The Best Restaurants In Washington Heights

From a 24-hour Cuban spot to a bakery with disturbingly good carrot cake, here are the 24 best places to eat in Washington Heights.
The Best Restaurants In Washington Heights image

photo credit: Sonal Shah

Washington Heights has a couple of rivers, the world’s busiest bridge, and a museum where you’ll find some massive unicorn tapestries. But more impressive than any of that is the incredible variety of places to eat. Despite only being about two avenues wide, this area north of Harlem has an abundance of Dominican, Italian, Puerto Rican, and Mexican restaurants, just to name a few cuisines. So instead of settling for a fruit cup at the cafe inside The Cloisters, go to one of the places on this guide.


photo credit: Willa Moore

Chino Latino

Washington Heights

$$$$Perfect For:Big GroupsCasual Weeknight Dinner
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You’ll find some of NYC’s best Chino Latino food in the Heights, and for a crash course, head to Flor De Mayo for Peruvian and Chinese dishes. When an order of fried rice, or a heaping plate of lomo saltado that’s tangier than a bag of salt and vinegar chips lands on your table, you’ll be overjoyed with your choice. With flat screen televisions playing old Ed Sheeran songs, and an affinity for string lights, this third outpost of a Upper West Side classic could be the answer to your group dinner woes. Get a pitcher of beer, a few combo platters, and some impeccably seasoned meats.

Washington Heights needed a casual, sit-down pizza place, but no one could have anticipated that this need would be fulfilled by Swedish pizza restaurant with craft beers, an oven painted to look like a monster, and the unlikely theme of...death. For a place with black walls and skulls everywhere, Döden is a surprisingly cheerful spot, with creative sourdough pizzas (try the bresaola and kimchi pie), a cool playlist, and enough room to linger with your friends over a bottle of natural wine.

The Uptown Garrison is like that friend who’s an eagle scout—life’s just easier when they’re around. In the case of your friend, that’s because he knows how to open wine bottles with a shoe, and in the case of this all-day bar and restaurant a block from the A train, it’s because it’s great for so many different dining situations. It opens at 7am every day and works for breakfast meetings or a casual lunch, and then it turns into a dark cocktail bar with very good pizzas and bar food, affordable cocktails, and wines on tap.

If you’re looking for Chino Latino food without the Ed Sheeran soundtrack at Flor de Mayo, head to this neighborhood classic,  where you’ll find a mix of Latin and Chinese-American dishes. The menu, written in both Spanish and English, has everything from fried pork chops with sweet plantains to tenderloin steak, breaded shrimp, and the tangy and delicious General Tso’s chicken. Get the special fried rice, prepared to perfection with tiny cubes of ham, baby shrimp, and fresh scallions.

Floridita serves a large variety of Cuban and Dominican food, like mofongo, asopaos, and rotisserie chicken, but the reason you’re here is for the Cubano. The $6 sandwich is very filling, with fatty ham, roast pork, and swiss cheese, but the browned and pressed bread holds it together more tightly than a Victorian-era corset. Floridita is open 24 hours a day, so order a sandwich with a coffee at the diner counter or a beer at the bar in the back.

photo credit: Harlem Public


Harlem Public


One of Harlem’s best burger and chicken sandwich spots expanded to Washington Heights this location inside the Northend Food Hall, the first food hall of its kind uptown. Grab a chair in the colorful seating area of this sprawling space on Broadway and 183rd street, and try the Hot Fried Thigh, a massive piece of fried chicken slathered in hot sauce and served on a soft bun, or any of the burgers. The pub opens every day starting at 11am, and delivery is available to Inwood too.

Order one slice at this small counter-service spot on 181st Street if you’re hungry, and two if a self-help podcast convinced you to enjoy the present moment. Even the margarita—our favorite—has enough mozzarella and dense, doughy crust to function as the last meal for a bear heading into hibernation. Either way, get a side of garlic bread, which is charred and crispy, painted with butter, and topped with a ton of black pepper. Whether or not you order it with cheese is between you and your future self.

This coffee shop now has four uptown locations—one on Broadway, one in Inwood, another inside the GWB Bus Terminal—but the tiny original on residential Pinehurst Avenue is great if you’re planning an afternoon in Fort Tryon Park. All of the coffee here comes from small growers in Ethiopia, where the husband-and-wife owners first met. The beans are then roasted in small batches and sold by the pound or ground for use in the shop’s espressos, macchiatos, and cold brew. If you feel like taking a snack with you to go lie in the sun, grab one of their injera wraps, filled with spicy lentils and veggies.

The very long menu at Malecon, a casual Dominican spot with another location on the UWS, is illustrated with pictures of their dishes, like whole-fried snapper and mofongo de chicharron. They all look delicious, but the most effective advertising here is saved for the rotisserie chicken, which rotates on spits in the front window. For $8.50, you get a half-bird with skin that tastes like it’s coated in brown sugar, and for another $7, you can and should add a side of boiled green bananas.

photo credit: Hilltop Park Alehouse



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With dark wood interiors and a penny-tile floor, this spacious pub feels like it’s been in the neighborhood forever—even though it only opened in 2018. There’s a a long list of beers and ciders and a wide menu here, with a  focus on burgers, which range from a juicy short-rib-and-brisket-blend with onion straws and roasted garlic aioli, to a salmon burger and a beet veggie burger. They also do brunch and live jazz on Sundays. Get the buttermilk pancakes.

