Miss Mamies

Miss Mamies

Soul Food is a great draw for foodies the world over. Here in Bloomingdale, you don’t even need to leave the neighborhood for some of the best fixin’s around. Owner Norma Jean Darden runs Spoonbread Inc. one of the city’s premier catering kitchens. In October of 1997 she opened her passion project in Miss Mamie’s Spoonbread Too. In the years since, the Michelin recommended restaurant has become a neighborhood landmark and a proud favorite of mayors, former presidents, and neighborhood residents alike.

“The neighborhood has certainly grown since we opened and has really blossomed into one of the premier neighborhoods in New York.”

While the catering menu ranges between different cuisines, Miss Mamie’s is all about bringing the best of the south to our taste buds. They have classic New Orlean’s style flair in their Louisiana catfish and seafood gumbo. They serve a great Caribbean style Jerk as well as traditional Southern fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy. Norma Jean has decades of experience in our area and notes that “the neighborhood has certainly grown since we opened and has really blossomed into one of the premier neighborhoods in New York.” They have been excited to see such a thriving and diverse restaurant scene in the area and have been eager to have support all the new Bloomingdale Restaurants over the years!

Stop by their recently remodeled Southern Dining Room-style restaurant on 110th across the street from Morningside Park. Their lunch specials are difficult to beat and their famous Sunday Brunch will definitely need a reservation at the 50 seat restaurant. In fact there’s rarely a night when something special isn’t on offer, which is fitting at such a great neighborhood place.

Miss Mamie’s Spoonbread Too
364 Cathedral Parkway (110th)
(212) 865-6744
Soul Food
50 seats
Famous Sunday Brunch, Tuesday Tastings, Daily Bar Specials, Bake Sale 1/2 Price Desserts

feature by: Alex Zamudio

Tropical Sensation

Tropical Sensation

There is something special about island cuisine. Unique flavors grow while culinary ideas are exchanged. Tropical Sensation, which opened in the summer of 2008, is where these Flavors of the World meet. This family owned and run restaurant specializes in Tropical Spanish/Caribbean food with dishes from each of the islands and a weekly rotation of regional dishes that’ll have you island hopping without leaving Bloomingdale.

“We opened here because there is a great diversity in the neighborhood with old and new residents, people of all ages and from all over.”

“We opened here because there is a great diversity in the neighborhood with old and new residents, people of all ages and from all over” says owner Jose Clemente, who runs the restaurant with his wife Maria, and children Jose Jr. and Joseline. “The restaurant itself can seem roomy compared to other places in NYC that try to crunch in as many people as possible in tables barely inches apart.” They love the area and are happy to share a block with other established neighborhood favorites like Awash and Mama’s Pizza, as well as newcomers like the Ellington, Yasha Ramen, and La Toulousaine.

Come over to Tropical Sensation’s beautifully designed 60 seat dining room for a comfortable sit down meal, a daily lunch special, or a regional favorite. Several craftspeople were involved in decorating the space: with a mural painted by an artist from the Dominican Republic and a wood worker designing a custom 60 foot bench along the front wall of the restaurant. It’s a unique mix of crafts, traditions, and of course delicious food, that will have you coming back.

Tropical Sensation
953 Amsterdam Avenue
(212) 222-0098
Spanish/Latin Caribbean Restaurant
60 seats
Daily Lunch Specials, Happy Hour Specials

feature by: Alex Zamudio

Casa Mexicana

Casa Mexicana

Flavors of the world are within walking distance here in Bloomingdale. One of the most interesting food trends to hit the city in recent years has been the proliferation of authentic Mexican eateries reflecting increased migration to areas like El Barrio, Washington Heights, Bushwick, and yes right here at home. “We designed the menu to reflect the best that Mexican cuisine has to offer,” says owner and partner Leo Vidals. No Tex- or Cal-Mex here!

“We saw this promising area as the right place to open and the neighborhood has been wonderful! We have been received and treated very well.”

