Friday, May 16, 2014


So our best of the week feature basically highlights something remarkable in Harlem that we tried out for the first time. There are a lot of great eats in Harlem and this ongoing series will have the best of the best. 

Those who have lived in the city most of their lives might remember how 6th Street in the East Village used to be the fabulous Indian restaurant row lit with many holiday lights throughout the year.  Red Chilli opened up in Harlem in the past year and brings this sort of festive mood along with great food to 116th Street.  Somehow Indian restaurants in Delhi do not have this eclectic, electric mix of East and West but it works in a chaotic, esoteric way for the big city.  Those who want a romantic time with a curtain of blinking lights as the backdrop should especially ask for the front table with the window view.

This restaurant just west of Lenox Avenue makes some of the best Naan bread we have ever tried and those who want a little more flavor should ask for the garlic variation.  Vegetarians will appreciate the Paneer Makhanee which had large cubes of Indian white cheese cooked with spinach in a savory yogurt sauce.  The tandoori chicken was sizzling and came in a portion easily shared for two.  Curries were also on point and the little spice condiments in very proper serving trays all added to a somewhat formal experience to the casual spot.  Red Chilli is probably one of the most authentic ethnic option that has opened up in Harlem these past years and is highly recommended by those for those who want more variety in their dining experience uptown.


  1. The new multiple choices in dining Harlem is one of the few things I appreciate the most of the new development in Harlem. Although we did have an Indian restaurant on West 125th St. just south of Amsterdam Avenue which lasted from the late 60's to the early 80's and was frequented by Malcolm X and other members of the Nation of Islam as well as James Baldwin. My parents took me there back around '79 and the food was delicious and authentically Indian. There was once a great Cantonese spot on the 2nd floor of the Renaissance Ballroom and they didn't do take-out as I can remember for many years. I had my first Cantonese Crab there and it rivaled anything south of Canal Street. But now we have so much more and the ambiance in many of these establishments really does boost your self esteem. Sometimes after work if I want to eat in one of the new French, Italian, Fusion, etc. places I find myself checking myself to make sure my attire is appropriate first. Thanks to this new development uptown, its been years since I've been in Mc Donald's or some of the other fast food joints. And there you have it; we now have joints, cafes, bistros, restaurants, table d'hotes, and relaises(sp).
    And I was one of those persons who during my university days in the early 70's frequented the Indian Restaurants on east 6th St. b/c they were cheap with huge portions and the service was exccellent. So now I can stay close to home and thats a good thing. I'm a more discriminating diner Thanks to the new development & would rather be hungry than take a step back to some of the other places.

  2. Speaking of options, what has become of Tonnies Minnies? They've been shuttered for a long time now.

  3. Does anyone know if an Indian restaurant is coming to Hamilton Heights?

  4. Deborah Wright who was the first Chairman of the Harlem Empowerment Zone back in '96 was criticized for taking such a high profile position in Harlem but not being a Harlem resident. Her reaction to such criticism was that Harlem still didn't have the amenities that she would like such as a place to get a good "pasta salad." Well one wonders what her excuse would be today given all that we have uptown.

  5. I love red chilli on w116 food is great the service n remind me of my favor Indian Restur in the east village Bangladesh......on E5 n First ave.

    For greg : tonnies minnies is closed for was great so that was NOT the reason.

    The landlord is selling the building.

  6. My wife and I live on 120th and we go here all the time. The food is fantastic. Back when we lived on the upper west side, we used to go to Indus Valley on 100th and Broadway, which we thought was among the best Indian food uptown. But Red Chili blows it out of the water.

    Our favorites are the chicken vindaloo, tikka masala, the vegetable samosas, and the saag paneer (ask for them to make it with the curry sauce, not the cream sauce). The naan is fantastic as well. There's one that they make with coconut, almond and raisins -- called the Peshwari Naan -- which is out of this world.

    The owner is often there and he's very nice and super friendly. We went and ate at the restaurant once, but usually we prefer to do take out and delivery. They also have a lunch special every day (even weekends) that includes an entree, soup and appetizer for ten bucks.

    This place gets an A-plus in my book. The quality of the food is up there with my other top favorite in Harlem, Zoma, which has fantastic Ethiopian food. (Unfortunately Zoma doesn't do delivery though, which can be annoying).