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Upper West Side Must Hit List

t
TacoBusHound Oct 4, 2007 08:15 AM

Frequent New York visitor (Seattle chowhound) staying in the Upper West Side for the first time (usually in the West Village) and looking for suggestions for must visit locations. Not picky on type of food and will be in an apartment with the ability to cook. Best cheese shops, hot dog, suckling pig, international...it doesn't matter, just trying to canvass the area and not stray too far.

  1. i
    Ineedit2Eat.it Oct 4, 2007 02:08 PM

    There is a Taco Cart on 96th bw Broadway and West End that apparently is to die for!
    I also recoomend this wine shop on Broadway and 93rd? called Vintage. They especially in Long Island wines (don't dismiss it yet!!) They are open late and on Sundays which is a definite plus!

    5 Replies
    1. re: Ineedit2Eat.it
      TBird Oct 4, 2007 02:11 PM

      skip vintage. blech! but don't miss a cookie from levain bakery.

      1. re: TBird
        d
        Desidero Oct 4, 2007 02:19 PM

        Levain's cookies, or rather cookies on steroids, are superb. I like the chocolate chip cookies best, but the chocolate peanut butter cookie is also worth trying. I've heard good things about the banana chocolate bread too, but haven't had it myself.

      2. re: Ineedit2Eat.it
        LNG212 Oct 4, 2007 04:10 PM

        I like Vintage too. It's not just Long Island wines -- they are exclusively NY State wines and offer many, many Finger Lakes region wines. I especially like the Glenora sparkling wines (from the finger lakes). BUT, while I love the wine bar at Vintage, there are certainly other wine bars that have a) better food, and b) better decor and atmosphere. If you are up in the 90s, definitely go there; if you are lower down, try a few of the other places (Arte, Bin 71, etc.).

        1. re: Ineedit2Eat.it
          c
          cimui Oct 5, 2007 04:53 PM

          the taco truck isn't as good as it used to be. these days, they have a tendency to undersalt everything and undergrill the tortillas. however, the daily specials are often still pretty decent.

          1. re: Ineedit2Eat.it
            d
            Daniel76 Oct 15, 2007 08:49 AM

            The taco truck is pretty good, certainly not worth losing a life over.. Vintage sucks.. Though priced on the cheaper side, nothing has ever been above passable..

          2. b
            bakedalaska Oct 4, 2007 02:51 PM

            If you want authentic mexican, try hole-in-the-wall place called Taqueria y Fonda for delicious chiles rellenos 968 amsterdam avenue up near columbia at 107th st.

            1. MMRuth Oct 4, 2007 02:52 PM

              I would imagine that you would enjoy checking out Fairway, Zabars and Citarella for groceries - all are along Broadway in the low to mid 80s, I believe. Fairway and Zabars are each known in their own ways for their cheese selections, though I'm not a big fan (but maybe would be more so of one if I lived on the UWS). Recently had a great meal at Ouest - v. well prepared "updated" French food - on the pricey side though.

              Zabars also has an extensive cookware department upstairs.

              I'd make my way to Barney Greengrass for bagels and lox one morning if I were you - around 87th and Broadway or Amsterdam - I always forget.

              This thread isn't limited to the UWS, but may give you more of a sense of some of the stores, if you're not familiar with them from your previous visits: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/442499

              13 Replies
              1. re: MMRuth
                clepro Oct 4, 2007 03:09 PM

                Amsterdam. And 86th.

                1. re: clepro
                  MMRuth Oct 4, 2007 04:39 PM

                  Thanks!

                2. re: MMRuth
                  i
                  idia Oct 4, 2007 04:11 PM

                  Run, do not walk to the best bagel place in the world, H & H Bagels at 80th & Bdwy.
                  If its good enough for Seinfeld, it's good enough for you! ;-)

                  Restaurants:
                  Picholine (upscale)
                  Telepan - around 71st & Columbus
                  Compass - 69th off Amsterdam
                  La Fortuna (lunches) - sandwiches, soups, salads, pies - 71st & Columbus
                  Il Violino (Italian) 69th & Columbus
                  Across from Lincoln Center:
                  Josephina
                  Fiorello's
                  Shun Lee W (Asian)
                  Le Pain Quotidien (Organic soups, salads, pastries)
                  La Fenice (neighborhood Italian) - Bet. 68th & 69th & Broadway
                  Zeytin (Turkish) 85th & Columbus

                  1. re: idia
                    LNG212 Oct 4, 2007 04:58 PM

                    YES YES - totally 2nd H&H bagels (80th & Bway). Get some cheese and other items from Fairway (74th/Bway) and Zabar's (80th/Bway). Have a picnic in the park!

