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Jul 31, 2008 10:40 PM

Columbia University Area, Little Italy Help Needed

I am traveling to New York to take a children's writing class at Columbia University. I would like advice on where to eat.I'm staying 5th Avenue for a few days and then trnasfer near Columbia University. Any suggestions?

1) Name a few places for dinner in Little Italy.

2) Name a few places that have great bagels near Columbia University.

3) Places to eat for dinner near Columbia University and near 5th Avenue by Tiffany's.

Any or all auggestions accepted.

Thanks so much.

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  1. Bagels -- you want the place on Broadway just south of 108 (on east side of the street).

    Dinner -- depends on the kind of dinner. AWASH on Amsterdam and I think 107 has good Ethiopian. Thai Market is across the street and not bad. I like Sezz Midi on Amsterdam and 122. Toast is fine for BBQ, and the place on the south side of 110 near the corner with Amsterdam has great southern food. For Italian, you need to go a little farther afield. -- several places in the 80's and 90's -- Genaros and Celeste are justifiably popular, but I like Acqua at Amsterdam and 95 because it tends to be less crowded. Turquaz and Mughal Palace are good if slightly pricey places for Turkish/Indian respectively -- they are on opposite sides of Broadway at 100.

    As for the strip in front of Columbia on Broadway, I'd avoid it if you really care about food. I do stop into Cafe Swish in the summer for iced coffee and bubble tea.

    Can't help with Little Italy.

    1 Reply
    1. re: augustthecat

      Just to update some info here:

      I had breakfast this morning at Community Food & Juice, and my French toast, made with brioche and served with lemon curd, fresh fruit and melted butter w/maple syrup was well executed indeed. Breakfast and brunch is, I've been told, the specialty of this kitchen, and it was as good as it gets for French toast. My cafe con leche was undistinguished. After I left, I went across the street and got an espresso from Oren's Daily Roast.

      I made a trip up to Fairway and and bought the Latina rotisserie chicken for dinner, as recommended to me, even though I thought the herbed rotisserie looked better. I also bought their "hand-pulled" mozzerella, even though I was disappointed to be directed away from where it was being made to a refrigerator case. The chicken itself was good and well cooked. I could have cared less about the "Latina" spices. The mozzerella suffered from all the problems mozzerella does outside of Italy.

      On the way home, I made a pit stop in Dinosaur BBQ for somethng for lunch. I settled on 3 deviled eggs to go, for the grand total of $4.18. I was disappointed to see on the menu that it wasn't possible to order Elgin sausage alone, without ribs or other items. Anyway, the deviled eggs I carried home to eat were fresh and flavorful, although I prefer my yolks chunky, not blended to a cream. Still not bad. I thought the counter service was more about flirting than service, but the soundtrack on the jukebox was great and the place has a very friendly, unpretentious, working class vibe, at least at lunch time -- quite a contrast to Fairway.

    2. The bagel place that august referred to is absolute bagels and IMO, the best bagel in the city.

        1. re: laulipooh

          Regarding food near Columbia, try this thread:

          Regarding Absolute Bagels, if that's the best bagel in the city these days, wow. It's too fat and airy for my taste. My husband says the salt bagels are tasty. I mistakenly bit into a blueberry bagel he mistakenly bought and threw it away.

          You are wise to heed the advice to avoid the strip in front of Columbia.

          My favorite dinner venue has become Floridita's Tapas at 125th and B'way. Grilled sardines, tortillas and clams have been best, but their salads are also often good.

          My second favorite is Pisticci, at La Salle, off Broadway (walk north of 116th). Outdoor tables are quietest. Best eats are specials and their steamed artichokes.

          My favorite hangout s the outdoor cafe in Riverside Park near 108th. The serve some food, none of which is worse than what you get on B'way. Beer is better than the wine.

          If you have a kitchen, it's worth going up to Fairway, which has some fine ingredients at low prices. But their bagels are lousy (as are all the supermarket bagels in the area).

          The Greenmarket is only fair, very pricey and the baked goods and cheeses I've tried range from flavorless to inedible. Milano Market has some pricey treats if you like Italian imports.

          1. re: summerUWS2008

            Thanks for the great advice. Loved your recs.

        2. 1) I haven't been to the Italian restaurants in Little Italy, but I like Nyonya in that area if you're not looking for Italian. If you are, I'd go to Peasant.
          2) Absolute Bagels

          1. -- agree about Absolute Bagel

            -- why Little Italy? a search here and you'll find dozens of threads cautioning you to eat your Italian food elsewhere...for casual tasty Italian food, i like Cacio e Vino (east village) and Malatesta (west village)...

            -- there is a good Indian place south of Columbia (maybe 103nd or so) called Indus Valley...(i am not a fan of any of the places in the immediate vicinity of Columbia)