looking for UWS lunch, carib or mid-east
My research did not reveal your best choice, all the posts were old, complaining or about dinner. Please, please, please help this SF hound find the place to take her NY relatives that will wow them! Looking for a slightly "ladies lunch" kind of atmosphere, but not stuffy or formal. Went to Byblos a couple days ago and that kind of place would be perfect, great food, mid price, nice courteous service.
Gosh, the UWS is really not very strong in either dept. Do you consider Turkish middle eastern? If so, try Pasha. I haven't had them for lunch, but they are still one of my favorite places in town for dinner. The quality can be a little spotty, but on a good day, it's very, very good.
Epices has decent Moroccan / Tunisian.
I'm not sure Calle Ocho has many Caribbean offerings, but it does bill itself as a Latin / Caribbean restaurant.
I would stay away from Cleopatra's Needle. The food is pretty weak, here.
It's not Carib or Mid-East, but Nice Matin fits the bill for the other characteristics you are looking for. It's French. Another "ladies lunch" and definite UWS institution is Isabella's on 77th & Columbus. Great outdoor seating, upscale but not pretentious.
Calle Ocho doesn't really have the ladies who lunch vibe, but it's a great place (as UWS goes) and has that glamorous/sexy NY restaurant feel you probably want.