Spinach Quiche at CAFE LALO – An Upper West Side Gem
Ask any true New Yorker, and they’ll agree that although the posh Upper West Side may offer some of the best luxury living the city has to offer, it also serves as one of the worst restaurant districts in the mega metropolis. I mean let’s face it, rarely anyone treks all the way to the Upper West Side just to eat.
However, such a perception is part of the appeal for those who actually live on the Upper West Side and cherish every moment! The UWS is completely free of the bridge & tunnel crowd, tourists, and unwanted traffic! As a former Upper West Sider, such an absence is refreshing in a city that never sleeps. And although non-residents claim the culinary scene is almost non-existant, those who reside there know the neighborhood is thriving with ample hidden gems that make the neighborhood exciting, exclusive, diverse and delicious!Cafe Lalo located on the 200 block of West 83rd Street between Amsterdam and Broadway is a prime example of one of the neighborhood’s best and most well-known spots! Understated, chic, and informally plush, Cafe Lalo, with cases and cases of extravagant desserts, fresh farm eggs, and organic ingredients, is a like a slice of Parisian heaven!
Best for a weekend Brunch, Cafe Lalo (a 2nd floor bistro established in 1988) has plenty of neighboring competition from the local Fred’s and Good Enough To Eat, but yesterday I stopped by for a light lunch! I was really able to bask in the 70 degree weather as I grabbed a stool at the open window, looked down on the airy street and delighted in the warmth of sun that glazed over my skin.
Best known for its feature in the film You’ve Got Mail with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, Cafe Lalo is a treasured spot for those hip enough to know about it. A relaxed atmosphere with a European flair, belgian waffles, champagne cocktails, espressos, tortes, and cakes keep the regular crowd coming back again and again to this vegetarian haven (fish is the only meat on the menu).
Prices vary at Cafe Lalo. Breakfast can range from $10-20, sandwiches and salads range $12-$18 and biscotti, canolis and cookies start at $4. You can eat there on a budget, but be careful as prices can add up quickly. Staff is usually friendly, but go for brunch unhurriedly and with patience as the packed crowd keeps the limited waiters and waitresses hustling and bustling in their cramped dining hall.
Yesterday, I had their spinach quiche – another menu staple with multiple variety. Served with a Mediterranean salad, the quiche, made with imported German Gruyere cheese, was gooey, warm, and plentiful. The thickness of the crust alone made it worth $15. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and didn’t feel guilty although I felt pleasantly full!
I love Cafe Lalo. It’s understated and discreet goodness makes it the perfect Manhattan cafe! And although it may not receive national acclaim, it makes for the BEST place to have a champagne brunch with friends or family and it’s surely one of the best dining spots in the city – period!
***TIP, if you live Uptown, the UWS is one of your best dining options… You can dine downtown, without going ALL the way DOWNTOWN.