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A white plastic bowl of Chinese noodles.
Foohing Kitchen’s Sngapore mei fun
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Where to Eat in Mott Haven, a Splendid Dining Neighborhood in the Bronx

Find everything from a Honduran enchilada and Singapore-style noodles to a jazz brunch in the southernmost Bronx neighborhood

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Foohing Kitchen’s Sngapore mei fun
| Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Located southernmost in the Bronx, hemmed in by the Harlem and East rivers, Mott Haven is a sprawling neighborhood with a diverse population — and perhaps accordingly, the food available there widely varies, too. Varieties include West African, Chinese-American, Puerto Rican, Italian, Mexican, African-American, and Honduran, in addition to a slew of old-fashioned diners and modern coffee bars, most of them at inexpensive price points. Plus, Mott Haven was also the city’s first suburb and was treated as such when the subways were laid out in the early 20th century. Thus, it has some of the best subway service in the city, comprising the 2, 5, and 6 lines. So please come with us now on our culinary tour of Mott Haven.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

La Isla Cuchifrito

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Serving up plates of rice and beans, savory pastries, sandwiches, pernil, and roast chicken, this tiny restaurant is a vital neighborhood spot that’s open all night. Although seating is limited, and it’s cash-only, the generous portions here more than make up for any other discomforts.

Lechonera La Piraña

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Every Saturday and Sunday afternoon, Angel Jimenez stokes up the fires at his trailer parked on 152nd Street and roasts the pork butt he’s famous for into a perfect Puerto Rican lechon asado. As customers watch, he hacks it up into generous portions for carryout, along with rice and pigeon peas, to be doused with garlicky mojito. It’s one of the best things to eat on the planet.

A guy holding a machete with a woman next to him stands over a tray or roast baby pig. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Foohing Kitchen

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Maybe you’ve been longing for just this sort of ancient Chinese-American kitchen and carryout. Truth be told, there’s no actual seating, but feel welcome to stand along one of the two eating shelves and enjoy food from a vast menu, expertly prepared. For a bit of heat, try the Singapore mei fun, tendered in a serving of amazing size, with plenty of shrimp, pork and chicken, or pick other standards, like chow mein, egg foo yung, or beef chow fun.

A white plastic bowl of Chinese noodles. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Ruinas de Copán

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Named after a major Mayan archaeological site, Ruinas de Copan is also one of the city’s best Honduran restaurants. The premises is big and muraled with ruins, and the bar has a full liquor license. During the day, families with kids file in to eat Honduran antojitos like enchiladas (like a tostada) and baleadas (a flour tortilla wrapped around a ground beef and potato filling); and hearty soups featuring hen, goat, or seafood. The most famous is sopa de caracol, a conch soup.

Two flat fried tortillas topped with lettuce, cheese, and chicken. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

The Original Venice Restaurant

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It’s been several decades since parts of Mott Haven were still an Italian immigrant enclave, but this cavernous and comfortable restaurant is a holdover from that time period. Founded by three brothers, the old-fashioned Italian restaurant is a throwback to the bustling markets that once existed in the neighborhood, and its focus is seafood and pizza. The fried calamari is formidable, and so is the scungilli salad, but make sure the meal starts with baked clams, and take a hero home. 

A wall mural of St. Marks in Venice with a table in front. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Freshly Made

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Bronx natives Marielys Quezada and Angi Tejada opened Freshly Made in 2018 after struggling to find a healthy salad spot in the neighborhood. As a result, a selection of salads, fruit and vegetable smoothies and juices, and paninis all dot the menu at the cozy, counter service cafe. The owners add new food and juice specials every month with names like “Loving Mott Haven,” and “Bronx Love.”

Balimaya

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This worn 24-hour wonder right at the busy corner of Third Avenue and 138th Street offers a rotating roster of West African fare, though the cook is from the Ivory Coast, as she told Eater. One glance at the steam table usually reveals a stew of lamb, chicken, or beef; fried fish with the manioc stodge called athieke (“ah-check-ay”); and a version of Jollof rice studded with goat or beef. A small dining room is provided. Practice French beforehand, though English is spoken, too.

A pink storefront with a yellow awning. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

La Morada

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This center of community and immigrant activism presided over by Natalia Mendez and Yajaira Saavedra was one of the first places to introduce Oaxacan cooking to the city. With a purple color scheme (hence the name), it turns out distinguished moles of the labor intensive sort in a variety of colors, along with tlayudas and enfrijoladas, along with more common Pueblan fare.

