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Where to eat on the UES?

  • j

So we're moving to the UES next week -- 86th Street. Where should we eat? I've searched the board and read the useful discussions on pizza, burgers and take-out. But I'd like more recommendations from those of you who live/eat there, for just about everything. What are your favorite neighborhood places? I eat everything, although I tend toward cheaper places -- I'm happy to spend a lot if I know it's worth it, but otherwise am cautious.

So how about it? Where do you eat on the UES?

Thanks for your help!

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  1. Welcome to the UES! I have the same attitude towards food, so hopefully I can point you in a good direction.
    Let's see, where should I start?
    I usually go to Barking Dog, prefer the one on 77th and York, though there's one on 94th(?) and 3rd. Their Barking Dog Breakfast Special is really good, and great price for what it is. Other food is good too, great salads and sandwiches for lunch and dinner. http://www.menupages.com/restaurantde...

    Annie's is more of a special-occasion brunch, b/c there's always an hour wait. Love their pumpkin pancakes. http://www.menupages.com/restaurantde...

    Blockheads is good for basic mexian, brunch or lunch, and cheap

    Willy's is good too, as is the place on the corner of 84th and 2nd - I forgot what it's called, but has outdoor seating P-something Cafe.

    Favorite burger, oddly enough, is at Mustang's. Fantastic! Chicken fajitas are great there too. Atmosphere is loud, but you can sit on the left in the cozy lounge area, and that's not bad. http://www.menupages.com/restaurantde...

    Pasta - I like Gino's and Triangolo, both on 83rd near first.

    Pizza - Fat Sal's, little hole-in-the-wall, I thnk at 83rd or 84th and 2nd - great parm heros, cheap for takeout. Alforno's has great brick-oven pizza, and good pastsas http://www.menupages.com/restaurantde...

    sushi - I go to yuka about once a week. Their all-you-can eat is amazing. Always a wait, worth it. Very fresh. No atmosphere, and pretty inexpensive. http://www.menupages.com/restaurantde...

    Chinese - Lili's nooodle house on 85th and 3rd and Noodle 28 on 84th and 2nd are both very good and inexpensive everyday chinese. The former has a bit more atmosphere. Fancy and delicious chinese can be had at Shanghai Pavilon http://www.menupages.com/restaurantde...

    Thai - takeout I do Spice, sit down I do Jasmine, on 2nd and 85th (I may have the crossstreets wrong on some of these) - both very good.

    Vietnamese - Vermicelli on 78th and second - very good. Spicy dishes, great variety, nice atmosphere.

    Romantic drinks and small dishes: sake hana, on 78th between 2nd and 3rd

    Fancier spanish/mexican: Zocalo, very good, http://www.menupages.com/restaurantde...

    No great Indian in the area, unfortch. I usually get takeout from Simla.

    Stay away from: Bardolino's Italian, Buonne Cafe italian

    Am I missing anything? Any questions? Feel free to ask! And - happy eating.

    1. Our favorite local "joint" is Fetch on 3rd Ave btwn 91st and 92 (burgers, salads, etc)and across the street is Effy's for sandwiches/take-out.

      Mexican: Maz Mezcal on 86th St. btwn 1st and 2nd aves. - consistent, authentic, tasty

      Thai: Sala Thai on 2nd Ave. btwn 90th and 89th

      Sandwiches and deli: Lenny's on 2nd Ave and 77th St.

      Pizza: Nick's on 2nd Ave at 94th for our traditional Sunday night calzone

      1. Land for Thai, great lunch special, byob also

        Nick's for Pizza

        Totonno's is quite good pizza too - they have a monday night special, large pizza + pitcher of beer for $25

        Chef Ho - great peking duck, great lunch special

        Sushi of Gari - top notch sushi, omakase is amazing, regular menu is less amazing, but still knocks the competition out

        Ichiro - solid sushi, reasonable prices, great lunch special

        Delizia 92 is good for traditional NY slices
        Emack & Bolio for ice cream

        Pio Pio for roast chicken

        and Saigon Grill when it reopens . . .

        1 Reply
        1. re: viva_zapata

          I second Chef Ho, Sushi of Gari and Ichiro. Nick's pizza is pretty good, though I've only had it delivered. Haven't tried the others. I actually quite like this new Thai place call Thai Milano, despite the ridiculous name - again I've only had delivery. The Thai Fried Rice tastes just as I remember it tasting as a child living in Bangkok.

          Other favorites, some mentioned by others here - Zebu Grill - great empanadas and Kurio -both on 92nd. Another place that we went back to recently, and were very pleasantly surprised, was Sfoglia, at the corner of Lex and 92nd - it's been v. hard to get a reservation but we were walking by after seeing No Reservations and they had room for us at the bar. The food was really quite excellent - and the bread as amazing as I had remembered it. Also a wonderful caramel peach gelato. Wow.

