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Dec 20, 2008 12:47 PM

Upper West Side on Boxing Day

I'm a former New Yorker, and we're coming down to the city for a couple of days after Christmas/during Hannukah. We'll be staying by the Museum of Natural History with someone who won't take a cab or transit during Shabbat, so we'd like to find someplace walking distance. We're open to any cuisine, but would need some vegetarian options, and will have a large group--probably about ten people. I'm flummoxed. My knowledge of that neighborhood is sparse, at best. Any help?

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  1. Does the restaurant have to be kosher? A place open on Shabbat that's kosher could be a tall order. Also, give us some idea what you want to spend, and how important decor and ambiance are, etc.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Pan

      Kosher isn't necessary--my father-in-law is willing to eat fish/vegetarian in a non-Kosher place. We're hoping for something not too expensive since it's a large group and he's paying. None of us care as much about decor as we do about the food!

      1. re: jessieinbelmont

        That's helpful, though I don't know what "not too expensive" means to you. My reactions to Lettucepray's suggestions:

        I found Pasha unexciting, but it can accommodate that large a group. Zeytin can, too, because I was once a member of a group of maybe 12 there, and I think they just put a couple of 6-tops or 3 4-tops together. (It's possible that they might not do such a thing at peak hours; I really couldn't say.) I have preferred Zeytin to Pasha, and they have excellent mezes, several of which are vegetarian.

        I know the East Village branch of Hummus Place, which I found good a few months ago, but which is small. I'm guessing the uptown branch is bigger? And is it open on Shabbat?

    2. one at least thing you wont have to worry about is boxing day, no one knows what that is! i'd suggest maybe SHUN LEE.

      1. Hummus Place

        Pasha - delicious Turkish - vegetarian options

        1. Bar Bao is one block from the Natural History museum...opens around 5:30 i think...lots of veggie options...not sure what Boxing Day is or if they are open though...

          1 Reply
          1. re: Simon

            Boxing Day is a public holiday in the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Australia,Guatemala as well as the countries in the Commonwealth of Nations with a mainly Christian Population. It is based on the tradition of giving gifts to the less fortunate members of society. Contemporary Boxing Day in many countries is now a "shopping holiday" associated with after-Christmas sales.
            The day is related to St Stephen's Day, which is a public holiday in Ireland and other countries in Europe, also around the Christian World. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, St Stephen's Day is celebrated on the 27th of December, although in Greece Boxing Day (Synaxis Theotokou, Σύναξις Θεοτόκου) is also celebrated as a public holiday on the 26th of December.
            It is usually celebrated on the 26th of December, the day after Christmas Day[1][2]; however, its associated public holiday can be moved to the next weekday if the 26th of December is a Saturday or Sunday. The movement of Boxing Day varies between countries.

          2. Within 10 blocks (of the museum) are a few places that I like:

            Nice Matin, 201 W 79th St.
            Scaletta, 50 W 77th St.
            Celeste, 502 Amsterdam Ave @ 84th St.

            None of these is primarily vegetarian (more nearly the opposite, really), but each is an option if the vegetarian is a good sport and is willing to, on occasion at least, accomodate the non-vegetarians by going to a place where there is only a small number of meat-free dishes to choose from.

            2 Replies
            1. re: rpk

              Does Celeste take reservations ever? I thought they didn't. I wouldn't want to be part of a large group waiting for a long time at a mobbed restaurant that's alright, not great. I'm guessing the other two places you mentioned do take reservations.

              1. re: Pan

                Good point. No reservations at Celeste (I just checked), group of 10, small place. My mistake. Thanks for the catch.