Sylvia Woods, the "Queen of Soulfood," is the founder and owner of the world famous Sylvia's Restaurant, located in the historical village of Harlem. Sylvia's Restaurant offers the best in southern comfort food in a casual and inviting atmosphere. Sylvia’s has you covered, serving everything from fried chicken, mac and cheese, seafood entrees, and BBQ ribs to omelettes, waffles, corn beef hash, and so much more.
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Street, Private Lot
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Rate & Reviews
How would you rate Sylvia's Restaurant?
How can you not like Sylivia's?
I heard about this place on the travel channel, as one of the best spots for southern comfort food in New York. Boy was I disappointed. We went on a Sunday when you're forced to order off of the gospel Sunday menu which gets you an entree two sides, a drink and cornbread for the table (which will run you about $20-25). As a group we ordered the fried chicken and ribs combo, catfish and shrimp combo and the chicken and waffle meal (no sides included with this one and it's about $15). The two combos were decent, the chicken was flavorful and hot (although the skin wasn't crispy). The ribs were just ok. I feel like I could get the same quality of ribs from a chain restaurant, nothing spectacular. The fish and shrimp were decent too, although both tasted a little fishy (usually a sign that it's not the freshest). I received a very thin piece of catfish and 3 shrimp (for $25!!) the mac n cheese and yams were very good. The greens were good, not the best or worst I've tasted. Now the garlic mashed potatos were terrible! They had a weird flavor and tasted like they came from a box and weren't real potatoes. The chicken and waffle meal was probably the most disappointing. The waffle arrived cold, not just room temp, but cold. We sent the waffle back in hopes of getting a hot one. The waiter apologized and said 2 minutes for a fresh waffle. It took about 15 minutes and by the time that one came it was cold too. How do you serve waffles that aren't even hot enough to melt the butter served with it?! Not only was the food way over priced for what you get (even for New York) but they make you order at least one meal per person, there's no sharing allowed. Come on, it's not like this is an all you can eat buffet. On top of all of that the service was terrible. We sat for about 10-15 minutes before getting water and another 10 minutes after that before the waiter even acknowledged that we were there, and when he did it was like we were a nuisance to him (maybe he was having a bad day I don't know). In the end we requested that the waffle meal be taken off as it was inedible. Never once did a manager come to see us. In good business when you have food sent back multiple times you need to see what's going on. I had high hopes after hearing so much about Sylvia's, but this place was definitely not worth the money or the hype.
First time I went, we were treated with good service and the food was quite good. Great atmosphere with a lot of well dressed black customers around, that made us feel in a beautiful and classy place. Second time (2 years later), my plate arrived 40 mn after order (the restaurant was quite empty...), the waitress looked at us with signs of disgust. Not to mention she placed us at the end of the room (almost in another room space). I asked if we could have a seat closer to the entrance in the beautiful part because there was nobody in, she accepter with no smile and an obvious sigh. I felt responsile of all ancestral slavery behind her unfriendly look at us. So, our plates finally arrived, good but average. I have to say their iced tea was the best I ever drank.
I like Sylvia's food; however, it appears as though as the food the courtesy and service is going down. I would hate to see a well-known restaurant cease because employees and management do not know how to handle their business. Living in New York, it was an embarrassment when a church sponsored a trip from GA. I can't complain about what happened before I reached there, but one of your employees stated that the church owed them $100 and the price was misquoted from one of your employees. How does the customer become the bearer of your employees mistake? Basically, in business you eat it. There was a whole thing about my manager is holding them accountable and the idea that you would become so adamant over $100 is despicable. The cost to run the restaurant is not the customer's concern. They should be able to come to your restaurant, enjoy the food and the ambiance, pay their bill and move on. This is also correct when the person who made the reservation was not their to correctly address it. Your employees made a big ordeal over $100 to out of town guest just to here I will never be back. You don't care. But I did state get a copy of the contract, write a letter and whatever needs to be addressed, address it. However, you owe this group an apology.
We arrived about 2 on a Saturday afternoon. The place was moderately busy. Sat outside, which is a pleasant space on the sidewalk there. Rate the wait staff quality a C- just in general competence. It really felt like they weren't quite sure what to do. And the food. We waited one hour for four appetizers and a small plate of fried catfish. It was all mediocre. Also found the cornbread so-so.Not here looking to say bad things, but Sylvia, if she was as good as people say. clearly checked out long ago.
Service was horrible.. and food was even worse. Its like the vegetables where fresh out of a can. No seasoning and flavor. I am from the South and heard so much about this restaurant and really was looking for to it.. Very disappointment..
We went to Sylvia's Restaurant recently to partake in an annual celebration. As usual we were thoroughly pleased with the service and food at this constantly expanding mecca of soul food. I can't imagine looking elsewhere when a hankering for collard greens, cornbread or roast turkey hits me.
One of, if not the best, purveyors of soul food in the city (world?). I cannot rave enough, but there are caveats. This is not a fine dining establishment - some of the food is extremely unhealthy, the decor and atmosphere at times is very 'home-y' meaning plain tablecloths, perhaps loud noises from large groups, very relaxed (but attentive) service staff and greetings, etc. There is sometimes a pretty long wait and unless you hound the host/hostess they may forget about you. But now, on to the good stuff. The drinks are great (rum punch house special) - quite strong, and priced cheap. There are rotating specials, which are by and large not to be missed. And, of course, there are soul food staples (chicken and waffles) cooked any way you like, with house made hot sauce. Really great, really relaxing, probably unhealthy, but not to be missed.
Couldn't believe how bad it was. Clearly it's coasting off of the name recognition and the fact that it's in every tourist guidebook. I asked for waffles and got waffles that were clearly not made on premises. (I can't say for certain, but they looked like Eggos.)
I had heard about this place before Yelp had recommended it to me, (I'm such a hipster ;) but that as just because I knew Bill Clinton ate there after work.
The first thing you notice about the menu is that it's almost all "comfort" food. There was lots of fried and grilled meat/fish and plenty of breakfast options (which were sold until 1pm on Saturdays). One of the sections on the menu was "Chicken & Waffles" which intrigued me because I had never had such a thing.
All the people who served us were really nice and helpful, and they knew lots about the menu, which was important. The free biscuits and butter that they bring to the table are equally nice.
All in all, it was a really home-y restaurant with a relaxed atmosphere and lots of character. But don't be expecting anything particularly healthy, because you won't find it here. My iced tea was almost too sweet to swallow.
Give Sylvia's a chance because you'll be satisfied by everything it serves up.
Great place but too crowded it's small but it still has good food your best bet is to take out. I'm glad to meet Sylvia before she passed away. rest in peace Sylvia. Happy food hunting.
When ever I have out of town visitors we always go to Sylvia's. I tell them the food is great and the portions are huge. Plan on a take home box and a second meal.
Staff is friendly but they have not quite figured out fast service. The quality of the recipes and the ability of the kitchen staff to prepare them more than compensate. Prices are great when you consider the portion size.
My out of town visitors have always enjoyed the experience. I enjoy it also. Highly recommended for a fabulous leisurely meal.
I live in nyc now but am a southern girl and this is one of the closests to soul food you will get in the city. It has more of a carribbean flavor to it. It's a bit expensive but it is a good tourist spot for its history.
I wanted to take the time and write about my wonderful experience at Sylvia's. A group of us was visiting from Baltimore and wanted to try Sylvia's since we heard about it. Whenever I want to try something new I go online to see what others say. I based my decision on the majority rules, most of the reviews I read were pleasant. I rather have my own experience because you just never know the motives behind those who write negative reviews. Anyway my friends and I were very much impressed. With the food, the friendly staff and we met Sylvia's daughters and granddaughter. Such a nice, loving, and supportive family Ms Sylvia would be proud. Our wait was not that long about 15 min. We arrived about 1:30. To me it's worth the wait. It was five in my group,so the wait time isn't as long when you have a smaller party. Reservations are recommend during the busier times. The manager came to our table and ask about how we enjoyed ourselves and if there is anything we need. We asked if they can open a Sylvia's in Baltimore (preferably the Inner Harbor). We will be back, next time I am going to try the chicken & waffles/the shrimp & grits.
Being a girl from the south visiting New York, I was excited about visiting the famous Sylvia's. I was truly disappointed in what Sylvia calls soul food. The potato salad was sweet, very sweet, who eats sweet potato salad! The fish had bones and not southern fried. The worst was the Banana Pudding, what was that!
I'd rate it as just under great southern soulfood. I've had better in Charleston SC and my mom's kitchen. Having said that, Sylvias will definitely satisfy your craving for authentic soul food. Miss Sylvia is a sweatheart and a delight to speak with. She has tremendous passion and it shows in her food. The atmosphere is stunning. never know who'll just pop in.
In june i Will visit NewYork with my Son and i'm very curieus to eat in your restaurant. We are living in Holland, and it is the second time for me to visit NewYork. Never been in your restaurant, but i heard great things About it. So surprise US!!
It's, worth the trip,from Lansing MI,the menu is great,I grew up on this kind of food,the staff was very friendly,,the price was perfect,& you get a lot for your money. I will return every time I visit Harlem, I Highly Recommend this Restaurant.
Delicious corn bread and southern classics like collard greens, okra, fried chicken and salmon croquettes. Slightly pricey for their main menu, but a great lunch menu for under $12. Had the collards (non-veggie) and it was impressive. I definitely plan to come back for lunch.
