Great lunch spots near Natural History Museum?
Will be in the neighborhood (CPW and 79th St) on Saturday afternoon. I'm looking for a quality but casual spot with outdoor seating.
I will be showing someone around who is making a first visit to NYC so would love to impress without trying too hard.
Seems a tad chilly to me, to be sitting outside, but if that's not a hard and fast requirement, here are some restaurants that I like in the area:
Cafe Frida (classy Mexicanish)--good mixed drinks
NorthWest (might have outdoor seating)--great wine list
Jacques Imos (casual Nawlins <New Orleans>)
It may be too casual for you but I love Columbus Bakery. No wait service but high quality sandwiches, bean and grain salads, superb cookies, outdoor seating. Quintessential Upper West Side--in a good way.
Isabella's is your best bet - very convenient, lots of outdoor seating, good food. Bistro Citron at Columbus and 82nd isn't a bad option either for French bistro food with a very small outdoor area. Stay away from Cafe Frida - overpriced, mediocre service, not particularly good food. If you are looking for more casual, the Columbus Bakery suggestion also works.
If outdoor seating is not a deal breaker, I would suggest Calle Ocho between 81st and 82nd. Zeytin is a high end Turkish restaurant on 85th and Columbus, they offer outdoor seating sometimes. The food there is great.
Isabella's is also very reliable, not that exciting but dependable and an UWS weekend stalwart.