Hamilton Heights is a beautiful green, wide-sidewalked neighborhood just above 135th St and stretches to the top of Trinity Cemetery and Mausoleum at 155th St and reaches from the Hudson West to Saint Nicholas Avenue. Today it boasts more than 40 eateries, restaurants, delis, and coffee shops. Iíd like to take you on a culinary tour of some of the hottest eateries in Hamilton Heights and my favorite dishes.
Where to Eat in Hamilton Heights:
Uncle Tonyís located at 139th and Amsterdam is a pizza joint that takes pizza to a whole new level. They make a traditional thin crusted pizza, and itís delicious, but itís their Bakers Pie that my heart longs for. Thick 48 HR proofed crust piled mile-high with melted cheese and thin crisp pepperonis. One slice is a meal! You can order by the slice or you can take a whole pie.
Uncle Tony also makes a homemade Ginger Ale that is sublime. And donít be shy if youíre of the Vegan persuasion; they will make any pie with Vegan cheese, and they always have a Vegan pie for slicing hot and ready to go. They have a slice and soda special every day which makes this place a perfect stop to grab a quick tasty slice of pizza pie.
ROKC located at 141st St. and Broadway has some of the best Ramen in town, and their oysters are delectable. Iím not a Ramen expert but I am a Ramen connoisseur and I will stand by this Ramen house until I or it ceases to exist. Everything I have put in my mouth within the walls of this tiny little basement level Ramen-mecca has been perfect.
I highly recommend the Okinawa Ramen itís a salty soup spectacular! The soft-boiled eggs are always perfect and the touch of spice in this dish round out the level of intense flavors that leave you begging for more. And donít worry my Vegan friends this Ramen emporium has a Kombu and Shitake Mushroom-based broth with vegetables and noodles just for you! The Raw bar has a wide variety of oysters to choose from, which are always fresh, and even tastier during their daily happy hour from opening to 7 pm: $1.50 per Oyster. As if this wasnít enough this restaurant boasts a fabulous and extensive craft cocktail menu, which is quite impressive and may be worth a trip just for a drink!
The Grange at 141st and Amsterdam, so named as this entire neighborhood was once home to Alexander Hamiltonís property which he called ďThe Grange.Ē His actual home now resides just down the street from this restaurant and bar at 141st and St Nicholas Ave which makes this place the perfect brunch spot after you explore the Hamilton House museum and historical landmark. The Grange brunch is my favorite in the area.
The Skillet-Baked Eggs will change how you think about spinach, itís worth every drop of creamy goodness, and I already liked spinach quite a bit. They also offer bottomless mimosas which you can never go wrong with. This restaurant has a quaint, charming, atmosphere which harkens back to a simpler time, it feels a bit old-timey and I love that. This establishment is committed to locally sourced foods and products so basically, this is like eating at a farmers market stand. Support local!
Just a hop, skip, and a jump up the Broadway is my favorite Sushi in the hood: Geisha Sushi. This Asian fusion restaurant has one of the best Spicy Tuna Rolls Iíve ever put in my mouth. And Iíve eaten a lot ofÖ wellÖ Spicy Tuna Rolls. What makes this Spicy Tuna Roll stand apart you might be asking yourself?
Well, the head chef had the genius idea to fold into his spicy tuna a dash of Panko crumbs. So, this spicy tuna hits your mouth with a crunch, and itís oh so satisfying. These simple yet complexly gratifying spicy tuna hand rolls are a just a measly $7. When I first started ordering them they were $5 but I think they have realized they could make an exponential profit of the spicy tuna consumer in the neighborhood, so they have hiked their price up. But you know what it hasnít slowed me down one bit. I still order it as much as humanly possible.
Of all three places, Iíve mentioned so far this restaurant has the largest dining area and makes the perfect place for a group looking for a wide variety of Asian foods. I might also mention that their Green Curry is fantastic, and Iím quite picky about my curry, especially the green variety. Geisha has a full bar and a Cheesecake Factory size menu of all sorts of Asian fares.
Just across the street on the West side of Broadway and 142nd St. is a small, locally owned, Empanada chain called Empanada Monumental. These empanadas are truly spectacular. But itís not the crispy bread filled with meats and cheeses that Iím after when I visit this establishment, I come for the Salchipapas. This is a dish of shoe-string cut potatoes (weíll call them french fries because thatís what they are) sautťed with sliced sausages. But Empanada Monumental has upped the ante by smothering this traditional dish with a light thousand island (ketchup and mayo) and a heavy top layer of melted cheese.
