If you’re a large, intrepid, and insatiably hungry group in sensible shoes, big o wants to show you around East Harlem.

He suggests you start with a pie at Patsy’s, the 76-year-old coal-oven pizza destination on First Avenue.

For added ballast—Patsy’s crust is uncommonly thin—zig a couple of long blocks west on 116th Street to Cuchifritos for alcapurrias, pastelitos, and other Puerto Rican bites, fried to order. Then zag back east for a refresher at El Barrio Juice Bar. Can’t let yourself get dehydrated.

Back at First Avenue, hang a right for a dessert break. La Tropezienne makes an excellent mocha éclair and other pastries, as well as a nice grapefruit parfait.

Continue south and veer off the avenue at 108th Street to Cafe Ollin for a cemita. big o recommends the milanesa, a strapping sandwich amply stuffed with a fried beef cutlet, Oaxacan-style cheese, chipotle chile, avocado, black beans, and the pungent Mexican herb pápalo. DaveCook likes the one with carne enchilada, or spicy pork.

Around 100th Street, turn right and head back west. Near Lexington Avenue, stop at La Galette for a cup of coffee or fruit punch, or maybe a house-baked muffin. Or, if you’re up to it, one of the Senegalese plates: a whole baked fish, or a daily special like maffe (meat stew in peanut sauce) or yassa (lemon grilled chicken).

Just up Lex, explore the emerging restaurant row: Joy Burger, Giovanna’s for pizza, Yo In Yo Out (“awful name, good French food,” says big o), Itzocan Bistro for French-accented Mexican, and Moustache, a newish uptown outpost of the downtown Middle Eastern places.

And only a little farther afield are El Paso Taqueria, Amor Cubano, and Puerto Rican favorites La Fonda Boricua and Lechonera El Barrio, City Kid’s go-to spot for roasted pig.

A tip for novice chow crawlers: Pace yourself, order sparingly, and split everything into small bites. “Just the cemita alone is enough to fill a person up for the better part of a day,” big o advises.

Patsy’s [East Harlem]
2287 First Avenue (between E. 117th and 118th streets), Manhattan
212-534-9783

Cuchifritos [East Harlem]
168 E. 116th Street (between Lexington and Third avenues), Manhattan
212-876-4846

El Barrio Juice Bar [East Harlem]
308 E. 116th Street (between First and Second avenues), Manhattan
212-828-0403

La Tropezienne [East Harlem]
2131 First Avenue (at E. 110th Street), Manhattan
212-860-5324

Cafe Ollin [East Harlem]
339 E. 108th Street (between First and Second avenues), Manhattan
212-828-3644

La Galette [East Harlem]
177 E. 100th Street (between Lexington and Third avenues), Manhattan
212-410-6361

Joy Burger [East Harlem]
1567 Lexington Avenue (at E. 100th Street), Manhattan
212-289-6222

Giovanna’s [East Harlem]
1567 Lexington Avenue (at E. 100th Street), Manhattan
212-360-6300

Yo In Yo Out [East Harlem]
1569 Lexington Avenue (near E. 100th Street), Manhattan
212-987-5350

Itzocan Bistro [East Harlem]
1575 Lexington Avenue (between E. 100th and 101st streets), Manhattan
212-423-0255

Moustache [East Harlem]
1621 Lexington Avenue (at E. 102nd Street), Manhattan
212-828-0030

El Paso Taqueria [East Harlem]
1642 Lexington Avenue (between E. 103rd and 104th streets), Manhattan
212-831-9831

Amor Cubano [East Harlem]
2018 Third Avenue (at E. 111th Street), Manhattan
212-996-1220

La Fonda Boricua [East Harlem]
169 E. 106th Street (between Lexington and Third avenues), Manhattan
212-410-7292

Lechonera El Barrio [East Harlem]
172 E. 103rd Street (between Lexington and Third avenues), Manhattan
212-722-1344

Board Link: East Harlem food/walking tour?

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