Restaurants and Food

Max Caffe

This cafe, located on 122nd and Amsterdam, rivals the aforementioned Hungarian Pastry Shop in charm and mystique. Max Caffe serves heavier fare than Hungarian — you can order lunch or dinner there — and it boasts many comfortable couches and is meticulously decorated in a vintage Italian style.

The dim lighting and romantic ambiance makes this a perfect place to take a date for a glass of wine, or to read a good book while drinking a latte. Free wifi is available. Plus, the music selection is usually good — a selection of classic jazz and nostalgic songs are always in rotation. When it’s sunny or warm, you can sit at one of the tables outside. It is the perfect place to end a long day after wandering around Morningside Heights, and it is open until 11:30PM each night.

Although it was in 2001, the cafe feels much older. It has many wooden doors that appear to lead to nowhere, and they give the impression that the cafe is hiding something underneath it — perhaps an opium den or a dungeon.

Its website reads,”embracing the delightful aroma of coffee and friendly atmosphere, the constant stream of locals meet at Max Caffe for a chat and a cup and magically they are transported to bygone times, when patrons would cluster around and make one cup of coffee last for hours.” Indeed, the cafe feels timeless and timeworn at the same time, caught in the past but always creating a reason to embrace the present.

Ellington In the Park

Though its 105th street location puts this semi-hidden restaurant on the outer edges of Morningside Heights, this charming locale provides an opportunity to dine in style while watching the sun set over the Hudson. Located on Riverside Drive next to the West Side Highway, Ellington in the Park’s minimalist decor creates a feeling of vivacity and cheer, and it is a common destination for locals to come together for family dinners or Sunday brunches. The seasonal spot offers a varied fare of salads, quesadillas,  burgers, and more, and was named the “best place to have a beer on the Upper West Side.” You can also book the restaurant for private events for parties of 25 or more.

Koronet Pizza

If you’re feeling up to a challenge, order a slice of pizza at Koronet. Famous for their gigantic size, these slices are so huge that nothing can adequately prepare the average pizza consumer for the enormousness of a single one. Slices cost $2.75.