by Elizabeth Schein
Here’s your dilemma: you live in Hudson Heights and you’re starving. You don’t want to spend another evening stuffing your face with sweet and sour pork or pizza, and you’d also rather not hop on the A train and schlep down to Midtown either. Well, this local Hudson Heights-er has got you covered! Whether it’s Italian, Indian, Mexican or a quick breakfast fix, here are some of the best eateries between 181st and 187th that won’t massacre your checking accounts.
It’s a safe bet to assume that most people love Italian food. But up until about eight months ago, the Hudson Heights area didn’t boast a decent place to sink your teeth into a bowl of pasta and enjoy a glass of vino. Luckily, that changed with the fortunate appearance of SAGGIO. Located on 181st street, this Italian eatery is charming, affordable, and always busy for dinner. Pasta plates are between $8-$12, while the entrée’s range from $14-$16. There isn’t an enormous selection, but amongst the crostinis, salads, and pasta dishes, one is sure to find something to appeal to one’s craving. On our last visit, my husband enjoyed the meat ragu with the parpadelle, while I found the rigatoni and tomato sauce hearty and satisfying. The gnocci wasn’t too shabby either (don’t think we’re gluttons . . . . .we picked at a friend’s plate).
I love Indian food. And no matter how many different Indian restaurants I’ve frequented in the midtown area or in the west village, I always land up enjoying the food most at the place right around the block from me. KISMAT on the corner of 187th and Fort Washington Avenue is THE spot for good Indian eats. The kurma and biriyani are both flavorful, but my absolute favorite that I get almost every time (okay, EVERY time) is the lamb or chicken malai. What is malai you may ask? The meat of your choice is cooked with yogurt, bananas, pineapples and sweet and savory spices. I know it may sound odd to some of you, but it’s the best thing on the menu! Soak up the leftover sauce with generous mounds of garlic naan and you’ll be in food heaven. All the entrées are between $9-$16. The portions aren’t huge, but it’s worth it.
Being a Southern California gal, I’m rather partial to Mexican cuisine. Throw a fish taco or some carne asada fries my way and I’m a happy camper. Now, authentic Mexican is not exactly spouting up on the pavements of New York City, but REFRIED BEANS on Fort Washington Avenue isn’t a shabby substitute. On a warm summer evening, you can sit in the outside back area and munch on salsa and chips (they seem never-ending), and enjoy their numerous frozen flavored margaritas. The menu is diverse, and the restaurant is always full of happy diners. I personally recommend the shrimp quesadillas, while my husband always has the chicken mole.
Got twenty minutes before work or class, and you’re not really into grabbing another latte or dried up croissant from Starbucks? Stop by 181 CABRINI- located just where the name of the locale suggests. For five dollars, you can get the TO GO SPECIAL. And you don’t have to take it to go either. Sit by the counter or lounge in the back, and enjoy a medium coffee (I tend to go for the hazelnut) and your choice of whatever bagel (everything bagel for me please) with scrambled eggs and cheese. And for a few more dollars there are other breakfast options too, whether it is granola, fresh fruit and yogurt or a plate of french toast. Speaking of bagels - if you just want to grab a dozen or so - GIDEON’S on 187th is the place to go.
So stop looking already- go eat!