Spanish Harlem

What To Eat And Drink

Spanish Harlem’s La Marqueta: A Sweet Surprise from Breezy Hill Orchard

By Allana Mortell | June 12, 2012

sweet empanada

Every town and neighborhood has its one local market that is categorized by its charm. It’s probably small enough so you can get to know your vendors, but also large enough to hold everything you need. For Spanish Harlem, that market is La Marqueta.

La Marqueta is one of the oldest landmarks in East Harlem and to this day, continues to be a trademark spot for Harlemites and New Yorkers alike. The 80,000-square-foot market is separated by six parcels divided by intersecting streets and stretches from 111th street to 116th underneath the metro rail north line on Park Avenue. It was first established in 1936 by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia to control the numerous pushcarts and vendors that piled the streets of East Harlem with their various produce, fruits, vegetables and homemade breads. Since then, La Marqueta has had its ups and downs–including a fire that destroyed one of the markets in 1977–but regardless, the market has remained a place for all people to shop and interact with vendors, buying the best local produce and locally grown vegetables East Harlem has to offer. Read More


Spanish Harlem Prepares for the Puerto Rican Day Parade

By | June 8, 2012

Puerto Rico en el Barrio

Every year, on the second Sunday of June, Puerto Ricans all over New York City and even neighboring Latin hubs like Pennsylvania and Boston, gather on Fifth Avenue between 44th and 79th Streets to celebrate Puerto Rican pride at its finest. But as early as a few days prior, signs of the parade can be seen throughout NYC and especially in Spanish Harlem. Known as ‘El Barrio,’ Spanish Harlem still holds the highest concentration of Puerto Rican residents in NYC. El Barrio streets come alive with the red, white and blue of the Puerto Rican flag flying high.

Check out a few photos below of Spanish Harlem as the residents prepare for the big weekend that lies ahead. Read More

What To Eat And Drink

Cuchi-what? The Puerto Rican Way to Fry Everything

By Allana Mortell | June 8, 2012


Photo: Juntos Worldwide

Get ready New York City! The National Puerto Rican Day Parade is happening this Sunday in honor of the over 8 million Puerto Ricans inhabiting NYC and “la isla del encanto,” Puerto Rico. Before Sunday, however, you can spot Latin pride all over the city and in honor if this prideful occasion we’re featuring some Latin highlights and photos from one of the largest spots in Harlem- Spanish Harlem. Here’s our first feature…

Since moving to New York, it has been my personal mission as a self-proclaimed foodie to really expand my taste buds and dive into the Big Apple’s culinary explosion, head first. However, with a dwindling bank account, it can be difficult to navigate the waters without first having the money to throw down. With that said, when I found a restaurant where I can shell out $1.50 for some bacalao (codfish fritters), both my stomach and wallet were very, very happy.

Cuchifritos Frituras, directly east of the Lexington Avenue subway at 116th street has been serving traditional Latin American fare for years, and is one of the most famous spots for this Puerto Rican fried food phenomenon. But what in the world exactly is a cuchifrito? Often described as Puerto Rican soul food, cuchifritos are simply fried food and most traditionally, pork. Cuchi, short for cochino, translates to pig, whereas frito describes something fried. Put it all together and you’ve got fried goodness, served with love, for a total bargain of the price. Read More


Five Dollar Food Challenge: “Cubano” at La Isla

By admin | March 9, 2012

cuban sandwich

By: Michael Engle

In the previous installment of the Five Dollar Food Challenge, I visited Spanish Harlem and, on a whim, found El Aguila to be  my new go-to for authentic Mexican cuisine. This time, I again returned to Spanish Harlem, but I intentionally ventured farther east for the sake of exploring a different section of the area. For my most recent Five Dollar Food Challenge, I found myself at La Isla, a local outlet for casual Caribbean cuisine.

