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Good eats on upper west side

As a former New Yorker and food lover, I am always excited to come back to the city for "food." I have been here for a week and have eaten at Rancho's, Calle Ocho, Village Yokocho- I was just not happy with my meals. They are all friends' suggestions. During my last trip, I have discovered Momofuku and Mermaid Inn and really enjoyed it. I also like Sushi Gari. I am here for a few more days. Any recommendations? Is there any good Italian places uptown by the way?

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  1. No offense to your friends, but those are not very good suggestions for food on the UWS. Check out Dovetail, Shake Shack, Bar Bao, West Branch and I'm sure you will be much happier. For Italian, Cesca is recommended, though my personal stop in the neighborhood is Salumeria Rosi.

    10 Replies
    1. re: JungMann

      LOVE Salumeria Rosi as did MMRuth. If you and she liked it, that was good enough for me. When next in NYC it will be one of our first stops.

      1. re: JungMann

        Your recommendation looks great. Thanks. Do you recommend Babbo or Lupa? Which Batali restaurant do you prefer?

        1. re: Pickelgirl

          i recommend avoiding all Batali places because of their snotty attitude and over-hyped food...but many people here love them...so you may want to check them out...

          for Italian, i like Scarpetta, Malatesta, and Cacio e Vino...

          on the UWS, i like Cafe Ronda for a casual meal...and the other night i had a great lobster salad (w/ a side order of roasted wild mushrooms) at Cafe Luxembourg on 70th St...

          1. re: Simon

            Oh, Simon, PLEASE don't go there about Batali. We found nothing snotty or over-hyped. Please. Plus i didn't understand the request for Batali along with the UWS.

            1. re: c oliver

              Well, I don't mind taking the subway if the food is good! Thanks for the recommendations for Italian.

              1. re: c oliver

                i'll certainly go there...*smiles*...read the recent Babbo thread when many complained of the same thing...or the many complaints about Spotted Pig...etc...

                i think his restaurants are awful...that's my opinion...but if you enjoyed your visits there, that's nice too

            2. re: Pickelgirl

              I am not much of an Italian fan so you might refer to other posters regarding Babbo and Lupa. They are certainly in another league compared to Salumeria Rosi if you are looking for a nicer Italian dinner.

              1. re: JungMann

                We went to Salumeria Rossi. Loved it! Everything was delicious and the portion is perfect- not toot much, which is usually the problem with many Italian restaurants. Can't wait to go back. Thanks!

              2. re: Pickelgirl

                I used to love Babbo. But it isn't what it used to be. Had bad service the last few times we dined there. I am a diehard Lupa fan though. I think the gnocchi is to die for. I also like the atmosphere and have had generally good experiences there. As for other Italian restaurant options, I've heard that Scarpetta is very good. Convivio IMHO is good too, but I didn't like the atmosphere.

              3. re: JungMann

                Wow...I live on the UWS and you nailed it with those...

              4. I have yet to go to any Italian restaurant on the Upper West Side that was as good as the places I frequent on the Lower East Side (which for me includes the East Village).

                I recommend Kefi for Greek food, though it can be really loud and crowded. Some hounds vociferously disagree, and we don't understand each other, but keep that in mind.

                Where are you staying? Depending on what part of the Upper West Side you're at, there are some other places I might recommend (that is, they're worth walking to but not worth a special trip by train).

                6 Replies
                1. re: Pan

                  Thanks, already left NY, but was staying at 100's and Broadway. Any recommendations for my next trip out there?

                  1. re: Pickelgirl

                    Yeah. El Malecon on Amsterdam between 97th and 98th makes excellent pollo a la brasa (rotisserie chicken), and I also like their chicken soup and sometimes get mondongo (tripe soup) - but get the pollo a la brasa.

                    Jerusalem, Broadway between 103th and 104th, makes very tasty falafel, shawarma et al.

                    Henry's, 105th and Broadway, may also be worth a trip for you. Like the other places I've mentioned, it's a neighborhood place, not a destination restaurant. Unlike them, it's upscale. I've had excellent service there. Eclectic menu, always with high-quality ingredients but sometimes a bit salty, excellent desserts.

                    P.S. Where did you go, and how was it?

                    1. re: Pan

                      The Mermaid Inn which was excellent (The skate wing was very good.)
                      Momofuku and Chikalicious on the same trip (Chikalicious was interesting.)
                      Serafina at Madison and 79th after the NYC fashion night out, which was by the way kind of pointless; however, I enjoyed what my favorite store had to offer.
                      Salumerai Rossi (Dellicious!)
                      Barney Greengrass (loved it! Scramble eggs with salmon and onion was the best I ever had. My bf had smoked salmon and Sturgeon! )

                      1. re: Pickelgirl

                        Thanks for the recs. You went to Momofuku Noodle Bar? What did you have there? I had a dinner at Saam Bar with my girlfriend a few days ago. We enjoyed it. Quality food of some interest for moderate prices ($101 including tip for 2 drinks and 4 dishes, and then we went to Milk Bar for two milkshakes).

                        1. re: Pan

                          I agree with you on Ssam. I was really pleasantly surprised at how moderate the prices were. And thought the food was terrific especially the pork bun.

                          1. re: Pan

                            Yes. I went to the noodle bar. I had the momofuku ramen which was good, although a Japanese person will probably tell you "that's not ramen!" We ordered the pork bun as usual which we loved. My bf ordered the three course prix fixe lunch- fried oyster bun, Chicken noodle soup and soft serve. We were especially impressed by the chicken noodle soup-homemade chicken broth, chicken meatball, homemade noodle, with basil!

                  2. gennaro and celeste are 2 good italian places on amsterdam in the eighties/nineties. i've never had a bad meal at either

                    1. Ditto the previous recommendation for Celeste -- 84& Amsterdam -- cash only, noisy, zero (or less) ambiance, terrific food and an unusually wide selection of (obviously) Italian cheeses and wines -- cheese plate w/ prosecco for dessert can't be missed.

                      Nice neighborhood/upscale bar is Bistro 1018 @ 110 and Amsterdam. Getting popular, reservations may be needed, sit near the windows in the front and watch the socialists go by. Outdoor dining if you don't mind bus fumes.

                      Both places have good service, regrettably a rarity on UWS.

                      1. We went to the UWS outpost of Fatty crab about two weeks ago and had a phenomenal meal. The Pork Bun, Crab, and Fatty Cue (not always on the menu but usually available) are all excellent.