They cater to the tourists. The food comes from cans, boxes and microwaves .....the servers are slow and somewhat dimwitted ....stay away from this place it brings shame to the southern traditions ....Silvia why are you selling out why are you killing the one simple thing that connects all our brothers and sisters.....I'm a Latin male with a black wife and she's from north Carolina she said in her own words "my families generations would not find these items suitable for even the slaves to consume because they are an embarrassment to the rich delicious heritage." I will not be returning.....also the corn bread was the only ok item and that's not much....it still tastes like a boxed mix red lobster has a better bread roll.
i came all the way from Saud Arabia just to try this place and i was with my wife and 9y son and after a long trip and while we riding trains to get to the place my wife was very hungry and complaining why we are going to a place so far just to grab a bite, but after the first taste she said it really worth the trip and it's the food she ever had and of course i felt the same. that was like 20 days ago and we are so happy that we have another chance to eat there again today 😊
To be honest, we were a bit disappointed. We had their famous fried chicken and sassy wings. The cake that they gave us as an appetizer was delicious. Also, the service was really good since they are really friendly and responsive. However, a 16.95$ dish has only a bowl of butter corn, macaroni & cheese with one fried chicken is somewhat overpriced. The corn and macaroni & cheese taste like they are served out of can or it has been prepared for a long time ago. The fried chicken was good though. It was juicy and crispy. But if there were more spice to it, it would have been more special. The sassy wings were meaty. I personally like hot sauce, so I added the Sylvia's XXX hot sauce. Disappointingly, it was not spicy at all. If you are curious about why they are famous, you should definitely go yourself and experience it. But for me, I probably won't go there again.
Visiting from Houston, TX, I loved it! The food was DELICIOUS! Very southern atmosphere. We had Earnest and he was very nice. I had the catfish, greens, and yams and it was GOOD! The cornbread they bring out before the meal was good! My friend had the oxtails and she loved them. If ever in Harlem, visit!
We come to NY from KY at least 8 times a year. I've heard nothing but great things about Sylvias. I finally made it a must for us to stop there on our way back. We ordered the famous fried chicken and my wife got some sides. The staff was amazingly nice. The restaurant it self was very welcoming and comfortable. However the chicken we ordered was very dry. I'm convinced we jus got a bad batch or something because I fail to accept that everyone I've talked to is crazy. I'm going to make it back and keep trying till I get that famous chicken
The staff is fabulous just like the food!! Felt like I was in my my mommas kitchen. Thank you for incredible hospitality and the greatest Sunday Bruce concert ever!!
On holiday in NYC for two weeks and Sylvias fried chicken with mashed potatoes and greens was by far the BEST meal ive had my entire stay, a true highlight. Great friendly service my the wait staff too.
A great experience. Food was great; drinks were great. We had fried chicken, waffles, shrimp and mac and cheese and enjoyed every bite. The drinks didn't taste watered down. The staff was really friendly and helpful. This restaurant lives up to it's name.
YUCK... They came out the Hempstead LI in front of Stop & Shop for charity $5 plates... I can't believe they even served that dog food. SHAMEFUL you should be ashamed of yourselves!!!! Weather for charity or not to serve and present foor in that manner - my dog wouldn't even eat it, he pushed it away... DISGUSTING!!
For starters the service is excellent. We got there at 11:45 on a Sunday and had a wait of a little less than 1/2 an hour. Olga our server knew the menu and was very helpful. When I asked how sweet the iced tea was she responded, "Very" and it was. The Gospel Sunday Breakfast which runs from 11-2 is reasonably priced with good quantities. Their waffles along with the fried chicken was a Wow. My wife asked if the Bar-B-Que Ribs & Fried Chicken was available even though the menu said it was not available till 2. Olga said it was so she ordered that. It all was great! The ribs, chicken were a 10. The potato salad was the best ever. The Gospel band was very good and got everyone involved in the music. It truly is a happening that we would certainly go back to.
Very pleasent afternoon here. Sylvia's Special is great! Ribs perfect! Chicken fried beautifully. Great service. Wonderful gospel music! Felt like home (Brazil).
I ran into Sylvia's while walking in Harlem looking for a place to try something local. This place seems like a safe choice for someone who, like me, has no experience with comfort food. The service is very friendly, the restaurant is busy, and the portions and prices are reasonable.
A few friends and I were visiting from England, and honestly this is probably the best food I have ever had!! The staff were amazing and the price was no to bad either. Finger licking good bbq ribs.. dammmmmm!!
The place has its charm in history and very courteous staff. Prices are as touristy as they get though. Maybe it was because we were one of the last patrons there, but food was nowhere near the iconic level one would think. Very disappointing sides and even the mainstay chicken & waffles. It wasn't "bad" but I could go to crown fried chicken and get almost equally fresh chicken I feel. Overall it just didn't live up to the hype!
The best part of my dining experience was the fruit punch and the cornbread at the beginning. This restaurant has received mixed reviews. I gave them the benefit of the doubt and most likely will never return. The banana pudding had unripe bananas, it was if I was eating a plantain. The staff was extremely disappointing. I did not get a homely feel as I would expect from a southern restaurant. The staff took about 30 minutes to serve me my plantain pudding. I give Sylvia's a solid 3. Was not worth all the hype and definitely not worth the price. Took 30 minutes to receive my check towards the end.
I thought it would be nice for me and my mother to enjoy some nice soul food a few Friday's ago and it was the worst mistake ever... I will never step foot into this restaurant again. I ordered the catfish and my mom ordered the liver, we sat there for AN HOUR waiting on our food. People came and went and we still sat there... I kept asking where our food was and I kept getting told it was coming... When I finally got fed up and asked for a refund, out came our food a whole hour later, oh and they weren't even busy, we were the only person waiting for takeout! Oh whoops, there was a guy that came after us and he was in and out. And there was a hostess there who was just standing around dancing and talking and told us the same thing the other people behind the counter told us. So anyway, after an hour, we finally get our food, was offered nothing complimentary for our gruesome 60 minute wait (I also wasn't feeling good that day so this made it so much better! *sarcastically of course*) we get home, my catfish was mediocre and cold. My mother's liver was burnt scraps, the cornbread was so hard that it would put a rock to shame, did I mention the food was cold? And just to think I was gonna take my mother here for her 50th birthday. Yeah, so never again.
I came to eat here with a couple of my NYDM brothers and the food and service were well worth the $50 tip we left.... I will definitely dine here again. The atmosphere is incredible.
Visiting from Australia with my family, highly impressed with authentic food and service. Restaurant was very busy, but isn't that a good sign? Loved cornbread and chicken dishes superb. Thanks guys!
Great atmosphere and good! The service was amazing. We had to wait a little for a table to hung out and spoke to people on the takeout side. The food came out quickly and the chicken and waffles was great. Everyone else enjoyed their meal. The area has changed a lot around it and there is a lot of shopping and bigger box stores now.
Overrated tourist trap in my honest opinion. The wait for brunch is ridiculous. The food is subpar. Prices are not so bad especially since the portions are good. But there are way better gems to discover in the neighborhood such as Chez Lucienne. This place is only significant for its heritage which is why I'm giving it a three. It should be a landmark, not a restaurant.
Our first experience of soul food, warm welcome after walking three miles to get here (scenic route rather than the subway). Coming from England we wanted to try the famous food and we weren't disappointed. We've fallen in love with corn bread (we don't have that over here) and the food was better than anything similar we had tasted, with very reasonable prices. Thank you to the staff.
Was in the neighborhood for amateur night at the Apollo. Stopped here for a bite afterward, expecting it to be a let down, if only because of the hype. Happily, it turned out to be good old fashioned soul food done right. Our bus boy even found us just outside the restaurant as we were leaving to bring us our leftovers that we nearly forgot (and we were SO happy that he did). Will be returning.
Waffle and fried chicken with a soul singer going around the table? Yes, please! I have had an amazing experience on a casual Sunday morning and totally loved it. It's an experience not just about food, but also about music, so full-rounded entertainment at Sylvia's restaurant! Strongly recommended.
Fried chicken was good...everything else ehh not that great! The vibe was awesome felt like I was sitting at my grandma's dinner table, music was bumping l!
Food was very good, prices not bad compared to other locations in the area (aside from a $10 mimosa). Cozy inside, service very pleasant and polite.
Only two issues - on the slower side when it comes to wait time (wasn't busy at the time - 11:30am on a Wed) and a bit cramped for space. Fix those and you have a 5 star review next time.
I am still happy with the experience, thanks!
Ca me at 3, an was told we were waiting on the pm,server. So we waited 45 min until the next shift got to work and,they were all LATE. THEN THE MANAGER WAS MAKING DRINKS AND DRINKING THEM. YES THE STAFF WAS DRINKING LIQUOR ON THE CLOCK, BROUGHT THE FOOD WAS,BROUGHT OUT IN SHIFTS. HAS RICE NO GRAVY, THEN HALF THE MEAL WAS COLD, 3 DIFFERENT PEOPLE STARTED WAITING ON US
THIS WAS THE WORSE
WASTE OF $100.
