This Puerto Rican restaurant has been a staple of the Spanish Harlem community since 1996, and it’s here that you’ll find some of the best mofongo in Manhattan outside of Washington Heights and Inwood. Try the shrimp version which comes with tail-on shrimp and big hunks of plantains, all drenched in aromatic garlic sauce (you get a choice of a tomato- or garlic-based sauce). If you want something meaty, order the crispy chuletas or almost-sweet pernil. La Fonda Boricua often hosts live music nights with flamenco dancers and Latin jazz bands, so follow their Instagram here to stay in the loop.
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Earl’s Beer & Cheese
Earl’s menu of pig and cheese heavy snacks pairs perfectly with the small but righteous selection of draft beers that they have on tap. Head up north sometime to check it out, and also visit Earl’s sister restaurant around the corner, ABV.
The Lexington Social
The Lexington Social is a bar in East Harlem with an excellent Happy Hour and some small Mediterranean plates.
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La Isla Cuchifritos
We love La Isla Cuchifritos for the fact that a) it’s cheap and delicious, and b) it sort of feels like you’re grubbing in tropical Puerto Rico rather than not-so-tropical Brooklyn.
El Rinconcito is a Dominican restaurant in the East Village that’s been around for over 20 years and makes some fantastic mofongo.
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