This small Singaporean place started out at the Queens Night Market before opening here in winter 2021, and still serves the same great Southeast Asian food that can be especially hard to find in Upper Manhattan. While it started off as counter-service only, Native Noodles has expanded with a few tables both inside and out, where you can take your time exploring dishes like the spicy laksa and the chili crab linguine. Or go beyond noodles with fried pork and shrimp wontons, crunchy popcorn chicken, or the roti john, a Singaporean omelet sandwich combining ground beef, onions, and spicy ketchup on a roll.

Carrot Top Pastries is a neighborhood bakery that makes some of the best carrot cake we’ve ever had. Unlike many other spots with neon signs on the walls, this bakery has been open since 1979 and the cake slices are taller than your coffee mug. Aside from the incredible desserts, come here to eat diner classics at breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

This spot is Temporarily Closed.

After you visit The Cloisters, you should head down the hill in Fort Tryon Park and get food at another spot on this guide. But there’s a lot to see at this medieval-looking Met Museum, and if you need to take a break between the priceless unicorn tapestries donated by Rockefeller and the priceless trinkets donated by another robber baron who was trying to make up for all the bad shit he did, walk into the museum’s courtyard and sit down at The Trie Cafe for a glass of wine in what looks like the country villa of Catherine de Medici.

Named after a town deep in Colombian coffee country, this stylish cafe opened right before the pandemic and is one of the best places to go for coffee and a bite (or substantial breakfast) in the Heights. The large display case holds an array of traditional pastries like bunuelos, and various puff pastry treats stuffed with sweet (guava and cheese) or savory (chicken, mushroom, or beef) ingredients. You'll also find fresh empanadas, arepas, and, if you’re truly hungry, the bandeja paisa—a classic plate with beef, chorizo, chicharron, arepa, sweet plantains, and fried egg over rice and beans.

La Casa del Mofongo is a massive spot that serves 30 types of mofongo, with everything from shrimp and pernil to octopus and lobster. There are also a bunch of other things, like steak and fried chicken, but stick to the mofongo. This is a good spot for a casual group dinner, and we especially like it for a quick meal in the bar area where you can watch sports on TV and smoke some hookah, if you’re into that.

Even if it’s your first time sitting down at a candlelit table in the small, dark dining room or covered backyard at Saggio, you’ll feel like you’ve been coming here for years. It’s such a pleasant place to hang out and drink big $10 glasses of Italian wine, that the generally unmemorable Italian food—like crostinis and handmade pastas—won’t bother you, especially considering the large portions and affordable prices.

El Paisa makes some of the better tacos in Washington Heights. This small, casual spot on St. Nicholas feels like a cross between a diner and a deli, with a couple of tables and exposed brick walls. If you need a quick dinner, head there to pick up a torta, quesadilla, or a couple of tacos. Try the chorizo—it’s excellent.

This is a counter-service Dominican spot with locations in Manhattan, New Jersey, and the Bronx that, as you might have guessed, serves incredible chicharron for $15 per pound. That’s what you’re here for, but add on whatever looks good behind the counter, like fried plantains, rice, and mofongo.

Pretty much every neighborhood has a solid sushi spot where you can fill up on raw fish for less than $30, and in Washington Heights, that place is Sushi Yu. Will the sushi here blow your mind? It’s very unlikely. But you can get a sushi deluxe combo for $26.95, and the dining room—with its wooden furniture and hanging plants—is perfectly quiet and pleasant. Try this spot for a casual weeknight sushi meal or just order delivery the next time you’re feeling a strong emotional bond with your couch.

La Chéile is an exceedingly Irish pub with two floors, a view of the George Washington Bridge, and faded pink walls covered in old photos and posters. It feels like something you’d find in a small Irish town, and it’s a great spot in the area to treat as your own personal clubhouse. The dinner menu consists of things like shepherd’s pie and bangers and mash, and there are also a few decent burgers. But mostly, we just come here for the wings. They’re 25 cents each on Mondays from 6-9pm, and there’s also a Happy Hour that goes from 4-7pm every day but Sunday.

It’s hard to resist the almost cartoonishly good-looking egg sandwiches at this Korean-influenced cafe. Two slices of thick, supersoft brioche bread are used to hold fluffy scrambled eggs paired with everything from bulgogi to avocado, which comes with a squiggle of spicy sauce. This coffee shop also has croissants, pastries and bingsoo in flavors like sesame and matcha.

When you’re in the mood for a very good burger in Washington Heights, this should be your destination. It’s a counter-service spot that has thick beef, turkey, and veggie patties that you can get topped with things like pineapple or guacamole. This converted garage is mostly a takeout spot, but if the weather is nice, order some gelato and sit at one of the sidewalk seats along Wadsworth Ave.

Tampopo Ramen is the Swiss Army knife of neighborhood restaurants. This ramen spot and sake bar is casual enough for a solo dinner, intimate enough for a date night, reliable for takeout, and pleasant enough to get drinks with a friend. And during the daily Happy Hour, sake is $4.50 and craft beer is $4. A couple of drinks in, when you remember that you haven’t eaten yet, get some pork buns and an order of the (not-so) spicy miso ramen.

If you’re looking for something quick and affordable, pick up a cold-cut sandwich from Tasty Deli. This counter-service spot has been in the neighborhood since 1957 and has a menu of over fifty different deli sandwiches. Most of the people who eat here have a “usual” and the guy behind the counter telepathically understands their needs. The celebrity sandwiches and classics are the most popular orders and a good place to start, but if you’re here before 10am, the breakfast burrito is also a solid choice.

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