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Upper East Side -- Recommendations anyone?

We're fairly new to the area and looking for good places to eat. We've enjoyed Ithaka, Maruzzela and Pio Pio. Need some new suggestions!

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  1. Any particular part of the UES? I'm in Carnegie Hill, and some of our favorites are:

    Square Meal - v. well prepared American food, with great desserts - byob
    Zebu Grill - Brazilian
    Kurio - eclectic, excellent cocktails, well priced wine list
    El Paso Taqueria - decent pretty cheap Mexican
    Itzocan - a bit north of the UES, well priced, innovative Mexican, particularly the huitlachoche dishes
    Ichi Ro - our "cheap sushi" place
    Vermicelli - decent Vietnamese
    Ottomanelli's - pretty good hamburger and fries, v. reasonable

    Square Meal
    30 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128

    338 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128

    14 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      Posted before I added the places.

      Itzocan Bistro
      1575 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10029

      1492 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10075

      Zebu Grill
      305 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128

      El Paso Taqueria
      64 E 97th St, New York, NY 10029

      Ottomanelli New York Grill
      1424 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10128

      1. re: MMRuth

        Thanks -- these sound great. Nice variety of cuisines! We're on 87th between 2nd and 3rd, but will go anywhere for a good meal, especially now that the weather is warm and beautiful!

        1. re: TracyGeo

          Another place - Cafe d'Alsace - has tables outside, good food, huge beer selection, on the pricier side though.

          Persepolis - Iranian.

          1407 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10021

          Cafe d'Alsace
          1695 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10128

          1. re: MMRuth

            i used to live on 82nd/3rd - although i'm now on the UWS...welcome to the neighborhood!

            for italian, i enjoy firenze ristorante (83rd/2nd). i also second the vote for zebu grill. for pub food, my roommates and i enjoyed wicker park (83rd/3rd).

            1. re: bosox

              Thank you. Zebu and Firenze both sound great. They are going up to the top of our list. Any suggestions on what to order?

              1. re: TracyGeo

                We had a nice brunch at Cafe d'Alsace, but y'know brunch is brunch -- fairly predictable. How about their dinner menu? What do you all recommend?

                1. re: TracyGeo

                  The foie gras and bone marrow at Alsace are both excellent. I like the empanadas at Zebu, as well as the salmon dish, and my husband always gets the fejoada(sp?).

                2. re: TracyGeo

                  my parents just took me to firenze last weekend, for my birthday, and i ordered the chicken fiorentina. pieces of dark meat chicken and italian sausage sauteed in a white wine sauce, served over sauteed spinach. it was DELICIOUS. i also enjoy their veal dishes (can you tell i'm not a vegetarian?? LOL). for dessert, i highly recommend their bowl of fresh berries (usually strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries) topped with fresh cream. YUM.

                  1. re: TracyGeo

                    Zebu: Picadinho! And their Creamed spinach is great too. The best! And the Musse de Coco dessert is amazing. Their service is very friendly, as are the owners. A real neighborhood spot.

            2. re: MMRuth

              @MMRuth: Please tell us more about Ichi Ro. My standby for sushi rolls is Tsuki, but I'm always on the lookout for alternatives that offer tasty,affordable options.

              1. re: NYCinephile

                I think I've been once or twice - Tsuki is better than Ichi Ro, but just a bit further from us than we usually go on a week night for a quick dinner. Ichi Ro is sort of your standard neighborhood sushi joint, but the fish is quite good - we usually start w/ a sashmi deluxe, and they do have interesting rolls, though some are a bit over the top! Basically, we can eat as much as we want, have a bottle of wine, and the bill is usually about $115 - which I know isn't cheap cheap, but we usually eat alot!

                We also really like Inase, but the bill just always ran up and we'd end up spending almost $200 for "cheap sushi" that ended up not being cheap. I'm still looking for a good place that falls inbetween Ichi Ro type places and Yasuda/Gari ones.

                I do like Ichi Ro better than Tenzan, which is up the block. We've also tried Ooki (sp?) but thought the fish in the sashimi was subpar. Rolls were pretty good though, and it's a nice room. Isohama is owned by the same people as Ichi Ro, but though it is close to us, we prefer Ichi Ro.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  Have you tried Poke on E. 85 St. I thought it was quite good.

                  1. re: ellenost

                    Yes - we did go back once after they moved (maybe on your suggestion) - the new location is so much nicer! I think I posted about it but don't remember quite what I wrote - maybe that the rolls were good, but that I thought the sashimi was't great.

                    Edit - yes, I found my old post - the sashimi was warm and mushy.

