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72nd and Amsterdam- Just Moved In

All I know so far is Grey's Papaya, Levaine Bakery, Viand Diner, and Nikko's Greek Restaurant. What else is great? (Any price, any food!)

Recommendations AND warnings greatly appreciated.

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  1. San Luigi's isn't terrible. Isabella's is always servicable. I like Jacques-Imos, and Flor de Mayo as well.

    1. Welcome, neighbor!

      I live on 72nd and CPW, here are my faves in the area:
      Cafe Ronda (argentinian)
      Ten zan (sushi)
      Ivy's Cafe (delivery for chinese and sushi)
      La Vela (Italian delivery)
      Flor de Mayo (also delivery)
      Ouest (more upscale dining)
      Nice Matin (drinks with friends and food at bar)
      Ocean Grill (raw bar)
      Shalel (Date Drinks)
      Bin 71 (small dishes and wine)

      1 Reply
      1. re: JoLi

        I think Nice Matin could go for date drinks, too. And the bread basket is awesome.

        Swagat is good too, and just across the street.

      2. Indian: Earthen Oven (72nd and Columbus)
        Pre-theatre/dinner with my parents: Compass (70th St btw Amsterdam and West End)
        Brunch: Fairway Cafe (upstairs at Fairway, super yummy thin pancakes)
        Hunan Park: (71st and Columbus) standard Chinese food done quite well, extremely fast delivery
        When Someone Else is Paying: Telepan (yum, yum, yum!)

        I went to 'Cesca (75th and Amsterdam) a few weeks ago and was very dissapointed. The last time I had been there was a while ago and I had an exellently prepared branzino. This time around, I found the menu quite unimaginative and was really just bored by the whole experience. The food was fine, but completely unexciting. I was quite dissapointed with the wait staff as well, who were at times so on top of the table I thought the person was going to dance on it, and then 10 minutes later could not be found. All in all, an uneven experience.

        Also, Frank Bruni just wrote in his blog about Bistro Cassis (I think Columbus btw 70th and 71st) and was quite complimentary of the standard bistro fare available. I have not been there, but look forward to trying it.

        1. Welcome to the land of the incredibly average. If you've suffered through Nikko's, it can't get much worse.

          I'll add one of my faves since you're now a local - the All-State - on 72nd bet bway/west end - south side. You'll probably walk right past it the 1st time. Great local flavor and an excellent burger. Plenty of non bar food choices as well. Cash only.

          3 Replies
          1. re: harrison

            DID walk by it. Will stop next time. How about Negril (across the street, on the north side)? I loved the kosher pizza place, on the south side.

            ("Incredibly average"...explains why they're knocking down a 100 year old historic building for a glass monstrocity on 72nd and B'way.)

            1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

              incredibly average when it comes to decent restaurants with decent prices...i've still perplexed why there is not 1 decent chinese place between 72nd and 96th street!

              1. re: harrison

                But just above 96, there is Pearl's which although not ChinaTown worthy, is the best of the current bunch...fresh and fast.

          2. Hey, what's wrong with Nikkos? Great bread basket. Huge menu with lots of interesting Greek choices. Very reasonable prices on food and wine. Excellent thin-crust pizzas. It's one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Manhattan Diner

              Nikko's is just a perfect example of the incredibly average I refer to. I have high hopes for the new casual Greek incarnation that Onera will be.

              1. re: harrison

                Haven't been in a while (and perhaps that in itself is telling), but I always thought their grilled fish on a plank was well prepared, tasty, and very modestly priced. It's a huge menu, but I think (or thought) one could choose judiciously and get quite a good meal at a very affordable price.

                1. re: harrison

                  that's kefi. i have posted on it several times. it's very good...better than onera was for sure

              2. I'm excited about Kefi too. Lately, I have really like Chirpin Chicken delivery. Everything is so good, cheap and fresh. The portions are very generous. We've tried and loved the whole chickens, salads, chicken souvlaki, spinach pie (which they are often out of) and most recently the chicken and rice soup.

                1. I've heard good things about Cafe Mozart's desserts...

                  1. I believe Pasha is nearby for good Turkish. And yes, Cafe Mozart does have very good desserts.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: fascfoo

                      I had a meal as part of a party of nine at Pasha last week, and I found it merely good, not great, and it is not cheap. So I wouldn't steer people away; it is pleasant, but while nothing was less than good, not everything was all that tasty. I generally liked the appetizers better than the mains, I think.

