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Upper West Side...anything good?

I'm going to be visiting my brother this weekend and would like to take him out to eat. Reading through the other Manhattan chow board topics, it looks like the UWS is pretty slim as far as top cuisine goes. I'm not looking for anything too fancy, just a great meal that I won't have to travel to the other corner of the island to get. (maybe $30 - $50 per person?). Any advice?

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  1. Ouest on 84th and Broadway. You may go a couple $$ above your "per person" but the food is delicious. There is also an Italian place on 84th between amsterdam and broadway called Spiga. I've never been, but I've walked past a number of times and it looks interesting. The menu looks good too. I've eaten at the Neptune Room a couple of times and enjoyed the experience. Seafood on Amsterdam and 85th.

    1. You didn't specify any particular cuisine preferences. Also, UWS isn't that bad. Here are a few recos to get you started:

      Compass--my personal fave--New American
      Telepan--New American
      Ouest--American
      Earthen Oven--Indian
      Bettola--Italian

      5 Replies
      1. re: Ora

        Through all the chef changes, I've always liked Compass. Now, once again, the kitchen door revolves with John Fraser out (to open his own restaurant) and Neil Annis, his immediate predecessor, returning. Annis' cuisine was excellent, so Compass can still be recommended.

        http://www.compassrestaurant.com

        1. re: RGR

          The menus on their website still list John Fraser's name. I wonder if the real menu has changed with Annis's return.

          1. re: floretbroccoli

            The switch just occurred. When a new chef comes on board, the existing menu generally remains with, perhaps a little tinkering, until the new chef puts his or her own entirely new menu in place. That can sometimes take several months.

            1. re: RGR

              And posting the change to the web can take even longer.

              1. re: floretbroccoli

                Was there for dinner last night. Menu did not at all resemble what's posted on the Web. In fact, it seemed to be a menu very much in transition. Probably three-quarters of the main courses were fish or shellfish and it seemed as though nearly all the mains came from the saute station. The food was very good, although a bit oversalted to the taste of two of the four of us. Service was excellent; much better than I've had in the past. I'll be very curious to see what changes will be made under Annis redux.

      2. Ahh...see I hadn't come across these and they all sound like winners. Love chowhound...

        Telepan looks right up my alley, but I'll check out Ouest and Compass as well. Thanks!

        2 Replies
        1. re: gatorfoodie

          I really enjoyed Telepan. The food there was excellent, and I never have any issue with service as other hounds have noted. The price is a real bargain for the quality that they deliver. They are extending their Summer Restaurant Week 3-course prix fixe lunch on Wed - Friday, and at $25, you really can't beat that!

          Brunch is also excellent at Telepan.

          1. re: kobetobiko

            ...and brunch is also excellent at Ouest!

        2. If you want Italian, Celeste is excellent. Their homemade pastas are really good and it's a friendly atmosphere.

          3 Replies
          1. re: LNG212

            The food may be good at Celeste but the patrons are squeezed in with a shoe horn and it is impossible not to hear and be heard by your neighboring tables which are INCHES from each other. I much prefer Genero---too loud, but the food is great, vibe is nice and at least you don't have to be in the face of the next table. Reminder, Genero is all cash.

            1. re: aimeezing1

              While you're checking those above choices, please don't leave out the wonderful Picholine.

            2. re: LNG212

              I, too, love the food and atm at Celeste, tho not the cramped quarters! Be forewarned that they don't accept reservations and you WILL have to wait for a table if you go during normal dinner hours. It's not a schmancy place at all.

            3. I have eaten at both Telepan and Compass in the last month/month and a half and liked Compass SO MUCH BETTER. The prix fix is incredible food for the price, you get SO MANY extra goodies, and the wine list is fantastic. I also felt the atmosphere was more relaxed than Telepan. The service at Telepan really annoyed me. I had someone at my elbow the whole night taking away my dishes before I was through with them or rushing across the room to help me switch plates with my friend so we could taste each other's dishes.

              1 Reply
              1. re: abud

                I agree, abud. In two visits, I've only found the food at Telepan to be good, not outstanding. And the service was rushed, the room too sterile. Compass does have a great winelist!

              2. i think cesca is a very good uws italian. good bar as well.

                speaking of good bars - i really like bar encibo on bway and 68th for pre or post drinks or a quick nibble. great vibe there.

                1. I heartily second Ouest and Spiga. Ouest doesn't seem to have a summer menu, though--at least they didn't have one 3 weeks ago when I last went (please correct me if they've updated since, hounds!). Spiga has a really good new summer menu (love the watermelon salad). They always have great pastas. The only two caveats: (1) the meat entrees have always been much better than the fish in my experience and (2) their red wines by the glass are usually too warm and sometimes have been open in the bottle for too long. My strategy is to ask for what's been recently opened. To sweeten the deal even further, they have GREAT desserts and very nice waiters. I think Spiga is better than Cesca and it's less expensive.

                  Neptune room is good, but not remarkable for dinner, IMO. They do have an awesome brunch, if you're in that market.

                  Other suggestions that haven't yet been mentioned: Thai Market further north (order tapas style), Zeytin for Turkish (it went downhill for a while, but last night, my dinner there was fantastic), Kefi for Greek (order tapas style; cash only). Gabriella's, for upper-medium scale, slightly gringoized Mexican, is also a very pleasant place to dine, with more many tequillas than you can count only your fingers and toes, and comfortable outdoor seating.

                  Ocean Grill in the 70s is supposed to be really good, but I've never been.

                  1. I really like Pio Pio (Peruvian, around 94th or so and Amsterdam) and Gennaro's (a little farther south, also on Amsterdam).

                    1. I like the food at both Compass and Telepan but I think the service at Telepan is better. We had the tasting menu the last time we were at Compass and the courses were served in an irregular manor with some of them literally thrown on the table without explaining what they were.