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Upper West Side recs

Howdy all;

I'm going to be in NYC for three days next week, staying on 77th street on the UWS.

I'm looking for recommendations, but not necessarily anything fancy. I'd love to find a great diner in that neighborhood -- I tried the Manhattan Diner the last time I was there (77th and Broadway) and was very underwhelmed. I also love pretty much any kind of "ethnic comfort food" (Cuban stews, Asian noodles, etc).

Any recommendations for a business traveler looking to recharge for the next day's work would be greatly appreciated. TIA.

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  1. View menus and info at www.menupages.com:

    Gus & Gabriel's Gastropub: this will run circles around any diner!
    Salumeria Rosi: restaurant and take-away counter


    2 Replies
    1. re: LeahBaila

      Gus & Gabriel's looks awesome, just based on the first few reviews that popped up on Menupages. Thanks.

      1. re: scratchie

        You're welcome. I was turned on to it by a poster named "jungmann," who also led me to my favorite Indian spot, Dhaba. Hopefully he responds to this post.


    2. If you happen to like charcuterie, Bar Boulud, on B'way, b/t 63rd & 64th Sts., excels in that department.

      Photos of the charcuterie we had at Bar Boulud can be viewed here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

      1. For really good chicken soup (only on Wed and Sat, I think) go to Cafe Con Leche on Amsterdam between 80th and 81st. Recipe up the street is a good place to get some high quality food, and you can eat at the bar there, and prices are reasonable.
        None of the diner's around there are knock your socks off good, but you could also head to the fairway cafe on the second floor of the Fairway grocery store. Reasonable prices for a good meal, in a semi diner like environment. I've been to dinner a few times, and while not blown away, it was good for the price. Their breakfast on the other hand is fantastic. I could eat 3 stacks of their pancakes without thinking twice.

        1. One thing that stymied me in the past when I stayed in this area is that I was eating dinner late, and there wasn't a lot open besides the diner. Any particularly good late-nite places?

          2 Replies
          1. re: scratchie

            As far as diners go, I think Big Nick's open very late (not 24 hours, but at least 3-4 a.m.) and that's on Broadway between 76th and 77th St. I haven't eaten there in YEARS so I have no idea what their food is like.

            Some other spots that open relatively late in UWS: (can't think of that many, it's not exactly a good neighborhood for late-night dining)

            Landmarc, at Time Warner Center, open till 2 a.m. I like this place a lot, never had any bad dish here, slightly upscale but not fancy
            French Roast Cafe, 85th and Bway, open 24 hours, food is pretty average
            Cafe Lalo (83rd between Bway & Amsterdam) and Edgar's Cafe (84th between Bway & West End) both good dessert spots, Cafe Lalo is always crowded b/c of "You've Got Mail" connection so I prefer Edgar's Cafe

            Hope it helped!

            1. re: scratchie

              Recipe is open late (1 or 2 am, I think), although they switch to a different menu, but it still serves a good 15 dishes or so.
              French Roast, Big Nick's are also open late, but neither is terrific. I do like the pastrami club at Big Nick's, but only because they cook the pastrami on the griddle like the greek sub places I had growing up. The menu there is so gigantic, so you can probably find something you like.
              Not sure how late Gus and Gabriel's is open, but I'd check in there as well.

            2. Diner options aren't terrific in the neighborhood. Gus & Gabriel's is really the only one that keeps me coming back. Big Nick's isn't the best place in the world, but it is fine at 2am and certainly much better than Manhattan Diner. You might also want to check out George Keeley's, Salumeria Rosi, Shake Shack and 5 Napkin Burger.

              The neighborhood is not generally a good location for ethnic comfort food, but there are a few good finds:
              - Earthen Oven happy hour
              - Chorizo and bistec tacos at Super Taco
              - Roast chicken or pastelitos at El Malecon
              - Hummus Place
              - Chilean empanadas at Freddie & Pepper's
              Some CHers recommend China Fun, though I haven't ordered from them. Calle Ocho and especially Cafe con Leche taste reserved to me, if that makes sense - like Latin food via an interpreter, yet I like the green rice and Chifa options at Flor de Mayo so I might be a little hypocritical.

