The neighborhood around Lincoln Square is a bit barren when it comes to good eats. There are posh restaurants scattered about, but some serve mediocre food at ridiculous prices. But fear not — there are some places near the Macaulay Honors College building that can offer quick bites at reasonable costs. Here is a list of the top five best eats around the building.
1) The Casbah
I’ve been told that this halal cart on 160 W 66th St is the best in the city. It is a bit unique in the sense that it boasts a spectrum of Moroccan flavors, but at the standard halal cart price. I would recommend the five-dollar chicken platter, which has just the right amount of spice and tender meat. The falafels are also very popular. You can’t go wrong with this place for the price, especially in an area like Lincoln Square.
2) Magnolia Bakery
Magnolia Bakery is a familiar name among Macaulay students. Located at 200 Columbus Ave between 69th and 70th street, this cozy and warm bakery offers up a wide array of delicious sweets, ranging from small cheesecakes to cookies and cupcakes. However, the bakery is infamous for its decadent banana pudding. The pudding, which comes in three sizes (small, medium and large) has layers of cream with bananas and Nilla wafers folded in. It also comes in different flavors, such as chocolate and salted caramel; the latter is my all-time favorite. The small size goes for $4.25, while the medium is $6.00. I would opt for the medium since the price difference is not much compared to the smaller portion. The pudding alone is worth a visit to this comfy place.
3) Dig Inn
Dig Inn just made its way to 100 W 67th street. The menu lists a variety of fresh meals that mimic home-cooked goods. Dig Inn also offers up delicious vegetarian meals. The best part about Dig Inn is that the company interacts directly with farmers in order to procure only the freshest ingredients. Their mission statement also shuns wasteful cooking, so the chefs try to use every bit of produce they can. Dig Inn prices can be a bit high, but the marketbowls and sides are never disappointing, especially when you know they were sourced mindfully. As someone who avoids gluten, my favorite dish is the herb roasted chicken marketbowl with a side of roasted sweet potatoes, which goes for about $13 with tax. You can also always build your own bowl and choose toppings and sauces.
4) Vive la Crêpe
This crêperie is small, but elegant and located at 189 Columbus Avenue. The shop sells both sweet and savory crêpes (thin pancake-like pastries often rolled up with some kind of filling), usually in a paper cone. You can ask for them to be on a plate as well. I must admit that the food is a bit pricey, but if you are ever in the mood for something quick and filling, I would still recommend coming here. You can also ask for a custom crêpe to be made just for you, and the best part is that you can see the chefs make the crêpes behind a glass panel. The ingredients are always fresh and simple. My favorite one by far is made with prosciutto, raclette cheese and sliced potatoes. The nutty cheese balances well with the saltiness of the prosciutto.
5) Francesco’s Pizza
You can’t go wrong with a plain pizza slice from down the block. If you’re ever craving good old New York style pizza, garlic knots or a beef patty, Francesco’s is the place to go. It is close by and has a reasonable amount of options and pizza staples, like pepperoni, vegetable and sausage. Prices range from $2.75 to about $4.50 for specialty slices. For larger pizza pies, there is free delivery.