HORRIBLE HORRIBLE FROM OHIO. THEY NEVER HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT ME AGAIN. YUCK FOOD AND HORRIBLE SERVICE
Wow I'm truly surprised at this response. You had an off day... $100 of my dollars later. And excuse me the young lady with the sweater which was tan and black boots was the MANAGER, and was making drinks because the server and all your second shift staff was late. She took our drink order first excuse me after she plugged up her cell phone. The where on the clock I have no reason to lie. Let's not make excuses for poor service, fyi we did tell the server, but who wants microwave smother chicken gravy then became gummy, unprofessional as hell. Then you type excuses..... oh yeah clean up those dirty ass bathrooms
Was at Sylvia's yesterday with a group to see a show at the Dempsey Theatre. Show was awesome. Sylvia's was NOT. The fried chicken was good. The "potato salad" was mashed potatoes with sugar added!! The collards were from a can. The ribs were just boiled in water and sauce added when they were plated. The cornbread is a disgrace - too sweet!! this is NOT a soul food restaurant at all. Stay away and save your money. Jacobs - up the block and across the street is EXCELLENT. I give Sylvia's one star because I have to give it a rating.
First of all, let me say I heard about Sylvia's for years. I've heard nothing but good things. But let me tell you the truth! I went in a little after 12 noon for takeout. The service was horrible! Staff weren't attentive at all. The cashier was in the corner texting, not taking payments, The server look like she didn't want to help you and the food was TERRIBLE!!!. Authentic soul food my Ass! Their secret ingredient is: SALT SALT and more SALT! 2 hours and a gallon of water later and I'm still thirty, Smh. The cornbread was saturated with fat and grease. It felt like I had a dirty dish sponge in my mouth. If you're looking for good soul food????? This is not the place.
It was the worst soul food I ever had and when the owner asked how was our experience we told her the truth about what we experience she was upset! It taste like the cool ard greens came straight out the can! The ABSOLUTE WORST!!!
This place was so nasty this aint no damn soul food everything was nasty besides the cornbread that they give you when you get there we never got refills the whole time we were there and all the sides look and taste like it came out of a can and everything was sweet with sugar added even the greens and they admitted that the greens had sugar non of that food was made from the soul i will never recommend this to no one
The Short Ribs were phenomenal! They were mouthwatering and tender!
The Yams were the best that I've ever eaten and the service was wonderful! The whole experience made me feel as if I had been Teleported back to my deceased Mothers dinner table!
Great place for brunch on a Saturday. At 11 am, it was fairly easy to stroll in and get a table for three just waiting for five minutes. We shared an order of chicken and waffles, and each got a separate entree. All was delicious. The fried chicken had juicy meat and crispy skin. Paired with syrup and the fluffy waffles, it was perfect. My main of corned beef hash and eggs came with grits and was a huge portion. I definitely had trouble finishing this. I have to go back for lunch or dinner to try more soul food.
The service from waiter Keith was awesome. The flavor of the food was awesome but the temperature was off. I like my food piping hot not almost warm. The cornbread was hard as if it had been sitting for a while. I wanted to love it but I could not. I'm willing to go again to see if they were just having a bad day...
I ate there on 1016 2016. Fried Chicken macaroni and cheese and green beans. the Fried Chicken was dried out it obviously was cooked a while ago. But their macaroni and cheese was incredible green beans were incredible. My son had the candied yams that I did not taste, but I'm sure they were really good. Obviously a bad day for fried chicken:-( they were a little slow but it was busy
Good plave to have SoulFood in NY. Got seated really fast. The Servers are really friendly and i got my order within minutes! The Home brewed Ice Tea came with a refill and was pretty good. Highly recommended Place!!!
Great food indeed! We went on a Saturday and so had to wait about 30 minutes for a table, but unfortunately this is normal for nyc. The service was good and food was timely. The wine was cheap and gave me a true headache so beware lol...
We've hit Sylvia's before when visiting Harlem. We always expect a wait. No big deal. The staff is always friendly and they do their best at making sure the guess get seated as quickly as they can. I must admit being a bit disappointed this time with my food (smothered chicken, collards, & candied yams). While the food was still good, it wasn't as well seasoned or prepared as with my previous visits. Specifically, the candied yams. However, the mac n cheese I didn't order but tasted, was good. So, it depends on what you get. Just don't have huge expectations that's all.
My first time here. The oxtails were flavorful and tender. The traditional greens reminded me of my late grandmother's - very wonderful. The mac'n'cheese was warm and tasty. The cornbread was so good! The fruit punch had an unusual wonderfully not too sweet taste.
Went in for lunch Wednesday, Seated immediately. Service was excellent, very friendly, felt right at home. I had meat loaf from the specials, with Mac and cheese and collard greens.
The chicken delivered to the table next to me looked so good. Would recommend a trip.
Very clean and tidy also.
If you're visiting Harlem this restaurant is a must! We were warmly greeted by Annais and the service by Jasmin was very friendly. Not being locals she explained the menu and the different dishes perfectly. The food did not dissapoint, it came out quick and tasted delicious (must try the chicken liver :). Being lunchtime the atmosphere was great, very nice vibe with clean amenities. Overall great experience and would highly recommend.
The food was good. Their chicken and waffles hit my spot. The waiters are very polite and friendly. Will be visiting this place soon.
Maybe, I have high expectations, but I didn't quite understand/experience the hype, especially if I'm going out to spend money at a restaurant. The mac and cheese, garlic mashed potatoes, candied yams, and fried chicken were all good. I wouldn't say they were to die for. I must say the customer service was really good compared to many places i've visited but I would've wanted a little more southern flavor in the BBQ Ribs, Catfish, and Shrimp. I just didn't see it, honestly. The decor in this establishment was very pleasant and the hygiene was good. The food does look appetizing, however.
Great environment with big portions. The pork chops and the shrimp were incredible. Highly recommend the mash potatoes. Things did move a little slower inside the restaurant, but it was nice not to be rushed to eat and then get out.
Very disappointed with my experience as the staff was disorganized and unpleasant. The Hostess had a nasty attitude and acted very unprofessional. If you are considering this restaurant for a large gathering, save yourself the hassle and go somewhere else. And the food isn't even worth the hype, very unpleasant!
Outstanding! First timer, and glad we stopped by. Service was professional and very courteous. I appreciate a business when the manager and in this case, the "Chef" makes the rounds. Chef was polite and genuine in making sure you were enjoying your meal. Now the food; it was delicious and priced right. Obvious signs of quality ingredients. Highly recommended this place.
Sylvia's was my experience with Soul Food, so i don't really have any point of comparison, but the food at Sylvia's is tasty and comes in exceptionally generous servings. Neither i nor my date were able to finish. The fried chicken and pork ribs are to die for.
The service is friendly and prompt, and the staff were happy to help us out with the menu when they found out it was our first time. Highly recommended.
Alone on a business trip, I arrived late on a recent Saturday evening. It was as if I had walked into a big family gathering, and I was a special guest. My waitress, Olga, was warm and friendly, directing me to a combo plate: Fried chicken (with gravy for dipping at my request), ribs, yams, black-eyed peas (a standout), cornbread and Harlem beer, with peach cobbler for dessert. Just incredible -- the food, the atmosphere, the friendliness. Couldn't have asked for more.
Food was really good. Honestly, this has to be one of the few places ive been to in NY and have seen guests and workers know each other to the point it looks like family. Has a really great vibe. Only bad note, I enjoy waiters who communicate and have brief but good conversation and I did not receive that. The food did come in a rather quickly fashion though.
I had a nice time, the food was amazing, the music was tasteful for the environment, and all the waiters helped each other which I really loved.It was only me and my friend and when our waiter wasn't there the other waiters asked if we needed anything and or gave us water. The only issue I had was our waiter from some reason thought I said shrimp but I said Prime steak, which I found out when he brought me shrimp. I was a little bothered by that but other than that my time at Sylvia's was great.Also the bathroom needs updating but the decor in the resturant and just the whole environment all together was pleasant.
The food here is amazing! Whenever I am in Harlem I make sure to stop here. Today I had the fried chicken and waffles with a mimosa and everything was delicious! The fried chicken was seasoned to perfection with a crunchy crust and juicy meat inside. The waffle was melt in your mouth delicious and the biscuits that arrived at the table were hot and flaky. The staff was friendly and on point with clearing tables and keeping glasses full. It was a very pleasant experience.
They actually stayed open and full service until the time posted on the door and allowed me to order to go even though I was sitting eating. Good food. Great portion size.
GOOD EATING AND MRS SYLVIA'S LOVELY DAUGHTER ALWAYS GREETS THE GUESTS AND STAFF IS FRIENDLY. GREAT ENTERTAINMENT AT TIMES AND KID FRIENDLY RESTAURANT. I HOPE THEY KEEP UP THE TRADITION OF LOVE.
Historic gem in Harlem. Once you walk in you feel the connection of family. They take pride in their business and live up to history behide the name. The food is delicious... cooked with soul. If your in the Harlem area and craving sould food stop here... you would be disappointed. But, be ready to wait they are always crowded.
Veggies too sweet. You can tell sugar was added to the greens, ribs, and mac & cheese. Not good for Southern cooking. Fried Chicken was cooked perfectly.
Completely delightful. I was there for a catered seminar. The atmosphere was nice. The vegetables were cooked healthy Southern style, not over cooked. And that mac and cheese was just the right comfort food. Corn bread muffins were tasty, but there's never enough. Am I the only one that could eat a bucket of cornbread and one or two sides as a meal?