              2. re: MMRuth

                Italianissimo -- Italian delivery (waiters can be annoying, always trying to "suggest" more courses...)
                Paola's -- Italian
                Totonno's -- Pizza (pies only.... fresh mozzarella...Monday - 1 pie, pitcher of beer special!)
                Gino's -- Pizza (by the slice...old school)
                Land -- Thai
                Wu Liang Ye/Shanghai Pavilion -- Chinese
                Cilantro -- Mexican
                Atomic Wings -- wingssssss
                Uptown Lounge/JG Melon -- burgers
                Wicker Park -- bar food

              3. Some good suggestions already... some more to add...

                Wu Liang Le - excellent Szechuan Chinese
                Sotto Cinque - Standard, inexpensive Italian - not amazing but good for delivery
                Nicks - Pizza
                Sala Thai - neighborhood standby
                Papaya King - the best hotdogs anywhere
                Uptown - excellent burger and brunch deal
                Yuka - for Sushi
                Ooki Sushi - newish place with creative rolls


                1 Reply
                1. re: Michael Ambrosio

                  Wu Liang Le-CLOSED!!! couple weeks ago fyi

                2. I also like Cafe d'Alsace. Very good sushi at Poke on E. 85 St. between 1st & 2nd (cash only). Good hearty fare at Heidelberg on Second Ave. between 85th & 86th St. Decent Chinese food at Noodles on 28 (across from Heidelberg).

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: ellenost

                    Have you been to Heidelberg lately? We were so disappointed the last time we went, and so didn't go this winter again - but it's one of those places I always want to like! I'll have to try that Chinese place - thanks for that!

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      Yes, I was at Heidelberg two months ago. To be honest, I didn't go in expecting much, and I was very pleased. I live around the corner, and since my sister loves this kind of food, we were both very happy with the food. Service was fine too. Noodles on 28 is okay (nothing too special), but since it was in my old neighborhood when I lived on 33rd Street, it was nice to find a "familiar face" when I moved uptown.

                      1. re: ellenost

                        Thanks! I think what I've posted before is that would be good next time we crave wurst and beer, but I was disappointed with my beef consume and schnitzel, if I recall correctly.

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          We had great potato pancakes and a schnitzel in cream sauce. Very yummy and fattening. I was glad I had to walk only a block to get home.

                  2. Has anyone else tried Maruzzela Ristorante (1st Avenue between 77th and 78th)? We loved it. We had a bottle of wine and appetizers -- beef carpaccio, grilled calamari over mesclun greens, rollatine of eggplant with goat cheese, and a wonderful string bean, potato, tomato, red onion salad. Everything was delicious. Very satisfying and not expensive. Can't wait to go back! I'm curious about the rest of the menu.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: TracyGeo

                      Oops, I think the correct spelling is Maruzzella.

                    2. York Grill over on York between 89 and 88 has good food and a nice ambiance. If you're interested in wine check out Sharz on 86 between 1st and York.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Gelaine

                        York Grill looks very good. Thanks for the suggestion.

                        1. re: Gelaine

                          Sharz looks good too -- thank you!

                          1. re: TracyGeo

                            There's a new modern Italian place called Brio which I thought was above average for the nabe. (around 89th and 2nd)

                        2. Mimi's Pizza
                          Sushi of Gari
                          Taco Taco
                          Bistro Chat Noir
                          La Cantina Toscana


                          1. For the best in Italian influence-Spigolo!! 81st and 2nd. For Chinese-Pig Heaven-try the ribs!!!!

                            1. I second UES Mayor's endorsement of Pig Heaven. I take out its BBQed pork butt and dry-sauteed string beans at least once per week. Be forewarned though: while the string beans are almost always fresh and flavorful (a treat for garlic-lovers), the quality of the pork butt can vary. If you take the time to get to know Nancy Lee, its manager, and her staff, you'll be rewarded with warm smiles and gracious service.

                              I also recommend Totonno's for pizza (the margherita with pepperoni and onions) and Taco Taco (the spicy chicken soup and pork cutlet sandwich).

                              Taco Taco
                              1726 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10128

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: NYCinephile

                                The food at Taco Taco is solid, but the service is really bad. I go to Cilantro instead because of the lackluster service.

                                1. re: Taylor.Watson

                                  the food at cilantro is mediocre at best. try El Paso Taqueria between Park and Madison on 97th or Sabor a Mexico around 91st and 1st

                                  1. re: jeanki

                                    I agree - we tried Cilantro once just for the sake of it and felt the same way. I'll have to try Sabor a Mexico - is it "eat in"? We probably go to El Paso about twice a month for dinner.

