Awadh on Broadway and 98th made the list.
Food critics routinely dismiss the Upper West Side as the flyover state of the New York City restaurant world, so for someone to even go to the trouble of making a list of the “best” local restaurants is a kind of triumph. That said, maybe it’s not a triumph at all, because this new list from New York magazine is a highly debatable list, isn’t it?
Reviewer Joshua David Stein wrote that the UWS is “hell if you’re in a rush.” He tried to celebrate the neighborhood’s true spirit, not necessarily the finest local spots — because some of those spots are actually offshoots, like The Ribbon. (Also, maybe that’s why Red Farm didn’t make the list?) Anyhow, here’s the list, and yes please debate his choices in the comments.
103 W. 77th St., nr. Columbus Ave
2. Oxbow Tavern
240 Columbus Ave., nr. 71st St.
3. Shun Lee West
43 W. 65th St.
2588 Broadway, nr. 98th St
5. Café Luxembourg
200 W. 70th St., nr. Amsterdam Ave.
6. Boulud Sud
20 W. 64th St., nr. Broadway
7. Absolute Bagels
2788 Broadway, nr. 108th St.
8. Fine & Schapiro
138 W. 72nd St., nr. Columbus Ave.
9. The Milling Room
446 Columbus Ave., nr. 82nd St.
10. 108 Food Dried Hot Pot
2794 Broadway, nr. 108th St.
11. Mama’s Too!
2750 Broadway, nr. 108th St.
12. Sushi Kaito
244 W. 72nd St., nr. West End Ave.
13. Barney Greengrass
541 Amsterdam Ave., nr. 87th St.
14. Murray’s Sturgeon
2429 Broadway, nr. 89th St.
15. 74th Street Cafe & Steakhouse
2121 Broadway, nr. 74th St.
16. Gray’s Papaya
2090 Broadway, nr. 72nd St.
502 Amsterdam Ave., nr. 84th St.
18. Ayurveda Cafe
706 Amsterdam Ave., nr. 94th St.
Absolutely Awadh! Gennaro’s should be on there too. Have to try Leonti one of these days.
Totally agree! Truly authentic, consistency good Italian cucina.
This list is sad. Oxbow is over rated for sure. Grays papaya? Please. It’s hotdogs. Maybe for nostalgia but don’t include in top 20 best spots. Leonti is only there for being ex John Frasier spot. Absolute Bagels? Jesus. Again not for restaurants list. Milling Room is a BEAUTIFUL spot but idk about #9 best food.
Ayurveda, Absolute Bagels and Awadh are all great. Aagan at 103rd street is also really fine.
You cannot leave sirenetta off this list of you want to be taken seriously.
In my humble opinion Celeste is the best restaurant on the UWS. The food is always awesome and high quality and it is very reasonably priced.
There’s not a lot of elbow room, however.
We went to Celeste for dinner once, years ago, and the waiter and manager were so appallingly rude to us that we walked out without dinner. I will never set foot in there again.
Celeste is very good, Gennaro is infinitely better in every possible way. Which is why it is so insane that they aren’t even mentioned in passing.
This list is terrible. There are like two good spots on here.
What about café du soleil !!!!! It should be number one for sure
Haven’t gone to Cafe du Soleil for about ten years. Found the food mediocre, decor poor, and price steeper than expected.
Definitely should win best brunch for the mussels and garlic fries.
Really? I find their food mediocre, at best.
Max it’s in my top five can you beat their coq au vin?
Why isn’t The Bagel Nosh on this list? The UWS peaked for restaurants 35 years ago. That’s when there was a scene and the area was hip. There were actually people out and about after 10pm on weeknights. The list is pathetic.
What about Maison Pickle?! Some of the best cocktails on the UWS and great food!
Murray’s Sturgeon makes this list (I walked out once I saw the prices per pound), but Han Dynasty (my personal #1 UWS place) is omitted? For shame.
And WHERE is LEGEND 72, reliable purveyor of the finest Chongqing Chicken between West 59th and 84th Streets?????????? Has this NY Mag “CRITIC” ever been to the UWS or did “Joshua” simply spend a few hours waltzing through Choice Chowhound Diatribes?
