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Mar 14, 2008 08:19 AM

Good eats near Museum of Natural History?

So my gf and I are going to check out the MNH this afternoon, and thought it would be a good idea to try a restaurant up in that neck of the woods, instead of our usual east/west village, downtown haunts. But neither of us are familiar with the area, and I know that a lot of places are tourist italian places for museum goers, the lincoln center crowd, etc etc.

We'd like to goto a good, solid neighborhood joint with a good ambience and tasty eats. Cuisine doesn't matter as much as those criteria, could be ethnic or continental. Not in mood for bar food/burgers though.

Thanks much for all your reccos!

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  1. Right across the street from the museum is the fairly new 81, owned and cheffed by Ed Brown, late of Sea Grill. No, it's not a seafood restaurant, tho I can't imagine there not being some great fish dishes on the menu. I haven't been there yet, but he has long been one of my favorite chefs in Manhattan.

    That's where I'd be going.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ChefJune

      just checked out the menu on menupages. looks good but a wee bit pricier than i'd like to spend tonight...

        1. re: idia

          I third fourth or fifth Isabellas, very good food and definitely close, not the cheapest though.

      1. My usual place up there is Isabella's. Across from the SW corner of the museum. Columbus & 77th?

        3 Replies
        1. re: Jane A.

          Your best bet for great original cooking with a Greek flavor is Kefi on West 79th. A remarkable place (go, before they move to a much larger venue).

          1. re: Will4Food

            Vynl and Isabella's are weak choices at are limited up this 'hood.....other ideas...Barney Greengrass or for takeout tour I like the Grandaisy (sullivan street) bakery for a slice of pizza, Grays papaya for a hotdog, Jacque Torres for chocolate/ hot chocalate, Grom Gelato, Zabars then walk straight over to the museum..

          2. re: Jane A.

            Agreed. Isabella's is one of my usuals when in that neighborhood. You can also try Ocean Grill on Columbus between 78th & 79th. They serve a delicious brunch/lunch as well as a great fish / seafood dinner menu. Both are within walking distance of the museum.


          3. Kefi would be a great choice, although without reservations, the wait might be a while. Give a thought, also, to Momoya, Gari, Land for Asian/sushi. Some people like Café Frida, I vehemently do not. In that part of the UWS, I find that the best restaurants are either very expensive or low-end. Finding great cuisine in the middle-range is a little elusive.

            1. i agree with KEFI and BARNEY GREENGRASS (dont miss the sturgeon) recs. both fabulous and not so pricey.

              if you dont mind walking a few more twenty something blocks or hopping on the train for a quick jaunt you should totally go to RACK AND SOUL. its up on broadway and 109th and has scrumptious fried chicken, ribs and soul food galore. its well worth the trip.

              if sushi's your bag than check out o-i-shi-i sushi at ivys cafe. its quite yummy and extremely reasonable.

              this last rec isnt a restaurant but its something not to be missed on a visit to the MNH.
              check out MAXILLA AND MANDIBLE on columbus btwn 81st and 82nd. its an amazing natural history and science emporium filled with curio, fossils, diagrams, various mounted bugs, rocks from the outer reaches of the universe, things in jars, skulls, name it they have it. it's quite amazing.