Passport to the World in Harlem
By Kysha Harris @SCHOPgirl
Everyone knows New York City is called the melting pot. It is a rich mix of cultures, flavors, people and tastes that have converged on a relatively small patch of land. Harlem is no exception. However, what is unique about Harlem, more specifically the 15-block stretch on Frederick Douglass Boulevard, also known as the Gateway to Harlem, is the number of world foods that live in our community.
So let’s take a trip around the world on Harlem Gateway International, Flight #008. No, put that passport away. You just need your shades and a little pop in your step because we are gonna stroll 8th Ave’!
The travel itinerary: start in these United States, cross over into Africa, cut a left to Europe, sidestep to the Middle East and a jaywalking finish to Japan. Let’s ride…
5 and Diamond
2072 Frederick Douglass Blvd
917 860 4444
Alluring and slightly unassuming from the outside, this intimate fine dining space offers world cuisine that reflects and pays homage to the diverse Harlem community. Happy Hour specials and $20 prix-fixe brunch might pull you in too!
67 Orange Street
2082 Frederick Douglass Blvd
212 662 2030
Named in tribute for the address of the 19th century’s Almack’s, one of New York City’s first black-owned bars, this stylish lounge defines the Harlem cocktail. Try its signature Orange Street or the knowledge-dropping Emancipation. Some pretty wicked bar food too!
Harlem Food Bar
2100 Frederick Douglass Blvd
212 222 9570
This convivial hang out, birthed by an East Harlem restaurateur, screams fun! The bright colors of the pop art wall and furniture bring a smile to your face while enjoying freshly prepared modern Americana fare.
2153 Frederick Douglass Blvd
212 866 4500
Once a long time car repair shop, the space on 116th St was converted to an indoor/outdoor sports bar and restaurant. Join your crew on game night for a pint and some Harlem-style cheering and jeering!
300 W 114th St
212 864 7777
The niece of the legendary Sylvia Woods, Melba knows good cooking. She puts chic on the soul tradition with her short ribs and turkey meatloaf. Imbibe with live music, open-mic night or a deejay. It’s always a happy hour at Melba’s.
2167 Frederick Douglass Blvd
646 455 0952
The NYC famous meal-of-a-cookie comes to Harlem. Find all of your favorite cookies plus scones, brioche, sticky buns and cake. Their “10026” zip code tees are pretty cool too!
Lee Lee’s Bakery
283 W 118th ST
917 493 6633
Mr. Lee makes rugelach that will rival your favorite bubbe’s! If the timing is right and you are lucky enough to catch it hot out of the oven, you will declare it a mitzvah before the second bite.
Africa Kine Restaurant
256 W 116th St
212 666 9400
This eatery welcomes you to Senegal. It was one of the first Senegalese restaurants on 116th St, the hub of Harlem’s West African community. First bite? Try the national dish, Thiebou Djeun, “fish and rice.”
2084 Frederick Douglass Blvd
212 662 0620
The exotic spices of Ethiopia fill the air here where dishes like doro alitcha (chicken stew), yebe alitcha (marinated lamb) and an assortment of veggie platters are must-tries.
2099 Frederick Douglass Blvd
212 280 0944
If beer is your weakness, stay far away from Harlem’s first Biergarten. Only the authentic international sausage menu matches the vast menu of international beers. Plus Bier’s annual Oktoberfest is not to be missed!
2200 Frederick Douglass Blvd
212 666 0078
Paris meets Senegal in this newly renovated bakery and café serving buttery croissants, baguettes, and tasty French pastries plus a full menu of French Moroccan and Vietnamese inspired foods. Head east to their Lenox Ave location to add a full bar and DJ to the mix! Merci beaucoup!
2104 Frederick Douglass Blvd
212 222 0075
Named in honor of the man of the boulevard, this reincarnated petite modern café bistro serves up coffee, pastries and light fare. The flood of daylight from its corner location will inspire Douglass’ greatness.
185 St. Nicholas Ave
212 866 7766
Perched on the corner of 119th St and Harlem’s historic St. Nicholas Ave, the vibrant red-awning on the outside of this French bistro signals the beginning of a joie de vivre experience to be had inside.
2211 Frederick Douglass Blvd
212 662 VINA (8462)
The rebirth of the Harlem wine bar sits on the corner of W 119th St like the bow of a grey steamship. A modern sustainably built restaurant, Vinateria offers small, medium and large seasonal plates and curated wines and spirits from small craft producers. Whether Italy or Spain is your culinary port of call, the S.S. Vinateria is taking passengers!
2168 Frederick Douglass Blvd
646 490 8575
This former tire repair shop transformed into an Italian respite, channeling gentle breezes from the Adriatic Sea. Go for a crostino and a glass of Prosecco at the bar, stay for the gnocchi and seasonal specials. That’s amoré!
Bad Horse Pizza
2222 Frederick Douglass Blvd
212 749 1258
When you’ve had a “bad” day and all you need to make it better is a good thin crust pizza and a beer, it’s Bad Horse to the rescue.
300 W 116th St
646 692 4935
The owners of Yatenga and Shrine have opened this new eatery, café and lounge off Frederick Douglass Blvd. Inexpensive and well-prepared Isreali foods like falafel and shawarma are easy choices. The downstairs lounge makes you feel like you’re in a Paris speakeasy.
2280 Frederick Douglass Blvd
This formerly Upper West Side eatery moved to Harlem recently to offer the neighborhood its first Turkish restaurant. Think foods on a stick, kebab, fresh salads and other Mediterranean fare. Here’s to growing our palates! Welcome to Harlem Savann!
2113 Frederick Douglass Blvd
212 222 8934
The new kid on the block serves all of your favorite dishes. Eat in, take out, have it delivered. There is also an Early Bird Special for $12.95 that could become your Mississippi Masala. Woof!
2118 Frederick Douglasss Blvd
212 866 2118
If you are anywhere on the spectrum of a sushi eater – from I’ll try it to I live for it – you know not to trust just any old spot. It must be quality, it must be fresh, it must be delicious. Well, check, check and check! Sushi is in Harlem!