I was lucky enough to call the Upper West Side home for nearly three years when I first moved to Manhattan. While not the trendiest or fastest-moving of areas, it truly felt like a neighborhood, which made it that much more difficult to leave. I eventually made my way downtown to Chelsea, but this often quirky and wholly homey ‘hood will always hold a very large place in this New Yorker’s heart. Read on for some of my favorite spots on the Upper West Side.
Bin 71 – My all-time favorite wine bar on the Upper West, I can say with confidence that I was a regular at this tiny little corner spot. The menu is quite limited here, so plan on staying for a glass of wine or apertivo and a cheese plate, and then heading elsewhere for your dinner. But the vibe and charm cannot be beat.
Jacob’s Pickles – Any restaurant with the word pickles (perhaps my favorite food) in the title is gold in my book, but Jacob’s Pickles also happens to have some pretty hearty Southern fare. I prefer stopping here for brunch, when you have ample time to go for a long stroll in the park immediately following the meal. The mac n’ cheese is heavenly, and don’t forget to order a flight of pickled veggies (and a bloody mary – their’s are top notch).
Cafe Frida – Upon moving to the UWS, one of my first orders of business was finding the best neighborhood Mexican spot, and Cafe Frida fit the bill. The guac is a can’t miss, and the assortment of tacos is perfect for either a weekend brunch or dinner any night of the week.
Parm – Yes this is Parm’s second location and yes it is just as good as the first. The eggplant and chicken parm entrees here are no-brainers, and the chopped salad and zucchini straws are excellent for starters. Under no circumstances miss the ice cream cake options for dessert – if there’s more than one flavor that night, order a slice of each and thank me later.
Cafe Lalo – Normally when an institution is well known for being featured in a hit film (You’ve Got Mail), I run in the exact opposite direction (and quickly). But Cafe Lalo hits it out of the park every time. They steam their eggs in their massive espresso machine, which makes them exceptionally light and fluffy (and healthy too). They also have great cappuccinos and a to-die-for dessert selection (I recommend their cheesecakes).
Dive 75 – Board games? Fun size candy bars? The quintessential dive bar atmosphere? Count me in for all. This local UWS bar is the perfect place for a cold beer and a round (or seven) of Connect Five after dinner in the hood.
Honorable Mention – Levain. See my NYC cookie guide for more details 🙂