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Photograph: Dylan Cross/Dragonfly Image Partners Leyla on the UWS

The best Upper West Side restaurants

From fine-dining restaurants to street-food spots, these are the best Upper West Side restaurants in NYC

By Emma Orlow and Time Out contributors

The best Upper West Side restaurants in NYC are a diverse bunch. The uptown neighborhood boasts a motley crew of some of the city’s priciest French restaurants, best New York delis and modern Chinese restaurants. Whether you want a fancy tasting menu or one of the best bagels in NYC, the UWS has a spot for you.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in NYC

An Upper West Side restaurant we love so much that we welcomed it into Time Out Market

Jacob's Pickles

Bars Gastropubs Upper West Side
When Jacob’s Pickles opened on the Upper West Side in 2011, it was one of the first truly cool restaurants in a neighborhood better known for its sleepy dining scene than hip eateries and bars. The back-to-basics menu was one we could get behind (goodbye, stale chicken wings and greasy fries). The Southern-focused spot specializes in comfort foods: Nashville hot chicken, biscuits, mac and cheese and, of course, pickles.

Best Upper West Side restaurants

Red Farm
Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

1. RedFarm

Restaurants Chinese Upper West Side

Dumpling devotees will lovely the playful Pacman-versions offered at this Upper West Side favorite (there's another location Downtown). RedFarm excells at offering inventive Chinese dishes that demonstrate the cuisine deserves to be more at the forefront of the farm-to-table conversation. 

Photograph: Anatoly Michaelo

2. Miznon

Restaurants Israeli Chelsea

The heralded Israeli pita shop has locations all over the world. In addition to a spot in the Chelsea Market, last year, Miznon rolled out a sprawling two-floor location on the Upper West Side. Its hit dishes like ratatouille pita sandwiches and sumptous cauliflower are available there as well. 

Photograph: Courtesy Leonti

3. Leonti

Restaurants Italian Upper West Side

This Upper West Side newcomer has quickly ushered itself as one of the neighborhood's most important restauants. Funky pasta shapes are presented delicately on equally beautiful tableware. 

Mama's Too
Photograph: Courtesy Mama's Too

4. Mama's Too

Restaurants Pizza Upper West Side

Mama’s Too gives a much-needed jolt to the Upper West Side’s sleepy restaurant scene. Trust us, the plain slice is about as close to a transcendental experience as you can get. Only one bite will convince you that this pie is the ideal marriage of crusty and chewy.

Atlas Kitchen
Photograph: Qingshan Wang

5. Atlas Kitchen

Restaurants Chinese Upper West Side

Located near Columbia University's campus, Atlas Kitchen offers a new kind of Chinese restaurant: one that is in equal measure experimental and tasty. It'll make you reconsider your relationship to gizzards entirely. Dishes like spicy dried tofu, baby cabagge with ham soup and Hunan-style spicy drunk, are stand-outs.

Barney Greengrass
Courtesy: Marianne Rafter

6. Barney Greengrass

Restaurants Delis Upper West Side

Despite decor that Jewish mothers might call “schmutzy,” this legendary deli is a madhouse at breakfast and brunch. Enormous egg platters come with the usual choice of smoked fish (such as sturgeon or Nova Scotia salmon). Prices are high but portions are large—and that goes for the sandwiches, too. Or try the less costly dishes: matzo-ball soup, creamy egg salad or cold pink borscht served in a glass jar.

Flor de Mayo
Photograph: Courtesy Flor de Mayo

7. Flor de Mayo

Restaurants Peruvian Upper West Side

There have been countless restaurants offering takes on fusion food through the years, but often times, it ends up feeling gimmicky and simply put, it often misses the mark. Flor de Mayo, which has two Upper West Side locations, was never meant to be trendy. The lengthy menu puts Chinese, Spanish and Peruvian flavors together. You'll find juicy pollo a la brasa (Peruvian roast chicken) on a plate with lo mein in a casual, diner-like setting.

han dynasty
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

8. Han Dynasty

Restaurants Chinese Upper West Side

Known for his fiery Szechuan food and salty tongue, Taiwan native Han Chiang has earned a cult following in the City of Brotherly Love. Perhaps the most beloved hometown franchise since the Rocky movies, his Szechuan chain, Han Dynasty, made its chili-oil mark on Philadelphia, and has since marched into NYC, with locations in the East Village and Upper West Side.

Absolute Bagels
Photograph: Absolute Bagels

9. Absolute Bagels

Restaurants Bakeries Upper West Side

This neighborhood gem has been showing up better-known Upper West Side bagel establishments for years, serving freshly boiled bagels in their most perfect form. A respectable array of toppings includes cream cheeses (blueberry, sun-dried tomato, walnut-raisin), Tofutti, deli meats, salads and silky smoked fish—but trust us, all 16 bagel varieties here taste just fine by themselves.

Photograph: Kate Mathis

10. Candle Café West

Restaurants Vegan Upper West Side

The team behind Candle Cafe and Candle 79 on the Upper East Side bring their vegan eats to the other side of the park. The menu includes signature dishes, like a cajun seitan sandwich and a sweet-potato casserole with black beans, millet and country gravy.

Photograph: Courtesy Leyla

11. Leyla

Restaurants Turkish Upper West Side

Located in the bottom of an Upper West Side townhouse, Leyla is dressed like a home of someone well-traveled: flat-woven rugs are hung alongside buoy-shaped lamps made out of interlacing rope, with blue velvet furniture and molasses-colored wood. The Turkish abode’s owners are Huseyin Ozer (of Bodrum, a nearby Turkish restaurant) and business partner, Berna Erbilgin Gundogdu. There’s a bar, main dining room and garden, perfect for after a trip to the Natural Museum.

Photograph: Michael Tulipan

12. Awadh

Restaurants Indian Upper West Side

Gaurav Anand (Moti Mahal Delux) focuses on dum pukht, a slow-cooking northern tradition, for this uptown Indian eatery.

Gray's Papaya
Photograph: Alex Strada

13. Gray's Papaya

Restaurants Upper West Side

Following the shuttering of its West Village location in 2013, the uptown outpost remains the last and only Gray’s Papaya location in New York. Grab an old-school Recession Special—two franks (including unlimited toppings like chopped onions, sauerkraut and, yes, even tomato sauce) and a 14-ounce drink for $4.95—while this New York favorite is still around.

Nice Matin
Photograph: Courtesy Nice Matin

14. Nice Matin

Restaurants French Upper West Side

Nice Matin draws mature locals seeking a nonchallenging night out. The French fare isn’t particularly inventive, but it’s tasty and well executed.


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