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Jul 7, 2007 11:58 AM

Just moved to Harlem! What's good eats?

I'm on 125th with Manna practically right at my doorstep. I've discovered the kind of antiseptic super-Pathmark, but would love to find a good Latin or Carribean market. What are you favorite restaurants, markets, cafes and bars in the area?

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    1. re: DarthEater

      Have you tried the Floridita tapas place? Any insights?

    2. Add: Taste of Seafood, Mobay's, Citarella, Londel's, Amy Ruth's, Miss Mamie's/Miss Maude's, Settipani, bunch of new places on 8th Ave (Fred Douglas) starting from 110 st through 120 (health food store/juice bar, Zoma, etc.), fried fish sandwiches at the large fish market on 116 st east of Lenox. For Caribbean produce etc go to 116 St & Park Ave and head east--plenty of Latin markets carrying many Caribbean vegetables etc.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Ora

        Large fish market--sounds promising! Is it there every day of the week?

        Thanks for all these suggestions!

        1. re: cimui

          Its a big (relative to downtown) Korean fresh fish market/store, but at the front they sell all types of fried and steamed food to go. The place is always full, so the fish has high turnover--a good thing for ensuring freshness IMO.

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. I'll second the recommendations for Fairway and Amy Ruth's. For breakfast, consider Kitchenette, at Amsterdam at 122nd or so; for pastries, try La Rosa Bakery, at Broadway and 137th: On and about 116th St. to the east of Morningside Park, my favorite West African restaurant, La Marmite, may have relocated itself out of business, but Sokhna Restaurant and Africa Kine are worthy of a visit. Continue east on 116th (past Amy Ruth's) and you'll find Mexican groceries, juice bars, and taco counters, a fine Puerto Rican cuchifritos joint, and an old-line walk-down Italian bakery. This will have taken you quite out of your neighborhood, of course, but that's the fun of it.

          8 Replies
          1. re: DaveCook

            Best Incredibly Inexpensive (Take Out) Breakfast and Occasional Hot Rugelach in Harlem: Lee Lee's Bakery -- Hot grits, eggs, sausage and a bisquit for $3.00!

            Best Soul Food: Margie's Red Rose Diner. Go early in the day, she closes up by 7ish and runs out of some things late in the day. Perfect greens and mac and cheese.

            The new Ethiopian spot on Amsterdam and 121st is also fabulous.

            1. re: rootheee

              Cimui, welcome to the nabe. Good to have you here, and I look forward to hearing about your local chow adventures.

              A general Harlem thread:
              Another thread, mostly about cafes:
              (My favorite, for space is Society, for coffee is Tribal Spears, for baked stuff is Les Ambassades. Settepani has lovely looking cakes and tarts, but staff are actively unfriendly). Hling also recommended Chokolat Patisserie recently (thank goodness for the chow digest): which I may head over to right now!

              Zoma is my favorite Ethiopian place :
              There's a new Ethiopian restaurant in the diner across 113th St from Zoma, but I haven't been there yet.

              Across Frederick Douglass from Zoma is Florence's, which other 'hounds like more than I do, though the kelewele, gingery/oniony/peppery plantains is fantastic. More:

              I emphatically second rootheee's Lee Lee's recommendation. Their rugelach is perfect:

              To correct DaveCook, above, La Marmite is no longer on Frederick Douglass (at 122th St before, not 116th). Now it's got a location on Adam Clayton Powell at 135th-ish, and another in the one teens around Madison or Lex (sorry not more specific). Here's a thread from a few months ago: Haven't been, or heard reports about La Marmite since their move.

              2084 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10026

              Lee Lee's Baked Goods
              283 W 118th St, New York, NY 10026

              Patisserie des Ambassades
              2200 8th Ave, New York, NY 10026

              2099 8th Ave, New York, NY 10026

              1. re: rose water

                Rose water, I'm excited to live in your nabe and look forward to reading all your detailed posts about the local goodies!

                1. re: cimui

                  Same to you! I'm afraid that I haven't explored the neighborhood chowscape as much as I'd like--too much fried food around for this fat girl to stay reasonably healthy. And most places are pretty meat intensive, which makes going out with my vegetarian partner tough to do locally.

                  Both of us are pretty successful at Manna's--steam table food, but fresh, clean and good. We ate at Uptown Juice Bar so much for a bit that we can't stomach the stuff at all anymore--fake meat and grease can be really tasty, but there's a limit to these things! Southeast brings Taco Mix, Itzocan, Patsy's and all sorts of other good stuff. Here's a recent East Harlem thread: but there are many other good ones out there.