                      1. re: Pan

                        I like the appetizers better, too, Pan. I think Pasha has slipped in quality in the past few years. Three years ago, when I first started eating there, it was really oftentimes spectacular (hunkar begendi was especially great; bread was fresh and fragrant; quality of the ingredients was high). The past few times I've eaten there, portions were smaller and less fresh, the meat less tender, the bread more stale, the service more harried / less personable. I still think it's better than the other uptown options I know about (Zeytin, Turkuaz --bleah), but I'd love to find a really great replacement.

                        1. re: cimui

                          I liked Turkuaz in the past, but the last time I went there may have been as long as two years ago. My mother really disliked it the last time she went. I guess it's gone downhill. Too bad.

                    2. And Mesovo on W 70th just west of Coumbus. Haven't been there for a while; is it still any good? Lovely room; candlelit with fireplace. Romantic, casual, laid back. Had lots of terrific meals and one stale, held-too-long disappointing dinner. But would love to hear that was an anomaly. Eager to return if it was.

                      1. I always wondered about them but could never bring myself to try it since they actually share thy're the same kitchen as Aegean which I don't think much of, except maybe their lamb sandwich on a good day. If you've eaten at Aegean, apart from the style and mor expensive ingredients, is the food any better prepared?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: MikeG

                          Never tried Aegean. Just love the ambience at Metsovo. Beautiful candlelit room with a fireplace that can't be beat on a cold, especially snowy, evening. And perhaps that seduced me. In which case, I'm happy to be seduced. Perhaps time to try it again and see if the food's gone permanently downhill or if I just had one unfortunate meal.

                        2. hi w72 st neighbors . i suppose we pass each other several times per week.here are my favs, most repeated from above. some of these are not top of the line places but they are very good for a quick nightly dinner.

                          chirpin chicken - food is great, served at lightening speed (even for delivery), super-nice owners and staff, great new location.
                          ivy's cafe - great scallion pancakes. sushi is decent. other dishes are good. they are nice if they know you
                          empire szchezuan (columbus and W68) - open until 1:30am wed-sat. decent food. served fast.
                          china fun - have gotten too expensive and full of themselves but their stone forest chow fun and dumplings are really great.
                          cafe ronda - service is sketchy but the food is good. interesting menu
                          earthen oven - orgasmic. wish they'd lower the prices.
                          i actually like aegean and metsovo but i 'm not a regular customer. i've been to greece and am familiar with greek food growing up with a best friend who was greek.
                          nick's (w71 and col) is open nearly all night. i don't love the food there nor the pizza but it's decent food.
                          new pizza city - w78 and brdwy - really great pizza. probably the best in the nabe but the place is messy
                          cafe mozart - i don't care for this place at all.. prefer lalo or edgar's cafe
                          burritoville if you are desperate for mex. better than harry's
                          blondie's - good wings, w79 and amsterdam
                          swagat - good indian. cheaper prices
                          pomodor - awesome italian restaurant. a bit expensive but always packed. very nice small place with good service. columbus near W70.
                          bin 71 and wine and roses - both on columbus in W70s - drinks and light fare
                          deli on columbus and w73 is good . the gourmet show next door to earthen oven is also good for salads and breakfeast. food is fresh and they are competent.
                          artie's deli - w81 and brdwy
                          try the whole foods at columbus circle for their food stands
                          patsy - w73 and col
                          i've heard consistent bad things about cesca from friends and message boards. never tried it myself for that reason.
                          pasha is decent
                          onera is excellent
                          masala garden is ok but i prefer earthen oven by far
                          shalel is lovely
                          look for the opening of water moon and funky diner on columbus near W80s
                          i wish monsoon would return . i'm longing for their food.
                          welcome to the neighborhood.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: nativeNYer

                            Is Monsoon expected to return? I was so sad to see it go.

                          2. I agree that Tenzan is the best for everyday sushi (both eat in and delivery). For more special occasions, Gari is great too.

                            Don't miss 72nd Street Bagels between Columbus and Broad/Amst. The best fresh (at times steaming hot) bagels in the hood. I think they are better than H&H.

                            Pasha is turkish on 71st and Colombus. Really cute and pretty good turkish food too.

