an Upper West Side spot serving West Indian and Southern staples. In addition to comforting standbys like jerk, curried, baked, and fried chicken and shrimp, Freda’s whips up homemade sorrel and sweet iced tea, collard greens, and macaroni and cheese, all for under $16.
Named for a town on the Caribbean coast, Puerto Viejo is a Dominican bistro in Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights neighborhood. In its 30 years of operation, the spot has perfected Dominican dishes like sancocho (chicken, pork, and vegetable soup), concon (crusty rice and beans), chicharrones de pollo, and twice-fried plantains.
Tip: ignore your abuela’s disapproving looks, and reach for Puerto Viejo’s homemade Dominican hot sauce, whose sweet heat complements all of your favorite dishes.
A 5-star dining experience everyone can afford is on offer at The Door. Since opening its doors nearly 20 years ago, this Queens a convenient two miles from JFK International Airport has become a favorite destination for locals and tourists dreaming of a trip to the tropics. Here, homestyle dishes like Jamaican curry goat, baked macaroni pie, and escovitch snapper are served in a high-end environment at low-end prices.
Restaurant, Caribbean, North American, Fusion, Seafood, $$$
You won’t find anything like Lolo’s Seafood Shack in the Caribbean—or in Cape Cod, for that matter. Massachusetts meets the Caribbean islands at this trendy Harlem haunt, where bake and ‘shark’ (Lolo’s subs a sustainable species known as Spiny Dogfish) sandwiches are served on homemade bread, Belizean conch fritters are dipped in remoulade sauce, and plantain chips come slathered in rich crab dip.
As if its location wasn’t enough of a distinguishing feature (Caribbean cuisine in Long Island City is basically unheard of), Melting Pot Cuisine serves breakfast, making it the ‘hood’s top spot to enjoy a sunny start to the day. Caribbean porridge, ackee and saltfish, and sweet buns with cheese all make an appearance at this LIC attraction. If you felt the urge to return later in the day (we wouldn’t blame you), jerk chicken patties, baked macaroni and cheese, and oxtail platters won’t disappoint.