Everyone knows that the best part of February isn’t Valentine’s Day---it's Restaurant Week, which run from Feb. 17 (tomorrow!) to March 7. This wonderful, two-week holiday allows us poor college students to feel like real adults with a full three-course meal at some of the city’s top restaurants for a much friendlier (although still not cheap) price. $25 for lunch and $38 for dinner, to be exact.
The complete list of participating restaurants was just released, so we busted out our calendars and started to plan our reservations. But since the offer doesn’t apply on Saturdays and is only optional for restaurants on Sundays, this makes timing a little difficult for all of us here in Morningside. You’re in luck, though: There are some awesome restaurants on the Upper West Side and in Harlem that you can easily make time for in the middle of the week.
Here are some of the best to choose from, all just a quick walk or subway ride away. It's never too soon to make a reservation---these places fill up fast!
Lido (117th Street & Frederick Douglass Blvd) --- Italian
This place is supposed to have some of the best Italian food on the Upper West Side (we also hear they have killer brunch). Depending on which dorm you live in, this is the closest option---you can definitely fit in lunch between classes if you’re lucky.
Nice Matin (79th Street & Amsterdam Ave) --- French
This is a cute place just a block away from the 79th Street subway station---you’ll even get to see Banksy’s “Hammer Boy” while walking there. Nice Matin features food inspired by chef Andy D’Amico’s trip to the Provence region of France. Their Restaurant Week menu even features an intriguing vegan shepherd’s pie, along with typical French fare.
Smoke (106th Street & Broadway) --- New American
You’ve probably passed this jazz and supper club a million times while walking down Broadway. Turns out this place offers a wide variety of delicious food, from whole roasted cauliflower to fried chicken to lamb sliders. The Restaurant Week offer is only available for dinner, though, so plan accordingly!
Calle Ocho (81st Street & Columbus Ave) --- Pan-Latin
Located inside the Excelsior Hotel, this Latin fusion restaurant is the only one of its kind participating on the Upper West Side. The food is just as bright and colorful as the décor, and we hear they serve an incredible bread basket---make sure to get the strawberry butter to go with it!
Kefi (85th Street and Columbus Ave) --- Greek
This place holds the title of New York’s Best Meatballs from New York Magazine in 2007---need I say more? The dishes at this Greek spot are inspired by Chef Michael Psilakis’s childhood. Take a second to look at the photos of the dishes on their website---it’s a truly beautiful thing.