As many of you know, I am currently an upper east side resident, and exploring this oft-overlooked neighborhood has been my personal mission over the past two months. While “cutting edge” and “trendy” aren’t normally the words that you would associate with this area, I think that there is certainly something to be said for “local” and “low key” with a side of “quality.” While I still have much more exploring to do, read on for my list of favorite spots to stake out on Manhattan’s upper east side.
Hutch & Waldo – This tiny Aussie coffee shop has some of the friendliest people I’ve met working there. They also make a mean flat white, and the decor makes me want to move in.
JG Melon – Nothing beats a bacon cheeseburger and cottage fries, am I right? JG Melon has aged well, and remains a neighborhood institution. Don’t forget to get a Bloody Bull with lunch.
Flora Bar – From the people who brought you Estela (one of my favorite NYC restaurants, ever), this beautiful restaurant in the Met Breuer space (formerly the Whitney) is perhaps the most scene-y spot I’ve encountered on the UES. If the higher prices are a turn-off, go for a coffee and a sticky bun and sit in the sun-bathed entryway.
The Penrose – One of my favorite cocktail spots in the area, you can’t beat the Penrose for a dirty pickle martini and a dark, quiet corner.
Orwasher’s – One of the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever eaten in my life, period. This cookie is up there with Levain, people, and surpasses the oft-Instagrammed donuts and croissants from this little bakery.
Ines – On the newer side, the little white-washed all-day cafe is a neighborhood gem. Grab a window seat, an excellent coffee, and a meal that ranges from feel-good healthy to decadent, depending on your mood.
Uva – If pasta is the name of your game, look no further than Uva. The antipasti platters and the pappardelle ragu are the standouts here.
Quality Eats – I know, I know, an outpost of a downtown spot that we’ve all heard about. But I think that the UES location is the brightest and airiest of them all, and you can’t beat the monkey bread and PBJ bacon.