La Morada’s dining room has wooden tables and chairs, purple walls, and a hanging poster saying “all walls down.” Alex Staniloff/Eater

Pandora Bakery

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Open every day from 8 a.m. till mid-afternoon, this Latin commercial bakery offers doughnuts, breakfast sandwiches, bread, cookies, burgers, and just about any other baked good of the modest sort one can think of. Perhaps best of all are the budget-priced soups, including the one shown, thronged with vegetables and served with the bakery’s own bread. A pleasant seating area looks out onto the neighborhood.

A bowl of vegetable soup with a loaf of bread on the side. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Mottley Kitchen

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Mottley Kitchen has carved a niche for itself as a breakfast and lunch-only spot in the neighborhood. With items like a chicken and grain bowl, a green goddess bowl, and avocado toast, the kitchen here leans healthy-ish. The restaurant, which also doubles up as a low-key bookstore, has a solid coffee program and tons of seating, making it an ideal work spot during the day.

Tepango's

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Tepango is the narrowest of pizza taquerias. Denizens of the neighborhood dash in and out all day, and walk out eating their food, since, apart from a stool or two, there’s no place to sit. Never mind, gossip is exchanged, and wonderful tacos and cemitas turned out. Other customers pick a pepperoni slice or a Jamaican meat patty.

A round sandwich with avocado, string cheese, and skinless sausage. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Double Dutch Bronx

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Under the Third Avenue Bridge ramp in what was once an elevator repair shop, this coffee bar (part of a Manhattan-based mini-chain) offers a renovation designed by a Barcelona architect, and the premises are now striking and stylish, with a stark gray and white exterior and neon signage. The interior is rugged and comfy, and the coffee good. A selection of pastries are also available.

A counter, an espresso machine, and a barista. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Express Brook

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A few years ago, the old signage came down and what was once called Brook Luncheonette was rebranded Express Brook. Luckily, the timeworn interior didn’t change, including twirling lunch counter stools and cozy, claustrophobic booths. Wonderful! And long before we had Golden Diner and Soho Diner, this diner had expanded its menu to include Mexican food and meal-size salads, in addition to decent pastrami and classic diner breakfasts.

A faded storefront luncheonette with one of those inflated signs leaning over into the picture. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Charlies Bar & Kitchen

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Part of an early wave of new restaurants that started to open in the neighborhood a few years ago, this spacious establishment and its industrial interior are remnants of the once-thriving piano manufacturing district in the area. The menu leans Southern with items like buttermilk fried calamari, fried chicken, and jerk barbecue ribs. Charlies is also a go-to destination for live DJ brunches over the weekend.

Golden Pizza

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There’s really only one thing on the menu at Golden Pizza — but the plain cheese pizza is more than enough of a draw to attract people to this standing-room-only spot located adjacent to East 138th Street 6 train subway entrance. It’s one of the city’s best pizza slices in the city, crisp though not quite thin-crusted. The addition of pepperoni is optional but not necessary.

A slice of plain cheese pizza sits on a white paper plate placed on a brown counter.
The plain slice at Golden Pizza
Robert Sietsema/Eater

Beatstro

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Bronx natives Alfredo Angueira and Julio Martinez opened this lively restaurant in the summer of 2018 as a nod to the neighborhood’s roots in hip-hop, graffiti art, and soul food. At Beatstro, an entrance lined with vinyl records and velvet curtains leads to a colorful dining room serving Southern and Puerto Rican foods. Dishes include chicken and waffles, a baked plantain and ground beef preparation, and kale salad. Weekends here involve 90-minute bottomless brunches with a live DJ, and the restaurant frequently hosts music-focused events.

Monte's Brick Oven

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This slightly upscale, spacious pizzeria at the corner of Alexander Avenue and East 134th Street is the place to go when a run-of-the-mill pizza won’t do. Options include a jerk chicken pizza with vodka sauce and mozzarella, and a four cheese one with parmesan, ricotta, mozzarella, and fontina. There’s also a wide selection of pastas, wings, and sandwiches on deck.

One of the only solid sushi spots in the neighborhood, Ceetay is a cozy restaurant with seats at the bar and at a few tables along a wall plastered with wallpaper covered in newspaper clippings. Aside from the sushi selection, dishes like the spicy tuna and guacamole bruschetta, egg noodles with squash and red curry sauce, and the rock shrimp tempura are some of the options that make this restaurant stand out in the neighborhood.

Jalisco Tacos

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Despite holding the name of a western Mexican state, Jalisco is quite simply one of the best Pueblan taquerias in the city. Apart from a couple of stout soups (the hangover-curing pancita has achieved near-legendary status), the menu limits itself to a small roster of antojitos, including enchiladas, tostadas, and tacos. Of the latter, the tacos dorados — rolled and fried tortillas filled with potato and chorizo — are the move, but the tongue tacos aren’t bad, either.

