Also known as the Upper Best Side by pretty much every resident living on the west side of Central Park below 125th and above 59th Street, there’s a good reason people love this historic neighborhood.
Tree-lined streets, access to both Central and Riverside Park, and cultural institutions like Lincoln Center and the American Museum of Natural History all make this pocket of Manhattan a lovely respite for New Yorkers from all parts of the city.
And while the Upper West Side may not have the trend-forward dining scene to compete with its downtown neighbors, the area is full of great restaurants, both old and new.
20 W. 72nd St.
This upscale New American restaurant from the Bromberg Brothers (you may know them from Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken or Blue Ribbon Sushi) truly has something for everyone. From the decadent bone marrow scooped from the bone and spread on challah toast (trust this one) to more obvious crowd pleasers like roast chicken and homemade cavatelli with vegetables, the food coma is imminent after a meal here, and that’s a good thing.
235 Columbus Ave.
Fried, dripping in homemade mozzarella and red sauce, the parm serves at the dish’s namesake restaurant is a must-eat here. Available in eggplant and chicken varieties, and as a sandwich on a sesame bun or on a platter with chili-flecked pink sauce pasta, the parm at this modern Italian eatery is top notch. Baked ziti, shareable salads and homemade ice cream cake help round out the meal.
505 Columbus Ave.
It’s easy to fill up on Greek dips and meze appetizers at chef Michael Psilakis’ neighborhood Mediterranean spot, but you’ll want to save room for the carb-focused portion of the menu, featuring dishes like shrimp with orzo and a Greek-style seafood paella, as well as a wide range of meats and fishes to help you feast like a Greek deity.
142 W. 65th St.
This sleek modern Italian restaurant across form Lincoln Center is a popular pre-theater reservation, but if you’re not trying to make the ballet, luxuriate in a DIY prix-fixe menu where you can recreationally nosh your way through antipasti, excellently prepared pasta dishes and meat and seafood entrees spruced up with seasonal produce and herbs that will certainly excite your palate.
450 Amsterdam Ave.
For a casual yet still stimulating meal, saunter into this local Thai joint that serves up all the predictable menu items (spring rolls, satay, Pad Thai, green curry, etc.) executed nearly perfectly, along with more authentic Thai specialties like crispy fish and pan seared duck breast.
541 Amsterdam Ave.
This cash-only centenarian deli has (reportedly) barely changed since its humble beginnings, doling out multiple types of lox and smoked fishes, along with meaty pastrami, corned beef and chopped liver sandwiches, omelets with any of the aforementioned proteins and plenty more Ashkenazic belt-busting dishes any bubbe would kvell about.
American Chinese food gets a modern New York City upgrade at this restaurant known for its Pac Man dumplings (along with a slew of less cartoonish but equally as delicious dumpling options), pastrami egg rolls and massively flavorful wok-fried meat and noodle varieties, like the splurge-worthy lobster long life noodles.
375 Amsterdam Ave.
This meat shop helmed by culinary superstar chef April Bloomfield serves casual breakfast and lunch sandwiches (go for the hot dog with kimchi, stay for the roast beef with red wine butter) and an upscale dinner, all made from animals broken down in house by a team of all-female butchers. At night, you’ll munch on a variety of shareables, from chicken liver mousse to beef heart with bok choy, all fresh, flavorful and carnivore-friendly.