Once described as the community that gave “cool” an address, Harlem is home to cultural and now culinary legends. Passions run high in Harlem as do stylish surroundings, warm welcomes, earthy and innovative menus – attributes that could apply to all the members of this list. Its locals have deep roots and pride in this once-edgy neighborhood that is now one of the most attractive places to live and dine.
Recently the dessert at The Cecil was described as “somewhere between Harlem and Heaven.” And, Frederick Douglass Blvd. – Eighth Ave. north of 110th St. – is now known as Harlem’s Restaurant Row. But there is plenty to sample off that particular street.
And that pride gets passed from one generation to the next: Harlemite Melba Wilson, who owns Melba's just happens to be the niece of Sylvia Woods' of the iconic Sylvia's that opened its doors in 1962. Celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson opened Red Rooster, named after the legendary Harlem speakeasy that was located at 138th Street and 7th Avenue and more recently, Streetbird.
Come on uptown for a journey around the world reflecting the African diaspora. Check out the rich gastronomic heritages of Spain and Italy at Vinateria, the Afro-Asian-American fusion at Chef "JJ" Johnson's The Cecil and yes, down-home comfort food.
Entertainment at Supper Clubs will vie for your attention. You cannot go wrong trying out the early arrivals either – Zoma and Chocolat helped anchor the welcoming you'll feel on Harlem's Restaurant Row, part of an old neighborhood whose time has come. Naturally, arrive hungry!