A red tripe soup served with tortillas, lime wedges, and fresh herbs. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

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La Isla Cuchifrito

Serving up plates of rice and beans, savory pastries, sandwiches, pernil, and roast chicken, this tiny restaurant is a vital neighborhood spot that’s open all night. Although seating is limited, and it’s cash-only, the generous portions here more than make up for any other discomforts.

Lechonera La Piraña

A guy holding a machete with a woman next to him stands over a tray or roast baby pig. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Every Saturday and Sunday afternoon, Angel Jimenez stokes up the fires at his trailer parked on 152nd Street and roasts the pork butt he’s famous for into a perfect Puerto Rican lechon asado. As customers watch, he hacks it up into generous portions for carryout, along with rice and pigeon peas, to be doused with garlicky mojito. It’s one of the best things to eat on the planet.

A guy holding a machete with a woman next to him stands over a tray or roast baby pig. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Foohing Kitchen

A white plastic bowl of Chinese noodles. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Maybe you’ve been longing for just this sort of ancient Chinese-American kitchen and carryout. Truth be told, there’s no actual seating, but feel welcome to stand along one of the two eating shelves and enjoy food from a vast menu, expertly prepared. For a bit of heat, try the Singapore mei fun, tendered in a serving of amazing size, with plenty of shrimp, pork and chicken, or pick other standards, like chow mein, egg foo yung, or beef chow fun.

A white plastic bowl of Chinese noodles. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Ruinas de Copán

Two flat fried tortillas topped with lettuce, cheese, and chicken. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Named after a major Mayan archaeological site, Ruinas de Copan is also one of the city’s best Honduran restaurants. The premises is big and muraled with ruins, and the bar has a full liquor license. During the day, families with kids file in to eat Honduran antojitos like enchiladas (like a tostada) and baleadas (a flour tortilla wrapped around a ground beef and potato filling); and hearty soups featuring hen, goat, or seafood. The most famous is sopa de caracol, a conch soup.

Two flat fried tortillas topped with lettuce, cheese, and chicken. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

The Original Venice Restaurant

A wall mural of St. Marks in Venice with a table in front. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

It’s been several decades since parts of Mott Haven were still an Italian immigrant enclave, but this cavernous and comfortable restaurant is a holdover from that time period. Founded by three brothers, the old-fashioned Italian restaurant is a throwback to the bustling markets that once existed in the neighborhood, and its focus is seafood and pizza. The fried calamari is formidable, and so is the scungilli salad, but make sure the meal starts with baked clams, and take a hero home. 

A wall mural of St. Marks in Venice with a table in front. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Freshly Made

Bronx natives Marielys Quezada and Angi Tejada opened Freshly Made in 2018 after struggling to find a healthy salad spot in the neighborhood. As a result, a selection of salads, fruit and vegetable smoothies and juices, and paninis all dot the menu at the cozy, counter service cafe. The owners add new food and juice specials every month with names like “Loving Mott Haven,” and “Bronx Love.”

Balimaya

A pink storefront with a yellow awning. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

This worn 24-hour wonder right at the busy corner of Third Avenue and 138th Street offers a rotating roster of West African fare, though the cook is from the Ivory Coast, as she told Eater. One glance at the steam table usually reveals a stew of lamb, chicken, or beef; fried fish with the manioc stodge called athieke (“ah-check-ay”); and a version of Jollof rice studded with goat or beef. A small dining room is provided. Practice French beforehand, though English is spoken, too.

A pink storefront with a yellow awning. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

La Morada

La Morada’s dining room has wooden tables and chairs, purple walls, and a hanging poster saying “all walls down.” Alex Staniloff/Eater

This center of community and immigrant activism presided over by Natalia Mendez and Yajaira Saavedra was one of the first places to introduce Oaxacan cooking to the city. With a purple color scheme (hence the name), it turns out distinguished moles of the labor intensive sort in a variety of colors, along with tlayudas and enfrijoladas, along with more common Pueblan fare.

La Morada’s dining room has wooden tables and chairs, purple walls, and a hanging poster saying “all walls down.” Alex Staniloff/Eater

Pandora Bakery

A bowl of vegetable soup with a loaf of bread on the side. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Open every day from 8 a.m. till mid-afternoon, this Latin commercial bakery offers doughnuts, breakfast sandwiches, bread, cookies, burgers, and just about any other baked good of the modest sort one can think of. Perhaps best of all are the budget-priced soups, including the one shown, thronged with vegetables and served with the bakery’s own bread. A pleasant seating area looks out onto the neighborhood.

