The Ten Best Caribbean Eats in NYC

12 Oct

 

 

No matter where you are in New York City, you’re not far from a great Caribbean meal. The number and quality of West Indian restaurants in NYC is generally greater than other island-folk hubs of London and Toronto, while the options are even more diverse, with Cuban, Puerto Rican, Dominican and Haitian eateries holding their own alongside Jamaican, Guyanese and Trini spots. Click through the thumbnails above (or click any photo below) for a tour of some of our favorites, from Midtown cubano specialists, to Guyanese bakeries out in Queens.

10. Margon
Address: 136 W 46th St, Manhattan-212-354-5013

Manhattan office workers have been flocking to Margon, a Cuban institution near Times Square, on their mid-day breaks for generations. The chief attraction for the lunch crowd is Margon’s legendary cubano, or Cuban sandwich, while recent years have seen the now Dominican-run establishment add dishes from D.R. to the cafeteria-style menu.

9. Cuchifritos
Address: Across the City

Cuchifritos isn’t the name of a restaurant but a style of pork-based Puerto Rican soul food that thrives in NYC. While folks have their neighborhood favorites, no specific cuchifritos spot stands above the rest as citywide champ, with each spot offering the same key selections and mostly similar flavors. To find one, just walk through any neighborhood with a large, Puerto Rican contingent in the Bronx, Brooklyn or uptown Manhattan and look for the joint with fried meat piled high under fluorescent lightbulbs in the window. Visiting NYC with your vegan friend? Leave ‘em home, or find someplace else.

8. Spur Tree
Address:76 Orchard St, Manhattan, 212-477-9977

Spur Tree brought uptown Jamaican style to downtown NYC’s Lower East Side a half-decade ago and, while the neighborhood around it has changed, Spur Tree has been a staple ever since. Though better known as a bar and lounge than a restaurant, Spur Tree’s jerk wings, Red Stripe-marinated shrimp and oxtail stew are highly recommended. If you’re fond of plantains, don’t miss their panko-crusted variation on the traditional Jamaican side.

7/6. A&A Bake & Doubles Shop
Address: 481 Nostrand Ave, Brooklyn, 917-892-9562
Ali’s Roti Shop
Address: 1267 Fulton St  Brooklyn, 718-783-0316

Come early or get left hungry at A&A Bake & Doubles Shop, the Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn institution also known as “Doubles King.” Of course, if you can’t make the early afternoon cutoff time for doubles—the curried chickpea-filled chana bread rolls that double as Trinidad’s favorite street food— at A&A (it closes at 3) head around the corner to Fulton Street for the equally famed Ali’s Roti Shop, and smash some doubles as an appetizer for your goat roti. For a wild card, try the same at the lesser known but equally tasty Trini-Gul, also up the block.

5. Sybil’s Restaurant and Bakery
Address: 2210 Church Ave,  Brooklyn and other locations; 718-469-9049

You’ve had Jamaican patties before but have you had the Guyanese variety? Sybil’s is hands down the best West Indian bakery in NYC and, conveniently, there’s three of ‘em: one in Flatbush, Brooklyn, and two in Queens.

4. Trini Paki Boys Cart
Address:43rd Street and 6th Avenue, Manhattan

Predating NYC’s current obsession with gimmicky food trucks, the Trini Paki Boys Cart is one of the city’s most unique variations on a classic New York staple: the roadside halal cart. Mohammed Khan, a vendor of mixed Pakistani and Trinidadian parentage, and his Trini mum Fatima serve up halal “street meat” with a Caribbean flavor twist, but what really makes Trini Paki Boys so incredible (and so surprising to find in a sanitized, corporate stretch of Midtown Manhattan) is Trini staples like shark and bake (fried shark meat sandwich) and doubles. Get both with tamarind sauce.

3. Miss Lily’s Favourite Cakes
Address: 132 W Houston St, Manhattan, 646-588-5375

From its back room lined with classic dancehall album covers to the eye candy wait staff, Miss Lily’s is definitely a scene. But the downtown Manhattan restaurant (and its next-door annex, which includes the gallery space/record store Miss Lily’s Variety and the takeout spot and fresh juice bar, Melvin’s Juice Box, pictured above) backs it up with great food, including some of the best jerk chicken north of Boston Beach and the only authentic Jamaican-style ice cream in NYC.

2. Peppa’s
Address:738 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, 646-683-6012

here’s no shortage of places to find good jerk chicken in Flatbush, Brooklyn, NYC’s most distinctly West Indian neighborhood. But the highly consistent Peppas, which succeeded the now-closed Danny and Peppa’s (whose two owners split, and opened separate shops, with Danny’s eventually closing), is, in many people’s estimation, the best.

1. Veggie Castle
Address:132-9 Liberty Ave  Queens, 718-641-8342

This ital shack on natural steroids gets its name from its original space at a closed former outpost of White Castle, an iconic hamburger chain with royally cheesy architecture. While that location, on Church Avenue in Flatbush, Brooklyn, closed several years ago, Veggie Castle now serves up its signature soy chunks and fresh juices a borough away in Richmond Hill, Queens, where it’s officially known as Veggie Castle II.

 

Source:Large Up

 

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