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Just moved to W. 103 and Riverside - need recs!

I just moved from LES up to West 103 and Riverside, and I can't wait to check out the eats/drinks that my new neighborhood has to offer! I'd greatly appreciate any recommendations for grocery stores, restaurants and bars up in the area. I'm on a budget, but like to splurge occasionally - so a few inexpensive places wouldn't go amiss... Thanks!

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  1. i had a girlfriend near there and we would go to indus valley a lot for indian...very very solid indian on 100th and broadway i believe.

    lennys bagels on broadway and maybe 98th i think makes a good bagel.

    henry's on 104th and broadway is a solid american bar and grill type place.

    there's a mexican place on maybe 106 and columbus that had pretty solid take out...i wish i remembered the name.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sam1

      thank you so much - ill definitely check those out!

      anyone know of any italian restaurants, delis and decent COFFEE in the area? i totally forgot to ask about coffee the first time around - but it's pretty imperative to find a good mug of the stuff...

    2. i think sam1 might be talking about tacqueria y la fonda near 107th and amsterdam, which is great for street food type mexican (tacos, gigantic tamales, sopes) to go. there are a few seats in the back, but the place is a bit grungy.

      there's a similar place, more geared towards a sit-down dinner, called noche mexicana on amsterdam, just south of 102nd.

      best of all, you're right near thai market, one of my favorite restaurants in manhattan on amsterdam, just north of 107th. (it's a few doors away from tacqueria y la fonda.) the appetizers and grilled items are incredibly good. the skirt steak is a good value.

      also decent: cafe du soleil for rotisserie chicken, coq au vin, frites, and chocolate mousse; silver moon bakery for breads, light breakfasts or lunch. many of the other restaurants in the vicinity are forgettable.

      slightly further north of where you are, you'll find miss mamie's spoonbread, which serves up southern style soul food.

      if you head further south, you'll find gabriella's, which is good for slightly gringoized, more upmarket mexican.

      re: drinks: dive bar to your south is good for non-pretentious 'tials and beer, though it's not really all that divey. the place that used to be saurin park cafe on the northwestern corner of central park (110th and central park west) is great for a beer or a whiskey on the rocks (or a quick sandwich). it's also mildly divey, one of those places where you could go with your laptop and use their free wi-fi for hours during the day while nursing a beer. sip on amsterdam just south of 110th has creative mixed drinks in a cozy, upscale dive kind of space.

      grocery stores ae fairly unimpressive. i mostly purchased my produce at garden of eden, which has excellent deals on the produce out front (but is overpriced for everything inside); basics like frozen veggies or canned items at gristedes; bread at silver moon; corn tortillas at random corner markets on amsterdam or columbus; and cold cereals, candy and junk food at rite aid. there are a lot of fruit vendors on b'way near the 103rd st. subway stop.

      -----
      Dive Bar
      732 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025

      Thai Market
      960 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025

      Miss Mamie's Spoonbread Too
      366 W 110th St, New York, NY 10025

      Gabriela's
      688 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10025

      Silver Moon Bakery
      2740 Broadway, New York, NY 10025

      Cafe du Soleil
      2723 Broadway, New York, NY 10025

      Taqueria y Fonda La Mexicana
      968 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025

      Noche Mexicana
      852 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025

      Sip
      998 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025

      Cafe Amrita
      301 W 110th St, New York, NY 10025

      1 Reply
      1. re: cimui

        Symposium Greek Restaurant

        Great food, great service, sort of a Taverna atmosphere. Vegetarian options too!
        This place is AWESOME! A real find!
        544 W 113th St
        New York, NY 10025
        (212) 865-1011

      2. Alouette (upscale French with a great early prix-fixe) and Mama Mexico (a bit pricey but much better than typical Mexican) are very good and IMO the best the neighborhood has to offer. The rest is pretty dismal.

        11 Replies
        1. re: rrems

          i agree that alouette is good, but mama mexico... not so much. it's one of the poorer excuses for a mexican restaurant in manhattan IMO. (think canned crab meat, stale tortillas and tortilla chips, "salsa" made out of doctored pasta sauce, margaritas straight from the plastic mix jug, noise level so high during dinner you can't hear yourself think) tacqueria y la fonda and noche are more low brow in the type of cuisine they attempt, but on the whole do what they do about 10x better.

          1. re: cimui

            i agree with cimui on this one, word for word. i've tried mama mexico at least 4-5 times over the years and will never return. i must have eaten in noche mexicana more than 20 times.

            1. re: nativeNYer

              Could it be that it depends on what you order? If you stick to nachos and enchiladas and the like, I could understand being unimpressed, but I have had some excellent dishes, particularly the grilled calamari and the lamb chops. They have a large selection of dishes you don't find in typical Mexican places.

              1. re: rrems

                yes, i think you're right that every menu has its strengths and certainly even the worst menu can sometimes have one or two outstanding dishes. i'm not really the type of person to stock with nachos and enchiladas, and have made my way through far too wide a cross section of the menu to want to think about, since a friend who lives half a block away from the restaurant was really fixated with the restaurant for a while. but to be fair, i have never tried the calamari or lamb chops. if i ever get dragged there, again, i'll try those!