                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                      I would definitely not recommend Sabor. We went once for dinner and it was really not good.

                                      1. re: G3B

                                        They are closed now - and I never tried it. I think it's an Italian place now - forget the name.

                                        1. re: G3B

                                          I can't see my other post yet to edit it -but I was just now confusing Sabor a Mexico with the Sabor that was on Second Avenue. Sorry about that.

                                      2. re: jeanki

                                        I agree about the Cilantro food. It's standard Mexican for me. Nothing great, but not bad. Mediocre as you put it. But when I choose between Taco Taco, and waiting literally 10 to 15 minutes to get a margarita, and Cilantro, I go with the latter.

                                        I've walked by El Paso Taqueria a bunch but never gone in.

                                        1. re: Taylor.Watson

                                          Do try it and let us know what you think. (I've not tried Taco Taco.)

                                  2. I agree with all these restaurants. I've been to Taco Taco once for weekend brunch. My meal was delicious. I had an omelet with chorizo and egg. They also have fresh chips and salsa. If you're ever in a mood for a good burger and you don't feel like waiting for a small one at JG Melon, then you should head to Luke's. Their burgers are so delicious and the fries are also tasty.

                                    Luke's Bar and Grill
                                    1394 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10021

                                    1. I'm seconding thelunchbelle's nomination of Beyoglu. I've always been satisfied when I've taken out its appetizer (mezze?) platter and grilled chicken. The restaurant is fequently crowded, though, and I've been told the servers rush you through your meal.

                                      200 E 81st St, New York, NY 10028

                                      1. After living on the UPE for 12 years here's a good list, in no particular order East 60s-90s, all price ranges (and I am sure I am leaving a few out but this should keep you busy for a while...)
                                        davidburke and donatella - New American, innovative. Expensive but worth the trip. brunch is fantastic.
                                        Fig and Olive - Great atmosphere. Good wine selection. Solid Mediterranean fare.
                                        Poke - your "in between" sushi. Better than your cheap and not as costly as Gari
                                        Sushi of Gari - the best Omakase
                                        Atlantic Grill - great seafood. Sometimes too much of the "kiss on both cheeks, stroller crowd" but food well worth it.
                                        Table d'Hote - not much in the way of French Bistro on the UPE, but this one is decent.
                                        Carino - old school Itailan. Great when you want a hearty, non commercial, I am in my grandma's kitchen meal (and Mama Carino will stop by yourt table to make sure you are eating your food!)
                                        Donguri - the best "non sushi" Japanese in NYC. They have sashimi flown in from Japan daily, which is not to be missed but the home-style japanese cuisine is the star (think L
                                        lotus root tempura with minced shrimp in a radish broth...)
                                        Due - Itailian. Lots of neighborhood regulars. Staff has been the same since I have been going. It's my favorite Italian on the UPE.
                                        J.G. Melon - burgers and fries.
                                        Papaya King - hot dogs, hot dogs, hot dogs
                                        Sassy Sliders - My only fast food rec other than Papaya, but I had to. Better than whitecastle. Great hangover cure - a few sliders, fries and a shake.
                                        Sala Thai - Solid Thai. Great pad Thai. Good for delivery. Don't miss the steamed Thai dumplings.
                                        Sharz - great atmosphere. Lots of wines by the glass.
                                        Trattoria Pesce Pasta - always crowded. doesn't always pull the highest ratings it the surveys for the quality it's a bargain. Lasagna is great and they always have 6-7 types of fish for the non-meat eaters.
                                        Vespa - cute Italian with a great outdoor patio in back
                                        Zebu Grill - great Brazlian. Good Value.
                                        York Grill - classic American. Bring the in-laws.
                                        Don Pedro's - South American/Carribean/Puerto Rico. Cheap. Good cocktails. Arroz con Pollo fix.
                                        Jasmine - another Thai option with better atmopsehere than Sala Thai. But think Sala has much better food.
                                        Pio Pio - Incredible chicken and Sangria. No Reservations but worth the wait.
                                        Uva - great wine bar. Ownded by the same gusy that own Due.
                                        Felice - another great wine bar.
                                        Cafe d'Alsace - one of the few places on the UPE to get your bone marrow fix.
                                        Sushi Seki - like Gari but a little less expensive.
                                        Candle 79 - the choice for Vegan on the UPE

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: rosiemac75

                                          Just visited UES this weekend:

                                          ~ Chef Ho - Great peking duck, whole steamed fish, and chinese broccoli. The hot and sour soup is passable, avoid the fried dumplings - unless you like really thick skins
                                          ~ Wu Liang Ye 86 - beef noodles are really spicy but really tasty and satisfying (I ordered with minimum heat), Braised Whole Fish with Sichuan Chili Miso Sauce was excellent, as were the snow pea leaves (ask for availability as these are not on the menu)

                                          I'm curious as to why Tokubei on 86th doesn't seem to get mentioned much on Chowhound. I have found the Sushi and sashimi there to be fresh and tasty. I look forward to trying the other sushi places mentioned on this thread the next time I visit.

