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Bwog’s Unofficial Guide To Morningside Heights Dining

Welcome to our unofficial guide to the best places in the neighborhood. Some may seem pretty obvious and others may sound a little unfamiliar. Put all these restaurant names in a hat and draw one out every time you’re tired of pasta at Ferris or fries at JJs. Compiled by Jackson Jibbitz and Vivian Zhou.

Name: Jin Ramen

Yelp rating: 4

Location: Broadway and 125th

Price range: $$

Menu highlights: Tonkotsu ramen, shoyu ramen, sukiyaki-don, Katsu curry

Commentary: Some claim that Jin is home to the best ramen north of 59th Street. We’re inclined to agree. If you are more of a rice guy yourself, check out Kissaten Jin right next door- more rice-oriented but by the same owner. Jin is a small, loud space, so don’t expect to be able to engage in intimate conversation here… but you didn’t come here for the conversation, did you?

Name: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

Yelp rating: 4

Location: Riverside and 125th

Price range: $$

Menu highlights: Fried green tomatoes, St. Louis pork ribs, beef brisket, pulled porks, SIDES (cornbread, Syracuse salt potatoes, roasted whipped potatoes with spicy nut topping)

Commentary: One of two N.Y.C. branches of the Syracuse-based chain (the other is in Brooklyn), Dino, as it is affectionately often called, is home to some of the best American-B.B.Q. ribs in the city. It’s not as good as Brooklyn outposts like Hometown or Fette Sau, but it might very well be the tastiest barbecue in Manhattan.

Name: Falafel on Broadway

Yelp rating: 4

Location: Broadway and La Salle

Price range: $

Menu highlights: Babagaush, falafel (duh), gyro platter, “mixed grill” (chicken kabobs, kufta kabobs, lamb kabobs, and lamp chops), milk pudding

Commentary: It’s easy to miss this small shop when walking past it on Broadway, but not making at least one trip here during your time at Columbia would be a mistake. The food here is far better than Amir’s (R.I.P.) ever served. This is a great place to hang with friends, smoke hookah, and eat ridiculously large servings of lamb.

Name: Pisticci

Yelp rating: 4

Location: Broadway and La Salle

Price range: $$

Menu highlights: Pesto cherry caprese, orecchiette broccoli rabe, maltagliati w/ ricotta and spinach and lamb, meatballs with polenta

Commentary: Though it’s located just north of campus, it’s easy to feel like you’re somewhere in the West Village when eating at Pisticci.The atmosphere is incredibly warm, intimate, and homey, and the food is comforting to the max. This is a fantastic spot for a first date.
Name: Community Food & Juice

Yelp rating: 3.5

Location: Broadway and 113th

Price range: $$

Menu highlights: country breakfast (eggs, ham, carrot hash, and a biscuit), farmer’s plate (scrambled eggs, cheddar, tomatoes, herbs, and a baguette), BLUEBERRY PANCAKES (!!!)

Commentary: This is the place where you go on Sunday morning to make yourself feel a little better about Saturday night’s mistakes. It’s run by the same people who own Clinton Street Baking Company downtown, and the food here is just as good. They serve lunch and dinner, too… but let’s be honest: you’re here for the eggs and pancakes.

Name: Thai Market

Yelp rating: 4

Location: Amsterdam and 107th

Price range: $$

Menu highlights: Salmon wrap, green curry, khao moo dang, kui teiw kua ped, pad thai, siam duck

Commentary: Thai market is a reasonably priced, neighborhood Thai place. Most of the dishes are under the price of $15. The noodles are excellent, but the curries with chicken are mediocre at best. Thai market can be really good if you’re a regular and know what to order or if you’re just craving some Thai food and don’t want to travel too far.

Name: Saiguette

Yelp rating: 4.5

Location: Columbus and 106th

Price range: $

Menu highlights: Grilled chicken satay, pork shoulder banh mi, raw beef eye round and brisket pho

Commentary: Saiguette might serve the best banh mi in the city. That isn’t an exaggeration. The other dishes here, particularly the appetizers (like the satay), are nothing to sneeze at either. There are a few seats in here, but it’s mostly a takeout spot. Plan accordingly.

