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quick lunch near columbia university and/or nyu

Taking my niece on college tours of Columbia and NYU and will be looking for a good, quick place to grab lunch in between the two on a weekday.
Thanks!

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  1. Most of Manhattan is between the two. Are you driving? Taking the subway? What cuisine preferences and price range? I would say that in general you are more likely to find something near NYU.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ian9139

      We would be taking the subway and won't have much time between the two. Something inexpensive, quick - prob. sandwiches and such.

      1. re: eckjac

        You could try the Dosa Man in Washington Square Park, but the line can get long at certain hours.
        If you are willing to go a little south of NYU (~6 blocks) Despana is really yummy.
        I think there is also a Kati Roll Co on MacDougal st, which I haven't tried, but the one on 29th street is very good.

    2. Broadway from 116th Street- right across from Columbia-on down is filled with restaurants. A place you might both enjoy is Community Food and Juice at 112th. But there's lots of choices. If you're looking for fast food, there's a Chipolte Grill on Broadway between 110-111th

      1. the food down by NYU is far better than the food near Columbia, IMO. if you're looking at the NYU undergrad campus around Union^2, check out Maoz for a quick, inexpensive take-out falafel sandwich. there's also a 'wichcraft for interesting sandwiches, salads and other basic fare; a Whole Foods just south of the park with a food court of sorts; and a Trader Joe's with lots of take out options.

        if you're checking out grad schools centered around Washington ^2 park, the Indian Bread Company (owned by the same folks as Kati Roll) has some pretty decent, quick fare. Or walk a few blocks to Grey Dog for basic sandwiches made with good ingredients. (It'll be crowded because it's a bit of a W. Village institution... among other things, Monica Lewinsky used to eat there.) Or head to 'Ino for panini. Or just walk down Macdougal and Bleeker St. and browse a whole host of options.

        ... all that said, if you're trying to decide between schools, why not compare the two campus dining services?

        5 Replies
        1. re: cimui

          Most of the undergrad (and grad) tours of NYU center around the Washington Square campus, not Union Square (all we have there are a few dorms) so I'd suggest the Maoz falafel place on 8th street. If you want something sit down but quick as well, Cafetasia, a thai place on 8th street, has a $7.50 lunch special, and they're pretty good about getting you in and out quickly.

          1. re: whitneybee

            thanks for the correction, whitney! i'd always thought of washington square park as *our* territory when i went to grad school at nyu... but i guess now that i think about it, bobst and many of the other nyu buildings on the park were predominantly undergrad buildings; we just thought about them as ours. ;)

            in that case, a few more specific suggestions in that area:

            1. la lanterna di vittorio on macdougal -- very cute, relatively refined sit-down place with simple soups, salads, panini and fantastic desserts. i believe they serve their wood fire grilled pizzas at lunch time, too.

            2. hummus place on macdougal -- fantastic israeli style hummus. you can eat there, but the digs are more cafeteria in feel than restaurant. (there's a location at nearby st. mark's place, too, which i haven't tried.)

            3. galanga on w. 4th for inexpensive, speedy thai. it's not the most authentic thai you'll find around, but ingredients are generally high quality and everything is well prepared.

            4. yatagan on macdougal -- greasy, delicious, dirt cheap doner kebabs; takeout (you probably won't want to eat at one of the few, sticky tables they offer)

            1. re: cimui

              All good options in the vicinity of NYU, however be forewarned that Galanga has gone out of business. The only restaurant to remain on that block is Volare.

                1. re: cimui

                  Correction: the sushi restaurant next to Galanga went out of business. Galanga is still going strong as of last night.

        2. Dosa man is unique to the NYU campus, so if you're up for fantastic-cheap south indian fare, check him out on the corner of Sullivan and Washington Square south; his hours are from the morning till 5:00pm. If it's a nice day, it would be lovely to eat in the park.

          Mamoun's is the old, famous, cheap falafel joint on macdougal btw 3rd and bleeker. small, few seats, but the people move out of there pretty quick.

          There are some quick food places also on 8th street. If you're up for a fantastic sandwich and seats, go to the 'wichcraft on 8th street btw broadway and mercer.