Dining with a $5 limit is totally possible at La Isla! One $5 option is the “lunch special” from 11a-4p (except on Sundays), which consists of a choice among roasted half-chicken, fried chicken, fried pork chop, or ribs, along with rice and beans. Alternatively, one might choose to spend $5 on various frituras, which sit on a heated display shelf by the front window, inviting passersby to order one for the road. La Isla offers, among other warm snacks, meat-filled cassavas, meat-filled plantains, and meat patties. Read More


Five Dollar Food Challenge: Tacos, Tamales, and Tortas at ‘El Aguila’

By admin | March 1, 2012

By: Michael Engle

It is a formidable challenge to find a good meal for five dollars (or less) in New York City.  Eliminating all “five dollar footlongs” and other fast-food offerings, the options become even more scarce.  We are going to bring you a new series of $5 Food Challenges, where we scope out the neighborhood for some good cheap eats! In a recent search for my $5 food challenge, I visited Spanish Harlem and, on a whim, elected to patronize El Aguila, an oasis of authentic Mexican cuisine.

When I first walked in, I was overwhelmed by all the unique smells within the store.  Though the panaderia was located in the back, the always fresh cakes and panes dulces made their presences known immediately.  In addition to the traditionally-made Mexican pastries, the entire store highlighted its devotion to authentic fresh Mexican food, including the fresh meat and “fruit water.”

My only disappointment was that, upon placing my order at the cashier, I was forced to settle for “Plan B.”  I attempted to order a barbacoa (Mexican goat meat) taco, with a jalapea±o and cheese tamale.  At 5 P.M. on a Friday evening, they were out of both.  Forced to choose again, I decided to try the chorizo (spicy Mexican sausage) taco and a tamal verde, i.e.: a tamale featuring chicken and a spicy green chili sauce, instead.  I also selected a walnut-topped cake from the panaderia. Read More


“Testimonios” at El Museo del Barrio

By admin | March 1, 2012

Photo: JuntosWorldwide

Photo: JuntosWorldwide

While Hispanic culture is a vital part of New York City, especially in Spanish Harlem, its art is not often portrayed on NYC’s gallery walls. A neglect of this culture is like neglecting New York’s immigrant origins and one of the US’ fastest growing populations today. This is, indeed, the central theme of El Museo del Barrio’s latest special exhibition.

El Museo del Barrio was originally founded in 1969 by Raphael Montaa±ez Ortiz, who astutely noted that Latino artwork was rarely featured in New York City’s mainstream art museums.  Helping to fill the void and enrich the Harlem landscape, El Museo del Barrio has become a beacon for Latino, Caribbean, and Latin American art.  Tonight’s festivities will honor the museum’s current temporary exhibit, “Testimonios: 100 Years of Popular Expression,” which will be featured until May 6.

“Testimonios” consists of various loaned pieces from other NYC museums, as well as rarely-seen works from El Museo’s permanent collection.  Read More


Inside ‘El Barrio': Mi Mexico Lindo Bakery

By admin | January 5, 2012

Mi Mexico Lindo Bakery

By: Cyndi Amaya

Unless you’re a Harlem resident, little is known about Spanish Harlem to most New Yorkers. Known as ‘El Barrio,’ East Harlem is one of the largest predominantly Latino communities in New York City. Once known as Italian Harlem because of the once-predominant Italian community, it now houses a large Puerto Rican, Dominican, and Mexican population.

With such a vast Hispanic community, it’s no doubt that most of the businesses and hot spots are Latin-based, with El Museo del Barrio (the largest Hispanic and Caribbean museum in NYC) being one of the main institutions of the neighborhoods. As Hispanic myself, I’ve always been drawn to El Barrio, since I can never get enough of my culture (same reason being why I moved to Queens not so long ago).

But with so many Hispanic businesses and restaurants, where is one to go for an authentic taste of Spanish Harlem? In this series, we’ll give you insight to a few Spanish Harlem favorites that seem to make everyone’s lists of must-tries. Read More


Featured Recipe

More Recipes

Meet the Team

About The Team

Whether it’s finding the best goat tacos in LA, spotting a well-worn vintage bag in Sweden, or interviewing the “crab man” selling seafood on a corner in Harlem, we tell stories seen from Chef Marcus Samuelsson‘s point of view. strives to create conversations about food, nutrition, culture, art, and design. We want to find Read More


Streetbird Rotisserie
Marcus’ Bermuda
Eatery Social Taqueria
Red Rooster Harlem
Ginny’s Supper Club
Uptown Brasserie
American Table Cafe and Bar
Kitchen and Table
American Table Brasserie and Bar
Marc Burger