Casa Mexicana opened in September of 2014 and has helped transform a block that had multiple vacancies before Arco Cafe and Casa arrived. Leo manages the restaurant with his brother Eric who is the executive chef, with their father also helping run the family-owned and operated business. Eric let us try his slow cooked 47-ingredient Mole Poblano, a real tour-de-force in Mexican cuisine from the city of Puebla.

After working for years in restaurants in the city, the brothers came to our neighborhood to open their first restaurant and we are glad Casa Mexicana calls Bloomingdale home. Across the street from our landmarked Youth Hostel, take advantage of their great sidewalk café, cozy ambiance, and the occasional art or music exhibit. Talk to them about their menu and ask for something new to try.

Casa Mexicana
894 Amsterdam Avenue
(212) 222-3151
Mexican Restaurant
48 seats inside/18 seats outside
Happy Hour M-F 12-7pm , Brunch Weekends, Free wifi

feature by: Alex Zamudio

Isola On Columbus

Isola on Columbus

Isola is Italian for island. “A lot of people don’t realize that Italy is made up of islands like Sicily” says owner and long time neighborhood resident Sebastiano Cappitta, “and here at Isola we bring Sicilian cuisine to the island of Manhattan.” With a traditional style wood burning brick oven and all pasta dishes made fresh in-house, we are glad he did and encourage you to visit this Bloomingdale gem.

“A lot of people don’t realize that Italy is made up of islands like Sicily and here at Isola we bring Sicilian cuisine to the island of Manhattan.”

Though it opened in the Fall of 2013, Sebastiano opened the original Isola in 1991 down on 83rd and Columbus. After closing in 2007, the former resident of 110th Street saw their current space on 109th and Columbus as “a great opportunity to bring simple affordable Italian food to the neighborhood.” He’s in good company, right across the street from newcomers MBV, and he and manager Gaspare di Fede enjoy eating at neighbors Freda’s and taking out from Saiguette.

With its open design, corner location, and 18-seat sidewalk café, Isola is a great destination on the northern end of Columbus Avenue. The more modern version focuses on “light cooking and healthy alternatives” with an Island cuisine that will seem both familiar and inviting. Like one of Sebastiano’s other restaurants Arco, Isola also offers a great brunch menu that includes a Mimosa, Bellini, or Bloody Mary.

Isola on Columbus
994 Columbus Avenue
(212) 665-2970
Sicilian Italian Restaurant
50 seats inside/18 seats outside
Happy Hour Drink Specials M-F, Brunch 11-4 Weekends/Holidays includes drink

feature by: Alex Zamudio

Arco Cafe

Arco Cafe

We pride ourselves for having Flavors of the World here in Bloomingdale. Sitting down for a meal at Arco Cafe takes you straight into an Italian home kitchen. “Italians mostly eat at home, with fresh local ingredients and home made pasta,” says Partner/Manager Daniele Fiori who runs Arco Cafe with his sister Francesca, “and that’s what we have created here.”

“Everyone knows everyone else. It’s like a family between businesses and the clients.”

The Fiori’s, who hail from the Island of Sardina, opened on 103rd and Amsterdam in February of 2014 and have helped turn around a block that now also features newcomers in the family owned Casa Mexicana. They love the small town feel our neighborhood provides as a respite from the big city. “Everyone knows everyone else. It’s like a family between businesses and the clients.” Aside from his neighbors at Casa, Daniele also likes The Ellington, and newcomers Schatzie and West End Hall.

Arco seats 70 inside and 10 outside and serves wine and beer, which pair perfectly with the regional menu carefully designed by Daniele to mimic “the food I grew up eating at home.” Their $12 two-course fixed price lunch is one of the best deals in the neighborhood, and you can get a bottle of wine for 50% off if you go Monday through Thursday. You might need to as reservations are usually required on weekends, as they have adopted the classic American tradition of serving brunch!

Arco Café
886 Amsterdam Avenue
(212) 665-0033
Sardinian Italian Restaurant
70 seats inside/10 outside
Weekend Brunch, Weekday $12 Lunch served M – F until 6 pm, Mon-Thurs 50% off wine

feature by: Alex Zamudio