                    Also second Telephan, Compass and Ouest. I too like Josephina, though I haven't been in a while. I'm not a fan of Fiorello's -- like their antipasto(antipasti?) but their regular food is just okay (and thus to me seems overpriced).

                    Second Zeytin -- excellent. Had a lovely brunch there recently.

                    I would also add:
                    --Sol y Sombra for tapas and terrific sangria (Amsterdam/82)
                    --La Grolla for a different take on Italian food (a lot of game) and great gnocchi (Amsterdam/80)
                    --Celeste or Gennaro for handmade pastas at reasonable prices (but both are crazy crowded) (Amsterdam/85; Amsterdam/92)
                    --Gabriela's for Mexican (a little higher end; can't vouch for "authenticity") and excellent margaritas (I like regular on the rocks and DH is adicted to the Mango-rita). Love their appetizers (especially avocado & tomato quesadillas) (Columbus/93)
                    --George Keeley's for good beer selection and a place to hang out (Amsterdam/83-ish)
                    --Awash for Ethiopian (the sampler plates are *huge* too) and they have Ethiopian beer (Amsterdam/107)
                    --Malecon for the chicken (though I've not had it, all my friends like it) (Amsterdam/97)

                    How far up on the UWS are you staying? If you are staying further up, I could mention more places in the 100s and such.

                    Enjoy your stay.

                    1. re: LNG212
                      p
                      piccola Oct 4, 2007 06:24 PM

                      I say skip H&H and go straight to Absolute Bagel.

                      1. re: piccola
                        l
                        LJW Oct 15, 2007 08:40 AM

                        I totally agree -- much prefer Absolute to H&H. And note H&H will not put cream cheese on a bagel, they only sell them whole and then make you buy a tub of cream cheese.

                        I also second the recs for Silver Moon Bakery and Sal & Carmines pizza.

                        1. re: piccola
                          d
                          Daniel76 Oct 15, 2007 08:51 AM

                          I whole heartedly agree

                        2. re: LNG212
                          t
                          TacoBusHound Oct 14, 2007 07:10 PM

                          Much thanks. We will be at 103rd but can grab a cab so no worries..

                          1. re: TacoBusHound
                            LNG212 Oct 15, 2007 06:43 AM

                            If you are on 103rd, definitely go to Silver Moon bakery. They have the best croissants (Bway/105). There's also the Hungarian Pastry shop across the avenue from St. John the Divine (Amsterdam/111); I like their hammentaschen. We had a lovely Italian dinner recently at Pisticci (LaSalle/just west of Bway).

                          2. re: LNG212
                            d
                            Daniel76 Oct 15, 2007 09:19 AM

                            I prefer Zoma Ethiopian to Awash..

                            1. re: LNG212
                              JungMann Oct 15, 2007 11:35 AM

                              Awash is not very good for Ethiopian. And the Hungarian Pastry shop has seen better days. I definitely would not recommend a visit, though the macarons at Silver Moon are a delight.

                              1. re: JungMann
                                p
                                piccola Oct 15, 2007 05:30 PM

                                I'm with you on the Hungarian. But anyone in the area should get a chocolate-cheese muffin from Samad Gourmet on B'way and 111th. It's huge, so split it with a friend.

                          3. re: MMRuth
                            d
                            Daniel76 Oct 15, 2007 08:58 AM

                            I dont know if I would get bagels and lox at Barney Greengrass.. You can pretty much get bagels and lox anywhere.. To go to Barney's would be to get something they make themselves.. Their pickled lox or their herring in cream sauce.

                            One of my favorites is the Salmon Head and Wings served with onions cooked in fat..

                            The sturgeon was terrific there this Sunday though, two prior visits were not the greatest..

                            They also have this ridiculous sandwich there that has chopped liver, chicken fat, pastrami, tongue and roast beef..

                            They make their own chopped liver, the have a great selection of egg dishes..

                            All of these things are worth going to Barney's for.. Bagels and lox can be had anywhere..

