On Manhattan’s Upper East Side you’ll find many great places to dine, share a drink, or stop for a quick meal at a fairly reasonable price. With so many options it can be hard to choose where to go. We’ve taken the guesswork out of it with our pick of the best dining places.
Diner, Restaurant, Salad Bar, American, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-free, $$$
Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, EJ’s Luncheonette looks as if it has been around since the 1940s. With cozy teal seats, a vast menu, and an indoor-outdoor patio for people watching, this quaint, upscale diner is the perfect stop for any time of the day. One bowl of this diner’s spectacular oatmeal provides enough energy for the rest of the day.
Focusing on traditional Italian food, anything Giovanni Venticinque serves is full of rich flavors and presented beautifully; it is clear that there is love invested in every dish. The environment is intimate and the staff is accommodating. Inside, stained glass covers one windowpane, while another exposes 83rd Street’s populated promenade.
A post-Met stop, the Nectar Café may appear congested on entry; however, once seated, be prepared for a wonderful meal. It’s crowded because it’s popular, and rightly so. The breakfast sausage and matzo ball soup are landmark dishes, while the lunch and dinner plates are just as delicious. Homey, Nectar’s dining room contains wood-paneled booths for families and two-seaters for smaller parties.
Featuring a modern interior, complete with wood paneling and plants along the bar, UpThai boasts having ‘the Upper East Side’s most authentic Thai menu.’ Indeed, it strives to serve patrons the most authentic Thai food, from curries to ba mee noodles. Alongside the delicious food, there is an array of inventive cocktails.
A carnivore’s paradise, the Arlington Club, complete with an especially social atmosphere, features savory dishes served in an environment reminiscent of old New York. Vaulted brick ceilings and a low-lit dining room provide an exclusive feel.
While many vegan food products and restaurants make it obvious they are geared toward healthy eating, Candle 79 appears like other restaurant nestled in the bottom two floors of an elegant townhouse. The restaurant uses the most organic foods and wines available, plus there are gluten-free options available.
Located within the Asia Society’s lobby, this airy space is a great respite from the upscale rush of Park Avenue. Its sleek, modern décor is pleasantly contrasted by the trees interspersed around the tables. The Garden Court Café is open for lunch, brunch, or afternoon tea, and offers primarily Asian-fusion cuisine.
For the city’s Anglophiles, Jones Wood Foundry is quite the hot spot. Authentic British cuisine dominates the menu, while regulars and newcomers crowd the indoor dining area. TVs mounted over the bar play British and European sporting events, but only to set the mood; this is definitely not a noisy sports bar. During the day, try to snag a seat in the courtyard.
Just beyond uptown’s tree-lined side streets is a neighborhood favorite, Dallas BBQ. This chain, which has locations all over New York City, wins the hearts of its patrons with its variety of wings, classic burgers, and savory combos. Its Upper East Side post occupies the entire ground floor of the building, but even that much space is not enough to hold the crowds flooding its tables daily.
DANIEL is a contemporary setting within neoclassical architecture, containing a private Bellecour Room, and an even more exclusive Skybox dining salon that gazes over the kitchen and restaurant from a secluded vantage point. DANIEL promotes a service that should equal the quality of its food. Choose from the main menu or the ‘tasting’ menu, which is a seven-course menu of small plates. Vegetarian options are also available.