There was a false impression that New York lacked any good Restaurants on the upper west side. With time, it became clear that this assertion was false. On the North Edge, many restaurants have recently opened. Halal and Kosher eateries are expanding. Along with the neighborhood’s well-known pubs, bistros, and Italian restaurants, there are also Vietnamese, Indian, Turkish, Chilean, and more pricey and higher-end Mexican restaurants.
It’s true that the pandemic at one point forced the closure of nearly half of this map, but at the same time that venerable eateries like Shun Lee West and Old John’s Luncheonette went out of business (the last of which reopened in a new configuration in June 2017), brand-new icons like Bánh Vietnamese Shop House, Pastrami Queen, and Charles Pan Fried Chicken emerged. The Upper West Side, which stretches from Columbus Circle to 110th Street west of Central Park, is always evolving in terms of cuisine.
Currently, Dagon is one of the Upper West Side’s busiest eateries. Whether or not the windows facing the sidewalk are open, the dining room is noisy and breezy. The mezze collection costs $45 and includes dishes such as the Japanese eggplant confit, marinated beets, Moroccan carrots, chicken liver mousse, labneh, and muhamarra, which is best enjoyed while sitting at the bar. The breads are important.
2. Broadway Diner
The Upper West Side’s Broadway used to be filled with Greek restaurants and its Cuban-Chinese rivals like beads on a necklace. Currently, few remain. One of the old-timers is the Broadway Diner, with its rotating chairs around the horseshoe-shaped lunch counter. The pancakes, stuffed muffins, and two-egg breakfasts with a wider selection of meats—including salami and pastrami—shaved thin like bacon and served with mustard are among the best morning items. Sandwiches and hamburgers are precisely what you would expect.
3. Atlas Kitchen
When the upscale eatery Atlas Kitchen opened three years ago, it was immediately packed with clients. The menu included dishes from all around China and was served in a stylish, contemporary bi-level setting. Chef and Hunan native Kaiyuan Li runs the kitchen. He uses his skills in Germany to create dishes like Chongqing chicken, steamed fish head with red chilies, and beef flank in a dry wok.
4. Taqueria 86
Taqueria 86, a sports bar in Mexico named after the year the World Cup was staged in Mexico City, has far more comfortable seating than you may anticipate and fewer televisions than you might have anticipated. The Nixtamal tortillas are used to create the 10 taco options, which are served two to each order and are regionally themed. In addition to the tacos, sports bars typically provide corn on the cob, guacamole and chips, flautas, burritos, quesadillas, and tortas.
5. Happy Hot Hunan
Chinese food that is both genuine and excellent is served by Happy Hot Hunan, New York. Happy Hot Hunan’s great variety of dishes including seafood, Hunan special, soup, mushrooms, and dry pot make it attractive for tourists. Only a few cusine offers such a variety of delicious foods.
6. Black Lab Cafe
Kris and Nik Powers as well as their mother Lise Evans made the decision to build a dog-friendly establishment. Black Lab Cafe is a coffee business providing goodies for people and dogs alike, named for their labs, Daisy and Lola. Look for a menu that includes sandwiches, salads, pastries, coffee, and tea, as well as a distinct menu that is dog-friendly.
7. Barney Greengrass
The Upper West Side establishment that bills itself as the “Sturgeon King” in 1908 also operates as a fully complete meat deli, with noticeably normal-sized sandwiches (pastrami, tongue, turkey, salami, and chopped liver) rather than ones that are bloated. There are also some cross-over classics, including a tongue omelet and pastrami-cured fish on a bagel.
8. Izzy’s Smokehouse
Izzy’s Smokehouse began in Crown Heights in 2016 and subsequently opened a location on the Upper West Side. It’s possible that it was the first kosher Texas-style barbecue in the area. The unusually topped with purple slaw brisket sandwich is a tasty option, but so are the delightfully fatty lamb ribs and the beef “dino” ribs. Other tasty options include chimichurri chicken, egg rolls, and barbecue tacos.
9. Jacob’s Pickles
Chefs Glenroy Brown and Harold Villarosa were in charge of Jacob’s Pickles when it first opened its doors eleven years ago. This restaurant, which serves what it calls “southern comfort cuisine” including fried chicken, deviled eggs, gumbo, shrimp and grits, and biscuit-based sandwiches, the majority of which contain bacon, may have the most downtown vibe on the Upper West Side. Several Jewish traditions are present, including matzoh ball soup and pickles, pickles, and more pickles. This is a destination for drinking since it offers a strong whiskey and craft beer selection.
10. Bombay Frankie Roti Roll
This little but excellent booth specializes in Bombay frankies, a type of street food popular in Mumbai. Here, a variety of rolled-up rotis with contents including spinach, mushrooms, omelettes, and potatoes are offered for vegetarians and vegans. Don’t forget to get the spicy masala fries if you want fast food at its most tasty.
Antique Malecon is a Cuban eatery with overlays of Dominican and Puerto Rican cuisine, illustrating the evolving Latino population of the area that served as the setting for West Side Story. Customers have been flocking to this bustling restaurant for decades because of the traditional pressed sandwiches, hog and pot roasts, rotisserie and fricasseed birds, mofongos, and serving-size soups.
12. Jin Ramen
Through chef Shuichi Kotani, this pleasantly surprising institution offers moderately priced bowls of ramen with a choice of six broths: vegetarian, hot tonkotsu, shoyu, tonkotsu, and tonkotsu. Ingenious bowls combine Korean kimchi and Thai green curry sauce with a choice of thick or thin, firmer-than-usual noodles. Along with the typical fried chicken and edamame, the starters offer a variety of salads.
13. Holy Schnitzel
The addition of this Brooklyn-based brand, founded by Sivan and Ofeer Benaltaba and now with a few locations in NYC, to Amsterdam Avenue expanded the range of UWS kosher options. The kitchen has mastered the technique for preparing breaded chicken cutlets such that the outside is very crunchy and the inside is still moist. There are several tastes and coatings to choose from, including sesame, panko, and cornflakes. The non-cutlet options worth ordering are potato cigars, hot dogs, hummus, and avocado salad (pastry flutes oozing spuds).
14. Chick Chick
Early last year, BoMee Chu and chef Jun Park opened the much-anticipated Korean fried chicken restaurant with the name “Chick Chick” on the Upper West Side. The typical wings, tenders, and sandwiches come in a variety of flavor combinations, but a Nashville-style hot chicken sandwich is a pleasant surprise. Kimchi fried rice, chicken ramen, and green tea cheesecake are some further diversionary foods.
15. Bánh Vietnamese Shop House
The Upper West Side is becoming one of the city’s top locations for Vietnamese cuisine because of the fascinating restaurant that Nhu Ton and John Nguyen built, Bánh. There are several recipes that have subtle variations, such as a dark banh xeo with turmeric-laced batter, coconut, and a variety of ingredients, like marinated shrimp, smoked pig belly, and mung bean puree. Every meal at Banh Vietnamese Shop House is an adventure, and the inventive banh mi is perfect for a picnic in the surrounding Central Park.
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