At the corner of the Upper West Side and Harlem is the Columbia University enclave and tucked into it is a tasty, trendy Italian-inspired cafe. Called Pisticci’s, they have a decent beer selection, some homemade pastas with fresh veggies and delicious cheeses, and lot of good starters and salads. My last meal there featured a salad topped with goat cheese stuffed figs; I shared it with my friend Lily.
Their restroom is as delightful as the food and ambiance. The brightly painted walls feature Italian phrases in gold script, and one English phrase as well (pictured above). The decorations are a mix of quaint (the fake flowers adorning the back of the toilet) and shabby-chic (the little table with the peeling paint). The later falls appropriately in with the design of the restaurant.
There is usually a line for this single bathroom, and you have to squeeze past the waiters’ station, piled with teetering racks of clean glassware, to get to it, but the warm, homey yet stylish interior is comforting and a perfect fit for Pisticci’s, where the manager is like an Italian grandmother – ever present, always instructing the patrons and and keeping her meddling hands in everything. (That’s where the tasteless fake flowers fit.)
It would be nicer if you had more time to unwind and freshen up inside, and the interior is so great it makes you want to stay as long there as you can (before you feel guilty about the line forming outside and have to squeeze your way back to your own table in the dining room!).