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Jun 9, 2007 04:49 AM

Best Upper West Side ethnic holes in the wall

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

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  1. 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

      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

        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

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

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

      1 Reply
      1. re: piccola

        stole my thunder with flor de mayo. pervuvian chicken!

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

        7 Replies
        1. re: Pan

          The skirt steak at El Malecon is also excellent!

          1. re: JoLi

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

            1. re: JoLi

              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

                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

                  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

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

                    1. re: LNG212


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

          2. 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

              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

                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

                  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. 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

                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