When the box is handed to you the styrofoam is warping from the heat of the fries and sausage perfectly sautťed to a crispy, salty, heavenly hash. And scooping up this tasty treat is so my idea of a good time. When I think of being really naughty with my eating habits I immediately ask myself ďis tonight Salchipapas night?Ē This quick eatery also has a wide variety of Quipes (bread balls stuffed with goodies) and Batidos (Cuban style milkshakes) which will put your morning smoothie to shame. This place is quick and easy and very very very dangerous with its proximity to my home.
Solace at 143rd and Broadway is my favorite watering hole. Their Margaritas are especially on point and they have the friendliest prices relative to the amount of liquor they bring to your table. Not that I need to be rating places based on the amount of liquor they pour into your glass but hell Iím over 30 years old and I donít want to be fooling around with a half-executed adult beverage on an NYC price tag. Iíd prefer my drinks stiff, and while I could make other jokes Iíll just leave it thereÖ This gastropub is my go-to ďletís go out and get a drink!Ē place.
It has a fantastic bottomless mimosa brunch, an amazing menu with bites and meals for any time of day, and frequently becomes a place to kick off your heels and shred some carpet late in the evening. They have outdoor seating for those days the weather seems to be on your side. If youíre in my hood and you see me at Solace donít be surprised, and donít be shy about saying hi, Iíll probably buy you a Margarita or a Shirly Temple if youíre not of the liquor consuming kind.
Iíd just like to say a quick word about Matto Espresso at 142nd St. and Broadway. Everything there is $2. No joke, everything! And they have an entire menu of salads and sandwiches to grab-and-go. Their coffee is spectacular and they even have vegan cookies! Again, I repeat everything is $2. If you havenít been what are you waiting for? They also have a great coffee shop, come in and work vibe so if you need a second space to work this should be your next destination. Matto also has a vegan donut so if youíre into those this is the only one in the area, itís well worth the $2, itís a damn good donut.
Letís take a break from Broadway and jump over to 143rd St. and Hamilton Place where Hogshead Tavern has one of the largest selection of craft and microbrews in Upper Manhattan. If you take a close look at the name of this place and the interior design, you might get the sense you have seen this place before. And thatís because you have. Itís black tile with rich green trim and metal features closely resembles the Ministry of Magic from the Harry Potter series, itís a little British magic story, you might have heard of it, but totally cool if you havenít.
There is something soothing about the black tileís that drench the place in a warm and comforting atmosphere. But enough about how it looks letís talk about their spectacular Beer menu, itís huge, one of the best in Manhattan! And you can sample any of them! If beer isnít your thing they also have wine on tap and sparkling wines, and not to mention their spectacular whiskey collection so there is something for everyone here. They also have a full menu with hearty fare and plates to share. If youíre feeling especially meat-hungry try the Pig & Dip. Itís a pulled pork sandwich with pork belly, onion marmalade, gruyere, and Pork au jus. Itís one of the best pulled porkís Iíve ever had. I might also recommend the Pork Belly Grilled Cheese, itís everything youíve ever wanted from a grilled cheese sandwich. And their kitchen is open until 3 am daily. So, if youíre needing a place to sit and eat at 2 am this Tavern may make your dreams come true.
Anchor Wine Bar at 143rd St and Broadway has built a reputation as a finer establishment in our neighborhood. The kind of place you can take mom and dad or your boss who wants to hang out on a Friday night (if you feel the need to impress while still being hip and classy). Itís fine Italian foods and flatbreads are truly scrumptious and worth every penny. And yes you guessed it, their wine menu is like a well-built pit bull: muscular, bulky, maybe a bit intimidating but once you get to know it so, so soft and friendly. Their wine and cocktail menu is extensive and guaranteed to have something to please everyone. And if youíre feeling like youíd like a new sandwich adventure, try their breakfast paninis; theyíre beyond delicious. Anchor Wine Bar has proved to be the perfect place to dress up or dress down. Itís a chick atmosphere with top-of-the-line beverages and foods as well as a fantastic happy hour daily 4-7 pm.
Wholesome Garden at 144th St and Broadway has one of the best pizza deals in town. $10 for an extra-large cheese pie (take-out only) all day, every day. And itís a kick-ass pizza. Got friends coming over for game night or the world series? Call this place and order three $10 pies and you could feed your whole clan. The wings here are also muy bueno and they make a great pairing for your large pie. This place is the perfect take-out lunch/dinner spot. Or feeling a little low on your veggie/fruit intake grab a fresh made smoothie and ad a protein for a quick on-the-go boost!
Hamiltonís Bakery at 147th St. and Broadway is a unique eatery that is a coffee shop by day and a restaurant by night. It has a chic atmosphere with a variety of salads and sandwiches to choose from. Itís a great place to work on your laptop and enjoy a bite in a classic NY exposed-brick kind of atmosphere. Their pastries are to die for!