                                          btw visited Artie's deli on the UWS, and found the food to be ok - not worth a special trip. Service polite, but hard to find as our server spent more time chatting with other servers than checking in on our meal.

                                          1. re: mukalu

                                            I'd actually never heard of Tokubei - where on 86th St. is it? Will have to give it a try. I have the same sentiment about Chef Ho's dumplings - fried or otherwise - the skins are just too thick.

                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                              Tokubei 86‎ - more info »
                                              314 E 86th St, New York, NY - (212) 628-5334‎

                                              I'd be interested to hear what you think

                                            2. re: mukalu

                                              I also wonder why Tokubie seems to be ignored, not only on this board but by the neighborhood. I find the sushi, sashimi and other dishes extremely tasty at very reasonable prices. Not a destination restaurant by any means, but the ambiance at this little pub is genuinely comfortable and not at all typical of most UES sushi joints.

                                              1. re: Julia

                                                I just looked at their menu on menupages and it looks interesting and well priced, as you say. Just hadn't made it onto our radar screen yet.

                                                1. re: Julia

                                                  Just got back from a wonderful dinner at Tokubei - will post more tomorrow.

                                            3. I am new to the UES too! In fact, I am new to the whole NYC. I am on East 70th, between York and 1st. Anybody has suggestions for that area? Thanks so much!

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Methionine

                                                It will help if you'll specify which kind of advice you are looking for.
                                                Here area few threads you'd might want to look at. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/510224

                                                btw, New medical fellow?

                                              2. I just had a great experience at Uva for a friend's birthday. It was great for a group wanting to order a bunch of different appetizers and try a little bit of everything. Reasonably priced too, even with about 4 or 5 bottles of wine. Also, we sat in a private room downstairs, I highly recommmend. The service was also beyond fantastic.

                                                For a casual dinner, try Fratelli, pizza and pasta, also great service and the owner comes around to make conversation and give you free after dinner drinks. Very welcoming.

                                                1. It's a bit further afield, but for those who like Nick's pizza you may also want to try Givanna's on Lexington @100th in the old Diner Bar location. The proprietor/chef is a former chef at Nick's. We've only tried take out -- and the travel is tough on thin crust pizza -- will be eating a Giovanna's this week. Also looks very attractive and comfortable, serving old style red sauce Southern Italian dishes as well as pizza.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: City Kid

                                                    That's good to know, b/c I do like Nick's - have only ordered in when my husband is traveling.

                                                    1. re: City Kid

                                                      Ate there last Friday night. Just terrific. Split the arugula salad. Had what they called veal bake. Veal scallopini topped with eggplant and mozzarella. As opposed to many restaurants, the veal was fork tender. Had a great bottle of S. African rose which I have never heard of. Hope they make it; that spot has been a death trap.

                                                      1. re: smarty

                                                        So good to hear! Also hope they make it: as you say the location is cursed. The chef/proprietor, whom I met when I stopped in to see the place and menu, was just charming. They aim to please, good food helps!

                                                    2. Atlantic Grill is also a good option. Always a good go-to for brunch, lunch or dinner.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: theaman

                                                        Atlantic Grill is very popular, I think the food is OK but alot of people think it's great, the place is always packed. For sushi it's sushi of Gari or sushi Seki. Sasabuni ( the sushi nazi) i dont recommend

                                                      2. Quick list:

                                                        * Nick's - Our old favorite, great Margherita pizza but gets soggy when delivered
                                                        * Gotham Pizza - Our new favorite for Margherita. Pizza crust has a magical layer of really coarse cornmeal or something that makes it stay nice even for delivery

                                                        * Gajyumaru - Very quiet atmosphere, really nice staff, fresh sushi, average prices, our favorite local sushi place
                                                        * Poke - When you want interesting rolls, BYO is a bonus

                                                        * Taco Taco - Delicious carnitas, our favorite mexican on the UES

                                                        * Sala Thai - Good, consistent Thai food

                                                        * Ottomanelli Cafe - Good, simple, reasonably cheap Italian food.

