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Comforting pasta | © TonyZhu / Pixabay
Comforting pasta | © TonyZhu / Pixabay

Where to Find the Best Soul Food in Harlem, NYC

Picture of Julia Goicochea
Updated: 9 January 2018

Those willing to head all the way uptown to Harlem in Manhattan will be rewarded with snacks with soul. From decades-old establishments defining the classics to trendy destinations feeding future generations, here is where to find the best soul food in Harlem, New York.

Sylvia’s

The OG of Harlem’s soul food scene continues to be one of its best features. People come from all over the country for a taste of Sylvia’s Southern fried chicken, saucy barbecue ribs, and famous peach cobbler. Since serving its first fried pork chop 55 years ago, this family-owned-and-operated business has become a neighborhood pillar thanks to its Gospel Brunch Sundays, Live Music Wednesdays, and homestyle cooking.

A Harlem institution for Southern soul food. #EEEEEATS #InfatuationNYC

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Address & Phone
Opening Hours
Mon - Sat :
8:00 am - 10:30 pm
Sun :
11:00 am - 8:00 pm
Budget
$$
Red Rooster Harlem

The best bistro in town isn’t in Francophile-favorite Midtown, but in West Harlem, where Chef Marcus Samuelsson opened Red Rooster back in 2010. Cooking up a mix of Southern, East African, Scandinavian, and French flavors, this trendy destination is known for rich dishes such as parmesan-cheddar “Mac and Greens,” hot honey “Yardbird” with “dirty gravy,” and biscuits and gravy soup. An infectious jazz soundtrack and memorable craft cocktails are just icing on the cake—or cobbler.

Address & Phone
Opening Hours
Mon - Thu :
11:30 am - 10:30 pm
Fri :
11:30 am - 11:30 pm
Sat :
10:00 am - 11:30 pm
Sun :
10:00 am - 10:00 pm
Budget
$$
Amy Ruth’s

Even with two stories, Amy Ruth’s regularly hosts lines out the door. The local favorite known for its dishes named for famous African Americans has become something of a celebrity itself, thanks to menu items such as “The Rev. Al Sharpton” (a plate of fried chicken and waffles), “The President Barack Obama” (a “bar-b-q” chicken platter), and Amy Ruth’s fan-favorite mac and cheese.

Address & Phone
Opening Hours
Mon :
11:00 am - 11:00 pm
Tue - Thu :
8:30 am - 11:00 pm
Fri :
8:30 am - 5:30 pm
Sat :
7:30 am - 5:30 pm
Sun :
7:30 am - 11:00 pm
Budget
$$
Melba’s

Brought to you by a Sylvia’s alum, Melba’s is at the forefront of what’s been called the area’s modern-day “Harlem Renaissance,” meaning you should be at the table. Here, contemporary riffs on soul food classics include spring rolls stuffed with black-eyed peas and collard greens; fried chicken and eggnog waffles; and rich buttermilk mac and cheese.

First time trying chicken and waffles at @melbasharlem. 👍🍗 #waffleemoji

A post shared by dominiqueansel (@dominiqueansel) on

Address & Phone
Opening Hours
Mon - Fri :
5:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Sat :
10:00 am - 3:00 pm 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Sun :
10:00 am - 3:00 pm 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Budget
$$
Charles’ Country Pan Fried Chicken

Not every hole-in-the-wall eatery can earn praise from The New Yorker, cookbook authors, and the most discerning judges of all, Harlem’s elderly eaters. All of these fans rave about Charles’ Country Pan Fried Chicken, a Harlem buffet serving just flavor, no frills. Hard-to-find Southern staples are regulars here (along with most of the neighborhood), where smoked neck bones, banana pudding, and pan-fried chicken, which comes in fried, barbecued, smothered, and other varieties, all make an appearance.

Address & Phone
Opening Hours
Mon - Sat :
11:00 am - 12:00 am
Sun :
12:30 pm - 12:00 am
Budget
$$
Miss Mamie’s Spoonbread Too

With its generous portions of down-to-earth dishes, Miss Mamie’s Spoonbread Too gives the impression of eating as a guest in someone’s home. Bestselling Southern fried chicken, homemade meatloaf, baked turkey wings, and peach cobbler round out Miss Mamie’s menu of affordable, unforgettable soul food.

This is that “Best Peach Cobbler in NYC” you read about in the NY Daily News.

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Address & Phone
Opening Hours
Mon - Fri :
3:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Sat :
12:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Sun :
11:00 am - 9:30 pm
Budget
$$
Jacob Restaurant

Bring the whole family to Jacob Restaurant, a soul food buffet and salad bar whipping up something for everyone. Veggie options such as vegetable rice and broccoli salad balance out deep South dishes—at least that’s what we tell ourselves—including oxtails, collard greens flavored with turkey, and for dessert, pineapple coconut cake.

Opening Hours
Mon - Sun :
10:00 am - 10:00 pm
Budget
$$
BLVD Bistro

Go big, go home, or just go to BLVD Bistro, where a husband-and-wife team serves larger-than-life dishes in a home-like environment. Here, fan-favorite biscuits, which are known to sell out, are made from scratch daily using flour sourced from Tennessee and appear in pan-fried chicken and biscuit baskets, alongside seven-cheese macaroni topped with smoked bacon, or on a plate all on their own.

Address & Phone
Opening Hours
Tue - Fri :
12:00 pm - 3:30 pm 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Sat :
9:00 am - 4:00 pm 6:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Sun :
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Budget
$$
Seasoned Vegan

Putting the soul back in soul food, the mother-and-son team behind Seasoned Vegan creates cruelty-free fare with eaters and animals in mind. The longtime Harlem residents and vegans reinvent Southern favorites such as fried and smothered “chicken” and barbecue “ribs” using convincing meat alternatives, generous seasoning, and a whole lot of soul.

Address & Phone
Opening Hours
Tue - Thu :
5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Fri :
5:00 pm - 2:00 am
Sat :
11:00 am - 2:00 am
Sun :
11:00 am - 9:00 pm
Budget
$$