          Another sushi to consider is Inase - 1st and 82nd or so. A but more expensive than Ichiro, but a world of difference in the quality of the fish, and a lot less expensive than Gari. I liked Poke for the rolls, but not the sashimi. Another place to consider is Cafe d'Alsace, especially when it's pleasant to sit outside, but I've not been in a while.

        2. I've has some really good Mexican at Sabor a Mexico II on 77th btwn 2nd and 3rd. And good food at The Ethiopian Restaurant on York btwn 83rd and 84th (portions on the small side, though).

          3 Replies
          1. re: tla719

            I second these recs (I think there is another branch of Sabor A Mexico in the 90s). Not much else I find really chowworthy on the UES, but here are some other recs:

            Mexican: El Paso Taqueria (97th between park and madison): authentic, cheap and delicious, try the taco al pastor
            Chinese: nothing in terms of truly authentic Cantonese, Wu Liang Ye is interesting Sichuanese although too greasy and overpriced. First Wok is good for Americanized Chinese. Pig Heaven gets some compliments in this dept as well.
            Japanese: lots of passable neighborhood sushi but nothing exceptional (except Gari of course which is in another league). Poke, Gaiyumaru, Tatany 72, Ichiro are ok and there are more.
            Thai: fairly weak as usual in manhattan but Sala Thai is OK (better than Jasmine IMO) and there is a new Wondee Siam branch which I haven't tried but the Hells kitchen one is decent
            Korean-fusion: Buddha BBeeq is a cute small pan asian storefront with cheap, fresh eats
            Other random joints:
            Kinsale Tavern: cheap yet surprisingly fresh/tasty standard Irish pubgrub
            Cafe Mingala: Burmese around 73rd and 2nd, unique and flavorful and underrated
            Nick's Pizza: best in the area IMO, 94th and 2nd
            Beyoglu: really flavorful Turkish around 81st and 3rd
            La Tour: all you can eat mussels in a very Frenchy bistro, 75th and 3rd


            1. re: jeanki

              Don't know if you've tried Inase for sushi, but definitely worth checking out. And, if you make a reservation (not needed b/c they have been empty the two times I've gone), they give you a free glass of wine or small bottle of sake.

              1586 1st Ave, New York, NY 10028

              1. re: jeanki

                I can tell you Wu Liang Ye is more (indeed much more) than "authentic". I have only been to the one on 48th st. My favorite Chinese restaurant in NYC (and I am Chinese).

            2. Welcome to the UES. Don't worry, the food situation isn't as dismal as some would make it out to be.
              Taco Taco on east side of 2nd Ave in the low 90's. Great cheap Mexican
              Zebu, Brazilian on 92nd off 2nd
              I second Fetch, always get the vege wrap w/the amazing tomato soup.
              Tal Bagels is the best in the nighborhood, 86th b/t 1 and 2nd.
              And I love Luca on First and 89(?) for their great (free) fried olives and fresh pasta, even if the decor is a bit strange.
              Geronimo opened recently on 3rd and 90th (?), west side of the street. Incredibly friendly place for happy hour, free tacos at the bar, and the food off the menu is pretty decent too.
              Also, a friendly place to sit at the bar is Pasta Pesce on 3rd and 88. While the food is pretty basic, the bartender is a doll. I happen to love their stuff artichoke, and the antipast for 2 is great, and filling.

              1. I live on 86th too! Starting at 3rd there's Papaya King for hot dogs (it's in Zagat). Further east is Wu Liang Ye (a favorite on this board). For upscale coffee shops there's Viand at 2nd AVe, Gracies at 1st and The Mansion at York. There are so many rests. on 2nd Ave. you should probably get a Zagats and work your way thru them. Friends who like Japanese like Poke on 85 between 1st and 2nd. Upscalish Italian is at Rhugetta also on East 85 between 1 and 2. Sharz on 86 between York and 1st has good wine and good food. For smoked salmon etc there's Tal Bagel between 1st and 2nd. For food shopping, Food Emporium on 2nd and 86th is best.
                For special birthday cakes etc. try the Two Little Red Hens just south of 86 on Second. Next door is Schaller and Weber (sp?) for great cold cuts etc. There's much more but I have to cook dinner now -:)

                1 Reply
                1. re: Gelaine

                  Upscale coffee shop? aka Diners.

                2. Italian - Paola's (more upscale), Antonucci, Spigolo
                  Cheap Italian - Mazurella, Buon gusto, Luca
                  Chinese - Our Place
                  Sushi - Haru, Gajurmayu, Sushi of Gari
                  Mexican - Maz Mezcal
                  Chicken - Pio pio (someone told me it closed???)
                  Burgers - JG Melon
                  Burritos - Blockheads or Burritoville
                  Pizza - Totonnos, Al Forno
                  Basic Pizza - Pizza Park, Mimi's

                  1. Welcome to the neighborhood. Been here for 30+ years...love it.

                    Check out:
                    Turkish - Beyoglu 81st and Third

                    Brand new to the neighborhood...right next to Beyolgu is Wondee Siam 3 (Thai)
                    I haven't tried it yet but it is the same owner and menu as the Ninth Ave. places.
                    Looked inside...really nice set-up.