Historic restaurant in the heart of Harlem for great soul food. I liked their Harlem style fried chicken, but my favorite thing was their corn bread. Sweet and delicious. The staff was friendly. I'll definitively come back.
Excellent food, excellent services. Went there today for brunch and had an awesome experience. They took our large parties of medical students and even sang to us to congratulate us on our graduation. The chicken and waffles are a Harlem classic! Will return soon.
I had the Chicken and Waffles in was awesome. My family members had the Salmon which to my surprise it was a thick cut of fish . They said I was very well season and not dried out. The Pork ribs was succulent and man oh man the cornbread is to die for. We'll be back.
For the best southern cooking, grits, soul food the only spot i go to is Sylvia's. I believe the restaurant was named after Sean diddy's child. The place has excellent service, great food and the prices are reasonable!
great comfort food. i love dining outside in the Summer. the only reason why i did not give 5 stars cuz my drinks were a little bit on the expensive side. Great comfort food!
Party of two, served on a Saturday @ ~5pm. Note that we are Wisconsinites, not Southerners, and therefore the review below may make you say "but that's exactly what I wanted out of a restaurant!" Basically, the food was filled with processed sugar sauces. I had the BBQ ribs and my partner had the BBQ salmon. The sauces on each were incredibly sweet and while the meat below was tasty, it was difficult to finish. We were looking forward to the 'tomato okra' side dish but when it arrived, it looked like okra and corn, swimming in ketchup. Once again, too sickly-sweet to enjoy. The cocktail I had was very strong though, and well-priced for Harlem.
My partner summed it up best - the food reminded us of "church potluck" kind of food. When she said that, it hit the nail on the head for me. If you're looking for that kind of southern-soul-food style, then you're probably going to love this place. If you are used to...not that style of food... this place will probably strike you as a bit hokey and the food, unappealing.
Flew in from Chicago, parents owned a soul food restaurant for 15 years...I know good food and good service...Sylvia's was all that. It was amazing...i had a steak..you can't get a steak at a Soul food restaurant in Chicago...food was seasoned just right. Waitress was getting stressed but never let it show...she stayed cool and kept a smile. I'll be back in October for my birthday😊
Took for ever to get them to take order when they do someone brought some of the best corn beard that I have had in years. Waitress took order then never saw her aging for 12 minutes when she finally brought drinks. Then Couple Minutes Later Got Food & No On Refilled water. Once we finished eating took another 14 minutes for us to waitress back to get check. The food was great chicken and my daughter got waffles. Service is why I rated it so low.
I got the chicken and waffles (dark meat) and a side of mac and cheese. I went there after hearing raving reviews about the food. The food is indeed your classic Southern comforts. The dark meat chicken was seasoned to perfection. Perfectly crispy on the outside and moist and juicy on the inside. You know the fried chicken is good when all of it tastes flavoursome - not just the skin. Sylvia's did not disappoint - that chicken was very well seasoned inside. I barely touched the waffles - not because they tasted bad, I was just getting quite full.
My mac and cheese was a 3.8/5 in my opinion. It didn't wow me as expected but it didn't disappoint either. I'd love to try out their ribs next time I'm there. I highly recommend going to this restaurant. Service was fabulous as well to top it all of! That really added to the experience.
Wanted to like Sylvia's so bad since it's one of Harlem's old school spots but the service was horrendous. We wanted to be seated outside and was told by the hostess that it would be a longer wait time, which we had no issue with. Long story short, we waited an hour more than expected. The hostess and staff took their time clearing tables and getting to us. The manager finally came to talk to us after almost a two hour wait. Hostess kept grinning and seemed to enjoy how upset we were. Unfortunately won't be coming back.
Food was alright. Not worth the wait.
They were kind and courteous. There was a mix up with the reservation but they accommodated 19 of us on mother's day and the service was wonderful. I will definitely be returning.
Heavenly sweet cornbread cakes come free to get you started. You could stop with those and be satisfied, but I had the southern fried chicken (leg and thigh) and was not disappointed. The crispy batter coated the tender juicy fabulous meat. The environment and service deserves a shout out too.
Great great vibe! This place is the epitome of the expression “this food took me to church”. The food is that good that you have your money worth. Plus on Sundays, there’s a Gospel Choir that sings! Aye! How neat?! A must visit if you’re in New York!!
I've been there twice I've only had the fried chicken, macaroni & cheese, yams, waffles potato salad, fried catfish and cornbread. The cornbread is warm and a little sweet as a starter it's nice, the catfish was okay, macaroni and cheese is okay, the waffles are what waffles are, the yams are excellent but some people do complain that they're too sweet (strong sugar and vanilla) tasting more like a desert but they are tasty, chicken is very delicious just do not get the breast ours happened to be very dry. I would have been fine with the dark meat chicken and waffles and two sides for $15, but I ordered an additional breast after and it cost 10 bucks! And I regretted it. if I was nearby i may stop here for some comfort food, but I would not make a special trip. PS the potato salad would probably be good if they didnt put so much Relish in it.
We arrived with high expectations for the Sunday gospel brunch after reading so many positive reviews, and left thinking ´what was all the hype about?!´ Staff were pleasant but too busy to engage beyond the cursory welcome/thank you. Food was just average, almost canteen quality. The gospel brunch turned out to be one lady singing with a guy on a piano - but she never had the chance to sing an entire song as she was too busy going around the tables asking where people came from. We left feeling that Sylvia´s was probably something special way back at it´s inception, but now it feels like a conveyor belt that caters for tourists. Or perhaps they were just having an average day. There are probably lots of hidden gems in Harlem but you´ll never find them in a tourist guide!!
Food that will touch your soul. One of my favorite places when I'm in NYC. Had dinner here years ago. Loved it then. The restaurant didn't disappoint this time either. Staff was very friendly and professional. The meal was delicious. The wait was a little longer than quoted, but that's to be expected with known good food on a weekend night. The only downside was that the red velvet cake was gone by the time we finished eating, but that's on me. I saw it while we waited for seating and assumed everyone else didn't have it on their minds as well. My bad, especially since Whips closed down years ago. If you're somewhere in NYC, get here. And don't walk, run!
I forgot to get the hostess at the doors name but he was sooooooo helpful and nice and entertaining. Be even got me a solo table with an outlet near it so I can charge my phone. And that is desperately needed for a traveling person like myself who doesn't know their way around a big city. The wait staff was amazing. They were running to fill my water every five minutes and were on point with the food. It took me five minutes to get my food and drink after I ordered. I've been hearing about this restaurant for YEARS but this review will NEVER do it justice.
The very seasoned server was very accommodating as my party of 5 needed to get to a show at the Apollo. She brought our food quickly and affirmed we would be able to leave in time. She made sure that we wouldn't order anything that would take excessive amounts of time to prepare such as the fried tilapia. The fried chicken was tender and well breaded. The restroom is in the basement so it's not wheelchair accessible The restaurant is big so the seating is wheelchair accessible. There's something nostalgic about the bar upon entering the restaurant, and there were many more tables in two more dining rooms to the left.
The staff here is just as amazing as the food. Our waitress was a lovely person who made us feel right at home. My partner was under the weather and we were in town for an event. They brewed him up a special tea to help with his congestion and it parked him right up. We were so grateful. We will definitely be going back!
My friends and I had a wonderful experience. We'd just had a wonderful evening at the Apollo attending a performance of the Ballet Hispanico. We was close to Sylvia's and we called to see if they'd let us in. The staff treated us like family; gave us excellent service; and the food was delicious. We had the pleasure of meeting her daughters and the chef came out to check on us!
Came here for lunch on a weekday. There was no wait, which is nice. this place has a very pleasant and fancy feel to it. The server we had was very nice. You get a complimentary basket of cornbread and butter at the table. It was delicious. I can see why the fried chicken is so popular here. It’s literally cooked perfectly. The protein of choice come with 2 sides. Candies yams are deliciously sweet. My bf liked the potato salad.. but I’m not a fan of cold food. The world famous ribs were just alright. Ribs were kind of dried on top, which led me to believe they were probably a day old, maybe. I’m not crazy about the “sassy” sauce either. It tasted too much like tangy ketchup. It didn’t have that smokiness to it either. However, Mac and cheese was good. It’s just plain ole Mac and cheese. And the garlicky mashed potatoes are quite good as well. Very smooth. Overall, I think this is a very nice place for a date or family outing. You’ll definitely feel full from the sides. A little pricy for fried chicken if you ask me though. $40 for the meal without tip or drinks. But if you’re fancy like that, go for it! I definitely recommend.
Was a little worried this place wouldn't live up to the hype. Concerns were immediately put to rest. Tremendously warm welcome from some of the most professional wait staff we met in the USA. Food was SUPERB and there's no way you can leave this place feeling hungry. Highly recommended.
The cornbread, the cornbread!! One style is the sweet thinner kind, the other a thicker cake style and both delivered with butter to start your experience at this Harlem staple. Our table had pork chops (one grilled, one fried, and one smothered), chicken and waffles, ribs, salmon patties, and all the different sides. The only compliant I have was the waiter took a bit to come to our table to take our order, but honestly the cornbread satisfied us while we waited. I would recommend for anyone needing a bit of soul food while in NYC.
