Good restaurant by Teacher's College
I have a conference to go to at Teacher's College next Friday. I was wondering if anyone has some good ideas for an early Friday night dinner in the Columbia area for four people? We love Greek, Turkish, Italian, etc.
the TC area is a pretty weak area for food...if you venture further south you could go to Turkuaz (Broadway and 104-ish?)...or Indus Vallery (same area) for Indian...neither one is a destination restaurant, but imho they are better than any of your options in the immediate TC Morningside Hghts area...
there are a few threads from a month or two ago w/ 40+ comments debating the best options in the area (with generally grumpy, unsatisfied results)...do a search and you'll find a slew of options, though all of them will be followed by cautionary notes and complaints and recommendations to dine in a different part of town...
I work at TC, and while the area is no East Village in terms of its variety or quality, there are choices available that are perfectly acceptable for lunch.
Were I choosing, I'd go to Sezz Medi...Mediterranean on Amsterdam between 122 and 123rd. Good choices for lunch, moderately priced. On that block is also a passable, and very cheap, pan-Asian restaurant; Kitchenette, serving old-school favorites like Chicken pot pie...not stunning but good for a cold day. I'd avoid Max Soha, at the end of the block....very spotty service, occasionally rude, always non-attentive.
On Broadway, there's Le Monde, serving quasi-bistro style fare; and Mill Korean, serving passable Korean lunch.
Simon is right that the area is no hotbed of haute cuisine, but it's gotten much better in recent years, and a decent lunch can be had.
I would go to Pisticci on La Salle. It's a cute Italian spot with nice pastas and nice atmosphere. La Salla St is what would be 124th st if it wasn't named la salle, between Broadway and Claremont Avenue (West of B'way). Teacher's college is between 120 and 121st.
Sezz Medi, Pisticci and Max SoHa are all reasonably-priced Italian restaurants. I tend to eat at the first two more than the third, because Max SoHa is dark, noisy and cramped; but it would be less crowded for an early dinner. Symposium, on 113th between Amsterdam and Broadway, is a quirky Greek restaurant that I enjoy, but there are many other better Greek restaurants in town. If you're willing to venture a little south by subway, I'd recommend Gennaro, a fine Italian restaurant at Amsterdam & 92nd (cash only), or Celeste, another excellent Italian place at Amsterdam between 84th & 85th (also cash only). I'm also touting Kefi, Michael Psilakis' casual Greek restaurant which replaced Onera at 222 W. 79th between Broadway & Amsterdam.
Definitely Max Soha and I heard Pisticci was good. I think Sezz Medi is over priced for the food/area. I would also recommend Indus valley for indian on 102 and Broadway I believe. If willing to go to the 80's..Nice Matin is good french, kinda pricey but good.
i'm up there all the time. i second symposium, pisticci, indus valley and gennaro.
le monde is awful in my opinion. your best best may be pisticci, and not b/c it's closest to TC.
Pisticci is probably your best choice in the neighborhood and is even worth a special trip. Excellent! Sezz Medi is good too but better if you want pizza. Le Monde is your basic fake French place. The burger is decent, the meats are usually good, but don't expect any surprises. Symposium (113 between Broadway and Amsterdam) is good, sturdy, Greek fare if you want to go for that. The lamb stew is my favorite. Bistro 1018 (Amsterdam and 110th) is also very good but Pisticci would be better. V&T Pizzeria (Amsterdam, 110 and 111) has good pizza and old style Italian fare (I mean old style New York Italian).
Of the places closest to TC, Sez Medi is your best bet followed by Mussawa (Ethopian). Avoid the tapas place and Ajanta (Indian on a turmeric high). Max Soha has gone downhill of late, so avoid that as well. Radio Perfecto is ho hum but tolerable. I would not risk the sandwiches at Apple Tree (I lived in that building for ten years and know all the owners well, so trust me on that one!).
If you're looking for good coffee while at the conference, try the espresso at Pannino Sportivo (Amsterdam and 120, across from TC). They make good panninis as well.
I've been working at Columbia for 18+ years and the neighborhood is a mediocre one for restaurants. However, I prefer Pisticci or Bistro Ten18, since the food is better than the others. Bistro Ten 18 has good service, good food, and a nice atmosphere. Pisticci has good food, but is more spare in the decor. Sezz Medi is way over-rated, Max SoHa serves so-called Italian food and yes, the service is rude there. Kitchenette is mediocre. Symposium serves lousy food, but the place is fun (stick with the bread and the tequila shots in the back room). Turkuaz and Indus Valley are FAR and not near TC, really. If you wanna venture a bit less far, then Carne is pretty good. Le Monde is nothing special, but it's spacious and pleasant enough. That's my take, anyway. Let us know where you go!