Name: Max Soha

Yelp rating: 4

Location: Amsterdam and 103rd

Price range: $$

Menu highlights: Bruschetta al pomodoro, rigatoni with spicy vodka sauce, gnocchi alla sorrentina, spinach pappardelle con funghi

Commentary: The prices are ridiculously fair. The bread is astoundingly delicious. The pasta dishes, though simple, are executed perfectly—not bland, but not overwhelmingly flavorful. Note: This place is cash only.

Name: Taqueria y Fonda

Yelp rating: 3.5

Location: Broadway and 109th

Price range: $

Menu highlights: Just get a combo of any three tacos and you’ll be perfectly happy

Commentary: New York is not exactly known for its Mexican food; Morningside Heights specifically, even less so. The tacos here won’t be the best you’ve ever had, even if you haven’t been close to the border, but it doesn’t get much better than this in the area.

Name: Flat Top

Yelp rating: 4

Location: Amsterdam and 125th

Price range: $$

Menu highlights: Duck rillettes, bone marrow, skirt steak, whole grilled branzino, mentaiko and shiso udon pasta

Commentary: A lot of people view this as a backup plan for when Community is too busy, but brunch here might be even more delicious. The menu is slightly eclectic, but the risks that the restaurant takes with their cuisine are entirely worth it. The service here is some of the best in the area.

Name: Atlas Kitchen

Yelp rating: 4

Location: Broadway and 109th

Price range: $$

Menu highlights: Spicy duck tongue, wintermelon with pork ribs soup, sour spicy chicken gizzard, two peppers sliced beef with peanuts, dan dan noodle

Commentary: We wrote a review of this newer establishment here. The food is pretty solid, but the atmosphere—the walls are adorned with original—is what makes this place. Come here with a group of friends on a Friday night and order ten or twelve dishes from the ridiculously extensive menu. You won’t regret it.

Name: Bettolona

Yelp rating: 4

Location: Broadway and La Salle

Price range: $$

Menu highlights: Calamari alla griglia, linguine amatriciana, penne siciliana, norcina pizze, braciola di pollo

Commentary: THE PIZZA. Oh my God. The sweet, crisp, wood-over pizza is to die for. Roberta’s? I don’t know her. The views of Broadway through the large windows can’t be beaten, either.

Name: Junzi Kitchen

Yelp rating: 4.5

Location: Broadway and 113th

Price range: $

Menu highlights: tomato pork noodles, beef and cucumber bing, Junzi late night fried rice, fried custard buns, and fried chicken

Commentary: Junzi is easily the best “fast-casual” dining establishment in the area. It’s like a chipotle version of Chinese food, developed from a desire for childhood Northern Chinese food in New Haven at Yale. You can either get their already-made combinations for either bings or noodles, or you can make your own. It may not taste authentically like Chinese food, but it’s undeniably good. (Also: Junzi Late Night is always a great place to begin your Thursday or Friday nights.)

Name: Absolute Bagels

Yelp rating: 4.5

Location: Broadway and 108th

Price range: $

Menu highlights: Get an everything bagel with scallion cream cheese (or two) and you won’t be disappointed, or get a lox bagel on a pumpernickle and you’ll be even happier

Commentary: These might be the best bagels in Manhattan. Seriously. I stay away from the place on weekends, as the line often extends two or three blocks. But if you can make it here on a Tuesday before your 10:10, do it. And then do it again the next week. And the next week. And…

Name: Friedman’s

Yelp rating: 3.5

Location: Amsterdam and 119th

Price range: $$

Menu highlights: Fried chicken and cheddar waffle, pastrami hash, falafel burger, sesame salmon salad, burger, avocado toast

Commentary: Friedman’s, along with Community and Flat Top, is one of the essential brunch spots in the area. The fare here, like at Community, skews in the “healthy” direction—but that’s entirely relative. The pastrami hash is a unique spin on a classic dish that is worth trying even just once.

Name: Le Monde

Yelp rating: 3

Location: Broadway and 112nd

Price range: $$

Menu highlights: Terrine de foie gras, French onion soup, coq au vin, duck confit, bouillabaisse, steak frites

Commentary: It’s no Lafayette or Balthazar or Frenchette, but it’s pretty damn solid. (It deserves far more than three Yelp stars.) The ambience is upscale without being pretentious, and the classic items on the menu are never anything less than what you would expect or hope for them to be. The desserts here are killer.