              1 Reply
              1. re: JungMann

                I second Earthen Oven and El Malecon. Have not been to Gus & Gabriel yet but looks like I should try it sometime!

              2. i live in the neighborhood and frequent:

                Viand for standard diner food, Nice Matin or Isabella's for a decent brunch, B Cafe for great beers (food can be good or bad, though), Bar Bao for upscale Vietnamese, Artie's for jewish deli, West Branch, Josie's for a healthy, light dinner...

                i don't understand the thrill of Fatty Crab, Good Enough to Eat, or Five Napkin Burger.

                if you are traveling alone, i highly recommend sitting at the bar at Bello Giardino. there's a great group of locals that congregate there and you're sure to find good conversation. food is reliable, too. they recently won the 5 Borough Contest for best meatballs. Riposo is a decent bar if you're just looking for a drink. Bin 71 is a better bar if you're looking for a drink and someone to take home!, and Shalel is even better once you've already found someone!!

                1. Thanks again, everyone. See y'all next week.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: scratchie

                    I really like Pio Pio for the roasted chicken and salchipapas! And for Pizza, I think Sal & Carmine's is one of the best slices in the city. It's a bit salty but goes great with some beer. As for diners, I'm not sure how other CH's will react but Broadway Diner is a great old-school diner. It's a little divey but the place is a classic.


                  2. I'm a little shocked/disappointed at the high rating given to Manhattan Diner over on Menupages (higher Big Nick's, Viand or Gus & Gabriel's!). Is it possible that the place is a lot better than I remember (I only ate there once).

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: scratchie

                      Grading on menupages seems to be on a sliding scale heavily influenced by price and/or expectations.

                      1. re: rpk

                        I give practically no credence to menupages reviews. I find it akin to reading an article on a newspaper website and going to the "comments" for information. Too many poor ones.

                        Big Nicks - great for late night and drunk. think college food eats at 2 am.

                        Gus and Gabriels - love. Very excellent.

                        Manhattan Diner - I used to order from this place, back in about 2004. It really took a decline around that time, and I havent been back. I only used it for delivery, never dined in.

                        Artie's and Lansky's - two decent options for a jewish deli, which to me is a step above a typical diner. I would recommend both if you are in the mood for pastrami/reuben/etc.

                    2. Well, I wound up at Viand and I have to say I was kind of disappointed.

                      According to their menu, they're famous for their turkey. If I had been hungrier, I would have been all over the open-face turkey sandwiches -- one of my favorite dishes ever -- but the grilled chicken pita I got for lunch (from a pushcart at 36th & 6th) was very filling and I was looking for something lighter.

                      The matzo balls were good, but the broth looked and tasted a LOT like Campbell's.

                      The country-style Greek salad was serviceable, but very bland. The feta cheese was almost tasteless and I actually added salt. Also, it's a pet peeve of mine when I get a salad that has to be cut up before eating.

                      The carrot cake was also very bland, although the icing was good.

                      I would go back to try the turkey, based on recommendations here, but it turns out I'm meeting a friend in the Village for dinner tomorrow, and I'm headed back home on Friday.

                      Damn. I never knew it could be so hard to get a good meal in New York!

                      Viand Cafe
                      2130 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: scratchie

                        That's too bad, scratchie! Frankly, with so many great dining options in Manhattan, diners are the last places I would choose. The food served in them is at best, mediocre, and at worst, just plain awful!

                        1. re: scratchie

                          Out of curiosity, with all of the great recommendations given above (and lots of people agreeing on places), what made you choose Viand? I hope you have a better dining experience tonight. Enjoy the rest of your stay...


                          1. re: LeahBaila

                            Yeah, also wondering why you chose Viand out of all the places recommended on this thread -- several people recommended Gus & Gabriel, for instance. Menupages reviews, rankings, etc. are NOT to be trusted -- I only use the website to see menus for restaurants whose websites don't have them. While UWS is not the best food neighborhood in the city, there are many good restaurants.