Upper West Side Recs
I like Sol Y Sambra for tapas. Highly, highly recommend Ouest- by far our favorite in the neighborhood. Manhattan Diner is a great choice for any diner food, and their moussaka is awesome. Neptune Room is a good bet for fish. Cafe Frida for Mexican, although I also like Rancho for basics. Bistro Citron isn't bad for basic French bistro (good oysters, good Caesar salad, good pork chop).
I would have to second Ken J. on Acqua and Pizzabolla - reliable, tasty Italian food at reasonable prices. For sushi, I'd recommend Haku Sushi on Broadway between 89th and 90th.
Pudding Stones West just opened at the corner of 91st and Amsterdam: fantastic wine list, and great small plates made for sharing. It's new though, so as far as consistency, I can't say, but I will definitely be back.
In my neighborhood around the W 90s:
Pio Pio (used to be Sipan) 702 Amsterdam 94 Street 212-665-9929-Peruvian-very good food, nice atmosphere, quite during the week, a little noisier on weekends.
Gennaro 665 Amsterdam 92/93 Streets - very good food-Italian-very hectic does not take reservations or credit cards-get there early for seating.
Docks 2427 Broadway 89/90 Streets 212-986-8080 OK fish, excellent oysters, lively but not hectic.
Gabriela's 688 Columbus 93/94 Street 212-961-9600 good traditional Mexican, good value
Saigon Grill 620 Amsterdam 90 Street good Vietnamese a bit hectic and noisy
Alouette 2588 Broadway 97/98 Streets 212-222-6808 decent neighborhood French. Small. Make reservations.
Roth’s Westside Steak 680 Columbus 93 Street 212-280-4103 good steak, expensive.
Yuki Sushi 656 Amsterdam 92 Street 212-787-8200 Excellent quality of fish in sushi and sashimi. Moderate price for quality Japanese. Sushi lunch with salad or soup is less than $11.
Miyako 642 Amsterdam 91 Street 212-724-3448 About as good as Yuki Sushi and everything is $1-$1.50 less
Acqua 718 Amsterdam 94/95 Streets 212-222-2752 reasonably priced good Italian (Sicilian and Sardinian) in nice setting.
Pizzabolla 654 Amsterdam 92 Street 212-579-4500 Old style “checkered tablecloth” Italian with very reasonably priced good food. Good antipasti, entrees, brick-oven pizza and good selection of reasonable priced wine by the bottle and glass.
Asia Kan 710 Amsterdam Avenue 94/95 Streets 212-280-8878 Nice mix of Japanese (fresh sushi) and other interesting Asian including Thai and Vietnamese.
I'll third Gennaro. It's pretty moderately priced and i have never had a bad meal there, ever. Cash only, so that's annoying. I really like Indus Valley on 99th and bway, used to be a fan of Tandoori on 94th b/w Ams and Bway, but that seems to have lost a step recently. Also, Celeste is a favorite and a big fan of the dosas and soups from Hampton Chutney (83rd and Amst.)
re: Ken J.
I like wontonfm's Kefi suggestion a lot on the food front, but the place can honestly get a little loud. They also don't accept reservations, which can be a pain in the bum. However, this is the closest you'll come to (good) tapas on the UWS, I think. Sol y Sombra and Luzia's also do Spanish and Portuguese tapas, respectively, but they aren't particularly well done.
Ouest is excellent for French. Make sure you don't hold back on the red meats.
I really like a smallish neighborhood place called Spiga for Italian. The menu is a bit experimental, so you have to like that sort of thing.
Thai Market does EXCELLENT, reasonably priced Thai.
For Turkish, I like Pasha better than Zeytin, though Pasha can be hit or miss. (Sometimes the hunkar bejendi makes me melt, other times, it's made with too much flour and the lamb is overcooked and tough.) Service as Zeytin is a little spacey, they have a smaller menu, and they don't do well with the more delicately flavored / complex Turkish dishes.
Ouest, Spiga, Thai Market and Pasha are not quiet places, but you'll be able to speak with your dining companions at a normal volume.
If I may offer breakfast suggestions, too, Neptune Room is good for brunch (just ok for dinner, these days, in my book).
If you're here on a weekend, an unlikely little place called China Fun does quite a passable dim sum with egg tarts, pan fried white radish cakes, steamed little soup dumplings, curry puffs, and the works, as well as warm soy milk and congee with you tiao (fried, savory crullers). The space is not beautiful, but they have very speedy delivery.
I personally run away screaming from Mama Mexico, Shun Lee, and Docks.
The Chowhound links -- which I always forget to insert in the original post, sorry!:
960 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025
2315 Broadway, New York, NY 10024
505 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10024
200 W 84th St, New York, NY 10024
70 West 71st Street, New York, NY 10023
246 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10023
Ouest at 84th & Broadway
For a Turkish delight at 85th & Columbus, try Zeytin.
Compass for all-around good dining at 69th & Amsterdam
The usual suspects around Lincoln Center are:
Shun Lee West at 65th off Broadway
O'Neals for wholesome family style dining across from Shun Lee.
Josephinas, Fiorello's, Bar Boulud, all next to each other at 66th & Broadway