Best Neighborhood Restaurant
1486 Second Ave.
This Upper East Side Italian restaurant oozes charm, from the rustic decor to the warm lighting. Whether coming for a catch-up lunch, date night dinner, nightcap or Sunday brunch, Uva delivers. Locals have been frequenting the spot since it opened in 2005, while newer residents have quickly been won over and added it to their go-tos. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but the housemade pappardelle is a consistent crowd-pleaser.
509 Amsterdam Ave.
It’s always a party at Jacob’s Pickles, which brings Southern comfort to the Upper West Side. The restaurant regularly draws a crowd for its indulgent biscuit sandwiches and specialty cocktails. Since opening the spot in 2011, the owners have continued to add to the neighborhood offerings with cocktail spot Maison Pickle.
EL QUINTO PINO
401 West 24th St.
Wife-and-husband team Alex Raij and Eder Montero have a mini Spanish restaurant empire from Manhattan to Brooklyn, and it all started with this Chelsea tapas restaurant in 2007. The menu features their riffs on classic multiregional Spanish cuisine that will intrigue your tastebuds, with signature must-haves including the uni panini.
Best Coffee Shop
1744 Second Ave.
The name means “downtown uptown” - as in, bringing some downtown cool to the Upper East Side. The coffee shop is decked out with thrift furniture giving a relaxed living room feel. In addition to caffeine and pastries, the cafe is a bar, with a large craft beer selection, wine and seasonal cocktails. So you can hang out from morning to night. Among the food offerings, don’t pass on the make-your-own s’mores platter.
BOX KITE COFFEE
128 West 72nd St.
Coffee nerds appreciate this teensy Upper West Side spot, which stands out in the neighborhood as a multi-roaster cafe. It serves a rotation of beans from brands like Sey, Passenger and Regalia. The cold brew is a fan favorite. In addition to discovering new brews, customers can discover coffee products like canned iced coffees.
180 Tenth Ave.
Chelsea’s High Line Hotel is home to a unique outpost of the celebrated chain, offering a calm, cozy coffee oasis in Manhattan. In addition to the hotel coffee bar, customers can get their caffeine fix at the outdoor “Minibar,” which serves a selection of espresso and pour overs out of a 1963 Citroen coffee truck. The dog-friendly cafe often has dog treats for the taking, too.
Best Ice Cream
EMACK & BOLIO’S
1564 First Ave.
The Upper East Side outpost of the premium ice cream maker is a family go-to. It’s known for its wide variety of delicious flavors (including favorites like Cookie Monster - vanilla ice cream with Oreos and cookie dough) and sweets-adorned cones. Go big with a shareable sundae, or get some pints to take home.
VAN LEEUWEN ARTISAN ICE CREAM
448 Amsterdam Ave.
253 Columbus Ave.
The NYC-born ice cream chain has been on an expansion tear as of late. In recent months it doubled its Upper West Side offerings with a location on Columbus Avenue, joining the Amsterdam spot. Both serve a full menu of Van Leeuwen’s rich ice creams, including vegan options made using oat milk, as well as sundaes, milkshakes and (bonus) vegan chocolate chip cookies.
BIG GAY ICE CREAM
51 Grove St.
In a decade, Big Gay Ice Cream went from being a seasonal ice cream truck to having three locations in Manhattan, including the West Village, and in Philadelphia. It did so on the back of its cheeky flavors (such as the signature Salty Pimp - vanilla soft serve filled with dulce de leche and dipped in chocolate). The shop continues to innovate with indulgent new flavors, ice cream sandwiches, milkshakes and sundaes.
Best Wine Bar
STELLA & FLY
1705 First Ave.
The wine isn’t the only thing that draws Upper East Siders to this coffee shop and wine bar. Tasty small plates, weeknight happy hour, friendly service and a full calendar of events such as competitive trivia and live music make this a neighborhood destination for play. It’s also an ideal spot to fire up the laptop and do work during the day.
189 Amsterdam Ave.
The Upper West Side location of the wine bar chain regularly gets a crowd. The wine menu is informative and easy to follow. But when in doubt, be sure to ask the bartenders for suggestions, especially on wine-small plate pairings. The cozy spot is ideal for small groups or dates.
24 Harrison St.
The Tribeca destination helped break the stereotype that wine bars have to be pretentious and stuffy. Terroir is serious about wine, of course, with an extensive Riesling menu in particular (and that wine-referencing name). But it goes about it with a sense of humor and laid-back approach, courtesy of influential owner Paul Grieco. The cheeses and charcuterie have also won over guests who come here for the wine.
Best Vegan Eatery
833 Lexington Ave.
This apothecary-inspired food and wine bar from the founder of Le Pain Quotidien is 100% plant-based, and nearly 100% organic. The bowls are the heart of the menu, though the vegan sushi also has its fans. The success of the first NYC location on the Upper East Side led to two more in Manhattan.
460 Amsterdam Ave.
For a decade, the Upper West Side restaurant has been serving a varied menu of tasty vegan fare (pizza, sandwiches, soups, salads, sushi and more). Its bakery also turns out freshly baked cookies, cakes and breads - minus eggs and dairy. The popular spot spawned an outpost downtown near Union Square.
348 Seventh Ave.
Get affordable vegan bites fast at this Chelsea eatery, which is packed during the lunch rush. The teeny-tiny spot has a giant menu, including smoothies, fresh juices, tofu wraps, salads and plant-based spins on eats like Philly cheesesteaks, chicken nuggets, hot dogs and drumsticks. After one meal customers are hooked.
1590 Second Ave.
The Penrose draws cocktail aficionados from far and wide to the Upper East Side. As far as Manhattan cocktails go, they’re reasonably priced, too, topping out at $15. Pair your Pandan Panda Punch or Dirty Pickle Martini with the elevated bar food. Sundays the space fills with live jazz and blues music.
MANHATTAN CRICKET CLUB
226 West 79th St.
Pull a book from the library and take a seat with a craft cocktail at this members-only bar above the Upper West Side Australian bistro Burke & Wills. Non-members are welcome on a walk-in basis, though membership perks include the ability to make reservations and a private liquor locker to store a spirit or wine of your choosing.
159 Duane St.
Expertly-made cocktails are on tap at this Tribeca bar, a magnet for locals and dates. The oyster happy hour is a bonus - snag $1.50 bivalves Monday to Saturday from 5-7 p.m. The shareable bar food is also a hit. The bar itself is attractive, from the trendy subway tiles to the smart booths to the dim, romantic lighting (did we mention it’s a date-night fave?).