Over the last five years or so, Harlem has become a great neighborhood for foodies.
Frederick Douglass Boulevard, between 112th St. and 125th St., is full of great restaurants, many of which have individual Harlem-bred fusion cuisines. In the spirit of true exploration, you might want to do a restaurant crawl, ordering just a small appetizer at each place that looks interesting.
In case you’d like more specific recommendations for single places to go, here’s what I’d suggest:
Soul food/new American fusion, with the occasional delightful Ethiopian or Scandinavian twist (really), from culinary genius Marcus Samuelsson. The place is on Malcolm X Blvd, a couple blocks east of Frederick Douglass, but it’s worth the walk.
A French-West African bakery. I think you could just order at random, or get whatever the person behind the counter suggests, and you’d be happy. The cafe is good, but the bakery is to die for!
A Harlem soul food standby. Get the ribs. Or the chicken and waffles. This place isn’t on Frederick Douglass, so you can’t get there just by walking up the street, but it’s worth the small detour.
Lolo’s Seafood Shack
A very yummy Caribbean/New England/soul food fusion that’s Lolo’s alone. The jerk ribs are terrific–falling-off-the-bone tender, with a twist that makes them distinct from what you’ll find anywhere else.
Dense, chewy, delicious cookies. Heaven for your sweet tooth! (Levain also has a location in the Upper West Side.)
Continue your food tour of the area:
Here’s some more information about Harlem’s Restaurant Row. There are lots of places listed here that I haven’t tried. I’m sure many of them are terrific.
Oh, and, in places with liquor licenses–see if you can get a bottle of Sugar Hill Beer. It’s made in Harlem and is most often found in the neighborhood, although it sometimes shows up in other parts of NYC.
This post originally appeared on Quora. Republished here with permission.