Sugar Hill restaurants are well worth the trip uptown. Sugar Hill, the tiny neighborhood located at the northern part of Hamilton Heights, was a central player in the original Harlem Renaissance era of the 1920s. Filled with stunning brownstone mansions as well as many of the upscale amenities and services found further downtown, the area functioned as home and haven to upper-class African American educators, politicians, doctors, lawyers, writers, and celebrities who were drawn to the area’s classic architecture, as well as its rich cultural and intellectual scene. Part of the West Harlem Historic District, the tiny enclave is filled with historic, landmarked brownstones and gorgeous condos awaiting the many people interested in moving to the area. Listed below are a few of the eateries that locals and visitors alike tend to frequent.
1. Queen Sheeba
Ever been hit with a sudden craving for Indian or Middle Eastern, and find yourself thinking, “Man, I wish there was a place where I could have both!” Well, if you happen to be walking along Harlem’s West 141st Street, wish no more. Tuck into Queen Sheeba, the neighborhood’s well-known, oft-visited Yemeni eatery. Yemeni food has been described as a blend of Indian and Middle Eastern tastes, and the menu options here bear out this claim. Start out your meal with the restaurant’s famous hummus, a gorgeous blend of chickpeas, tahini, sesame seeds, lemon juice and garlic. Try the delectable sambosas, the Middle Eastern version of Indian samosas; you won’t be able to eat just one. The garden salad here tastes fresh out of a Yemeni grandma’s garden, with cucumbers, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. For the main course, it’ll be hard to choose. The roasted half chicken — dajaj bilforn — is marinated in aromatic, exquisite spices. They offer a host of vegetarian options, including mushakal adie, a rich vegetable stew made with corn, eggplant, squash, potatoes, lima beans, and carrots. Sop it all up with fresh, hot pita bread.
2. Grange Bar and Eatery
What’s that? You said you’re looking for a cozy spot with a fun crowd, a menu made with locally grown produce, and a fabulous bar filled with everything from an amazing cocktail menu, a 16-draft beer system, and a wide-ranging wine selection? Then get thee to the Grange Bar and Eatery on Amsterdam Avenue. Sit out in the open and eat, drink, and be merry with everyone else, or go incognito in the private dining room called The Study, a haven where you and a dozen of your nearest and dearest can feast in seclusion. Try the decadent spinach ravioli stuffed with a rich filling of ricotta and topped with rainbow micro-greens and poppyseed butter, or the 1635 Burger, a grass-fed beef patty topped with a cornichon remoulade and served on a brioche bun. Stopping by for brunch? Two words: Lobster Benedict.
3. People’s Choice
Great Sugar Hill restaurants aren’t always of the sit-down variety. Some of them function purely as takeout spots. Get a taste of the Caribbean fare served up at this neighborhood pick-up spot, and you’ll completely understand why it’s called the People’s Choice. Menu choices are what you’d expect from Caribbean restaurants: the marinated oxtail stew and the tender jerk chicken are some of the most frequently ordered items. It’s not fancy — it’s takeout only and you better bring cash — but the delicious food transcends the no-frills ambiance.
Image Source: Flickr/Aamer Javed
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