                                                        Bar food:
                                                        * Swig - Best French fries on the UES

                                                        Finer dining:
                                                        * Sfoglia's - Good italian food, delicious (and huge) bread pudding when we went
                                                        * Etats-Unis - Tight space, but daily changing seasonal menu. Had an excellent meal when we were there

                                                        * Choux Factory - Great cream puffs, IMO better than Beard Papa (CF has superior puffs, also more flavor varieties). Good coffee as well

                                                        1. When you're not willing to wait in line for a burger at JG Melon, go to Luke's instead!

                                                          1. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/661987

                                                            For pastries, empanadas and cakes. Take away or table.
                                                            Anneliese 1516 First Ave @ 79th Street

                                                            1. I used to live in Carnegie Hill:

                                                              Chinese - Our Place is AWESOME!!! It's fantastic. I also liked Pig Heaven, but Our Place is way better in my opinion!
                                                              BBQ - Brother Jimmy's - very good and a fun atmosphere too
                                                              Mexican - Sabor a Mexico- this is nothing special but it was the best Mexican in the area
                                                              Pizza/Pasta - Nick's. I used to love getting their fettucine alfredo, it was fantastic and a half portion was $10 with tip, came with a great crusty roll and would be enough for both my husband and me.
                                                              Italian - Tony's Di Napoli - I know it's family style but I really liked it and they deliver; or Sfoglia if you want something more upscale
                                                              American - Square Meal, Fetch were both great
                                                              Middle Eastern- Persepolis is good if you like persian food

                                                              1. Wings and Sandwiches:- International Wings Factory
                                                                Italian :- UVA and Pinocchios
                                                                Thai:- UP Thai

                                                                1. Sfoglia- my go to Italian restaurant in the neighborhood. The best quality food, everything is locally sourced and organic. Fresh warm bread is that comes with every meal is mouth watering. Maria, the sommelier, has a good eye for Sicilian reds.

                                                                  Heidelberg- the last time my husband and I ate here was during the ’14 World Cup and the food was delicious. Get the schnitzel or the sausage platter.

                                                                  Cascabel Taqueria- Their new location is less hectic and I prefer the bar area. Tacos are delish, as is their quinoa kale salad.

                                                                  Tokubei 86- classic Japanese food. This place has been open for over 30 years and still has the same owner and bartender. Sit at the bar and get to know the locals. Mucho, the bartender, is really nice and pours VERY generous drinks (and free refills sometimes). Definitely ask to see their “special” menu, which has all kinds of house made dishes you can’t get at other Japanese restaurants.

                                                                  Poke- very basic BYOB sushi place (and I think it’s cash only). Nothing special but decent for dinner.

                                                                  Tanoshi/ Sushi Seki/ Sushi of Gari- WAY better sushi on the UES, but more expensive.

                                                                  Café D’Alsace- very good for both brunch and dinner. Their sausages are excellent quality. Good beer and wine selection.

                                                                  Maison Kayser- new addition to the neighborhood (they just opened a second location on 87th and 3rd), amazing pastries and excellent brunch menu.
                                                                  Meatball Shop- huge seating area plus an outdoor space. Basic menu but good quality meat and produce.

                                                                  Heidi’s House- Excellent wine bar that was opened by the same woman who worked at Etats Unis back in the day. She even hired the same cook (yes, I recognized him). Wine selection is fantastic, lots of organic wines. Meat is from Otomanelli’s and the burger special is not to be missed. A lot of first (and second) dates happen here.

                                                                  Beyoglu- good Turkish food, plus nice outdoor seating. Service can be hit or miss though…

                                                                  Agora- great BYOB Turkish and it’s a little more homey that Beyoglu. Run by a family and you can really tell when you walk in. They are super friendly.

                                                                  Kaia- great South African wine bar opened by a woman who used to work at Sfoglia, and one other partner. Nice date-like atmosphere, plus a dedicated crowd of locals.

                                                                  Atlantic Grill- excellent seafood and great outdoor seating. Their restaurant week menu is not to be missed!

                                                                  B. Café- Belgian beer bar with good mussels. Sit at the bar and get to know Remy, the bartender. He knows about the brewery of every single beer he serves…

                                                                  Toloache 82- authentic Mexican food plus nice waiters to boot. Great margaritas and ceviches (try the hamachi). It gets busy past 8pm so try to get there early.

                                                                  Frere de Lys- cool new French restaurant on 1st and 87th run by two brothers who implement a few recipes passed down from their mothers and mothers in law. Super friendly service and good food. Get one of the fancy cocktails.

                                                                  Maz Mezcal- next to Tokubei 86, excellent margaritas and chicken fajitas (which come out sizzling hot!).