          For a quick eat with no tables, Little Atlas on 4th street btw Broadway and Mercer has great sandwiches.

          ---

          For columbia, there's always ollie's, the decent chinese food chain, across the street from the gate at 116th and broadway. they always serve their food quickly. It's always filled with students/professors needing a quick eat.

          The quintessential columbia pizza is at koronet's on broadway and 111th. Their claim to fame is the obscenely large size of each slice.

          Hope this helps, if you have any questions let me know.

          8 Replies
          1. re: silencespeak

            Eck! Sorry to say I think both Ollie's and Koronet are TERRIBLE. In my four years at Columbia, I've eaten at Ollie's ONCE & never went back. Koronet is strictly for drunk, broken college students.

            IMO here are some of the better restaurants around CU:

            Community Food & Junice (natch, but a little more expensive than others)
            Max SoHa (Italian, entree around $10-15, Amsterdam btwn 122th & 123rd, take the exit by Kent & you'll be there in no time)
            Deluxe (Upscale diner, quick & efficient service, decent food, Bway & 114th)

            Avoid:
            Tom's, Campo, Le Monde, Mill

            1. re: silencespeak

              I went to 'wichcraft once for a sandwich and found it very overpriced and just OK, nothing special at all. What sandwiches there do you find fantastic?

              I agree with uwsister that Ollie's sucks. The last time I went there, two or three years ago (and it was NOT my idea), they had really sloppy dim sum, such a huge comedown for someone who lives a 20-minute walk from Chinatown.

              1. re: Pan

                I agree that ollie's isn't great, but it is quick, which is the prerequisite of the post. along with the pizza.

                and again for wichcraft, a quick meal is what they're asking for. I think the chicken breast sandwich is fantastic, personally.

                Yes, not the greatest choices for food, but that isn't the big point here. I'm sticking to what the poster requested. I've had decent experiences at these places and they're quick.

                1. re: silencespeak

                  Silence, I like 'witchcraft sandwiches better than most other store-bought ones, too. They use interesting ingredients like roasted fennel, tonnato and marinated eggplant -- and they have a really kickass grilled gruyere sandwich. Ingredients are high quality (though once or twice, I had a sandwich that had been made in advance, so the bread was not at its best). Most other sandwich places I know of don't have the same kinds and quality of ingredients.

                  The only bone I have to pick with 'Witchcraft is that their products are pretty pricey for what they are. (It's the same problem I have with Prete a Manger and other similar chains.) I can make sandwiches that are just as good at home, so I always feel a little guilty paying so much for one.

                  Anyhoo... know if Cafe Swish is still open? I seem to recall that they have those rainbow / jelly / basil seed / adzuki / condensed milk / ice thingamajiggies -- could be interesting if OP wants a sweet snack.

                  1. re: cimui

                    Pricey and not correspondingly big - just average-sized sandwiches.

                    1. re: cimui

                      Swish is still open. Their bubble tea & baked goods are pretty good, like you recommended. I wouldn't recommend the food though!

                      1. re: uwsister

                        actually, swish is not open. in its place there is a new restaurant called the vine

                        1. re: qwertyu

                          Both Swish and Tomo are gone. What is the Vine about?

              2. Thanks! It's been years since I spent time in these areas so the more ideas, the better. Any recommendations for an afternoon snack near Columbia or the Port Authority Bus Terminal?

                1 Reply
                1. re: eckjac

                  Near Port Authority, consider going to Poseidon Bakery, on the west side of 9th Av. between 44th and 45th. Great Greek pastries, both savory and sweet. Nowhere to sit, but perfect for a delicious meal on the run. I've found the counter people helpful, too.

                2. We ended up going to 'wichcraft for lunch. I had the Gruyere and caramelized onion sandwich, my niece had the mozzarella and fontina sandwich and my husband had the pastrami. All were good and I did not find them expensive, in fact they were cheaper then Boston prices.

                  We got a snack at the Columbia campus cafe - good and not too expensive. We walked up Broadway b/n 116 and 114 and there were a bunch of places that looked good and not too expensive.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: eckjac

                    nice -- thanks for reporting back! i'm glad you had a satisfying lunch. now if only choosing schools were so easy... ;)