                          4. s
                            snaporaz Oct 5, 2007 06:51 AM

                            I would also check out Kefi (causal but good greek) on 79th between Broadway and Amsterdam.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: snaporaz
                              c
                              cimui Oct 5, 2007 04:54 PM

                              Second this! Kefi is my current favorite in the area. It's not casual like taco truck casual; it just isn't haute cuisine--in a good way.

                            2. m
                              Marine Engineer Oct 5, 2007 04:23 PM

                              I like Cafe Mozart (70th b/w Broadway and Columbus) for Sunday brunch.

                              Barcibo Enoteca has great wine and great food (the veal crostina [sp??] and the mushroom risotto) but it get really crowded at night. I prefer going at around 4pm, sitting at the bar and letting the bartender be my vino sherpa.

                              All State Cafe (72nd b/w Broadway and WEA) for good pub food and old school bar feel. Tuesday/Thursday nites Tess is tending, she's quite charming and generous with the pour.

                              I like the Hummus Place (Amsterdam b/w 74 & 75th?).

                              1. j
                                jsmooth995 Oct 5, 2007 06:55 PM

                                Sal's and Carmine's pizza on 102nd and Bway is still my favorite spot around, though quality can very a bit. The sort of neighborhood institution that's a dying breed now on the UWS.. my mom was a regular there 40+ years ago, in their old location by the Symphony Space.

                                I used to boost El Malecon but now I favor the roasted half-chicken from Pio Pio on 94th and Amsterdam..

                                Indus Valley on 100th and bway is solid, my favorite Indian in the vicinity..

                                Charm Thai on 95th and Amsterdam is a nice new addition.. also Asia Kan a block below..

                                My favorite coffee is actually the Korean grocery on 92nd and B'way, but partly because I like saying hi to their cat.

                                Never hurts to pass by Grom on 76th and bway while it's still warm enough for some gelato. (okay "pass by" may not be accurate depending on the line outside)

                                The "Super Taco" cart is very good, sweet deal for the price (although I do feel it's a bit overhyped compared to the many other taco trucks in NYC that just don't have such a prime location..) Quick anecdote about the truck: over the summer Tina Fey was filming her new movie on my block, and they recruited Super Taco to park in front of my building and be the craft services truck for cast and crew that night.. thought that was a pretty slick move :)

                                1. Ora Oct 15, 2007 10:43 AM

                                  Adding to the many good recommendations already mentioned:
                                  Bettola--italian
                                  Buttercup Bakeshop--cupcakes
                                  Crumbs--bakery
                                  Le Pain Quotidien--Belgian bakery/bistro
                                  Zabars--gourmet grocery
                                  Fairway--grocery
                                  Viand--dinner for basic breakfast/lunch
                                  Grays Papaya--hot dogs
                                  Nice Matin--better quality bistro

                                  1. c
                                    caphill2320 Oct 15, 2007 11:39 AM

                                    I would vote for Nussbaum and Wu for black and white cookies, Gray's for hot dogs, Neptune Room for brunch and Gennaro for awesome Italian (bring cash).

                                    1. fgf Oct 15, 2007 05:53 PM

                                      My personal favorite is Silk Road Palace for a 5.95 Chinese food lunch with two carafes of free cheap wine then a nap.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: fgf
                                        p
                                        PhishFoodie Oct 15, 2007 09:28 PM

                                        i'd second that!
                                        and Shun Lee.

                                        and just go to Zabars/the cafe next door for your quick & delicious prepared bagel & lox made for you! or buy some fresh sliced nova & their cream cheese in there & get and H&H bagel & make it yourself.

                                        EJs, Good Enough to Eat, & Popover Cafe are fun for brunch, but all get crowded so be prepared for waiting...

                                        Yolato for some frozen yogurt and/or gelato too.

                                      2. druz99 Oct 15, 2007 10:31 PM

                                        One of the Upper West's hidden gems: Max Soha located on Amsterdam. As a Columbia alum, their lasagna was my staple and would make the trek all the way uptown in a heartbeat for a taste!

                                        --------------------------------
                                        I like to eats.
                                        http://www.gobbl.com

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: druz99
                                          h
                                          haleyjen Oct 16, 2007 08:30 AM

                                          I love Max's Gnocchi!

                                          1. re: druz99
                                            i
                                            izzyeatsny Oct 16, 2007 08:35 AM

                                            Wonderfully inexpensive and perfectly-sized portions. Their Max's meat sauce is incredible. I have also enjoyed their pugliese. Their desserts are nothing spectacular but who needs dessert after you are stuffed full of pasta.

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