HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
What have you made lately? Share your food adventure

Best Upper West Side ethnic holes in the wall

UWShound Jun 9, 2007 04:49 AM

Seeking zero atmosphere, top-notch ethnic food, and low prices. Grateful for any recommendations.

  1. c
    cimui Jun 12, 2007 10:31 PM

    Sobre Ruedas Taco Truck ($2 street tacos), Saigon Grill (it's a big hole in the wall, but it's cheap and, if you eat off the appetizers menu, good), Cafe con Leche (again, order off the appetizers and sandwiches menu), and Pearl's Kitchen or China Fun for dim sum.

    Ayurveda Cafe is always packed, but I've never tried. Hampton Chutney's a bit too frou frou to be hole in the wall, really, but most items fit your price point.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cimui
      dstill Jan 12, 2008 08:36 AM

      Ayurveda is great - but it has good atmosphere, too. The lunch is really cheap and the service is very....peaceful.

      For veggies like me, it's great to be able to eat everything they serve.

      If your upper west extends to Columbia, Massawa is a good Ethiopian place on Amsterdam and W. 122

    2. c
      CDB Jun 12, 2007 02:39 PM

      Pio Pio on 94th and Amsterdam is delicious and very reasonably priced Peruvian food. Can't say it has zero atmosphere, but its pretty casual.

      The roto chicken is its specialty. One order (~$25) is enough for 4 people. Make sure you try the ceviche as well. Two apps and a roto chicken and 4 people will leave stuffed.

      3 Replies
      1. re: CDB
        idia Jun 12, 2007 03:09 PM

        La Fontana is inexpensive and even has a small, enclosed ourdoor garden for
        al fresco lunches around 73rd & Columbus.
        They had the best chicken salad I have ever tasted anywhere -- EVER!

        For the best Turkish around, you cannot miss Zeytin at 85th & Columbus. Total yum!

        1. re: idia
          cimui Jun 12, 2007 10:23 PM

          Hmm. At least in my book, Zeytin is hardly hole in the wall. If you are willing to go to this price point, I'd recommend Pasha, instead. I find that Zeytin sometimes prepares mezes too far in advance and lacks the layers of flavor that Pasha has in items like Hunkar Begendi (which Zeytin calls "Sultan's Delight"). And--this is a personal pet peeve, so ignore if it doesn't bother you--service at Zeytin is REALLY REALLY slow and inattentive.

          Idia, have you tried Ali Baba? I keep meaning to try it. It'd be nice to hear your opinion if you have.

          1. re: cimui
            mooms Jun 13, 2007 03:19 AM

            Here's the menu:

            Loved this place a few years back, owner(s) super-friendly--haven't been in the nabe lately. Bet it's still really good.

      2. p
        Pan Jun 10, 2007 07:04 PM

        Get the pollo a la brasa at El Malecon, Amsterdam between 97th and 98th Sts.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Pan
          JoLi Jun 11, 2007 05:06 AM

          The skirt steak at El Malecon is also excellent!

          1. re: JoLi
            BronxBoy Jun 11, 2007 12:53 PM

            Krik Krak, Haitian food on Amsterdam between 101-102nd. Try the lambi (conch).

            1. re: JoLi
              Pan Jun 11, 2007 11:23 PM

              I don't think I ever tried their skirt steak; thanks for the tip! What is it called on the menu? Simply Entrana?

              1. re: Pan
                JoLi Jun 12, 2007 06:44 AM

                I'm pretty sure it's simply skirt steak (might be entrana too).

                Sorry! For $14 it's divine and enough to share between 2-3 people.

                1. re: JoLi
                  Daniel76 Jun 12, 2007 12:18 PM

                  Whats the name of that African Spot across the street from Zoma.. Florence or something like that..

                  You also have Zoma which isnt a whole in the wall but its Ethiopian..
                  Aruvada Cade I wouldnt call a hole in the wall either but its certainly inexpensive and qualifies as ethnic in your criteria..

                  You also have a couple of middle eastern spots too..

                  1. re: Daniel76
                    LNG212 Jun 12, 2007 01:27 PM

                    What's the name of the Ethiopian spot on Amsterdam at about 107th? That's pretty good too.

                    1. re: LNG212
                      lcast Jun 12, 2007 02:35 PM


                      Thai Market just opened, too, and is good. Not hole in the wall, though.

          2. p
            piccola Jun 9, 2007 10:06 AM

            Too bad La Rosita closed...
            Try Flor de Mayo.

            1 Reply
            1. re: piccola
              jsmitty Jun 11, 2007 07:58 AM

              stole my thunder with flor de mayo. pervuvian chicken!

            2. m
              mooms Jun 9, 2007 06:04 AM

              Ethnic-- meaning non-Italian, non-Chinese, non-fusion? :o)

              We had a good experience at Taqueria y Fonda la Mexicana. You can have a great meal there for under $10.


              3 Replies
              1. re: mooms
                UWShound Jun 9, 2007 07:46 AM

                sorry, should have been more specific -- GDP/capita of lesss than $10k, i.e. non European/North American/Japanese.

                Will definitely try Taqueria y Fonda, thanks.

                1. re: UWShound
                  nativeNYer Jun 9, 2007 08:59 AM

                  noche mexicana on amsterdam and W102. no atmosphere but clean, cheap and very authentic. i agree taqueria is excellent as well but noche mex appeals to me more.

                  1. re: nativeNYer
                    LNG212 Jun 12, 2007 01:26 PM

                    I second noche mexicana. I've never eaten there but we get delivery from them. Delicious.

              Show Hidden Posts