Our 10 Best Upper West Side Restaurants
A score of years ago the Upper West Side was known as one of the worst dining neighborhoods in the city. Well, what happened? You may trace the transformation back to the opening of Picholine, but there were other harbingers, too, so that now the finger-shaped neighborhood that runs along the west side of Central Park, and was immortalized in West Side Story, is now a bonafide dining destination, and you should have no compunction about going up there to eat, say, on a date. Here are our current favorite places.
10. Jacob's Pickles - Pickles are the bedrock of this sprawling and fun-loving café, tarted up like an old-fashioned Jewish deli, and the pickles end up in nearly everything, including the slaw. But instead of pastrami and knishes, Jacob's serves up southern fare with a Jewish flare, and the ridiculously large biscuit sandwiches (one is shown above) are not to be missed. 509 Amsterdam Avenue, 212-470-5566
9. Saiguette - This brand new joint has only a handful of counter seats, but it bests nearly every other Vietnamese place in town, in culinary excitement as well as in price. You won't find a more perfect pho anywhere, the broth delicately scented with sweet spices and so damn good you'll slurp it up before you taste your first rice noodle or nibble your first slice of brisket. 935 Columbus Avenue, 212-866-6888
8. Barney Greengrass - News of this century-old storefront's demise always turns out to be exaggerated. With wonderful cured fish as its focus, Barney Greengrass ("The Sturgeon King") is the Upper West Side's answer to the Lower East Side's Russ & Daughters, and you'd be hard pressed to tell which is better. No nicer place for a brunch of whitefish salad on a bagel, or nova with onions on rye, or scrambled eggs with sturgeon. 541 Amsterdam Avenue, 212-724-4707
The formal dining room at Barney Greengrass -- a more informal deli-style space is found next door.
380 Columbus Ave., New York, NY