                    Fav pizzeria - Italian Village First Ave./'tween 79 & 80
                    Great pizza (my opinion)
                    Fantastic eggplant parm heros

                    Take a walk on Second Ave. below 86th St.
                    pick-up menus, check out the crowds sitting outside
                    lots of places all the way down to the mid-60s

                    go to www.menupages.com
                    punch in the desired neighbors

                    trust me...you will never starve on the UES.

                    1. Well being the mayor of the UES, here's my turn:
                      Italian (not for the penny pincher)-Spigalo 81/2nd -simply the best
                      Italian-for the penny pincher-Tony DiNappoli 83rd/2nd-family style-large platters-always fun
                      Sushi-penny pincher-Go Sushi (you really gotta be starving to go here)
                      Sushi-(if Baji treats you)-Sushi of Gari-orgasmic
                      Chicken-Pio Pio-still open unlike what above said! 91st/1st
                      Brazilian-Zebu-92nd-off 2nd
                      Pizza and pasta-Luigi's-88th/1st-I really love thier calamari fra diavlo!! (very reasonable joint)
                      Vietnamese-like someone said-Saigon Grill when it reopens 88th/2nd
                      Psuedo Korean-Budda BeeBq-91st/2nd-very passable-more for lunch since not fine dining
                      Indian-(penny pincher) Dakshin-88-89/1st -wonderful buffet every lunch-the best chicken tandoori
                      Moderate sushi-OOKI shushi-its new-88th/3rd-was very good-try the miso glazed black cod-rivals Nobu's
                      Alsacian/French Brasserie style-Quartorze 79th betw 2nd and 3rd-the liver is yummmmmmy
                      Cakes, cookies-two Red Hens 85/2nd-try the red velvet cake

                      1. Psst! (Is anybody looking??)
                        Take a look at this wonderful and healthily prepared menu.
                        This neat little "walk-down" is a carefully guarded secret.
                        Promise not to divulge it to anyone.
                        Bon appetit and welcome to the neighborhood.


                        1. Welcome there is lots of great food on the UES

                          Burger: JG Melon best straight up burger in the city, always a wait 74th and 3rd

                          Slightly Fancy: Etats Unis, fantastic food make sure to order the Chocolate Souffle when you order dinner it takes time to make

                          Brunch: Willy's or Vinyl both good and pretty cheap

                          Pizza: Tottono's

                          Italian: Boun Gusto, cheap fairly nice and good

                          Wine Bar: Uva awsome wine and cheese, good food reasonable prices.

                          Hope this helps!!!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: rathbone

                            I just heard the other day that HI-LIFE is returning to the UES...taking over where Maryann's used to be (forced out after a hugh rent increase).
                            2nd / 'tween 78 & 79

                            1. re: rathbone

                              I had a terrible experience with the service at Buon Gusto, and disliked the food, as well.

                            2. Wine Bar: Small Etas Unis, Sharz
                              Burgers: JG Melon, Jackson Hole (the 64th street one is best)
                              Italian: Spigolo (not cheap but very good)
                              Pizza: Al forno, Nicks
                              Brunch: Cafe D'Alcace (excellent bread basket)
                              Turkish: Beyoglu
                              Mexican: Zocalo

                              1. Alot of good suggestions here... here are some of mine..

                                Burger - try Uptown on 3rd & 88th. Also good after-work drinh specials and an excellent brunch deal... $15 for an entree(including the Burger) and two drinks.

                                Cheap Italian - Sotto Cinque...for standard Itaian-American it's hard to beat this place for the price in the area.

                                Chinese - Wu Liang Ye... the best in the neighborhood, period.

                                Thai - Sala Thai... not much to look at, but for delivery, it can't be beat.

                                Sushi - Ooki Sushi... a failry new place that seems better that the ninety other generic sushi spots on every block.

                                Other - Zebu for Brazilian, Don Pedro's for Pan-Latin, Papaya King and Sassy Sliders for junk food... and try Persepolis for Persian food... down on 72nd, but worth the trip.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Michael Ambrosio

                                  Will have to check out Ooki Sushi - seems like new sushi places are popping up all over the UES. I also like Persepolis, and always forget about Don Pedros - I remember some great fish empanadas/pastelitos there last summer.

                                2. Tried a great sushi spot - Sushi Hana. Delish, and unique rolls. 78th and 2nd. (yes, it's the restaurant that goes along w/sake hana)

                                  1. blockheads is cheap and tasty,try it.the staff is very friendly and the food satisfying enough