Location: 1260 Amsterdam Avenue
Best Dish: Anytime homemade pasta is offered on a menu you simply have to try it. Serafina Harlem’s pasta has great texture and when paired with any of their sauces delivers a mind-blowing culinary masterpiece. Of the many pasta dishes we sampled, the Paglia and Fieno was the star. The creamy sauce and fresh basil were a delicious combination.
Overall: Though the menu seems gourmet the vibe is more relaxed. There is no pretentiousness here, just good food and great service. Serafina Harlem is a good option for a first date, a casual dinner with friends or a cool and impressive venue for your next event. They’ve hosted all types of events from corporate meetings to birthday soirees.
When thinking of dining options in Harlem it used to be limited to soul food and fried fish. While many of those places still exist, the food scene in Harlem is enjoying a renaissance of sorts with exciting new eateries popping up on nearly every corner. One of the hottest additions to the Harlem landscape is Serafina a popular Italian franchise. Though there are several locations throughout the country this isn’t your basic spaghetti and pizza joint. Serafina is a fine dining establishment with well thought out menus and upscale decor.
We dropped by space on a weeknight to sample some of their best dishes. We began as always with a round of cocktails. The Spicy Jalapeño Margarita is an instant hit. The beverage is a combination of Tanteo jalapeno tequila, Cointreau, and agave.
Instead of the usual salad we started our meal with the vegetarian platter, a selection of spaghetti squash artfully topped with mixed garden vegetables and savory tomato sauce. The platter is a feast for the eyes with bright colorful veggies. It was almost too pretty to eat.
Housemade pasta is impossible to resist. What foodie could resist the siren song of fresh housemade pasta? There was no way we were leaving without a taste. We started with the “Paglia and Fieno” a creamy and sumptuous mix of fettuccine tossed with a light creamy tomato sauce and fresh basil.
Next, we enjoyed the “Taglioni al Pesto” This unique pesto dish features al dente pasta, pesto, potatoes, string beans and pine nuts. This hearty dish is a meal on its own the addition of potatoes and string beans make it a filling and unique option.
Growing up we loved ravioli as adults nothing much has changed. The only difference these days is my ravioli never comes from a can. Serafina Harlem’s “Ravioli Al Porcini” is one of the best we’ve had in years. The mushrooms were cooked perfectly and sauteed in a light buttery sauce.
Our last entree of the evening was the “Branzino Al Limone”. This perfectly seared fish was baked with lemon and herbaceous rosemary and served with roasted potatoes.
No Italian feast is complete without dessert. We had the fresh berry tart and the creamy tiramisu. The tiramisu os rich and creamy with just a hint of coffee flavor. The berry tart is a fresh end to the evening offering a burst of palate cleansing freshness after a decadent meal.
Serafina Harlem brings the high-end flavors of classic Italian cuisine uptown with its chic decor and relaxed atmosphere. The food is matched by exemplary customer service which is sometimes lacking north of midtown. With its fun atmosphere and tasty menu, Serafina Harlem sets the bar for the new era in Harlem dining.
Head over to the Serafina Harlem website for more information.