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Oct 4, 2007 08:15 AM

Upper West Side Must Hit List

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, doesn't matter, just trying to canvass the area and not stray too far.

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  1. 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:

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

      1. re: TBird

        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:

        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:

          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:

            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. 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. 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:

              13 Replies
                1. re: MMRuth

                  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! ;-)

                  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:
                  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

                    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

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

                      1. re: piccola

                        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: LNG212

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

                          1. re: TacoBusHound

                            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

                            I prefer Zoma Ethiopian to Awash..

                            1. re: LNG212

                              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

                                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

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

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: snaporaz

                              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. 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?).