On the Upper West Side, not only will you find some stunningly flavorful coffee blends, but you’ll also be able to seek out the most eclectic neighborhood locales. Check out The Culture Trip’s list of the 10 best places to grab a cup of Joe.
Oren’s Daily Roast
With two conveniently accessible shops, one minutes away from Columbia University’s 116th Street gates, Oren’s epitomizes commitment to quality. Founded 1986 in Manhattan, Oren’s prides itself on its detailed roasting process—all beans used in your cup o’ Joe have left the roaster that very day—and works with small, private farmers to scout out its robust roasts. Oren’s caters to even the pickiest drinker, with some of the smoothest, tastiest almond milk lattes on the Upper West Side and distinctly flavorful American blends, as well as pastries from Doughnut Plant and Balthazar as delightful accompaniments to this well-loved and well-priced establishment.
Oren’s Upper West Side, 2882 Broadway (between 112th & 113th Sts.), New York, NY, 10025 212-749-8779
Cafe, Swedish, $$$
Happily open in its bright Upper West Side location, Fika’s Swedish roots mean hand-picked, bold Arabica beans and award-winning chocolate truffles, all hand-picked and made on-site. It boasts a quinoa hazelnut truffle, winner of several international chocolatier competitions, as well as shelves of unique preserves and hand-selected coffee beans. Its espresso is bold and so are its flavors.With the Stockholm-inspired elegance owner Lars Åkerlund brings to both his pastries (Swedish croissants and cardamom croissants are favorites) and the atmosphere, Fika is great for hours of people-watching or reading.
Fika Apthorp 2211 Broadway (at 78th Street), New York, NY 10024, (212) 873-1255
Café Lalo stands as the Upper West Side’s reigning slice of Europe. With eclectic posters and equally enticing cakes on full display, the cafe, founded 1988, prides itself on its bustling, distinctly Parisienne atmosphere. Offering authentic European brew—you’ll find delicious lattes and cappuccinos—and a brunch and pastry menu just as robust, Café Lalo is a ‘high-end food without high-end prices’ haven for embracing your inner Anglophile. Nibble for hours on renowned tiramisu, cheesecake, and every pie possible, and enter Europe’s charm without stepping foot outside Manhattan.
Café Lalo, 201 West 83rd Street, New York, NY 10024, 212-496-6031
Bakery, Cafe, Patisserie, French, $$$
Chef and owner Olivier Dessyn, trained and certified in France, creates the relaxed, effortless atmosphere of his Upper West Side patisserie, serving some of the most delightful French pastries on this side of the Atlantic. Olivier’s abiding commitment to all-natural ingredients made fresh daily in Brooklyn is a palpable difference. Steven, one of Mille Feuille’s baristas, highlights Olivier’s openness to feedback and the family he has found working with Mille Feuille. It’s no question that one bite of Mille Feuille’s ispahan, the salted caramel or passionfruit macarons, its eponymous mille-feuille, or its celebrated ‘Royal’ (chocolate mousse on praline cake) is all it takes for guests to feel like family, too.
Mille-Feuille Bakery, 2175 Broadway (between 77th and 76th Streets), New York, NY 10024, 212-326-6261
If Fika breathes Stockholm and Mille Feuille speaks of France, Filicori Zecchini is a taste of the world. Established in Bologna, its global focus is reflected in its worldwide cafes and employees, as well as its beans, chocolates, and pastries, all made with ingredients imported from Italy. Guests can customize their roast and enjoy some of the highest-quality coffee on the Upper West Side, brewed with European machines, accompanied by uncannily flaky croissants. There is hardly a better cafe to indulge or to find inspiration.
Filicori Zecchini, 2541 Broadway (between 94th and 93rd Streets), New York, NY 10025, 718-722-1414
Birch maintains a philosophy that employees and coffee grow together in ‘conscious capitalism,’ valuing sustainability and quality. Owner Paul Schlader personally visits family-owned farms all over the world to personally choose roasts. Everything, including its legendary toasted almond tea, is locally sourced. Try one of Birch’s popular flat whites or cortados for their signature medium roast, where the flavor of the bean trumps that of the roast. With ornamental ceilings laid against industrial piping, well-dressed baristas, and quirky decor, combined with a delectable menu and free used books for reading, Birch should be your new neighborhood favorite.
Birch Coffee, 750 Columbus Avenue (between 97th and 96th Streets), New York, NY 10025, 212-665-1444
Irving Farm Upper West Side
Irving Farm’s carefully sourced and delicately crafted coffees make it a staple in the Upper West Side. Its interior elegantly laid with custom woodwork and always filled to the brim with loyal customers, the shop features house-made and Balthazar baked goods with bold, sustainable, handcrafted brews. Irving Farm sources all its beans at its namesake Hudson Valley farm, focused on building an abiding relationship between grower and final cup. Irving Farm believes in the complete love that goes into each cup’s potential and, based on the omnipresent lines, it’s no question its customers believe in it, too.
Irving Farm Coffee Roasters, 224 West 79th Street, New York, NY 10024, 212-874-7979
French pastry chef Jean-François Gatorze and his wife, Nora Salazar, opened La Toulousaine in January 2012. Jean-François came to New York from picturesque Toulouse to continue the original French pâtissier methods of his father and grandfather. La Toulousaine is the first original French boulangerie to launch on the Upper West Side and already boasts a loyal following. It’s not hard to see why – Gatorze’s legendary almond croissants are unlike any other in taste, butteriness, or texture, and his madeleines bring customers flocking to the shop.
La Toulousaine New York, 946 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10025
Plowshares Coffee Roasters
Plowshares lives up to what its customers dub “the new gem in the coffee shop desert” of the Upper West Side. Its espresso smooth and deep and its baristas just as full of life as its pastries, Plowshares is nestled at the perfect location for New Yorkers to enjoy quality caffeine and even better chats with Plowshares’ tight-knit team. Manager Sadie strives both for herself and her fellow colleagues to treat guests from ‘all walks of life’ with the utmost respect, so their visit for Plowshares’ locally sourced, carefully chosen beans turns into an experience like visiting good friends. It is this hospitality and compassion that infuses both the shop and the coffee with love.
Plowshares Coffee Roasters, 2730 Broadway (between 105th and 104th Streets), New York, NY 10025, 212-222-0280
The Hungarian Pastry Shop
Cafe, Coffee Shop, European, Hungarian, $$$
The Hungarian Pastry Shop
There is no question why this New York institution claims first place on our compilation of the Upper West Side’s best coffee shops. First opened by a Hungarian immigrant couple in 1961 against the dramatic backdrop of Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the menu of coffee and pastries has remained exactly the same since. Lounging for hours, guests say the personalization of the service really makes the shop an indispensable haven. Enter the dimly-lit cafe filled with irresistible smells of Hungarian coffee, classic Hungarian napoleons, Rigó Jancsi (chocolate sponge cake, chocolate mousse cream), dobostorta (chocolate buttercream-layered sponge cake, crunchy caramel topping) and cherry or apple streudel, all handmade from scratch, and join the myriad others who call the Shop home.
The Hungarian Pastry Shop, 1030 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10025, 212-866-4230