Excellent soul food....loved the chicken and waffles, candied yams and peach cobbler! A soul food landmark you must visit. In addition to great food this is almost a museum with a photo history on the wall of African American legends who have dined there. Excellent service too (thanks Olga!).
Came here after watching Buzzfeed’s Worth It. Great mix of people and homely ambience.
I ordered the Down Home Fried Chicken. The skin is flavourful and crispy, but the meat is a tad dry for my liking. But that’s just my preference, but overall still an amazing meal. The food here, whilst delicious, leans toward the salty side, so consider getting a drink to go with your food.
Staff were attentive and polite. I came on a mid-afternoon weekday and had to wait half an hour for a table for 2. Natural given the popularity Sylvia’s. Consider arriving early and/or calling to make a reservation
I love the history of Sylvia's and I was excited to visit and eat here but the food was mediocre. It wasn't bad food but for a place that prides itself as one of the best in Harlem, well I'm nervous for what the other restaurants in Harlem tastes like. I have lived in the South and I was expecting it to be better or at the very least as good as BB kings in Nashville it wasn't even close! Everything I had, I could do better myself at home and I am not a professional chef. The staff were great and all the history and all the greats that have eaten and been in that same room was magical but if you're going there for the food, you'll be disappointed.
I grew up in NYC and had always wanted to eat at Sylvia's. Unfortunately it did not live up to my expectations. My Kids had the chicken and waffles- the chicken was crisp, however, no flavor and high in salt. My kids made it a point to say my waffles were better.
Also had the Chicken and Ribs combo with candied Yams and Mac and Cheese. The yams simply covered in honey-No spices added. The mac and cheese were cheesy, but also high in salt. The ribs were tender but slightly dry and the sauce was a combination of spices and ketchup. Overall, I have had better- and quite frankly coming from my own kitchen. It is also highly overpriced for the quality of food that you get, you are paying for the name and not the food,
AMAZING Soul Food Restaurant! Delicious flavorful food! Live entertainment, jazz & r&b! Various food options & countless chocies! Outstanding customer service. This place makes you feel right at home or even better! Great prices! The best soul food experience I have ever had! I will definitely return every time I visit New York!
It was my first visit to Harlem and first soul food I've ever had. I tried chicken and waffle and the food was little bit oily but awesome. Koreans are usually picky when it comes to tasting chicken, but the thigh I ordered definitely met the expectations. I also can't forget corn bread I had for appetizer.
The best thing was sincere service, especially by old gentleman who looks like Morgan Freeman:) Also I loved the mood, soul, music, and history. Definitely I'll be back when I visit NYC next time.
Now I may be a late 20’s guy from England, but nothing beats good old fried chicken, made with the best ingredient......love.
I remember going to New York with my family back in 2002 and visiting Sylvia’s and meeting the lady herself, and the food left a massive impression on me! Simple, fresh and gives your that warm feeling that only real food with love can make you feel.
Fast forward to Jan this year and I was back in New York and the second place I went after my hotel......Sylvia’s of course. I was sad to hear the lady herself was no longer with us but I can honesty say, her legacy lives on!
The service, great! The atmosphere, absolutely spot on, the food.........heaven. Chicken so crisp it cracks, the collared greens are amazing and compliment the chicken so well and the Ribs, I have nothing to say, as I left a full and happy man.
Thanks for the nostalgia and the memories and look forward to coming back when I’m back in the States later this year. From the other side of the Atlantic, I say please keep making us foodies from all places and walks of life happy!
Amazing food, service, and atmosphere! What more can you ask for? I completely understand the rave reviews. The food ingredients were fresh and well made, and they have a good variety of comfort foods. I’m not sure if this because I’m used to Canadian portion sizes, but wow we’re the food portions HUGE! Definitely worth the price. I got a slice of the coconut cake and it was absolutely delicious. Would definitely come here again. Worth the wait!
Harlem’s most iconic Southern soul food doesn't disappoint. Three of us popped by for Sunday lunch with no booking and we didn't have to wait more than 30 mins. The food is humble and very satisfying. Sweet, falling off the bone ribs, crispy fried chicken, BBQ salmon, all the sides, giant slices of pie… all delicious! Great atmosphere too with plenty of locals, friendly staff and no hipsters (thanks God). Barack Obama never fails when picking up places to eat! He is better than the Michelin Star guide. Top place Sylvia's is, long life to that restaurant.
While I know that Sylvia's is considered the staple of soul food eateries in Harlem, I really struggle with the food here. I don't know what this place was like back in its heyday, but today it's become a place where good soul food goes to die. I got the fried Carolina catfish and the batter was just bland. I had to dump a lot of hot sauce on there to get some flavor. The mac and cheese was very cheesy and I actually enjoyed that most of all. Although it could have used a little salt. And lastly, the collard greens broke my heart most of all. I'm pretty sure they put sugar in them because the signature savory and smoked taste that traditional southern style collard greens are most known for was sorely lacking. Only a generous helping of hot sauce could somewhat salvage them for me. And to top it all off, we had probably the most inattentive waitress who could not seem to care less whether we had everything we needed. Overall, I give Sylvia's a 3 star rating because it is a pillar in the community and I love to see Black-owned businesses succeed. I just hope that management reviews the menu and remembers its roots as they think through how they choose to represent authentic southern cooking.
This place lives up to its reputation and certainly exceeded my expectations! The chicken is nice and crispy! The corn bread is absolutely delightful! The staff is extra helpful and the restaurant gives off great vibes. The wait time is quite long but it is absolutely worth it! Will definitely be back!
The customer service was awesome. The food was AMAZING! The portions were hearty and seasoned to perfection. Sylvia's is all around wonderful. Best first experience ever! The
I went here with friends on a quiet Saturday. The atmosphere was nice and the service was very friendly. It was our first time in Harlem and we really wanted to try this restaurant due to the online reviews and I love fried chicken.
We started with the chicken liver and wings appetizers and they were absolutely delicious. I like the flavor of the liver and gravy; the wings was tender and sweet. I thought the fried chicken, however, was disappointing. It was good but it wasn't any better than any other places that I have been to but the spareribs was very good. The ribs was flavorful and melted in my mouth. I would definitely come here again when if I am in the area.
A nice eatery with historical touch. The food was great in a pleasant atmosphere. We were arriving at noon but did not have to wait long to be seated. Services could be improved a little bit otherwise could be really great. Recommend for anyone who would like to discover Harlem.
Coming here was hands down the best idea I've had in a long time. Ordered the chicken livers as an appetizer. . Amazing. For the entree i had the smothered pork chop with collards and mac n cheese. The bomb dot com. The bartender Cheyenne was ABSOLUTELY incredible. I live in Queens and made the trip to Harlem just for Sylvia's since I've been wanting to go for years. I will make this trip over and over again.
If you love the taste of Tabasco sauce, you'll like the ribs. I ordered them and basically threw them out after 2 bites. They were half cold and the only flavor I got from the sauce was vinegar.
Wish the world famous part specified it's a specific type of sauce that's not the Kansas City style a lot of people are used to.
The sides were ok but also barely at room temperature and more salty than flavorful. I tried my friend's fried chicken and that was a whole lot better. Very solid choice for New York but not as good as I've had elsewhere in the country.
I can see why this place has such a high rating. It definitely deserves it. My husband and I shared the Home Style Fried Chicken w/Collard Greens & Garlic Mashed Potatoes. The chicken was crispy and juicy. You could literally hear the skin crunch in your mouth. Ugh, so good. They give you complementary cornbread which I hadn't had before this meal and I was pleasantly surprised by the taste and texture. Overall, extremely satisfying meal, and I'd recommend it to anyone willing to make the trip to Harlem.
Absolutely delicious! Beef short ribs were fall off the bone tender, and the seasoning on the fried chicken had my eyes crossed. We came when it wasn't crowded, so we had a very attentive waitress. Only issue was she gave me chicken breast instead of the thigh, and the breast was really dry. Luckily, the chicken skin is flavorful enough to distract from that. Just be sure to be clear you like the thigh if you do!!
Staff, atmosphere were 4 stars. Amanda was a great hostess to us. That's all I will comment on. It's a landmark. Wish them Much success in trying to prepare tasty food. My rating is low because the cornbread was overcooked and tasted like pumpkins. The greens were salty and heavy on the vinegar. 4 of us dined there and I was the only one who enjoyed my oxtails and the other 3 guest ate the fish. The sides we could not bear to eat. Worst of all I told two people that the men's room soap was dry for quite a while and I saw no one go downstairs to address it. I would feel better if someone told me that the 3rd door down there leads to staff that can refill soap and that my assumptions were wrong.
Food is really good. The fried chicken was perfectly seasoned and crispy. The waffles were divine. The cornbread, greens, sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and liver and onions were delicious. Perfectly fine sweet tea. It wasn’t as good when I came the last time, but they’re obviously back on track.
I had dinner there with my family last night and it was probably the best soul food I will ever have in my life. Everything was absolutely delicious! the only reason I gave four stars was because the drinks and food took forever. Also we had an older waitress that did not visit our table even once after taking our order. I had to ask another server for Sylvia's famous hot sauce, that I was not finishing my food without. We had to flag her down for a soda and the check at the same time. never the less I will definetly go back and be happy to add a star if our server at least ask if we need anything else.
