Gotta Hit That Upper Deck: 7 Best Spots for an Epic Dinner on the Upper West Side
One of the most diverse and picturesque areas of New York City, the Upper West Side has come a long way from the days of Old New York.
The cultural and creative neighborhood that stretches between 59th Street and 110th Street on the West Side of Central Park holds city gems like Lincoln Center and Columbia University, not to mention sweeping Jersey views from Hudson River Park.
One of the UWS’s best features, though, are the myriad of eclectic restaurants and lounges that dot the urban area.
Here are our top picks for a foodie’s epic night out uptown.
1. Gabriela’s Restaurant & Tequila Bar (688 Columbus Avenue)
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One of the most flavorful Mexican meals you can find on the Upper West, and arguably all the city, is at Gabriela’s. This exotic eatery features both indoor and outdoor seating, private back rooms for large tables or parties and Mexican fare that will make you feel like you’re eating in Mother Mexico.
The crown jewel here though are the cantina’s margaritas. From lime and mango to prickly pear and passion fruit, the flavors only come second to the actual concoctions. Their frozen margs may ruin any future margaritas for you because they’re among the best you’ll ever have. You’ve been warned.
2. The Ribbon (20 West 72nd Street)
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One of the busiest parts of the UWS is the hub around 72nd Street and Broadway, where a myriad of shops and stops surround Verdi Square, a small park outside the subway stop great for people watching. If you walk down 72nd towards to park, you come to an eatery that’s a standout for sure.
An intimate setting with a warm, rustic decor, The Ribbon is a gastronomic wonder the likes of which are rare around the city. Their creative dishes, like Beef Marrow & Oxtail Marmalade on Challah or their Blue Ribbon Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding, are only the beginning of the culinary adventure they offer.
3. Jacob’s Pickles (509 Amsterdam Avenue)
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A taste of the South in uptown Manhattan, Jacob’s Pickles takes the cake when it comes to creative flavors and combinations. Their rustic decor only adds to the southern comfort ambience, and their food and drinks more than adequately fit that bill.
With dishes like Shrimp & Bacon Grits, Fried Chicken & Buttermilk Waffles, Country Meatloaf and Beer & Bacon Oysters, you’ll have your work cut out for you choosing what you want. Wash it down with some Rum & Root Beer or Apple Pie Moonshine and you’ll be yelling, “Yee-haw!” all the way home.
4. Kouzan (685 Amsterdam Avenue)
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A zen hideaway in an urban expanse, Kouzan offers a serene dining experience as well as top-notch sushi on the UWS. Upon entering, you pass a peaceful glass waterfall pooling into a quaint pond of coi fish as you enter this temple of bamboo and orchids.
Ranging in innovative Asian fusion dishes such as Passion Fruit Tuna Carpaccio, Ginger Codfish Sakamushi and their very popular Jugar Roll, jalapeno yellowtail with grilled pepper and scallion topped with seared scallop and black tobiko, it’s an escape for all your senses on the corner of 93rd Street.
5. Cafe Lalo (201 West 83rd Street)
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Made famous by the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan movie You’ve Got Mail, Cafe Lalo is a sweet edition to the UWS’ dining repertoire. From the perennially-lit trees out front to the quaint seating perfect for a sugary snack, it’s a beloved spot among locals and visitors alike.
Branded as “The most famous cafe in NYC,” Lalo offers a number of delectable treats and indulgences that will sate anyone’s sweet tooth. Sinful snacks like Boston Creme Pie, Tiramisu Macaroon Cake, Chocolate-Dipped Cannolis and Hazelnut Mousse topped with Frangelico await your eager taste buds.
6. e’s BAR (511 Amsterdam Avenue)
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If you’re looking for something more laid back with a lively local feel, e’s BAR between 84th and 85th is the spot to hit up. Part dive bar, part greasy spoon, this neighborhood favorite draws an eclectic fun-loving crowd, especially on the weekends.
If you want more than a stiff cocktail, try their Crispy Sharp NY Cheddar Balls, that are just as delicious as they sound. Their Bacon Mac & Cheese is nothing to sneeze at either. Or take on their e’s Brownie Sundae, full of brownie, bourbon caramel sauce, whipped cream, sprinkles and a cherry on top.
7. City Diner (2441 Broadway)
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A tried and true UWS spot, City Diner has served the neighborhood for decades with just about anything your stomach could desire. Its comfortable, spacious seating and attentive service is everything you want a NYC retro-style diner to be.
Breakfast platters, triple-decker sandwiches, steak, Mexican, soup, seafood, comfort food, deep fried favorites, cocktails and decadent desserts… yeah, you can find it all here. The best part? You can stumble in at 3 a.m. after a boozy night out and still get your grub on. Just don’t pass out at the table.
[Feature Image Courtesy Instagram]