Settepani – Sicilian/Ethiopian Food in Harlem

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Picture yourself in the heart of Harlem surrounded by high-end restaurants, amazing vintage shops, as well as other eclectic places. Just in front, is a drum circle with a crowd of participants from schoolchildren to the elderly. It’s this mix of worlds that has made Harlem a unique neighborhood and it’s this mix of worlds that is the basis of this restaurant. It’s a family affair by the Sicilian husband and the Ethiopian wife.

Settepani is a classic upscale restaurant you would find in Italy. An Italian friend of mine once said: there are two types of Italian restaurants- restaurants for Italians, and restaurants for Americans. This restaurant provides an authentic experience with a twist. This family-owned restaurant has Ethiopian and Sicilian roots, and that influence is noted, especially in the teff gnocchi. Teff is an edible grass from Ethiopia rich in copper, magnesium, potassium, and zinc, to name a few.

The food was exquisite. The arancini (rice balls)  were perfectly crisp and traditionally seasoned with saffron. All the pasta is homemade as well as their famous desserts. The linguini and clams was a perfect ratio of clams to pasta. Don’t expect large “American” portions here, Settepani is European through and through. We had to try the teff gnocchi in a gorgonzola cream sauce, which was so good.

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Teff Gnocchi

So many of the dishes were spot on to the recipes I grew up with. The teff gnocchi was just noted in particular because it really hit that unique mix that is not only the restaurant but the neighborhood itself too.

The New York Times ranked Settepani’s tiramisu as the second-best in New York City. That is crazy impressive since there are so many quality Italian establishments in the city. The tiramisu was light and flavored perfectly with an authentic espresso taste. Make sure you get dessert!