Our 10 Best Upper West Side Restaurants

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Topped with bacon, slaw, and fried green tomatoes and sided with cheese grits, the fried chicken biscuit sandwich at Jacob's Pickles


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.


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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


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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


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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
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The formal dining room at Barney Greengrass -- a more informal deli-style space is found next door.


Location Info

Gazala

380 Columbus Ave., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

Gray's Papaya

2090 Broadway, New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

Caffe Storico

170 Central Park W., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

Osteria Cotta

513 Columbus Ave., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

Boulud Sud

20 W. 64th St., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

Telepan

72 W. 69th St., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

Jacob's Pickles

509 Amsterdam Ave., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

Barney Greengrass

541 Amsterdam Ave., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

Thai Market

960 Amsterdam Ave., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
22 comments
francesglick10023
francesglick10023

Dissappointed in this list. Makes no sense if you know the UWS.  You got telepan right but totally missed cesca and bunch of others.

Sookey
Sookey

You think Osteria Cotta has "an excellent seating area"?   You must be anorexic if you can sit there comfortably without your table jammed into your stomach and stone deaf if you can hear your dining companions or your waiter.   Cotta squeezes way too many tables and chairs (and baby strollers) into more than half of a narrow stretch of sidewalk already over-occupied by street furniture.  Not only do diners not have enough room to eat comfortably,  but pedestrians do not have enough room to walk by those tables (with no guard rails) without bumping into their occupants or tripping over their feet, dogs, or strollers.   That whole block is end-to-end sidewalk cafe dining, but only Cotta manages to be such an intrusion to passers-by and a very noisy discomfort to its patrons.

adam.andrewx
adam.andrewx

how do you exclude Dovetail from this list and expect to have any credibility?


This is perhaps one of the worst "best of" lists I've ever seen.   The people who compiled this simply don't have any idea what the UWS has to offer foodwise

spooninthepath
spooninthepath

Might be helpful next time to include the boundaries of your given neighborhood--unless you intentionally left that vague. I assume you didn't try Marea?

I don't see the Jewish Deli connection at Jacob's Pickles. You guys should read my review of the place!

JeffreyWriter
JeffreyWriter

Very good list. Omission of Kefi is acceptable since it's temporarily closed. Saiguette's opening excited me until I realized they were charging $9 for a banh mi. Would probably replace it with Absolute Bagels. 

Nice work!

spicythainoodle
spicythainoodle

Thai market at #2?   Coming from a Thai person, this place does not impress me with their authenticity or flavors.  wondee siam across the street is better in my opinion.   I would put El Malecon on this list before thai market.

garumphs
garumphs

Jacob's Pickles?  You MUST be kidding.  The service there is terrible and, while the food is passable, good luck actually receiving the items you ordered (two separate occasions we were informed that the kitchen didn't have a requested side or appetizer.....when the bill came at the end of the meal)

mhalakis
mhalakis

Having Gray's Papaya on this list makes the rest of your selections suspect. I have been to Cotta and a few others and they are great additions to our hood. But leaving out Ditch Plains?

Restaurants that should have got the nod over Gray's:

1. Ditch Plains

2. Gabriella's 

3. The Cottage

But I get what you were going for, very artistic of you....just not helpful. 


mhalakis
mhalakis

Having Gray's Papaya on this list makes the rest of your selections suspect. I have been to Cotta and a few others and they are great additions to our hood. But leaving out Ditch Plains?

Restaurants that should have got the nod over Gray's:

1. Ditch Plains

2. Gabriella's 

3. The Cottage

But I get what you were going for, very artistic of you....just not helpful. 



ajweberman
ajweberman

Great article. Right on the money

adam.andrewx
adam.andrewx

@garumphs   agree 100%


Jacob's pickles is not even the best place on the block, let alone one of the top 10 on the UWS   (The food next door at slightly oliver is better)



spooninthepath
spooninthepath

@mhalakis Part of being the best on the Upper West Side is being distinctly UWS in some way. Gray's Papaya is an UWS classic. I have no idea why you would even consider The Cottage on that list. I've never been to either of the others. And what about this list is "artistic?"

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