Cafe Cello May Have the Best Fried Chicken in Midtown

It’s been over a year a half since I originally visited Cafe Cello (46th btw. 5+6th), and wrote about their roast pork.  (I loved it so much, the photo of my lunch became the official Midtown Lunch photo.)  From the outside, you’d never guess that this generic looking deli would serve the best roast pork in Midtown, but it’s the truth (you may say the secret ingredient is crispy pork fat).  I returned last week to check out the scene, and I’m pleased to report that pretty much nothing has changed.  They still serve up a delicious plate of pork, and they still top it with the all important hunk of crispy pork skin.  If you are a lover of pork fat, it really can’t be beat.

But as good as the pork is, it may not be Cafe Cello’s best dish.  That title may have to be reserved for their surprisingly delicious fried chicken… 

My two co-workers both ordered the pork, allowing me to branch out, and check out the fried chicken, which always looks amazing.  Served with rice, beans and plantains, $7.60 gets you 2 really well seasoned pieces of white or dark meat, and the crispy crust inexplicably stands up really well to sitting in the steam table all throughout lunch.

They have tables in the back, but with the weather being so nice- it’s much better to go around the corner and sit in the park nestled between 5+6th Ave. & 45+46th St.  Admittedly, there isn’t much competition for Midtown’s Best Fried Chicken crown (the out of bounds Piece of Chicken is good, and I still love me some Popeye’s) but Cafe Cello is making a damn good case…

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • Crispy, well seasoned fried chicken that stands up fairly well to sitting in a steam table
  • If you like rice, beans and plantains more than biscuits and french fries, this is your fried chicken dream come true
  • It’s all from a steam table, so it’s very quick, and for $7.60 it’s a ton of food

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • They used to give you 3 pieces for the same price
  • They don’t cook it fresh to order, so depending on when you go, I could see it not being fresh (although both times I’ve gotten it, it was great)
  • The breast can be dry (not surprisingly)
  • It’s not spicy… for that Popeye’s is still #1.
  • If you go too late, sometimes they run out of fried plantains
  • They don’t have biscuits. I need biscuits!

Cafe Cello, 48 W. 46th St. (btw. 5th & 6th Ave.), 212-764-8600

Related Posts:  The Original Cafe Cello Write Up


  • It sometimes smells like a toilet in there. I can never get over that. Have they gotten rid of this problem?

  • I love it!! Great line – really captures the urgency and importance of my needs!

  • Argh!! I went specifically for the fried plantains and they ran out but the chicken was still juicy and everything was very tasty. I’ll have to go a little earlier next time…

  • Those photos are criminally delicious. I was tempted to go when free Sophie’s failed me the other day–they turned me away at 12:45 :(–but went for a chicken and pita platter from the cart on 53rd and 6th. Never fails to satisfy. Cafe Cello is officially on my list to try.

  • Cafe cello is ok. The fried chicken is really dry as is the roast pork. The skin is quite crispy though. That being said I’d probably never return.

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