                (a bit off topic, but have you ever tried mi cocina in greenwich village? you might like it.)

                1. re: cimui

                  cimui and nativeNYer,

                  Yes, I did go to Mi Cocina once. It was quite a few years ago, and I recall that it was good but but I never felt compelled to return. In the village, I like Agave, which also gets some knocking on this board, I think more for the haphazard service than the food, and again, I order certain dishes that are particularly good and ignore the others. As to the atmosphere (and prices) at MM, they are a victim of their own success (or sould I say we are the victims?), as the noise level and raucousness of all the birthday parties can be annoying, and yes, the prices are higher than they should be. I try to get a table in one of the quieter areas, like the glassed-in area on the 102 St. side. As I no longer live in the nabe, I was not aware of Noche Mexicana, but I have been to Gabriela's, which gets good mention here, and I never cared much for it either.

                  1. re: rrems

                    i've been planning to try agave for a while now. have you tried rosa mexicana near lincoln center? i am wondering what you think b/c this place is more in line with mama mexico than noche mexicana which serves just the basics.

                    1. re: nativeNYer

                      No, I have not been to Rosa Mexicano.

                2. re: rrems

                  I agree that Mama Mexico may have some good menu items. This is the case with most restaurants even those who are not among the favorites. I think their guacamole is really good and I've had a good steak dish there a couple of times that had a fabulous seasoning. So your point is well-taken and I actually felt exactly the same way you do on this one. However, there are a myriad of other reasons, most of which are well-stated on menupages.com for this website and are among those comments that cimui stated above, that I will no longer go here. i personally feel they are taking advantage of their customers by overcharging for food that has greatly declined (quantity and quality)over the years, and this place never served high quality authentic food to begin with. when far better food (actually, there is no comparison) is literally just around the block (noche mexicana) that is practically half the price, there's no question about where i will go whenever i want mexican. I also think Ann900 put it very well when she equated Mama Mexico with a restaurant one would find in a suburban mall.

              2. re: cimui

                rrems and cimui,

                I keep meaning to get to Alouette. The early prix-fixe looks like a real deal! The salmon and hanger steak stand out as the two entrees I would consider. Have you had either of them? Anything else on the menu worth trying, or steering clear of ...?

                1. re: uwsgrazer

                  I have not had the salmon or the hanger steak, but would expect them to be good as I have never had anything terribly disappointing at Alouette. Here's a link to a thread I started some months ago:

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/514641

                  1. re: uwsgrazer

                    hi uwsgrazer, i actually discovered alouette after rrem's recommended it on a thread, so she's the real expert.

                    i have had the salmon, and it was solid, nothing really flamboyant. haven't had the hangar steak. if you like short ribs, the version i had on my most recent visit were really nice -- very tender and flavorful (though short on vegetables). the mashed potato side was simple and well made. my SO loves the goat cheese tart.

              3. My 2 cents:

                You mentioned Italian: people seem to think that the best places in the neighborhood are:

                Pisticcio (not sure of the name) up on Broadway north of 122nd St.
                Celeste (Amsterdam Ave near 84th) great cheese plate, cash only
                Gennaro (Amsterdam near 93rd) may be overrated, but good antipasto plate
                Spiga (84th St. just west of Amsterdam) for more innovative Italian food
                Regional (Broadway near 98th) mentioned because it's relatively close to you

                Also near you:
                Pizza: Sal and Carmine's on Broadway near 102nd
                Alouette: (Bway near 98) second that recommendation
                Malaysian: Malaysian Grille (104th east of Bway) not great but only Malaysian in nabe
                Flor de Mayo (Bway near 103) very good roast chicken (and the stuffed potato app)
                Dominican: El Malecon (Amsterdam near 97) good soups, yellow rice/red beans
                Felafel: Jerusalem Felafel (Bway near 104)

                welcome to the neighborhood!

                1. I'll second some recs by others and maybe add a few:

                  --Sal & Carmine's for pizza
                  --Sip for brunch (and free wifi)
                  --Hungarian Pastry Shop (I like to get their hamentaschen to go)
                  --Silver Moon (excellent croissants)
                  --Awash (pretty good Ethiopian)
                  --Indus Valley
                  --Rack & Soul (the food is good; their red velvet cake is very good)
                  --Noche Mexicana (we've only had takeout from here)
                  --Malecon
                  --Turkuaz (Turkish; good; belly dancing too)

                  further uptown:
                  --Pisticci (mentioned above is on LaSalle just west of Bway)
                  --Dinosaur BBQ

                  further downtown from you:
                  --Gabriela's (lovely outdoor space)
                  --Pio Pio
                  --Zeytin (Turkish)

                  for groceries:
                  --check out the W. 97th St. greenmarket, it's very good
                  --you may want to just bite the bullet and hit Fairway (74th or 125th) to stock up on things (I'm not a fan of gristede's and as others have said GofE can be pricey)