            2. re: DaveCook

              Dave, re: cuchifritos; i had a phenomenal sampling of frituras recently at the place on the corner of 3rd avenue and East 104th street. all $1, I had an amazing acapuria and an amazing papa rellena; the acapuria was fried so nice and such a great texture and crispness, yet very soft inside; very different from others I've had. the papa rellena was also phenomenal; not sure how they fry mash potatoes to stay in shape but the filling was generous and actually melded in with the potato in the best way, and a many contrasting textures as well. didn't try the half-moon shaped things but I'm sure they're good.

              don't have an exact address but ya, this place was really really good.

              1. re: bigjeff

                rode past the place today, the name is La Isla, on the corner of 3rd and 104. again, you gotta try the aculpuria and the papa rellena, if you're into that type of stuff. the textures were amazing and there was actual flavor in the fillings, unlike most places. still, not enough of these places make the one with bacalao, a big fried disc; last time I had that was at the joint on 25th and 9th ave; they also had a killer mondongo but it's been at least 7 or 8 years since I last ate there.

                1. re: bigjeff

                  went back today and was kinda disappointed; went for the bacailito and it had some cod flavor but was hard, uncrisp and not good. the papa rellena was still good, the alacapurria was good but the chicken empanada was the typical (so-so). my first visit there was after midnight so maybe it was actually the result of sitting out all day under the heat lamps to give that nice crisp exterior; we picked these up around noon so they weren't sitting out for a half-a-day. i feel i have to downgrade my enthusiasm for the place! will have to hit it up again for additional random sample.

                  oh and the price for all frituras went up to $1.25

                  1. re: bigjeff

                    ok, went back for a third try because I was really disappointed with the second and . . . this place rocks.

                    got an alcaupurria again and it was amazing; just a total package of crisp/chewy exterior, good flavor and generous filling inside. also got a plantinata rellena; not the whole plantain split lengthwise and topped with meat, like many places, but something similar to the shape and size of the alcapurria: football shaped lozenge filled with meat, made of maduros instead of yuca so instead of being crispy/chewy, it was a soft thin sweet plantain wrapping a very deliciously squishy meaty inside, generous to the point of insanity. each one of the frituras has their own individualized filling and this one was a beefy/meaty soft and tender one which reminded me of a soft soft sausage or even haggis, since it almost felt like it had oatmeal or maybe mashed plaintain mixed with the meat filling, but then wrapped again with maduro. it was pretty crazy and good.

                2. Tried the cinnamon danish at Lee Lee's on Sunday; I'll have to try again for a taste of the apricot rugelach. (The baker is an "older man," the lady at the counter told me, and he doesn't have a fixed schedule.)

                  Neglected to mention Cafe 2115, a West African lunch stop and juice bar that serves many cabbies, and a Jamaican joint called Ale!!! Silly Goose (I've visited only their Bradhurst Ave. location). You can find them at 2115 and 2459 Frederick Douglas Blvd., a.k.a. Eighth Ave., respectively.

                  Perhaps I should have been clearer about my legwork regarding La Marmite, which had been my favorite West African restaurant in the area until they closed their doors. I was glad to see that they'd moved to 172 East 118th St.:
                  which was formerly the site of a 24-hour West African joint called Tchaloco. When I finally stopped by, however, I found the same notices on the windows, a sheriff's order on the front door, and no sign that La Marmite had ever resumed operations:
                  Yesterday, when I read above that they had another location, I was excited enough to visit immediately, but found only this:
                  A gentleman who noted my interest told me that recently, when the gates were raised, he'd seen that La Marmite still needed to do a lot of construction, and a woman inside the premises wasn't able to give him any information about when it might open. Too bad; folks were waiting for tables at the IHOP across the street.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: DaveCook

                    Thanks for the detailed report, and all your legwork, DaveCook. That explains why I haven't heard anything about La Marmite since the move. It's a huge shame. Their lamb is really great. I do hope they open up soon--that shiny awning has been up on the ACP location for months now.

                    The baker at LeeLee's is indeed an "older man" but he's there every single time I've been in, so I'm surprised you didn't catch him. He's slow moving, thoughtful, and friendly. He gets very upset about the chocolate rugelach--the coating is too drippy/runny and gets very messy; it's very tasty nonetheless!

                    1. re: DaveCook

                      hey dave,

                      just had some really delicious takeout from Cafe 2115 and that place is amazing. The whole fried tilapia is a simply prepared but deeply delicious deep-fried fish (big), scored, simply seasoned and served escabeche-style (slightly cooked pickled onions on top); served simply with rice and a deeply rich, red-hued onion gravy and a most flavorful hot sauce (good initial pop, lasting flavor and tingle). really good, and would love to try some more of their selections.

                      address is 2115 8th avenue

                      Cafe 2115
                      2115 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10026

                      1. re: bigjeff

                        Thanks, bigj and Dave, for the two heads ups! I'm always on the lookout for good African (something that's not available here in Boston) and had missed this one.

                        BTW, as this is a resurrected thread - just to note again that Florence's has closed, alas!