BY CAROLYN ONOFREY
The late 20th century brought with it the rise of Amsterdam Avenue; becoming one of the most affluent neighborhoods in Manhattan at the time. Several institutes of higher learning call Amsterdam Ave home, including City College, John Jay College, Columbia University, and Yeshiva University as well as Saint Luke’s Hospital and New York Presbyterian Medical Center. While the backside of the Beacon Theater (est 1926) occupies most of the block between 74th and 75th streets on Amsterdam, there are some great choices for pre/post theater (or for any time!) on this and the surrounding corners.
167 74 Street – Levain Bakery
Just around the northeast corner of 74th street lies Levain Bakery. A tiny, decor-less, space (essentially a kitchen fronted by a counter), Levain dishes out some mighty tasty treats (notably their stellar chocolate chip cookie) that are worth the trip no matter where you’re coming from or where you might be headed – unless you might be headed to East Hampton, where they have a second location.
300 Amsterdam – Josie’s
Josie’s is a family friendly spot, specializing in fresh and organic fare. Best suited for lunch, Josie’s bright flavors and cheerful decor will leave you feeling refreshed. Some quip the prices are a little steep, but for the neighborhood and a satisfying meal – spot on.
303 Amsterdam – Freddy & Peppers Pizza
Pizza toppings abound at Freddy & Peppers where you can get just about any craving on top of a pizza pie. Goat cheese, beans, avocado, seafood, and even a ratatouille slice are all the norm here. *try the Chilean empanadas for an added bonus.
311 Amsterdam – Fusha West
If it’s Asian fusion you’re looking for, then Fusha West is a good bet. Although prices are what you’d expect for the neighborhood, most agree the decor and service can justify the extra dollar or two tacked on to each dish. *Try the guacamole with spicy tuna and wasabi chips.
164 75 Street – ‘Cesca
At the northeast coner on 75th street, ‘Cesca spells solid Italian for the Upper West Side. A front bar lends itself to ice breaking on many a first date; a precursor to a meal that may just sweep her off her feet for you. A nice Italian wine list and menu items that you haven’t seen a million times before make ‘Cesca a standby that we hope won’t go anywhere soon. *Like ‘Cesca? Check out their sister restaurant Accademia di Vino across town.