(Not Exactly the) 10 Best Restaurants Near Columbia

Apparently mademan.com has posted a list of the “10 Best Restaurants Near Columbia University“—I’m surprised that they were able to identify 10 “good” restaurants, let alone separate out the best from the merely mediocre. The Columbia Daily Spectator comments that the list “[nails] some prime feasting spots” but is “far from perfect.”

Here’s the Made Man list and my thoughts on their selections:

1. Pisticci An acceptable Italian spot, but certainly not the best restaurant near Columbia. That honor goes to 5 & Diamond, which I reviewed last year. Just around the corner, Bettolona serves tastier and cheaper Italian food.

2. Max Soha Allow me to repeat: Bettolona is far better.

3. Kitchenette Uptown I despise this restaurant from its kitschy decor, faux shabby atmosphere, and annoying waitstaff to the passable food. Although judging from the crowds I stand in the minority on this judgment, I think Kitchenette mainly caters to rich sorority girls and the yuppies hanging out in SoHa (South of Harlem for those not looking at trendy real estate).

4. Community Food and Juice Overpriced, fake fancy food that relies more on buzzwords than solid culinary technique. Every two months I return to Community, saying to myself “Community must have gotten better,” and “I must have been in on an off-night/morning.” Alas, I inevitably walk out rubbing the sore spot in my wallet and patting my still-hungry stomach.

5. Sezz Medi Made Man says that “this is the best pizza place near Columbia University.” Unquestionably false. See above for my ridiculous Bettolona boosting.

6. Massawa Although Awash offers better Ethiopian food, Massawa is actually worth a try. Their injera manages to maintain its sponginess even under loads of spicy beef.

7. Artopolis Espresso Café Unless there’s an “Atropolis” on Amsterdam that I’m unfamiliar with, Made Man spelled Artopolis’s name incorrectly. As they admit, Artopolis isn’t properly a restaurant. Why is it on this list then? Because “the food is incredible.” Maybe if you’ve been eating prison food for the past 10 years. I like Artopolis, especially their chocolate croissants, but the food hovers between average and good—a once a month lunch place.

8. Symposium Greek Here, the list starts to take a serious tumble downhill. In fact, Symposium is the slowest restaurant in Morningside Heights. I once sat in the restaurant for 15 minutes without being served water or handed a menu. (I left.) Safe territory at Symposium consists of Greek classics. Made Man tells us that “an authentic Greek family” runs Symposium. As opposed to an “inauthentic Greek family?”

9. Havana Central Made Man says, “the food and the atmosphere are very spicy.” No comment.

10. Mill Korean Restaurant I enjoy Mill’s Dols0t Bibimbap, an eggy, caramelized rice dish that comes in a hot stone pot. Made Man’s explanation for why Mill makes the list is, however, incomprehensible. Something about “Asian dishes require a taste for texture and the Mill is not an exception.” Not sure.

Here’s my list. Feel free to make fun of it, too.

1. 5 & Diamond

2. Sookk

3. Bettolona

4. Amy Ruth’s

5. Taqueria Y Fonda

6. Panino Sportivo

7. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

8. Buca (similar to Bettolona, but I’m running out of ideas here. . .)

9. Deluxe (yes Deluxe, I like their burger, ok?)

10. Wondee Siam IV



Filed under Columbia University, New York City, Restaurants

8 responses to “(Not Exactly the) 10 Best Restaurants Near Columbia

  1. Amanda

    Really? Wondee over Thai Market? Blasphemy.

  2. Lorenzo

    Panino Sportivo has very good food, but if we’re going to talk about overpriced (especially for tiny sandwiches and a not-exactly-luxury atmosphere and wait staff), I think that would disqualify it. I’m not sure what would replace it though.

  3. Hey Jason,
    I agree with many of your list of top 10. Community Food & juice is a freakin’ joke. it’s wayy too pricy and really not that good. I haven’t actually tried a few of them. where are buca and amy ruth’s? it’s hard to constitute anything east of morningside ave part of “near columbia” dont you think?

    the great thing about wondee siam is that you get a student discount if you show them your id.

    i’m shooting you an e-mail for you to hit up an eating event for free. btw, i’m a columbia alum.

  4. Andy

    Yeah the food around Columbia seriously sucks. There’s not a single restaurant that I could call “good”. Since we live around here we make do, I guess. My personal favorite is the buffet in the faculty house. Seriously.

  5. Anish

    Living in West Harlem, I’d have to say check out Red Rooster and Maison Harlem. Close to Columbia itself, Dino BBQ, Awash and Jin Ramen (already mentioned) are good. I have a soft spot for the Toast on 125th (NOT the one in the 100’s) but I see it isn’t amazing food. My semi secret find is Doaba Deli. Have also heard good to decent things about Cedric’s French Bistro and Lido.

    As for the Bettolona love I really don’t feel the same. Their food isn’t all that flavorful, though I haven’t gotten a chance to try Max Soha or Pisticci. I might be spoiled because I was raised in NJ, which for mid priced Italian, generally blows NYC out of the water.

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