I would have gave this place 5 stars but our waitress did not pay much attention to us at all. As a matter of fact she only came to our table like 3 times after we had to flag her down. The food, however, was absolutely amazing! The food itself deserves an award. I had smothered chicken, greens, and candied yams. Great experience.
The atmosphere reminded me of being in my grandmother's southern kitchen while she was making Sunday soul food. The food appeared fresh. It was a bit heavily seasoned but not overwhelming. The staff was great. The family history runs deep here with several historic photographs of Mrs. Sylvia's journey through this world. She has departed here but her memory lives on through those she has embellished with her soul.
I didn’t realize how impactful Ms. Sylvia was until my partner and I dined here. I was pleased to read about the rich history of the family business. The food here is okay honestly. Our server was absolutely great and wonderful. I definitely recommend visiting Sylvia’s. Especially if you’re visiting NY. They will take care of you!
This is one of my favorite restaurants in all of New York. The food is old fashioned down home southern cooking that you just don't see many places anymore. There is a saying that at Sylvia's, nobody eats alone. I nearly always come in by myself, but I have never eaten by myself. I sit at the counter and meet the most interesting people...some of which are eating there too and some of which are working in the restaurant. The food is exceptional. I normally get the special of the day. My favorite is Monday's stewed chicken and dumplings, but they are all so good. My go to breakfast is salmon cakes with eggs and home fries. Before I leave New York for my long journey home, I get a fried chicken meal to eat on the train complete with a piece of the coconut cake. I also make the food at home using the cookbooks that they sell in the restaurant. It's not quite the same, but it tides me over until I can come back to New York. It doesn't matter what color you are, what your religion is, who you fall in love with, or where you are from. Everyone is made to feel welcome at Sylvia's. I was so lucky to meet Sylvia herself on my first visit to the restaurant. She signed my cookbook and gave me a hug...and I've been a "regular" ever since.
Probably the most overrated place I’ve ever been. This is probably a tourist trap with very good marketing. You can get the same food (probably better tasting as well) in 10,000 other places across the country. Nothing special. Three stars is me being generous. 2.5 would be more accurate.
Server was REALLY great. She was excellent. Food was average at best.
If you want some good chicken and waffles come to Sylvia’s! The food here is so good. The chicken is nice and crispy, the waffles are nice and toasty, the Mac and cheese are nice and cheesy, and the corn bread are delicious! That being said, every place that haves good food also have people waiting. So be prepared for a wait. However, they do serve food in the counter. So if you are a single party or a party of two you can always order food at the counter!
Went to Sylvia's for lunch this past Saturday with my family, and the food was excellent. Had a short wait of 15-20 min., which wasn't bad because the place was packed at the time. Had the barbecue shrimp, mac and cheese and yams, and everything was fantastic. The mac and cheese was AMAZING. Great atmosphere, great service and great food. Will definitely return!
I've lived in the south for the last 18 years and just moved to New York 4 months ago. Happy to have found a place here that makes soul food that rivals the flavor of southern cooking. So so good. I had the BBQ ribs and they literally melt in your mouth they are so tender. I liked the BBQ sauce although it tasted like it had a bit of hot sauce mixed in which I've never had before. The mac and cheese was also so good, very rich and well-seasoned, although I usually prefer super creamy mac and cheese vs. the baked kind. They make their own hot sauce which, in typical southern fashion, I doused my collard greens in - it was extra spicy and just the right flavor. The waitresses were all super friendly and chatted with us and checked on us the whole time. I haven't been in NY very long, but I'm starting to build a pretty long list of excellent restaurants to take family/friends when they visit. This one will definitely be one of them.
What an amazing experience!! Stopped by for Gospel Sunday Lunch and it was such a delight. Between the insanely delicious food, the lovely staff and the fun atmosphere, this was an experience worth the wait. Hands down some of the best fried chicken we have ever had! Also the corn bread was total heaven. Wonderful place!
Iconic! The famed restaurant deserves its glory. Sunday Gospel brunch is an event to attend. The food is delicious, the staff is welcoming and accommodating. You should arrive very early ( before 11:30a) or make a reservation because the location fills up quickly. Chicken and waffles = YES. Oh, and for NYC the price is moderate ($20-$30/pp).
To make a long story short. My wife and I who is white went to Sylvia's to eat we are from San Diego. We walked in and and the waitress gives me and my wife a funny look. I know that look, but any way it was not about her it was about trying some soul food and spending some money in the black community. We were seated and waited the usual 5-10 minutes for drinks. We got our water and coffee. Then about 5 minutes later we ordered about the usual time to it takes for drinks and order. We sit there I drink my coffee, my wife drinks her water and we wait for about 30 Minutes. No one checks on us to see if we need a refill or anything. I have to get the waitresses attention. Mind you it was a about 10:20 am so it was not busy maybe 10 people in the restaurant including us we went there for breakfast. Once I get her attention I ask her about our food she states she is going to check she stays in the back kitchen for about 5 minutes and then She comes out and states that the food should be coming out shortly. She does not ask if we need more coffee or water just walks away. We wait another 10 minutes (50 minutes total) and nothing so we leave 2 dollars on the table for the coffee and biscuits (complimentary).
Positive note the biscuits were good, sweet.
I would not recommend this place to anyone. A business should be about providing a product or service in exchange for money and evidently they didn't want ours.
I brought my fiance here to celebrate his birthday. The food is LIFE CHANGING. I ordered fried catfish with green beans and mashed potatoes and everything was so full of flavor and cooked to perfection. You definitely will not be disappointed!
Also, we were running a little behind on a Saturday night and needed a table ASAP. The hostesses were very accommodating and were able to seat us within 10 minutes. We will definitely return whenever we are in town.
I wanted to rate Sylvia’s with 5 stars. Ate there in 2017 and the total experience was great. Last night...NO. We visited Sylvia’s last night for dinner. Was told it would be a 30 Minute wait. No problem. We were visiting from Washington DC and just enjoying the Harlem scene. 45 minutes later still no table. An hour later no table. My husband gently inquired and complained about what was told to us and what was actually happening with the seating. We were then told that because we were a party of three it is difficult to accommodate us. What? A table with 4 chairs can accommodate a party of 3. They did note like it and their faces and attitudes showed it. Finally, we got seated at a table with 4 chairs. During our dinner, we noticed the lead hostess began to make apologies to other guests about the wait and visited every table to greet the patrons. This kind off gesture immediately diffused frustrations about the wait times. But, she never visited our table. Never apologized for the major misinformation on the seating wait time. They seemed very disorganized in seating patrons and the wait staff looked exhausted.
The negative attitudes and very obvious snubs especially from the lead hostess was unprofessional and unnecessary. Good note: the food was delivered quickly, was delicious and our wait staff was efficient and pleasant.
Will I dine there again? Probably not. I will go where the front line at least act like they appreciate you spending your hard earned cash in their establishment .
Heard wonderful reviews of Sylvia's and once I was in the area I knew I needed to try it out. It did not disappoint. Excellent extremely fresh and homemade food. I enjoyed fresh fried chicken with mash potatoes and cornbread. Everything was cooked to perfection and tasted great. Prices were high but for NYC they were reasonable. Service was efficient, helpful and very accurate. Parking was difficult as it always is in NYC. Easy to see from the busy street. Excellent handicap access with no steps.
Although we had to wait a while for a table it was worth the wait. Both the food and the service were excellent. The place was packed and for good reason. We had our Black Male Initiative executive board meeting there tonight, and we had a blast. Kudos to the late Sylvia and her staff.
We went to Sylvia's on the last night of our trip and wondered why we waited so long. The food and service was excellent. The fried chicken and fish were seasoned to perfection and the sweet potatoes, greens, mac and cheese tasted great as well. I decided to try the strawberry bread pudding for dessert and wished I had gotten the peach cobbler instead. Definitely going back on our next trip to Harlem.
We come everytime we're in town. My 5 month old ate more of my black eyed peas than I did... the staff is always so sweet and helpful. Definitely a must try. (But be patient with seating... good things take time!)
I order the chicken and waffle with mac & cheese as a side order. The chicken was the best I've ever had. The mac & cheese was the way good mac & cheese is supposed to taste (it could have been more, for sure). I love the waffles the taste and amount more than enough. The drink I order was a tease for the price. My Cousin and I chose the right time of day to visit. (Before 12 p.m without a reservation- 15 min. wait) On the way out, though it was crowded with people waiting and coming in. The waitress was attentive and the live music in the background was cool. It was a beautiful visit with my Cousin. I was truly satisfied.
Best restaurant in Harlem.What do you mean this place will put heaven in your mouth this place has the best fried chicken on the planet and mac n cheese.Anyone that says this place is bad you don't know what soul food is.This place deserves 5.0 5 stars.There customer service is delightful and the music and the pictures give you a good classical vibe. This place is the definition of soul food. If Sylvia was still here she the queen of soul food would be at her house crunching on that juicy fried chicken. Who ever is reading this Kendra Z you don't know who wrote this but
This was a joke
Great food and lives up to the name. I would definitely suggest the mashed potatoes with gravy and the southern fried chicken. The rum punch was pretty strong and is very good. A great spot to go if you’re around central Harlem, but the wait times can be plenty.
Best fried chicken ever!! Dining room has probably been the same for 20 years. That lends to creating a home like atmosphere. Birthdays are celebrated with serenade and acknowledgment for the whole restaurant to witness. Really enjoyed the live music.
