The Best Eats in Morningside Heights (On a College Student's Budget)
New York, New York! Home to a truly dizzying array of cuisines and restaurants, perfect for any food lover who wants to explore. But - you might protest - surely eating out in the city is expensive! Or - surely all the good cheap eats are downtown in the Village or in Queens or in Brooklyn. Not so, friends!
The Barnard/Columbia area has some staples in its immediate vicinity, including Shake Shack and Pret A Manger (116th & Broadway), Chipotle and Five Guys, (110th & Broadway), Sweetgreen (115th & Broadway), Dig Inn (112th & Broadway), and Panda Express (111th & Broadway). However, the neighborhood is also home to some MoHi-only highlights - gems that may take a little more exploring to find. To save you the trouble, behold this list of some of the great food you can get just a few minutes away from campus ... all under $10! Whether you’re visiting campus for a tour or getting geared up to start your first year at Barnard, here are some places in the neighborhood you might want to check out.
Location: Amsterdam Ave between 122nd & 123rd St
This place is both cheaper and a more authentic than Chipotle and is just about the same distance from campus. Even better, they have $8 lunch specials from 12-3pm on weekdays, and a 10% off discount for all Columbia-affiliated students! You can get burritos, tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, chips and guac, and salads. They also have an app you can download on your phone to order ahead/get food delivered right to campus. There are a couple of things on the menu that are slightly more expensive, especially if you add extras, but almost everything is under $10. There are also several non-meat filling options for burritos and tacos, as well as a shrimp option, if you’re vegetarian/pescatarian.
Location: Broadway between 107th & 108th St
Cuisine: Bagels (a cuisine in-and-of-itself in NYC!)
Absolute Bagels is reputed to be one of the best bagel places in the entirety of New York City! It’s a high title to hold, but many seem to agree. And it’s within walking distance! Their bagels are truly incredible. A bagel with plain cream cheese is $2.75, and a bagel with a specialty, house-made cream cheese (options include lox, sundried tomato, bacon-cheddar, and more) is around $4. They have a whole assortment of bagels, too, from plain to pumpernickel to everything to poppy. There are even mini bagels! And until 11am, you can also get breakfast bagels with eggs, cheese, and bacon.
Keep in mind this place is cash only, so visit the ATM before stopping by. There is seating within the shop, but when it’s a nice day out, it’s fun to picnic with your bagels in Riverside Park. The line at this place can get pretty long on weekends, so be ready to wait! I promise it’s worth it.
Location: Amsterdam Ave between 113th & 114th St
Cuisine: Brunch (although not a real cuisine, a very real food mood)
This a good spot for brunch on the weekends, or for dessert anytime! They have sweet and savory crȇpes, with sweet crȇpes clocking in around $7-9. If you love crȇpes as much as I do, it’s a good place to keep in mind, since it’s the closest place to campus where you can get some! They also serve a variety of omelettes, salads, paninis, tartines, and waffles. There’s a wide selection of baked goods and pastries on display to choose from too, including macaroons, croissants, danishes, baklava, and savory pies. You can even get bags of coffee beans or freshly ground coffee here. There’s both indoor and outdoor seating, or you could just grab something to go.
Location: Amsterdam Ave on the corner of 109th St
Roti Roll is an essential to me, and definitely the best Indian food you can get fast in the neighborhood. They sell frankies/kati rolls - which are rotis (flat bread) with different fillings inside. Most of the options are vegetarian, though there a couple with meat or shrimp, and rolls range from $4-$7.50. Roti Roll does free deliveries with orders over $12, which makes them excellent study snacks when you’re working with friends late at night! There’s not much room to sit within the shop itself, but it’s very close to the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine - one of the biggest and most beautiful cathedrals in the city - which has a gorgeous garden for a picnic.
Location: Broadway on the corner of 112th St
Cuisine: Asian/North Chinese-influenced
Junzi Kitchen serves bings: thin, flour-pressed dough filled with ingredients you choose. They also serve noodle bowls, with a variety of noodle types, sauces, and ingredients. Everything is customizable, so build your own favorite creation. A bing is around $8, and noodle bowls cost a little bit more. Junzi is close-by, very fast (you can also order ahead online), and open until 1:30am on Friday and Saturday nights! The After Hours menu has small plates and other snacks that aren’t available during normal daytime hours, including a bacon/egg bing, waffle fries with spicy aioli sauce, and more. There’s plenty of room to sit inside, but their food is easy to take to go, too.
- Aydan Shahd '20