The 10 Best Caribbean Spots in NYC, According to Our Editors

Jerk chicken for all

best caribbean spots in nyc: bowl of caribbean food on a table
Nicole J. Leverett for Stay N Focus Images

Craving a Cuban sandwich? Or is succulent jerk chicken on your mind? Maybe it’s rice and peas, or roast pork. Whatever island delicacy you’re in the mood for, there are plenty of places around the city to get your fix—so how can you know which ones won’t disappoint? Here, we’ve rounded up ten of the best Caribbean spots in NYC, according to our editors and online reviews. (Psst: Our picks include a laid-back Puerto Rican joint, an inventive Haitian eatery and a new restaurant by a popular James Beard-awarded chef.)

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1. Kokomo Caribbean Restaurant

  • Reservations: Resy
  • What to Order: salmon filet, lobster bisque, stuffed plantains, oxtail flatbread

This Williamsburg spot is influenced by various Caribbean nations, and its menu proves it. Offering dinner, drinks and brunch, Kokomo is slinging classics like jerk chicken and modern meals like sweet plantain pancakes alike. “They’re on the pricier side, but I like that they offer flavorful, Caribbean dishes with a healthy spin,” says assistant editor Nakeisha Campbell. Head there on the weekend for tunes by a live DJ.

2. OxKale

  • Reservations: walk-ins only
  • What to Order: spiced pork bowl, Caribbean harvest bowl, lamb gyroti

Kokomo’s sister restaurant, OxKale, is currently on a winter hiatus. But once it’s open again, you need to go for inventive, Caribbean-inspired fare to-go. We’re talking warm bowls topped with everything from braised oxtail to grilled chicken (there’s a vegan one too, if you’re plant-based), salads, gyrotis (aka gyro-roti handhelds) and a range of accompaniments, like rice and peas and curry hummus. Ask for an extra side of creamy garlic sauce, trust.

3. Tropical Sensation

  • Reservations: walk-ins welcome
  • What to Order: pernil asado, piña coladas, sancocho, chicharrones

If you haven’t visited this Dominican mainstay yet, you’re missing out. “It’s been around for more than 15 years and is definitely a neighborhood favorite,” says editor Abby Hepworth. Old-school staples like mondongo, chivo guisado and mofongo get their due, along with hearty mains like chuletas de cerdo, pargo frito and paella Caribeña. There are also plenty of juices, batidos and desserts to indulge in. 

4. Miss Lily’s 7A Cafe

  • Reservations: Resy
  • What to Order: jerk chicken, jerk corn, Lily’s rum punch, coconut cream rum cake

Miss Lily’s influence extends from NYC to Jamaica and Dubai, so you know the food is the real deal. It’s a Jamaican-style diner, rum bar and jerk shack all in one. “It’s so colorful and fun, and the vibes are always a party,” asserts senior commerce editor Stephanie Maida. Led by two Jamaican chefs, the resto specializes in jerk chicken, curried goat, escovitch fish, oxtail and more, all teeming with the fiery spices and authentic seasonings you crave.

5. Guantanamera

  • Reservations: online
  • What to Order: papas rellenas, mojo chicken, ropa vieja, rabo encendido

Dinner with a side of dancing? Don’t mind if we do. This Cuban spot with locations in Manhattan and Queens offers daily live music, so you’ll be able to rumba the night away between courses. All the O.G. apps are there: yuquita frita, croquetas de jamón, sopa de frijoles and papas rellenas. As for mains, dig into all sorts of chicken, beef (picadillo a la Habanera is hard not to love), pork and fish—and wash it down with a mojito. For lunch, you can’t go wrong with a pressed Cubano or pernil sandwich.

6. Tatiana by Kwame Onwuachi

  • Reservations: Resy
  • What to Order: spicy margarita, curried goat patties, honeynut piri piri salad, egusi dumplings

Opened in 2023 by James Beard winner and star chef Kwame Onwuachi, Tatiana is his self-proclaimed “love letter to New York.” The menu isn’t exclusively Caribbean—his inspo comes from the diverse culinary tapestry of his Bronx upbringing—but you’ll find dishes like egusi dumplings, curried goat patties, oxtail and crab rangoon and brown stew chicken on the menu, alongside reimaginations of NYC staples, like short rib pastrami suya and truffle chopped cheese. “The space is so gorgeous,” Maida says, adding that it’s “chic and lively.”

7. Victor’s Café

  • Reservations: Resy
  • What to Order: ceviche de camarones, croquetas corral, lechón asado, Hemingway daiquiri

This iconic eatery was founded in 1963 by a Cuban immigrant. Still family-owned, Victor’s boasts all the classics and reinventions you could possibly crave. Think essentials like ham croquetas with tomato-cachucha sauce, tostones con masitas de puerco, vaca frita and slow-roasted lechón asado, dripping with garlic mojo. The spot also has a lengthy dessert list, including sweets like tres leches topped with toasted meringue and guava cobbler with vanilla gelato.

8. Zanmi

  • Reservations: OpenTable
  • What to Order: joumou, pate kòde, kabrit boukennen, cremastini

For Haitian food, head to this Brooklyn delight that received a nod from the Michelin Guide. Nestled in an area called Little Caribbean, Zanmi is famous for everything from its grilled goat bowls to the Cremastini, the resto’s signature cocktail that’s inspired by cremas (a Haitian cocktail that’s sort of like coquito). The eatery just launched brunch a few months back to boot.

9. Casa Adela

  • Reservations: walk-ins only
  • What to Order: bacalao al vizcaina, mofongo, carne guisada, alcapurrias

The Lower East Side is lucky to have this Puerto Rican must in the neighborhood. It’s traditional, no-frills and damn delicious, from the pollo guisado to the sancocho to the pastelillos de carne. You can also indulge in sweet treats, like sorullos de guayaba con queso (that’s a cornmeal fritter stuffed with guava and cheese) and vanilla-kissed flan de queso. You can even sip a morir soñando of Dominican fame, a milk-and-OJ drink that you just might adore.

10. Harry’s Daughter

  • Reservations: Resy
  • What to Order: pumpkin rice, double braised short ribs, double braised oxtail stew

“This is in Jersey City, not NYC,” clarifies executive editor Alexia Dellner, “but Harry’s Daughter is so good. Worth a trip across the river, in my opinion!” Dig into usual suspects like escovitch snapper, jerk pork ribs, codfish fritters and Trinidadian-style curries, or venture out with jerk chicken egg rolls, roti quesadillas or smoked herring Caesar salad. There are also a handful of enticing cocktails to try, like coconut rum punch and sorrel sangria.

taryn pire

Food Editor

Taryn Pire is PureWow’s food editor and has been writing about all things delicious since 2016. She’s developed recipes, reviewed restaurants and investigated food trends at...