The part of Harlem where we live is adjacent to Spanish Harlem, aka el Barrio. That means we have access to LEGIT tacos. On Saturday, we decided to do a little tour of our neighborhood and discovered some truly amazing spots. The Barrio is dense with restaurants. In less than half a block, we hit up three places and know we barely scratched the surface. While the absolute favorite was the gordita de chicharron that we got handmade by a grandmother at a random street cart, we also really loved everything we got at Quesadillas Doña Maty. (No website, sorry.)
All seating and drinks (including a large jug of agua fresca that everyone enjoyed) are inside, while all the cooking is done on the sidewalk. We ordered a ton of tacos and went to town. Chicken, carnitas, spicy pork…everything was absolutely amazing. The crowd favorite was definitely the spicy pork. We had ordered a chicken quesadilla but they accidentally brought us a chicken taco. In the end it was fine because we were full at this point and couldn’t have finished the quesadilla anyway. Since you don’t pay til you leave after your meal, we simply paid for the taco ($3 instead of the $6 quesadilla). After seeing the person next to us eating one, however, I know I must return to try one myself.
The four of us certainly stuck out as gringos, but that just proves the neighborhood has actually managed to retain its special culture, and that’s something that shouldn’t change. No need to stop speaking Spanish for me. Quesadillas Doña Maty felt truly authentic. Authentic and delicious. I will 100% be back. And since it seems to be open 24 hours, I can do so very soon. (How is such an amazing thing possible with a small family run place?! Don’t ask; just enjoy, I suppose.)