BY Marlynn Snyder

Nestled on a block in a still ‘transitional’ part of Dyckman St, a stone’s throw from the uptown 1 train, is one of my favorite neighborhood spots, La Sala 78 (111 Dyckman St; 212 304 0667; free delivery; www.lasala78.com). As a longtime lover of the café culture, I happened to roll in one night after work, a little over a year ago, curious and hungry. The spot is a completely comfortable café/art gallery space that feels like you’re in someone’s home (“la sala” means “living room”). Although I’ve tried over and over to work my way through the menu’s well-edited café staples-with-a-twist on several visits, I seem stuck on repeat, constantly going back to my favorites.

I can’t seem to get enough of the Grilled Chicken w/Mango Chutney (with curry mayo, mixed greens & tomatoes), served up on 7-Grain sliced bread. The Chicken Pesto Wrap (that homemade basil pesto mayo grilled chicken salad is everything!) keeps calling my name, and I willingly answer back. The grilled Turkey & Brie Panini usually holds my attention – and taste buds – through every amazing bite. I usually pair it with their excellent fresh-squeezed Sangria Lemonade w/mixed fruit. La Sala is the perfect spot to chill, read, meet up with friends and have a healthy, delicious meal.

The best part? Laid back, friendly, efficient service, with an obvious and brilliant lack of attitude! In this neighborhood, this concept speaks volumes! In case you haven’t figured it out, I live for this spot – and will gladly keep spending my money there as long as that ‘great food/comfortable vibe’ situation is in full effect.

Owners Jose Morales and Jimmy Ortega have crafted a fantastic environment that can only help our neighborhood in its ascendancy. Word is they will open another spot, Apartment 78, several blocks south on upper Broadway, in the fall. Well done, hermanos, well done. You’ve got a customer for life.

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