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Restaurant Recs Near the Cloisters (Fort Tyron Park)

  • d

I will be visiting New York next week. Among many stops, I'm planning to visit the Cloisters in Fort Tyron Park.

I'm not familiar with the restaurants at the Cloisters. Are they anything more than cafeteria food? I would like to have lunch somewhere in the neighborhood. I used to live in NYC (many years ago), but I never made it up there. I'm totally clue-less about options in the area.

I'm open to all types of noteworthy cuisine (ethnic or non). I can get just as excited about a great Mom & Pop place, as i can about something cutting edge. Let me know if you have any thoughts.

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  1. c
    Cheesey Charlie

    New Leaf Cafe in Ft. Tryon Park is just lovely. Fabulous, innovative food (lunch, brunch and dinner). Thursday night live Jazz is stellar.

    Link: http://www.nyrp.org/newleaf/

    1. New Leaf Cafe - I second the recommendation.

      If for some reason you can't lunch there, there's a pretty good place about a ten-minute walk down Cabrini Blvd from the Cloisters:

      Bleu Evolution
      808 West 187th Street, betweeen Ft Washington and Cabrini Aves
      New York, NY 10033
      212-928-6006

      They have a pretty back garden, and do nice lunches and brunches.

      - er

      1 Reply
      1. re: enrevanche
        m
        Marc Shepherd

        I add my endorsement of New Leaf Cafe and Blue Evolution. Serious restaurants in Washington Heights are pretty scarce. These two are worth a look.

      2. As an addendum, note that the New Leaf Cafe is in Fort Tryon Park on the *path* to the Cloisters, but is some distance from The Cloisters itself. I do not think that there is any food to be had at the Cloisters proper, not even a snack bar or vending machine.

        - er

        1. The Cloisters website claims they have a cafe/sandwich bar type thing (I guess like the little cafe in the American Wing at the Met?). Is that not true?

          3 Replies
          1. re: Adrian

            The Cloisters does have a small coffeebar in one of the courtyards in warm weather. Unfortunately, it's a very poorly done job.

            The coffee is really some of the worst I think I have ever had - bitter and stewed, hostile to the tummy, served boiling in a styrofoam cup that prevents it from ever cooling off enough to not burn the roof of your mouth. Should you be hungry too, they have some pre-fab food items whose selection and prices approach North Korean duty free.

            The ambiance of the courtyard is nil: sticky crumb-y trash-covered tables, the amplified shrieks of small children running free at last, hoardes of people who pretend not to understand they can't use flash photography in the museum. Not enough wobbly chairs to go round.

            A must-avoid. If you don't want to walk through the park to New Leaf Cafe or Bleu Evolution, you're better off with the hot dog guy in the parking lot.

            1. re: plum

              Reviving an old thread!

              Is the hot dog guy in the parking lot the only cheap and/or informal option near the Cloisters? The Chowhound reviews all seem to suggest the New Leaf Cafe or Bleu Evolution, both of which sound somewhat fancy, table-clothy, and stiff.

              Is there anything less formal near the cloisters? I've heard El Malecon mentioned. What about other chowish choices? I'm especially interested in good take-out places for a lunch in Fort Tryon park.

              Thanks for any tips.

              1. re: plum

                i recall a mcdonalds nearby when i visited w french class in high school

            2. The cafe in the Cloisters is fairly minimal. A choice of three sandwiches, cookies, brownies, coffee, tea and cold beverages. That much said, the brownies are great and I could sit at a table for hours taking in the garden and sipping coffee. It is true that a couple of unruly children might spoil the serenity of the place, but I have had enjoyed it very much.

              New Leaf Cafe is the only real restaurant in the park and the prices seemed out of line for the food being offered (brunch items such as omlettes, burgers and sandwiches are $17.95 including coffee or tea; dinner main courses are around $25, so figure $50 per person with a vegetable, glass of wine and a desert or an appetizer), but it may be worth a try.

              1. The New Leaf may or may not be a good restaurant. I'll never know. The two times I have gone out of my way (think about it: Fort Tryon Park!?) to have lunch there, the entire restaurant has been completely booked for a "private party."

                If you're a catering hall, please say so. Based on my experience, however, calling the New Leaf a "restaurant" is false advertising.