The Handpulled Noodle at 148th St. and Broadway has some of the best noodle dishes in the area. These arenít your grandma and grandpaís Chinese Food style noodles, and donít get me wrong I love those, but these are a hearty hand-pulled noodle that has origins in North China and was traditionally a working-class dish. They describe their ding-ding noodles as a mini Chinese gnocchi, and they recommend pairing it with the curry lamb, which I would highly recommend as well.
This place is pretty basic, they give you a few basic noodle styles and a few basic recipes, then you get to mix and match to your heart's content. One thing to note about this Chinese food eatery is their spice (heat) level is not a joke. When they say spicy they mean SPICY. Also, their scallion pancake is the stuff dreams are made of. They are dense and simultaneously chewy and crunchy, salty and sweetly oniony. This is a great take out on a cold night, they deliver too so donít feel obligated to walk over.
The Honey Well at 148th St. and Broadway may be one of the coolest bars in the area and maybe NYC for that matter. Itís a basement level bar with an atmosphere and dťcor straight out of the 1970ís. The low bar and swivel-top bar stools feel like a diner while the backlit liquor shelves offer an ethereal glow to the rooms. In the back there are tall plush leather booths that look like youíve stepped into the Velvet Lounge of the Beverly Hills Hotel, but with darker, richer colors that keep the place feeling like a speak-easy.
The bartenders here are true crafts cocktail aficionados. They know what they are doing! You name it they can make it. You imagine it and they can make it. Their specialty and claim to fame are their deviled eggs, a personal favorite of mine. They have the perfect ratio of frothy yolk-mix to white boiled egg bowl. These appetizing treats are a dollar on happy hour along with a selection of their home-crafted cocktails. This is a definite go-to bar and I guarantee you wonít be disappointed.
The Chipped Cup at 148th St. and Broadway is the basement neighbor of The Honey Well. Itís is a quiet traditional coffee shop with delicious coffee and pastries. Their wifi is great and it is a quiet little place to grab a table and a cup of joe.
The Harlem Public might be the grandmother of them all. This gastropub sports classic American eats and has a great vibe for all sorts of gatherings. There are big outdoor picnic tables on the sidewalk for cool evenings, and a variety of high-tops, bar seating, and dining tables inside. They serve one of my favorite forms of potatoes: the tater tot. They are hand-made, perfectly delicious, and pair amazingly with the one-of-a-kind burgers. These burgers have it all: peanut butter, Doritos, eggs, and potatoes. Each and every one of them is fantastic - donít worry, Iíve had them all.
If youíre looking for fun appetizers they have a deep-fried treat called avocado fries, and theyíre exactly what they sound like. Sliced and breaded avocados get deep fried and then served warm and salty with a variety of dipping sauces to drown your woes away. And if youíre of the ďI donít eat meatĒ they have two incredibly tasty vegan burgers, one is house-made and one is a pretty popular vegan patty that they dress up. And boy are they good! They also have a spectacular cocktail menu with a killer Bloody Mary. This gastro-eatery has become a staple of the Hamilton Heights neighborhood and if you havenít been, ask your friends, they probably have.
Bono Trattoria at 149th St. and Broadway is a traditional Italian restaurant. Their motto is: serve delicious affordable food. And that is exactly what they do. My go-to is their pizza because they are absolutely hands down some of the best restaurant pizza Iíve ever had. Their crust is light and crunchy, their sauce is tangy and rich, and their cheeses always feel a little extra special. Maybe thatís just the calories talking.
The Parma may be my favorite, classic, simple, divine. Prosciutto, mozzarella, gorgonzola, baby arugula & shaved Parmigiano cheese, there is nothing so simple and so complex that I would rather have on a pie. My favorite pasta dish is the Strozzapreti Alla Norcina because I am mildly obsessed with sausage and mushrooms, they top this dish with a truffle cream sauce so itís a gooey mess of magic. If youíve never had a brunch pizza I highly recommend that Bono Trattoria be your first one, itís simple and fulfilling. Iím telling you there is something in this crust!
These are just a few of my favorite spots in Hamilton Heights. I encourage you to try them all. There are also a wide variety of Latin American restaurants that I havenít ventured into yet, I need a little bit more education about those dishes and cuisines, so I can explore them and experience them with an appreciation. If youíre into that I would love a new food adventure buddy. There are so many yummy places to eat in this town and Hamilton Heights is proving to be a great stop on the Manhattan culinary map. If Iíve missed one of your favorite spots please let me know; I would love to try it out!
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