Name: Kitchenette Uptown

Yelp rating: 3.5

Location: Amsterdam and 123rd

Price range: $$

Menu highlights: Barnard biscuit sandwich (potato, bacon, American cheese), garden scramble, pulled chicken hash with poblano and yukon gold potato, cheesy grits bowl, Hudson Valley pancakes, bacon waffle

Commentary: In terms of “healthy eating,” this place is on the total other end of the spectrum that Community and Flat Top are on. Come here only if you are feeling absolutely gluttonous. The character of the restaurant is super whimsical and light-hearted, the portions are incredibly large, and the food is never bland or unexciting. It’s a bit of a walk (unless you’re in Plimpton), but you’ll need to walk off the thousands of calories you’ll inevitably consume here.

Name: Fumo

Yelp rating: 3.5 but there are only 3 reviews and the other location has 4 stars

Location: 108 and Broadway, across from Gong Cha and near Cascabel Tacqueria

Price range: $$

Menu highlights: Penne vodka, spaghetti funghi, meatballs, breakfast pizza

Commentary: 10$ pastas on Sunday nights?? The portions are HUGE and the decor makes you feel like you’re at a trendy and healthy restaurant somewhere in Soho… we just wrote a review about it but we went back to try the Sunday night pastas and our verdict is: the pastas are DELICIOUS.

Name: Marlow Bistro

Yelp rating: 4

Location: Next to 1020, 110 and Amsterdam

Price range: $$

Menu highlights: Sea scallops, seared octopus, Burrata pizza, they used to have duck ravioli that was REALLY good but the menu changed

Commentary: You saw this coming. You already know how much we love Marlow. Marlow is the best Italian restaurant in the neighborhood and there’s no doubt about it. Sure, Max Soha is cheap, or Pisticci is homey, and maybe Fumo is a good deal. But Marlow is good. End of story. It’s quite pricey so it would be a better idea to take your parents here when they visit, or save it for a special occasion. Make sure you make reservations or you can try to walk in and sit at the bar.

Name: Dive 106

Yelp rating: 5

Location: Next to Thai Market, 106 and Amsterdam

Price range: $

Menu highlights: All their burgers, sliders, and beer/Guinness

Commentary: Pretty standard bar fare, with chili dogs, wings, and the like. With a great selection of beers on tap and better-than-average greasy bar food at a comparable or better price than e’s, Dive 106 is worth the short stroll off campus. The decor looks exactly like how you would expect a sport tavern to look, although the window seats are quite pleasant when it’s warm out. It can get crowded at night, but you shouldn’t have any trouble getting a seat or table around meal times.

Name: Hula Poke

Yelp rating: 4

Location: Next to 1020, 110 and Amsterdam

Price range: $

Menu highlights: Make your own poke bowl with as many toppings as you’d like

Commentary: If you need to be reminded of Hula Poke, read our review of it when it just opened. Recently, we went back and despite receiving smaller amounts of protein, the bowl was still really good and the unlimited toppings is really worth it.

Promised Land via Bwog Archives

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2 Comments

  • Anya Schiffrin says:

    @Anya Schiffrin Extremely helpful rundown of the dining options on our neighb. Thanks very much. Btw what happened to Che Bella pizza on amsters and 119th? Did Columbia raise the rent? Thanks.

  • TOD HOWARD HAWKS CC 66 says:

    @TOD HOWARD HAWKS CC 66 If I were a brilliant junior in high school anywhere on Earth and had just finished reading your unofficial guide to Morningside Heights dining, I would begin working on my application to Columbia College tomorrow morning.

    I graduated from Columbia College a few years ago, in 1966. I loved my four years at Columbia, taking the Core, majoring in American history, and living in and exploring New York City for four years, which made me ineluctably, as it does every Columbia student, a citizen of the world for life, even though I reside now in Boulder, CO.

    But I ate most of my meals at Tom’s Restaurant. The panoply of eateries you have just described simply did not exist when I was a student at Columbia College. Just reading about the profusion of mouth-watering restaurants now in and around Morningside Heights makes me wish I could be a Columbia College student again.

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