                            Unfortunately I believe Onera has just closed (it was THE BEST modern Greek), but I heard that it is reopening with the same executive chef as a more affordable and traditional Greek restaurant. DO check that out, because if it is anything like the old place, you will be blown away.

                            Bin 71 is awesome, but crazily busy and crowded most nights after 5. If you are looking for a chill glass of wine and tapas style foods, check it out during the day (we would go around 4 and get first dibs on seating).

                            Have fun exploring!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: kiworan79

                              The new incarnation of Onera is called Kefi. Here's a Hound review: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/36688...

                              1. re: RGR

                                not sure what he was looking for . my visit to kefi was perfect.. see my very brief review (if you want to call it that)... on kefi

                            2. Used to live in the hood--most places are covered, but a few additional choices
                              --Fine and Shapiro for excellent steak sandwich--72nd st btwn Amstrdm and Columbus
                              --Vinnie's Pizza and Freddie Peppers--on Amstrdm, low to mid 70's--pretty good pizza
                              --Sido for cheap falafel and lentil soup
                              --There's a kosher chinese place on 72nd street, which is a big ripoff and not particularly good, but they make a "chinese hot dog" which is great

                              1. Just thought of another that hasn't been mentioned yet: Epices du Traiteur on W 70th just west of Columbus. Quite popular (you sometimes need reservations) but little known outside the nabe Tunisian/Mediterranean with consistently good food at modest prices.

                                1. A few of my favorites (most of these haven't been mentioned yet):

                                  Tamarind (Amsterdam and 80): good Indian food, about the same quality as Swagat across the street. If you get the ValPak neighborhood coupons in the mail, there are always coupons for Tamarind, Earthen Oven and Masala Garden. I agree with other posters that Earthen Oven has the best food by far. Their prix fix lunch is a great deal.

                                  Hampton Chutney Company (Amsterdam around 83 or so): nice dosas and reasonable prices.

                                  Silk Road Palace (Amsterdman and 81): I think it's the best Chinese in the neighborhood, but that isn't saying much. I wish I could find a great Chinese restaurant in the area.

                                  Emack and Bolio (Amsterdam and 79): great ice cream

                                  Good Enough to Eat (Amsterdam and 82): it's a mob scene for brunch on weekends, but weekdays it's the best in the area for breakfast and lunch

                                  Nice Matin (Amsterdam and 79): attractive French restaurant with great breakfast (the spicy lamb scramble is out of this world). It's a bit pricier than other breakfast spots but worth it.

                                  1. Some of these are repeats, but here goes:
                                    Josie's - a little overpriced, but fairly healthy food
                                    Good Enough to Eat: Best brunch in the neighborhood, but long lines
                                    Swagat: inconsistent but usually good Indian
                                    Cafe Ronda: Very good spot to eat or linger with a drink
                                    Pasha: Nice turkish spot
                                    Telepan: Great for a special occasion
                                    Land: good, affordable Thai

                                    Stay-aways:
                                    Nice Matin: snooty service and over priced
                                    Compass: overpriced, tries to be unique for the sake of being unique rather than for the sake of taste

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: pcwd

                                      I disagree about staying away from Nice Matin. We eat there often, both for lunch and dinner and always find the food to be reliably good (albiet not great) and most of the service acceptable, or better.

                                      1. re: pcwd

                                        I disagree about Compass. Chef John Fraser's New American cuisine is delicious. In addition to the a la carte menu, there is a well-priced 3-course prix-fixe for $35. Comfortable seating (we prefer the cozy booths) in a large space with attractive contemporary decor. .

                                        http://www.compassrestaurant.com

                                        1. re: pcwd

                                          i never understood negative nice matin reviews. the food is always terrific, always fresh, flavorful,sometimes creative..

                                          1. re: jsmitty

                                            I completely disagree with staying away from Nice Matin and/or Compass. Nice Matin has great lunches and a fantastic bistro burger with comte cheese--delicious!
                                            Compass has a very reasonably priced bar menu. The Lamb burger is a great deal for quality of the food and the atmosphere. Also, the mussels and fries beat what I had in Paris.

                                        2. Hampton Chutney: the spicy soups are an especially great deal--a meal that's filling, nutritious, and delicious for only $4.

