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la grolla / upper west side spots?

Diane Feb 16, 2001 09:42 AM

Anyone have an opinion on La Grolla or its nearby cafe, on the Upper West Side?

If so, please help. I need a decent, very reasonably priced place to eat between 79th and 105th, near Broadway. I've been to Avenue, Ruby Foo's, Turquen, Haru, River, and a host of others, but see no reason to return to any of these places. (Or the slapdash 87th/Broadway Asian place; can't remember the name.)

My friend and I are both keen on fish, and nothing too heavy or creamy. (The only things we don't eat are pasta and pork.)

  1. p
    Pat Goldberg Feb 16, 2001 10:35 AM

    Have you been to Docks, the fish restaurant at 90th and Bdwy? For a neighborhood place, it is not bad, and they are usually pretty accommmodating with special requests.

    Another possibility is La Mirabelle, a French bistro around the corner from Avenue (i.e., on 86th near Columbus). It is known for its warm service and the food is fine for a neighborhood place. But fish is not their specialty.

    1. d
      Dave Feldman Feb 18, 2001 01:25 AM


      It seems you are looking for a semi-upscale place (it isn't clear whether you are referring to the decor or the cooking at Saigon Cafe as "slapdash"). Two possible ideas: Calle Ocho (on Columbus in the low 80s) and Luzia's (on 81 and Amsterdam) for the Portuguese fish stews (if you eat no pork, I guess the cataplana is out). Plenty of interesting apps at both places -- Calle Ocho isn't cheap, though. Luzia's is closed on Mondays.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Dave Feldman
        diane Feb 18, 2001 07:21 PM

        fish stew at luzia's sounds good. as for slapdash, the food was good but very greasy at river; don't care about the decor. luzia, if i remember, was overpriced (checked the menu, never ate there). maybe i'll try it.

        1. re: diane
          Dave Feldman Feb 19, 2001 12:07 AM

          You have to be extremely selective in ordering at Saigon Cafe, but there are some good dishes. I find it unpleasant to eat there, because of the close quarters and hubbub. River? Feh.

          The one thing that gave me pause about La Grolla is that many of their dishes are on the heavy side. Luzia's has several specials every night and they tend to be among the better selections. I think either La Grolla or Luzia is a better choice than Saigon or River.

          I'm not sure why you are calling Calle Ocho trendy. It is certainly crowded and noisy, and has a young clientele, but the food is tasty and the service is friendly and warm.

          1. re: Dave Feldman
            diane Feb 19, 2001 08:30 AM

            thanks for the heads up about luzia's and la grolla's specials. i described calle ocho as trendy because the one time I went in the music was blaring so loud we had to scream at each other to hear ourselves, and it was packed anyway, from the bar to the dining room, with trendy sorts; not at all a mellow place. the atmosphere was off-putting and everything seemed a bit too glittery, including the people -- but if the food is as glittery as everything else there, I suppose one day I'll give it another shot. However, there are a lot more atmospherically pleasant places to eat in town (thought perhaps not on the UWS) for that pricetag.

            1. re: diane
              Dave Feldman Feb 19, 2001 12:40 PM

              It IS loud at Calle Ocho, but the acoustics in the main dining room aren't bad, and tables are spaced farther apart than in most NYC places. I've never had a problem carrying on a conversation. But both La Grolla and Luzia's are much mellower (although tables are closer together).

        2. re: Dave Feldman
          diane Feb 18, 2001 07:24 PM

          oops, i meant saigon cafe was slapdash, and yes, both decor and cooking. last time i ate there it was literally inedible, both dishes -- served within 2 minutes, so clearly it wasn't fresh. river, nearby, was overgreasy. calle ocho seems way too trendy for me, so i think i'll go with luzia or grolla. tried ruby foo but the flavors were weird. thanks.

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