Best Upper East Side restaurants
While many neighborhood Japanese joints serve sushi rolls with wacky names, Sushi of Gari prefers to play with unusual ingredients and oddball combinations. Adventurous eaters brave long lines to cram into his small place and order a sushi tasting menu (Gari’s Choice). Sugio has been known to pair seared foie gras with daikon radish; salmon with tomato and onion; and spicy tuna with mayo, Tabasco and sesame oil.
This pint-sized restaurant packs a serious culinary punch thanks to its comforting dishes—order the gooey mac and cheese—that remind diners of meals cooked in their very own homes.
Since 2008, expansion-minded chef Michael White has focused his restaurants in the upper echelons of soulful Italian cooking. But the multi-Michelin-starred toque goes French with this 186-seat dining room, named after a landlocked region in southeastern France and decorated with illuminated banquettes, arched doorways and vaulted ceilings hung with chandeliers.
This expansive spot on the UES is trendier than your average hole-in-the-wall Thai spot, thanks to its floor-to-ceiling windows and hanging plants. Bring a group of friends to order from the menu that ranges from comfy classics to adventurous palate pleasers.
The Anglophilic Fat Radish folks bring their downtown dandy-baiting brand of cool to the Upper East Side with this bi-level seasonal eatery. The kitchen takes on elevated home-style cooking, featuring dishes like summer-cucumber salad, fried Cape Cod oysters with edible seaweed, and a fennel-and-fish pie with lobster and mussels. The downstairs dining room is outfitted with subtle nautical touches like white-washed copper walls and navy-blue leather banquettes.
Gourmet grocer Eli Zabar spotlights earthy fare like ricotta gnocchi and charred rib eye steak at his full-service restaurant, with a by-the-glass wine list featuring bottles pulled from his Zabar's storefront.
The Jewish Museum, housed in the 1908 Warburg Mansion, mounts exhibitions of contemproary and modern art related to Judaica. And lucky for hungry visitors, there is a permanent uptown outpost of Russ & Daughters, the iconic Lower East Side purveyor of kosher delicacies like lox, sable and whitefish.
Decked out with dangling palm ferns and Cuban checkered-tile floors, this sunny pizzeria from brother-owners Tom and Anthony Martignetti (Brinkley's, Southside) features creative pies like purple kale with butternut squash and Thai coconut curry with rock shrimp. It's not as good as eating pizza by the actual beach, but it's pretty darn close.