Best restaurants in East Harlem?
I moved up near the area a few months ago, but I havent sought out much in the way of good restaurants lately. I've been to Cafe Ollin (cemitas) before, had Best Lexington Pizza (peruvian food, had a 1/4 of some roasted chicken), and Taco Mix (al pastor tacos) earlier today, all of which are pretty good.
That being said, can anyone recommend some other good places in East Harlem (or chime in more about the places I mentioned?
(I'm posting because the only topic I found about this is about 2 years old, and some of those places are closed now)
339 E 108th St (108th b/t 1st and 2nd)
Best Lexington Pizza
1654 Lexington Ave (b/t 104th and 105th)
234 E 116th St (b/t 3rd and 2nd)
I find myself not infrequently craving cemitas from Cafe Ollin, but their deeply flavored platos take me in other directions as well. I am particularly a fan of the tortitas de camaron when they are offered as a special. Taco Mix, while it is not much more than a street stand with walls, makes some of the best tacos al pastor in the city. Wrapped in a hot tortilla with a crisp salted chili tucked in for flavor and crunch, it's hard to beat. That is unless you order the fabulously moist buche tacos, which are made only more addictive with a helping of habanero and pickled onion and radishes.
El Aguila is a bit hit or miss in comparison, but I will stop by just to buy their fiery red salsa or avocado salsa verde. To stay with the Mexican theme, the Pentecostal church on 116th just east of 3rd Avenue features a lady selling beautiful tamales and atole on Sunday mornings. Get one if you're nearby.
For lechoneras, you're better off at Lechonera El Barrio than at the larger Lechonera Sandy on 116th. Similarly the tiny El Barrio Restaurant on 116th is better than the more famous Cuchifritos down the street, at least for pastelitos.
Camaradas and Amor Cubano are popular in the neighborhood for mojitos and Cuban fare. Milk Burger, which is fairly similar to Shake Shack, but with the addition of onion rings and guacamole, is more my speed and a guilty indulgence. It's much better than Joy Burger, which I find dry.
Not a restaurant, but two weeks ago the NY Times had a piece about La Tropezienne, a French bakery on 1st Ave and E 110th St. I haven't been, but it said it had excellent bread and French pastries. I think there are a number of hidden gems in the neighborhood if you poke around a bit.
Serious eats did a comprehensive east harlem taco article, its also older so check before going:
Hot bread kitchen inside of la marqueta has lunch items, more info on them here: