Back to NYC Eats… and Drinks!
A Cafe & Wine Room, 973 Columbus Ave [FRENCH / CARIBBEAN]
– The candle lit space is tiny but even tinier is their kitchen, which nevertheless turns out some exceptional organic fare and draws you in with all its aromas. The Avocado appetizer is excellent as are the Shrimp and Meatloaf entrés that I tried – the latter being vegetarian and hard to believe at that! Their menu has 10 items in all so its really easy to choose, and save space for desert while your at it – I tried their Apple Tart which was fab! Another plus here is their BYOB policy with no corkage fees! Did I mention their great prixe fixe deal and their super friendly service??
B Cafe, 566 Amsterdam Ave [BELGIAN / BRUNCH]
– A good brunch alternative, in case you’re tired of waiting for a seat at Jacob’s Pickles! B Cafe (they have a branch on the UES as well) not only does a good job of the Belgian staples, but also a pretty solid Burger, and a fine Eggs Benedict, not to mention their excellent Frites! The traditional Belgian Stew that a fellow diner was having, looked most intriguing too. As one would expect, they also have a good selection of Belgian Beers.
Barney Greengrass, 541 Amsterdam Ave [DELI]
– Over a century-old and still oozing all that character, this UWS institution is worthy of a visit even if your not planning on getting anything. But do yourself a favor and order a Bagel with the works – Lox and Cream Cheese, obviously – you won’t regret it!
Blondie’s, 212W 79th St [BAR]
– An atmospheric sports bar with the best (and spiciest!) Buffalo Wings I’ve had in the city!
Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill, 308W 58th St [JAPANESE]
– Located within the 6 Columbus Hotel, this restaurant – a part of the ever expanding Blue Ribbon brand – has a cosy seating area and elegant bar up front. A corridor connects to the main dining room, with all the Japanese aesthetic ouches one would expect from a high end spot like this. Service is impeccable, the Sake list is huge, and the Sushi and Sashimi – thoughtfully divided by ocean – excellent! Their Soked Pork Belly and Negimaki appetizers are noteworthy too. Pricey! So it definitely helps if your on an expense account or someone’s taking you out!
Buceo 95, 201 W 95th St [SPANISH]
– A lovely neighborhood Wine and Tapas bar, located off the busy thoroughfare that is Amsterdam Ave. With generous sidewalk seating, this is a perfect spot for a warm summer evening, with equally warm service and a fine selection of Tapas, notably the Mushrooms (Champiñones) and the Chicken Kebabs (Pinchos Morunos).
Cafe Lalo, 201W 83rd St [CAFE]
– Floor to ceiling French windows, attractive hostesses, cool posters and a lot of European charm make this quite the destination on the Upper West side. The fact that it starred in ‘You’ve Got Mail’ helps too! Go there for the ambiance more than the coffees and deserts though 😉
Fairway, 2127 Broadway at 74th St [CAFE]
– One of 3 locations for the city’s most beloved grocery chain, the UWS one sports a Cafe on its second floor, overlooking the hustle of Broadway, and serving up a good cup of coffee, fresh bagels and deserts!
Isabella’s, 359 Columbus Ave at 77th St [AMERICAN / BRUNCH]
– Great brunch in a classy setting! Packed to the rafters on Sundays but worth the wait given their reasonable prices and complimentary cocktails – think free Bellini’s!!
Jacobs Pickles, 509 Amsterdam Ave [BRUNCH / SOUTHERN]
– I went there thrice within the month I was introduced to it, and it remains, hands down my favourite brunch destination in all of NYC! A lovely space – high ceilings, exposed bricks and plenty of wood – with several seating options, and a great bar area, lined with Bourbons and Ryes. Their specialty here is Beer (of which they a great selection), Biscuits (which are outstanding!) and Pickles (which are fabulous!) but the thing to begin with is their house special Bloody Mary, which comes with a strip of Bacon and a pickled Egg – the Bloody Mary to beat them all! Order the Chicken Liver Jam and Cheese Grits to share – you will not regret it! Granted you have to wait for ages to get a table here, and the food is as heavy as it gets, but its just so good and so well worth it!!
Levain Bakery, 167 West 74th St [BAKERY]
– This institution on the Upper West, with a branch in the East Hamptons, makes, quite easily, THE BEST Cookies I’ve tasted in NYC! I’m usually a sucker for Oatmeal Raisin but their Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip managed to garner more attention from me!
Popover Cafe, 551 Amsterdam Ave [AMERICAN / BRUNCH]
– Lovely old interiors, warm lighting, reasonably priced, good service and brunch with a ‘Popover’ twist! This place is worth it for the Popovers alone! Get there early, or late (1 pm or later) to avoid the lines!
Saigon Grill, 620 Amsterdam Ave [VIETNAMESE]
– Good food, quick service, huge proportions and reasonable prices – gotta like this place! If your downtown, they have another branch in the West Village.
Shun Lee Cafe, 43W 65th St [CHINESE]
– Friendly staff, excellent service, lovely old-school interiors, and a fantastic selection of Dim Sum. A good option if your craving Chinese in the Lincoln Center area. Pricey!!
The Smith, 1900 Broadway [NEW AMERICAN]
– A large and lively space, decked out in old tiles and vintage lamps; a long and extremely well-stocked bar with a good selection of local brews; efficient service, and a concise menu with affordable prices, make this a great alternative to the tony eateries that surround Lincoln Centre. Their Burger is pretty good, as is their Brick-pressed Chicken. The Fries and Mash Potatoes that accompany those dishes are amazing! They have 2 other, equally buzzing, locations in the city.