There are some things you only need to do once. Then there are things you do that you can’t wait to do again as soon as possible. For our beloved community, Harlem Restaurant Week is that! Harlem Restaurant Week is a collaborative effort by Harlem Park to Park, Uptown Grand Central, Union Settlement and other local organizations.
Started in 2009 by Harlem Park to Park, to extend New York’s restaurant week into Harlem and its neighborhoods, Harlem Restaurant Week highlights culinary gems and helps diners find new spots to frequent.
East Harlem has no shortage of eateries we feel are special, and we wanted to run down a list of some of those participating restaurants so you can take advantage of their prix-fixe menus. There are over 25 East Harlem restaurants involved, so we’re positive you’ll be able to add a couple to your list of favorites.
Amuse Bouche – A new edition to La Marqueta in East Harlem, Amuse Bouche is a cozy French bistro known for its authentic dishes and sandwiches made with imported breads. They’re offering a lunch menu for the week and it features two French classics, Escargot with garlic and parsley butter, and a vanilla Creme Brulee.
El Barrista – This gem of a cafe has a wide selection of pastries and other light eats that make it a neighborhood favorite. Their namesake sandwich, the El Barrista (prosciutto, fresh buffalo mozzarella, butter, baby arugula on a baguette), is included on the robust lunch menu they’re offering for Harlem Restaurant Week. A breakfast menu will also be available for those partaking in a meal earlier in the day.
Blue Coco – Filling a need in the community, Blue Coco offers a health-focused but unique menu and a wide selection of smoothies. For this week, they’re offering a simplified version of their affordable menu that gets you a fresh smoothie combined with a sandwich or salad, and you can try an acai or quinoa bowl. Try their take on the roast beef sandwich with lemon juice and avocado, called the Roast Coco, or try their delicious Green PB (kale, banana, peanut butter and milk) smoothie! Blue Coco makes it easy to go for the healthier choice while you’re out and about.
El Paso Taquiera – Classic Mexican fare is the core of El Paso Taquiera’s offerings, and they get it right. For Restaurant Week they’re offering a dinner menu for you to try any of their regular menu items like the classic burrito or the perfectly marinated Carne Al Pastor — wine or sangria included! There aren’t too many authentic places like this in the area, so missing out would not be ideal for your tastebuds.
Ginjan Bros Cafe – One of the most unique spots participating this year is Ginjan Cafe, and it’s growing into another neighborhood favorite. Serving herbal teas, African coffees and juices along with their popular ginger-infused Ginjan drink, Ginjan Bros is a small getaway for those looking for light meals and relaxation. Their restaurant week lunch menu gets you a crepe, a house special drink and a pastry, giving you the chance to try almost anything they make.
Joy Burger Bar – Few places give you the freedom of choice like Joy Burger Bar. Their burger selection is top notch, and it may only be beaten by the option for patrons to completely customize their own. There are tons of toppings and signature sauces available, and they let you have it all on their well-priced menu for this week. Choose between their Midi Burger or two hot dogs, and dress them any way you like!
Nocciola – It’s hard to go wrong with a classic Italian dish and well-paired wines. Even if you’re in the mood for something a bit more modern, if you’re getting it from Nocciola you’ve made a great choice. On their dinner menu for this week you’ll be able to enjoy a favorite of regulars there, the Calamari, and you can keep it simple but delicious with their Meatball (tomato ragu, parmigiano, basil) entree.
Be sure to check our website and social media for a full list of participating restaurants for Harlem Restaurant Week!