I know the UES gets a bad restaurant rap, but I'm wondering whether anyone has favorites or just highly recommended dinner spots. The Daniel is phenomenal, I know. But I'm more interested in non-prix fixe menus
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I don't know the UES dining scene particularly well, but whenever I am searching for NYC restos, I use a combination of http://nymag.com/restaurants/?f=food (I like it because you can narrow your search quite a lot; make sure to always select the "critics pic" option!) and the Where To Eat lists on Eater (http://ny.eater.com/). Scroll down a little, and find them on the right hand column of the page.
I hope you find these resources helpful!
for just regular old eating, I like Taksim (Turkish) on Second at around 54th, and Fusia at 56th and Lex. There's also a good burmese place up on Second near 72d called Cafe Mingala. There's also Cafe Sabarsky at the Neue Gallerie on 5th at 86th. For something fancier, there's also Felidia on E. 58th
Sabarsky! Their desserts are super. And the savory menu is great, too.
amysarah is a trusted home cook.
As you said, the UES isn't the best for eating (I'm assuming UES to mean roughly above E. 70th St.) One good place is Pio Pio - 1st Ave around 89th-90th(?). A couple of other branches around town. Really delicious Peruvian roast chicken and tostones, beans, side salads - you can eat sort of family style, with a whole chicken and multiple side dishes. Good drinks and prices are pretty good by UES standards.
I don't eat up there too often anymore, but my father lived near a neighborhood-y place called Jacques (E. 85th) - traditional brasserie, steak frites, frisee aux lardons, etc. Good food, but nothing outstanding. But, they specialize in mussels frites - a few different kinds - and they're really good and a great deal. Good wines by glass, Belgian beer, etc. Used to eat their mussels with my dad all the time - miss that! There's also Nica's on E. 84th - very good pasta, cozy warm neighborhood kind of place.
There used to be lots of great old Czech/Hungarian restaurants up there (Vasata's roast duck still haunts me!), but sadly, they're pretty much gone now.
Chops is a trusted home cook.
Maya's for Mexican & JG Melons for burgers, JoJo's- French, Boat House or Atlantic Grill - Seafood. I lived on 73rd & 1st and sadly my favorite haunts are gone.
Oh, and Orsay for French bistro.
I haven't been to the Candle Cafe in a while, but it was great when I was there a couple of years ago.
Candle is still great for a vegan mean. And thanks to all for suggestions. I always find myself going to the same UES spots, and I figured I could get some new ideas
I live on the UES. I'll try to recommend a few that don't cost an arm and a leg.Match 65 has a great chicken paillard and artichokes.Amber has my favorite chicken pad thai in the world. It's awesome.The Regency hotel's sports bar, The Library, has my favorite turkey burger and tomato soup with little grilled cheeses.Uskudar has great Turkish and taramosalata. Italianissimo is a secret to me. Cutest, best homemade Italian outside of Italy in my opinion.Alice's Tea Cup has the yummiest scones and te best reuben ever! A little unusual version though.The list goes on but those come to mind first.Happy eating :)
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The Mark for somewhat overpriced but delicious food from Jean-Georges.
Square Meal for a quiet, delicious straightforward, high-end meal.
Sfolglia for the best upscale Italian in the neighborhood.