Upper East Side Restaurants
1496 2nd Ave., Upper East Side
With two outposts in Manhattan (the Upper East side and Greenwich Village), Quality Eats bills itself as an affordable(ish) steakhouse, or a steakhouse for the younger more casual set. Accordingly, the menu features six separate cuts of steak that all come in under $30, and dressed-up versions of old-school sides, like baked potato monkey bread, cacio e pepe orzo, and even corn elote. Less carnivorous friends can eat here, too; the there's a beautiful raw bar, several great salads, and a very creative kids menu.
Le Moulin à Café
1439 York Ave., Upper East Side
Near the East River, Le Moulin à Café is part coffee shop, part bistro, part French grocery store—and charming. If you’re not ordering to-go, the counter spots overlooking York Avenue are prime real estate—and somewhere you can post up to do work, trading your latte for a glass of wine later in the day. There are also tables (with waiter service) in the back of Le Moulin, though.
1048 5th Ave., Upper East Side
This Viennese café, named for Neue Galerie co-founder Serge Sabarsky, is as luxurious as museum eats go. You can sit down to a full dinner, but it’s ideal for an indulgent coffee and sweet after browsing the galleries.
1291 3rd Ave., Upper East Side
Kitschy, often crowded, and rowdy on any night of the week, this 1970s bar makes a great, laid-back stop in the otherwise pretty upscale Upper East Side. We go for their excellent Bloody Mary’s and their famous, oft-lauded burgers served from lunch until late into the night. (There's now a second location in Greenwich Village.)
1295 Madison Ave., Upper East Side
Sarabeth’s started out as a bakery in Chelsea Market in the 80s, where owner Sarabeth Levine perfected cookies, scones, and cakes (with unabashed amounts of sugar, flour, and butter). After she became legendary, she opened Sarabeth’s and basically launched the craze that is weekend Brunch. Years later, it’s still hard to get a breakfast reservation at any of her roomy, all-American, restaurants, but it’s so worth it for luscious pancakes and french toast, not to mention ideal omelettes. There are additional locations in the Upper West Side, Midtown, Gramercy, and Tribeca.
1007 Lexington Ave., Upper East Side
While Swifty's isn’t making any culinary waves—they serve solid American classics like crab cakes, deluxe burgers, tuna carpaccio, and the like—we will always be big fans of its comfortingly classy vibe. It's an Upper East Side institution, making it the kind of place where ladies lunch, and families dress up for brunch or dinner.
401 E. 73rd St., Upper East Side
Inspired by the LA original of the same name, this is a “trust me” sushi spot, which means you’re at the mercy of Chef Takahashi and his team behind the bar. The barely seasoned omakase they make consists of incredibly fresh fish—sourced at the fish market early each morning—served on warm, perfectly moist rice. It’s a tiny, no-frills nook, and the best seats in the house are at the bar.
14 E. 60th St., Upper East Side
Modeled after rotisseries in Paris, you can watch (and smell) the chickens simmering in the brass-trimmed ovens in the back. There's plenty more aside from poulet rôti, but that's what they do particularly well. The cozy chef's table in the back can hold private parties of up to ten and gives you an up-close view of the kitchen.
Freds at Barneys
660 Madison Ave., Upper East Side
Located on the top floor of Barneys’ Madison Avenue flagship, Fred’s is convenient for any mid-shopping pit-stop, but it’s also a good restaurant in and of itself. The menu is full of classic American comfort foods, from chicken soup, to turkey clubs, and large chopped salads.
1621 2nd Ave., Upper East Side
The food is classic Italian by way of New York—but it’s the beautiful presentation and cozy uptown vibe that make this spot so special. It’s a siren song for some of the city’s most interesting personalities, like Joan Didion and Jerry Seinfeld.
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