A bowl of vegetable soup with a loaf of bread on the side. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Mottley Kitchen

Mottley Kitchen has carved a niche for itself as a breakfast and lunch-only spot in the neighborhood. With items like a chicken and grain bowl, a green goddess bowl, and avocado toast, the kitchen here leans healthy-ish. The restaurant, which also doubles up as a low-key bookstore, has a solid coffee program and tons of seating, making it an ideal work spot during the day.

Tepango's

A round sandwich with avocado, string cheese, and skinless sausage. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Tepango is the narrowest of pizza taquerias. Denizens of the neighborhood dash in and out all day, and walk out eating their food, since, apart from a stool or two, there’s no place to sit. Never mind, gossip is exchanged, and wonderful tacos and cemitas turned out. Other customers pick a pepperoni slice or a Jamaican meat patty.

A round sandwich with avocado, string cheese, and skinless sausage. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Double Dutch Bronx

A counter, an espresso machine, and a barista. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Under the Third Avenue Bridge ramp in what was once an elevator repair shop, this coffee bar (part of a Manhattan-based mini-chain) offers a renovation designed by a Barcelona architect, and the premises are now striking and stylish, with a stark gray and white exterior and neon signage. The interior is rugged and comfy, and the coffee good. A selection of pastries are also available.

A counter, an espresso machine, and a barista. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Express Brook

A faded storefront luncheonette with one of those inflated signs leaning over into the picture. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

A few years ago, the old signage came down and what was once called Brook Luncheonette was rebranded Express Brook. Luckily, the timeworn interior didn’t change, including twirling lunch counter stools and cozy, claustrophobic booths. Wonderful! And long before we had Golden Diner and Soho Diner, this diner had expanded its menu to include Mexican food and meal-size salads, in addition to decent pastrami and classic diner breakfasts.

A faded storefront luncheonette with one of those inflated signs leaning over into the picture. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Charlies Bar & Kitchen

Part of an early wave of new restaurants that started to open in the neighborhood a few years ago, this spacious establishment and its industrial interior are remnants of the once-thriving piano manufacturing district in the area. The menu leans Southern with items like buttermilk fried calamari, fried chicken, and jerk barbecue ribs. Charlies is also a go-to destination for live DJ brunches over the weekend.

Golden Pizza

A slice of plain cheese pizza sits on a white paper plate placed on a brown counter.
The plain slice at Golden Pizza
Robert Sietsema/Eater

There’s really only one thing on the menu at Golden Pizza — but the plain cheese pizza is more than enough of a draw to attract people to this standing-room-only spot located adjacent to East 138th Street 6 train subway entrance. It’s one of the city’s best pizza slices in the city, crisp though not quite thin-crusted. The addition of pepperoni is optional but not necessary.

A slice of plain cheese pizza sits on a white paper plate placed on a brown counter.
The plain slice at Golden Pizza
Robert Sietsema/Eater

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Beatstro

Bronx natives Alfredo Angueira and Julio Martinez opened this lively restaurant in the summer of 2018 as a nod to the neighborhood’s roots in hip-hop, graffiti art, and soul food. At Beatstro, an entrance lined with vinyl records and velvet curtains leads to a colorful dining room serving Southern and Puerto Rican foods. Dishes include chicken and waffles, a baked plantain and ground beef preparation, and kale salad. Weekends here involve 90-minute bottomless brunches with a live DJ, and the restaurant frequently hosts music-focused events.

Monte's Brick Oven

This slightly upscale, spacious pizzeria at the corner of Alexander Avenue and East 134th Street is the place to go when a run-of-the-mill pizza won’t do. Options include a jerk chicken pizza with vodka sauce and mozzarella, and a four cheese one with parmesan, ricotta, mozzarella, and fontina. There’s also a wide selection of pastas, wings, and sandwiches on deck.

Ceetay

One of the only solid sushi spots in the neighborhood, Ceetay is a cozy restaurant with seats at the bar and at a few tables along a wall plastered with wallpaper covered in newspaper clippings. Aside from the sushi selection, dishes like the spicy tuna and guacamole bruschetta, egg noodles with squash and red curry sauce, and the rock shrimp tempura are some of the options that make this restaurant stand out in the neighborhood.

Jalisco Tacos

A red tripe soup served with tortillas, lime wedges, and fresh herbs. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Despite holding the name of a western Mexican state, Jalisco is quite simply one of the best Pueblan taquerias in the city. Apart from a couple of stout soups (the hangover-curing pancita has achieved near-legendary status), the menu limits itself to a small roster of antojitos, including enchiladas, tostadas, and tacos. Of the latter, the tacos dorados — rolled and fried tortillas filled with potato and chorizo — are the move, but the tongue tacos aren’t bad, either.

A red tripe soup served with tortillas, lime wedges, and fresh herbs. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Related Maps