The Top Mom and Pop Restaurants in Morningside Heights

Morningside Heights, located in the area surrounding Columbia University in upper Manhattan, is known for its “Mom and Pop” flavor. Its restaurants have been immortalized in TV shows, songs, and countless memories of Columbia University students through the years.

Even if you don’t root for the Lions, or live in the Heights, there are several great places to grab some grub that are worth the trek up on the 1 train. Below are a few of the best Mom and Pop restaurants in Morningside Heights.

1. Massawa. This Ethiopian restaurant on 121st and Amsterdam offers some of the best-tasting ethnic food in New York. Don’t be fooled by the tiny size or the boring dÃ?©cor-the food is solid. Served with special Ethiopian bread, there’s a wide variety of food. One of the best dishes is the vegetarian Alitcha, a mixture pureed chick peas and spices. Try a platter for two or four people to try several dishes at once.

To get there: 1, 9 trains to 116th or 125th
Prices: $10-15 per person
Phone: 212-663-0505

2. Caf�© Pertutti. Known to students as the best place to get dessert above 110th, Pertutti also has great pasta dishes. Located on Broadway between 112th and 113th, they offer around a dozen different pastas and about a dozen sauces that you can mix and match. You can also order one of their chicken dishes. Whatever you get, leave room for their famous Vesuvius or one of their other amazing desserts.

To get there: 1, 9 trains to 110th
Price: $15-20 per person, cash only
Phone: 212-864-1143

3. Tom’s Restaurant. No Morningside Heights restaurant guide is complete without an homage to Tom’s, the diner made famous by Seinfeld and Suzanne Vega. Be forewarned, though: the interior is not anything like what you see on Seinfeld. Most of the food is subpar, but the fries and the milkshakes (try the Black-and-White) are outstanding. Tom’s is as much an experience as a diner, but it makes my list for the milkshakes alone.

To get there: 1, 9 trains to 110th
Price: $5-10 per person
Phone: 212-864-6137

4. Koronet Pizza. Known to Columbia students as “Head Pizza” (because it’s the size of an adult’s head), Koronet arguably offers the best slice of pizza in the city. The dÃ?©cor is enough to turn almost anyone away, but most people don’t eat in the restaurant, anyway. Grab your slice and head to the nearby Columbia campus to sit on the steps and enjoy a slice of heaven. Located between 110th and 111th at Broadway, Koronet is open late, and a staple for Columbia post-drinking nights.

To get there: 1, 9 trains to 110th
Price: under $5 per person
Phone: 212-222-1566

5. Calcutta CafÃ?©. Technically a couple of blocks below Morningside Heights, at 105th and Broadway, Calcutta CafÃ?© is one of the best Indian restaurants in Upper Manhattan. The aloo paratha (fried bread stuffed with potatoes and spices) is one of the best dishes, and if you have water handy, the vegetable vindaloo is a wonderful, spicy creation served with rice. The ambiance is wonderful, and it’s a quiet spot with great food and good prices.

To get there: 1, 9 trains to 103rd
Price: $10-15 per person
Phone: 212-316-9195

No matter what your taste, there are many reasonably priced options in Morningside Heights. From Indian and Ethiopian to a great slice and a milkshake to die for, you can find almost anything in the Columbia University neighborhood. Most of the restaurants I’ve highlighted above have been immortalized by Columbia students, but they’re for everyone from kids to seniors. So next time you find yourself above 110th, stop by one of the restaurants above and enjoy.

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