Need a space to just rewind and enjoy a sweet treat for yourself or a quiet hangout spot with amazing food? HARBS is one of our favorite spots to relax and enjoy a sweet slice of cake or fill up for lunch with their simple and tasty menu.
Originally from Japan, HARBS brought their tasty menu and sweet cakes to New York to delight us with treats that have a special Japanese touch to them. Famous for their picture-perfect cakes that look as if they've been pulled straight out of a Miyazaki film, that's the first sight you see upon walking into the café. With a bright display case with rows of freshly made cakes at the forefront, you can't help but to gawk and give in! A velvety banana cream pie, a strawberry chocolate cake frosted with fluffy whipped cream, an authentic matcha cake that doesn't skimp out on earthy flavor, and our favorites, the mille crepe cake stuffed with fresh fruit and a vanilla cream and the elegant sakura cake, that tastes just like lovely spring day in Japan. The cakes are so visually pleasing and not overly sweet that we could go for a slice of each one! The best best way to enjoy a slice (or two!) is definitely to have it to stay and with a cup of tea.
HARBS boasts a sophisticated list of teas that have been carefully selected from all over the world. They take just as much pride in finding and brewing tea that's fresh and flavorful as they do with crafting their flawless cakes. In fact, they have tea recommendations for each kind of cake they sell. Rich green teas, floral Sakura tea, Royal Milk Tea, Apple Cinnamon, Orange Mint, and Fruit Cocktail tea are some of their various offerings.
The lovely waitresses at HARBS are also always polite and helpful and truly display the Japanese standard of service. They'll lead you behind the front counter with the cakes and into a bistro-like area where you're free to sit wherever you'd like.NYC cafés are often move as fast as the city they're residing in, with people rushing in for coffee and jetting right back out. What we love most about HARBS is actually the slower tempo that the café's atmosphere encourages. Like a old-school library, the interior has lots of warm tones and wood, as well as a large wall window that lights up the area. It's a calming and elegant little hideaway in the bustling streets of Chelsea.
If you're around for lunch, we highly recommend the lunch special which comes with your choice of hot coffee or English Breakfast Tea, a main dish, and a slice of cake from their daily selection. From their simple and classy pastas, such as their Lemon & Parmigiano (our fave!) and Pescatora pasta, to their wholesome sandwiches like the Croque-Monsieur or the seasonal Caprese Sandwich (another fave!), the food at HARBS is fresh and hearty. The Japanese touch makes these foods so taste light and healthy and yet so delicious and filling. Nothing ever felt heavy or oily and we tasted the freshness of all the ingredients that they went into the dish. Not to mention, every order comes with a side salad and their portions are pretty sizable too!
Everything about this little gem, from the service and packaging to the food and drinks, is what an experience in a bistro in Japan would feel and taste like. It's the perfect spot for date or a brunch with friends. One of our own brought her mom to HARBS for Mother's Day and couldn't rave more about her perfect experience. Definitely give HARBS a try and stay for the tranquil and charming atmosphere and scrumptious food, or at least, drop in and take a slice of cake on the go! They'll package your cake with icepacks so you can keep your cake fresh until you dig in too! Talk about quality service~