Such high hopes, not met. Ribs were obviously sitting on a steam table until (fairly good) sauce was ladled on them. Sides fresh from the can with no seasoning. I really wanted this place to be the legend, but it was only marginally better than a deli food bar. I feel like it is coasting on reputation - sorry. Pleasant staff, however, and an authentic feel. Just don’t eat dinner.
GREAT Service! Thank You Momodu!Plus the food rocks! The cornbread is delicious so try not to fill up on that before your dinner. Looking for a good drink that's not too strong but a great tribute to Harlem? Then be sure to order Harlem Blue. My friend ordered the fried chicken and I had the beef short ribs. We shared our entrees as we both devoured the mac & cheese and garlic mashed potatoes. What can I say but - DAMN! All of it was great! Chicken was light, crispy, not oily and perfectly cooked. The short ribs were not fatty and the sauce has a kick that even my acid reflux prone system could take and love. Also STRONGLY RECOMMEND RESERVATIONS (a week or more in advance)!
You can really tell the quality of a person by their actions. I went here 5 years ago and have this lasting memory. I had never had chicken and waffles before and I guess the server had overheard me because I was speaking quietly with my friend. When they served me, the lady put the plate down in front of me and said "I picked the biggest piece of chicken since this is your first time having chicken and waffles". Food was great and I would recommend this place to anyone visiting NYC. A staple to Harlem, you have to eat here for a true NYC experience. Hope all is well!
Horrible service!! We only saw our waitress when we ordered and when we were leaving. We had to ask other waiters for straws, refills, napkins, the check and to go containers. Then our waitress came at the end to collect payment. The food for the most part was good. The fried chicken was crunchy and fresh but too salty for my liking. The ribs were not good and neither was the sauce they put on top of it which was pretty sweet. With the combination came two sides...I got candied yams and Mac & cheese...yummy. I won’t be returning nor recommending anyone to eat here.
What an amazing lady and it was lovely to learn about her and see the influential people who ate there. However for the both of us who came from the UK, it was a HUGE disappointment. It was expensive but we expected the food to match up but it did not. I had fried chicken and it was well fried chicken and just one breast/wing so didn't last long. The sides weren't great. My wife mac cheese was just weird in texture/flavour and the greens were so over cooked they looked translucent. Meatloaf as again nothing special at all. We didn't finish our plates. We swallowed it and paid the $70 bill. I think the story is inspiring but for us maybe they had a bad day but I feel that maybe the place lost it's flame as the reviews are very up and down. Finally I wanted to visit the bathroom before I left and let's just say the toilet was horrid and I wasn't willing to use it, you can imagine for yourselves. Sorry guys I have to be honest so you can get back to where you need to be. Best wishes
The food was good, customer service not. First I attempted to call in my order only to be placed on hold so long that I decided to walk and place my order when I arrived. I ordered the chicken and dumplings only to receive 2 dumplings. Yes ladies and gentlemen 2 dumplings. I inquired about it with the waitress and her response was I should complain to management and request that make more per day so they will be able to ration out more. All I could do was laugh. Normally I would have asked for my money back and left but sometimes I just wanted to leave. The food is good but I feel Sylvia’s is too secure in the fact that they are a staple in Harlem and also a tourist attraction. I can tell by the responses by whomever is managing their social media. I won’t say I will never come back but for the amount of money I spend each time I come, you all are definitely at the bottom I’m the totem pole. Maybe Amy Ruth’s will be more appreciative and willing to put at least 5 dumplings on my plate.
Food was great. The corn tasted like it was from a can with not much dressing up but otherwise I have no complaints about my meal. My friend thoroughly enjoyed his rib and chicken combo however. Relaxing environment, friendly staff. I would eat here again.
I was super excited about going to Sylvia’s. I heard they had the best soul food. I wasn’t in the mood to have anything fried so I ordered the BBQ salmon. Boy was it a mistake. It did not taste even remotely fresh and the barbecue sauce was so so. I enjoyed the sides. The mac-n-chz and greens were pretty good which is why I gave 3 stars. The service was okay when the server actually showed up 30 minutes after we were seated. It was cool to say I went, but I probably would not return unfortunately.
Honestly the most tasteless cheap food we’ve had in a long time. We ordered 1 soft drink, nachos, 3 street tacos. We spent $25 on nasty cheap food. The meat was tough and tasteless with NO seasoning, the corn uncooked taco shells were so tough I scraped the little bit of tasteless meat on the plate and then had to wait and wait and wait to ask for some salsa....NO one ever checked on us or even offered to refill water or the one coke we had. The salsa for 4 was less than a quarter cup in one small ramekin. We had to wait and wait and finally go find someone to get another quarter cup of salsa. The chip basket for 4 contained about 16 total chip. The food is nasty and the service nonexistent!! Horrible! Go to El Chico’s for a good meal at way better prices.
I loved it! The food was so good that I carried my leftovers with me shopping for over 3 hours. When I got back to my hotel, I discovered there was no microwave. I called the front desk and requested one to heat up my oxtails. They were just as good as ever! I wish I had the time to go back. I highly recommend Sylvia's for great eating....breakfast, lunch and dinner. Our waiter was very courteous and accommodating. He and other waiters sang Happy Birthday to my friend with banana pudding...yea! Thank you for a memorable experience.
The food was good however the service was not. When the server took my beverage order, she forgot what beverage I order and came back to ask me..what drink did I order. We finished the ice tea and diet coke and waited about 10 minutes for a drink refill. The server took a few minutes to bring the refills, but she returned with 2 ice teas. I waited for 5 minutes for the server to return to the table. At one point she talk the the table next to us from far away. I tried to get her attention but she finished talking to the other table and walk away. I had to go up to the counter and request a diet coke. I spent years working in restaurant. Servers, please refill the customers drinks with the correct drinks and give eye contact to your tables when you run by, so you can see if we need anything.
We were going to try the strawberry dessert and banana pudding, but decided not to order after the bad service.
It took about 45-60minutes for our order to arrive.
The fish and smothered potatoes were delicious. I would recommend others to take the food to go.
The best Soul Food in Harlem. Being family owned and operated since the restaurant opened this place knows what is doing. From the start of receiving the classic corn bread and butter to closing out the meal with some classic peach cobbler it was everything I hope for and this place exceeded my expectations. I ordered the classic ribs and chicken(dark). The chicken was perfectly cooked and the breading was beyond flavorful. Ribs fell right of the bone and the the BBQ sauce is very unique and delicious. The only bummer about this place is certain sides are only available certain days, but at the end of the day you know its better that way because they focus on making the sides that they have available prepared to perfection. I would recommend reservations at this place because it can get really busy at night. You can always opt for the bar if you don’t want to wait for a table. If you are in NYC make the journey up to Harlem for some classic soul food.
Good food portions. Strong drinks. Mac and cheese was alright the candied yams were delicious. The waffles are tasty fluffy and the outside is crispy. The chicken was ok the skin needed a bit more flavor it was juicy on the inside. The garlic mash is good. Great for groups and parties. Had a nice waitress. Could have a better operating system for waitresses.
The whole ambience was great. It felt so good to be surrounded by history. The food was soul food. The pork ribs melted off the bones and the Mac and cheese was loved especially by the kids. The staff was very efficient in keeping the tables cleared. Please leave a tip, the workers deserve it.
Food - Good: The fried chicken was everything you need and more. Their Sylvia’s Uptown (Arnold Palmer) was delightful! The ribs, okra and tomatoes and mac and cheese were okay. Cocktail (waiting to exhale) wasn’t my thing.
Service - Good: Was seated promptly and the food came out within 15 minutes. The bar tender lady didn’t acknowledge or cared I didn’t touch that drink, she charged me none the less. - Ouch.
Overall - Okay: I can see why it’s a go to. Very warm and comfortable. I can’t recommend based on this one visit but please go support this local gem and leave your own review based on your experience!
I went for breakfast and I had salmon cakes and grits it was good. The waitress was really nice. It was clean and comfy. My only complaint would be the wait time which was 30 minutes. 30 minutes for grits and 2 salmon cakes and it wasn't crowded wasn't a good thing. I'll try again for dinner in the future and see how it works out.
The environment was nice i liked the singing.
When it comes to the service it could use work. The waiter that brought my food didn’t even bother to ask who got what food he just placed it down where ever he felt like. Then the food, i got the ribs and chicken. The chicken skin was crispy and delicious but the ribs although the sauce was tangy the ribs weren’t tender. I got to try 6 side the mac n cheese
Collard green. Black eye peas. Green beans. Mash potatoes and potatoes salad. Overall the side were good not what i had set my expectations to but good.
It has a real down home southern feeling to the restaurant. I went on a Sunday and there was a lady singing and mingling with the customers. The staff was very friendly especially the light skin gentleman with the long hair.. Very friendly. Service was quick, the food was hot and delicious!! 5 stars
Excellent service and genuinely traditional vibe. Ribs were some of the best I have ever had. Fried chicken was also solid. Mac and cheese and collard greens were not the best but certainly satisfactory.
A must do in NYC.
Best Fried Chicken I've ever had.
The fried chicken was juicy and favorable. It had a nice crispy buttermilk crunch as the fried skin. The Garlic mash potatoes was also very good. Very favorable with a nice garlic touch. The baked mac and cheese was bland, but everything was good. Loved the cornbread appetizer. Learned about the history of this place. People from Obama to Morgan Freeman have been here. Saw this place on CNN. Great food...