                                          1. Check out
                                            Sven's Turkish Grill.
                                            Just opened on 72nd bet columbus and amsterdam. It was very good and BYOB a couple weeks ago.
                                            Loft.
                                            It's a little pricier, bet 83 and 84 I think on Amsterdam, but we were there for my sisters bday and it's delicious fusion fare, not to mention the atmosphere--very pretty without being pretentious.
                                            Big Nick's Pizza and Burger Joint
                                            UWS lanscape/staple--you want it, they've probably got it. I prefer the one on Bway bet 76 and 77, even though 71 is closer to me.
                                            It's a shame so many of our really good restaurants have dissappeared---especially when it comes to chinese food. We used to have 3-4 really good ones, and my favorite was the last one to open and then close on 72nd, but I did just see a sign saying they've relocated uptown or something. They had some of the freshest chinese food I've had.
                                            Other than that most of my fave were already mentioned.
                                            All State is ol dependable and fun fact-Kevin Bacon worked there before fame took him--so you're that many degrees closer to him considering many of the old schoolers still work and patron the place.
                                            Emipire Sushi has good sushi as well, but Tan Zen is really great.
                                            It just sucks that we've lost so many good places so that more banks and nail salons can come in--oh yeah and Cold Stone FRIGGIN Creamery.
                                            Y Me Gusta mucho Cafe Rhonda, I lived in Argentina for 7 months so it's really nice to get some good authentic argentine cuisine right in the hood--too bad it's sister restaurant, Cafe Frida can't be held to the same standards.

                                            1. For value (some are repeats):

                                              HUMMUS PLACE - Amserdam & 75th. Try their Shakshuka (mmm...) and Hummus Tahini with egg. Also delicious - their homemade lemonade
                                              LA VELA - Love their orchiette with sausage & broccoli rabe
                                              HAMPTON CHUTNEY - esp. good are their seasonal offerings i.e. butternut squash, pumkin chutney)
                                              SWAGAT- not the best indian, but o.k. for area and price
                                              SAIGON GRILL - a bit further up on Amsterdam & 90th, but walkable and they deliver
                                              EMACK AND BOLIO - try their black raspberry chip
                                              BEARD PAPA - Broadway betw. 76 & 77
                                              POPCORN INDIANA - kettle corn & BBQ flavors

                                              I would stay away from CITRUS. Way overpriced for mediocre food.

                                              1. Oh, there's another wine bar that just opened, an offshoot of Bin 71, called Barcibo Enoteca (Broadway & 69th). Has anyone tried it?

                                                1. I know it's been mentioned a lot, but Nice Matin is great (I love going there for brunch). Ouest is incredible (but a little more pricey). I happen to really like Brother Jimmy's BBQ (around 81st and Amsterdam), Sarabeth's (try the lemon ricotta pancakes), Sido (falafel sandwich is good, not amazing, but solidly good). Haru is okay for Sushi, but not my favorite place on earth. Edgar's is a cute coffee shop, I love Fred's (neighborhood feel, really nice atmosphere), and Butter Cup Bake Shop for cupcakes. You live in a great neighborhood! I would just try almost everything that catches your fancy!

                                                  1. I second Hummus Place. They don't serve too much more than hummus, but it's ultra fresh, inexpensive, with friendly service. My husband, 6 year old daughter and I have been going there every week. It's kind of addictive!

                                                    1. HELLO!!! THIS IS A NO-BRAINER!!! CAFE LUXEMBOURG!!! ITS A CLASSIC!!!!

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: staples lover

                                                        I agree about Cafe Luxembourg - never had a bad meal there in all these years, and although it is too noisy - the place is still great. Also had a recent excellent meal with 6 friends at Earthen Oven on 72nd and Columbus - service could not have been more accommodating and food was good.

                                                        1. re: aimeezing1

                                                          several good earthen oven posts..i may need to try

                                                          1. re: jsmitty

                                                            go try. i've been wanting to post an update. the place is always packed everytime i pass by and the servings have gotten much bigger. i was very surprised b/c, although i wasn't so thrilled with spending $16+ for an entree with 7 chunks of chicken, i didn't expect them to increase their serving size. the only thing that bugs me about this place is that they serve the first serving of your food to you but that's just me. go try it and let us know.

                                                      2. Has anyone's mentioned Cafe Frida, Gari, Northwest, Rain, Calle Ocho, Citrus, or the Cafe at Fairway, yet?

                                                        I don't personally care for Citrus (terrible sushi, way too loud and sceney for my tastes) but I know a lot of ppl who like it. Food at the rest of these is good, if overpriced. Northwest has a very nice wine list.

                                                        Hanafins on Broadway is a surprisingly good late night diner-like place.

                                                        I think Haru or Raku are the best in the area for casual sushi. I have not had good fish at Hana. Steer clear of Neo -- it's terrible. Teeny, very expensive portions and really bad fish.

                                                        Other steer clears on my list are Big Nick's, Jackson Hole, Cafe Lallo, the Southwestern plce across the street from Pasha (Santa Fe?).

                                                        How is Viand, by the way? I've passed it many a time, but never been.

                                                        8 Replies
                                                        1. re: cimui

                                                          i prefer manhattan diner over viand. the food is good at viand but you can get better at manhattan dinner for less money.they also seem a bit more liad back there. it's open 24 hrs and very often packed.

                                                          i've always loved cafe frida but i've heard some complaints lately. have you been lately?

                                                          i agree with your stay away places (yes, it is called sante fe) with the exception of lalo only b/c i think it's a cool place to bring visiting friends, but not b/c of the food. we usually found a quiter time to go but i haven't been there in 4+ yrs so who knows what it is like now.

                                                          1. re: nativeNYer

                                                            The last time I went was about four months ago. I like Cafe Frida, but I bet the complaints are about things that have always been wrong with the place: sorta gringoized food, smallish portions, high prices, sometimes very slow service. That said, if you've the time, it can still be an enjoyable place to dine. It's cozy and dark, with great cocktails and (price aside) pretty good food.

                                                            I forgot to mention Celeste and Neptune Room earlier! Food and service at Celeste are both lovely. Prices are pretty reasonable. My sole complaint is that they really pack you into the place.

                                                            Neptune Room has a great raw bar and consistently delivers on the cooked entrees, too. Nice cocktails. Great brunch. But like almost everything else on the UWS, it's slightly overpriced.

                                                            Uh, maybe a silly question, but nativeNYer, are you the same person as NAtiveNewYorker?

                                                            1. re: cimui

                                                              definitely not a silly question and, nope, nativenewyorker is definitely a different person. definitely not me. thnx for the reply.
                                                              i agree with celeste but i need to try neptune room. have you tried vynl yet?
                                                              i thought it was good. you do know that ronda cafe is owned by cafe frida, right?

                                                              1. re: nativeNYer

                                                                frida and ronda although a tad uneven, are very good neighborhood options. neptune room, same owners as jane downtown, is in a nice class, especially brunch... someone recently posted their eggs benedict as being great

                                                                1. re: nativeNYer

                                                                  I haven't tried the new uptown Vinyl, but I do like the Hell's Kitchen location. Knew Cafes Ronda (Rhonda?) and Frida were owned by the same folks, but for some reason, I'm not nearly so fond of Ronda. The menus are very different!

                                                                  1. re: cimui

                                                                    Someone may have said this but the Cafe at Fairway is great too!! They have good burgers and great fries!

                                                                    1. re: hungry329

                                                                      And the most perfect brunch pancakes!

                                                                      1. re: selizara

                                                                        Add: BETTOLA, very good for cracker thin pizza and other italian fare.

                                                          2. Absolutely get a fresh slice at Vinny's right where you live. Cheesy and substantial. Enjoy.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: greghound

                                                              Vinny's closed 1 year ago thankfully, Abbatino's on 76 and Broadway is good although their delivery is erratic.

                                                            2. Nikko's Greek food is horrible in terms of its authenticity.

                                                              Big Nick's Pizza Joint Too on 72nd and Columbus is much better than the other one. They'll deliver to you and they are open very late.

                                                              Nice Matin is a nice brunch.

                                                              Josie's on 74th and Amsterdam has a healthy, lighter menu with vegetarian options. It's a great lunch place. My faves: lemonade, chicken burrito, dumplings, focaccia. Their sister restaurant is Citrus which has a latin inspired menu.

                                                              Crumbs Bakeshop is I think at 75th and has amazing cupcakes. Best in the city, imho!

                                                              Warning: I have gotten raw cookies at Levain's. Big disappointment because they are delicous when cooked through!

                                                              Kefi at 79th and Amsterdam is a great greek restaurant. More upscale/pricey than Nikko's but certainly worth it. And right by the big Duane Reade!