The fried chicken was cooked to perfection. However, I did feel like the skin wasn’t hitting my taste buds like other fried chicken I’ve had. The ribs were amazing all round; succulent, soft and juicy. The waffles were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, very good. The collard green was decent. The service was wonderful from the greeting to the seating and the leaving. Over all, I would recommend Sylvia’s.
Oh, it was worth every bit. I kept my meal simple, Sylvia's down home fried chicken and macaroni and cheese. Without going into to much detail, the mac-n-cheese was absolutely delicious. The fried chicken was amongst if not the best I've ever had. Now I'll admit that I haven't been to too many places that pride themselves in their fried chicken, but I've been around the block and I have to say that was excellent. The atmosphere of the restaurant was great as well. Gospel band playing in the background, people from around the world enjoying their meal, it was worth it.
Loved, loved, loved the Staff Erica our waiter was great.. it was busy and she was attentive to all her customers. If she had to step away other staff stepped in!! Serve..GREAT.. Food... AMAZING. visiting from Florida. I would definitely visit here again, when in Harlem
Loved the flavor of the cornbread and the meal! Everything was truly delicious. Cornbread had a smooth molasses taste with a little edge crust. Macaroni was perfect! Creamy cheese-ness plus a nicely baked over crust. Disappointed in the desserts, chocolate cake was dry, banana pudding too sweet and not enough pudding, not deep at all.
Tweedy was an amazing server and the staff was super friendly. I have never had soul food that tasted so good.
I am grateful that we decided to make the trip here. It was well worth it. Ribs, fried chicken, sweet potato, garlic mashed, mac and cheese, and cornbread was on point! Go eat here you won’t regret it!
We were looking forward to coming here due to the reviews but unfortunately it wasn’t the best experience. I asked for dark meat for my fried chicken but was given white meat. The server was hard to find after beginning to eat the chicken (I didn’t know until I ate) so I decided to keep the white meat. However, another friend ordered white and she received dark. One of her sides was incorrect but again, the server was missing and we couldn’t find her so we kept our dishes. The white meat was very dry and my friend who ordered white meat agreed that his was indeed dry. I do not think for a piece of dry fried chicken and two sides it is worth the $18.
Another issue with our server was that we had to ask for water refills three times. I think the experience would have been better if we had better service so we could address our wrong orders and spend less time trying to find service. We asked another server/staff member for a couple of requests.
I did enjoy the sides: macaroni and cheese and collard greens. I was surprised how good they were and not overly salted. The apple pie a la mode was delicious and served hot. I would recommend these.
In from Dallas, TX, was excited to visit Harlem and Sylvia's. The service was good. Was disappointed in the food. I had the fried chicken with collard greens and mac and cheese. The chicken was delicious, but the sides not so good. The mac and cheese was not cheesy, it was dry with cheese only on top with no flavor. Two of us got that and had to send back only to get warmer but same non cheesy mac and cheese. The greens had a lot of stems and was a bit bitter. My daughter had the yams which looked great but all you could taste and smell what we think was the vanilla. Needless to say, we ate all the chicken and the sides were left on the table. So basically we paid 18.00 for fried chicken. Should have taken the advice from one of the New York locals who said Sylvia's was not the same and suggested another restaurant in that same area....
Went for Sunday Gospel Brunch. We arrived at 11am and it wasn't that busy, but by the time we left just before 1pm the place was packed and lines were forming outside. The live music doesn't start until 12.30pm so it seems like the locals go to enjoy their meal before the craziness comes with the tourists. I really loved the fresh scones (might be called something else in the US) they served before our meal, they were freshly baked and the butter and jam melted in them. I had the fried chicken and waffle and my husband had the steak with home fries, both meals included a drink and we chose the ice tea. With the chicken you got a choice of white (breast/wing) or dark meat (thigh/drumstick). They give you the maple syrup on the side so you can decide how much to put on. The chicken was tasty and easy to eat. The waffle was nice too but filling. The steak was tasty and tender but quite fatty so even though it looked big the meat itself was smaller. We also had a red velvet cake which was very sweet. We hadnwanted to try the sweet potato pie but unfortunately they didn't have any. When the live music started the place got a lot more noisy and atmospheric. The singer walked around each table to see whether they were visiting from. It was a nice vibe. I don't think I'd line up in the lines that were waiting outside so I'd recommend coming earlier, but a nice experience to do whilst visiting New York.
Took a subway ride up to Harlem with the family to finally try Sylvia’s and we did not come away disappointed. The fried chicken was crispy and delicious. The white meat breast and wing is bigger than the dark meat thigh and leg, but I thought the dark meat was juicer and more flavorful. The ribs that came with the chicken and ribs combo were good but not great. Nothing to rave about. My son had chitterlings for the first time and he enjoyed it even though I thought it was very sour tasting.
We arrived around 3pm and were immediately seated. Fresh cornbread was quickly delivered to our table. We ordered different entrees and side so we could taste as many items as possible. Fried chicken, whiting, and pork chops were delicious, along with the potato salad, Mac & Cheese, garlic mashed potatoes, collards, and green beans. Buttered corn was kinda plain. Did have room for dessert. Staff was friendly and professional.
Oh my gosh. I enjoyed my meal even took some food home. They were extremely busy. However, I was blessed do to my wait time was not long at all. The music, the crowd was good. I met some folks from out of town celebrating , it was a wonderful experience I had not been there in a long time
I had the most amazing experience here tonight. My family came to see the city and came across Sylvia. I heard of them before. They were so gracious and accommodating to my father in law in a wheel chair. That’s what I appreciated the most. The HOST was phenomenal he took care of us from beginning to end. The food was absolutely delicious. I can’t wait to visit again.
The fried chicken was amazing!! The lemonade was so delicious that I'm convinced I have been drinking trash lemonade my whole life. It still has an old school feel and the dining room can be a little tight but the food is great. Highly recommend. It also wasn't super expensive which was great.
This place is definitely worth it. I ordered Sylvias Down Home Fried Chicken with the Mac n Cheese and Mashed Potatoes, and it was extremely tasty. The chicken meat was very juicy while being crisp and succulent outside. Service was also amazing although it would be smart to place a reservation. Definitely a must when visiting Harlem
While my husband and I were visiting from CA, we passed up on Red Rooster to come here. Our server was very efficient. Nice guy. However, the food was not worth the hype. The fried chicken was tasty. I'll give them that. The yams were also good according to my husband. But, where they lost serious points with me is their awful salmon croquettes. They were overcooked, and dare I say, likely not even salmon! I couldn't believe it and had to send them back. Maybe it was a one off? Should we return to NYC, we're not stopping by again. Definitely checking out Red Rooster next door.
Hands down worth the hype. Place was very easy to find and worth the wait. Atmosphere was nice with great wait staff and the playing of some soulful tunes. Had the fried chicken with mac and cheese and collard greens - loved it. Even tasted the sweet potato from another place and loved that too. Price was very reasonable for what you get which I thought to be a huge portion. Had lemonade that was refillable that I loved but my sister thought was too sweet. I will definitely be returning here and will definitely recommend Sylvias.
Thank you Sylvia for putting your great prepared recipes in my local Washington dc grocery store! My family always shop for your product to put on my dinner table. A customer behind me saw me put your can goods in my basket and they did the same thing! I told them that was a great choice!! You got my 100% support!
My boyfriend & I really enjoyed Sylvia’s. After a pretty long wait, which We understood because it was a Sunday and it’s a very popular place. Just a heads up the waiting area is pretty small unless you want to wait outside. When we got our seats our waitress was really nice I originally ordered the smothered pork chops with yams and greens unfortunately she said they didn’t have any smothered pork chops that day but offered to give me gravy on the side so I just got the fried pork chops with gravy on the side. My boyfriend got the smothered fried chicken and waffles with a side of Mac and cheese. They started us off with cornbread and butter which was so good. Our food was so delicious and full of flavor. While eating there was a woman singing live music it added to the comfortable vibe. We will be returning soon.
A truly historic and delightful place nestled in Harlem. Worth the trip for both seasoned New Yorkers and visitors alike. The fried chicken and sides were great. While the fried chicken was okay, the sides were really were where it was at. I couldn't get enough of the collared greens, and the mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, and candied yams were wonderful. You can also get the iced tea and lemonade mixed into 50/50 as well, and that's worth a try. Also, the photographs on the walls document the historicity of the restaurant. Come and experience this!
Exactly what I was hoping for in an iconic soul food joint in Harlem. The fried chicken had that perfect, crispy crunch and was just bursting with flavor. The atmosphere was friendly and low-key. Sylvia's was easy to find, easy to love, and a solid choice for a satisfying dinner.
Everyone should visit SYLVIA’S restaurant when in HARLEM. We enjoyed the the grilled shrimp, mac & cheese, vegetarian collard greens, chicken liver and gravy, white rice, candied yams and 2 helpings of corn bread. Our portions was over sized and delicious. Big thanks to Curtis our wait staff because he provided exceptional service and everything he stated about our food was right on point. We will be back soon to try the rest of the menu.
What an honor it was to be able to eat here.
The wait for our party of 6 was about 40 minutes, which was honestly expected since we went during peak lunch...read this and 1426 more