Leonti overpriced and underwhelming. Oxbow ok only because
it’s on UWS. Fine & Schapiro, seriously? Boulud Sud for sure and Cafe Luxembourg a longtime neighborhood favorite for many good reasons.
Bodega 88 needs to be discovered. Brilliantly creative, affordable Latin dishes and nice cocktails too.
Shhhhh… dont let the word out!!
Yet they do not serve coffee with Brunch. Told us to go to Starbucks of we wanted coffee with our brunch. WTF.
Agree on Celeste and Barney Greengrass.
Ayurveda seems a strange niche choice.
A sorry list indeed. For the few things on offer I like The Milling Room and no corkage Tuesdays are good to have. But when you have to go with franks with tropical drinks, bagels with their smoked fish accompaniments, and second rate pastrami and still can’t get to 20 you’re in deep trouble. The chap couldn’t have been trying
Sala Thai is a terrific new addition to the UWS. 74th and Amsterdam. Fresh and appropriately spicy when you assure them that you want it Thai spicy.
Wondering why the always-packed Sushi Yasaka [Sushi Kaito’s sister restaurant across the street on 72nd] didn’t make the cut. Great value and reliable quality fish.
Sushi Yasaka is a gem. The fact that it’s not on the list, along with Mermaid Inn, takes away all credibility.
why isnt mcdonalds on 95th st not on list
Because it no longer has the same ambiance since the recent renovation.
fyi per huffpost Joshua David Stein
Joshua David Stein, a 26 year-old writer living in Williamsburg …
absolute bagels has the most amazing Egg Bagels so yes should be on the list.
Celeste used to be better. Milling Room? meh.
Gray’s hotdogs are waaay too salty. Maybe Jin Ramen should be on there. Overall not learned anything interesting from that list so clearly he is not qualified.
I wonder what research if any went into crafting this list.
Seema like something like this:
Here are the 10 best streets on the UWS– 76th, 111th, 85th, etc. No rationale.
And no Rosa Mexicano on the list?
Fraud list. Fake news.
Jacobs Pickles should be represented here. Just saying
Agree with adding Maison Pickle, Rosa Mexicano, Mermaid Inn (Sirenetta), Gennaro, sushi Yasaka, Gari and Tessa. Take out Papaya, Absolut bagels, Murray? Not a restaurant.
Yes… anybody who is willing to stand in Line to get into Jacob’s Pickle would concur!
Opening up soon a fourth restaurant in our hood, after success with the first, the owner deserves a top spot on the list.
Gray’s Papaya is both not good and not even a real restaurant. Weird list.
Barney Greengrass is an overpriced tourist trap. But without it the list just shrinks. Loved the reporter’s characterization of the UWS as a flyover state! Oh, I do like Naruto Ramen, although that’s a bit of a chain.
No French Roast or Cafe Lalo? No Harriet’s?
Harriet’s is closed!
Shun Lee? No way. Way overpriced for essentially PF Changs in NYC.
Let’s not even mention that Maison Pickle and Sun-Chan aren’t on this list…and they even put the wrong 72nd street sushi place on here.
Agree about Shun Lee. Who wrote this list? It is completely off.
This! Sushi Yasaka all the way!
Used to go there, but then I got tired of the attitude and going to a Japanese restaurant not owned and operated by Japanese.
The fact that Gray’s papaya is on this list makes the whole thing suspect.
Typical meat heavy list. I’m so over this. People need to get with it and go vegan. This list is insulting.
Can you suggest some veg/vegan places in the neighborhood?
I used to defend the UWS against people who said the dining scene there is sub par, until I saw this list.
West side Rag should make their own list – perhaps a readers choice list. No one knows better than the people who live here and I surely could use some different places to try!
Great idea. Reader’s Poll. The list is poor to say the least.
did anyone consider the health ratings when making this list
several of the places listed have been closed by the board of health and now have less then an A rating
No Tessa or Salumeria Rossi? Might be the two best restaurants on the uws and they are behind a bagel place? What a joke….
Tessa definitely needs to be on this list!
Oxbow Tavern…not so much.
Cibo e Vino (89th & B’wy) has it all: fine quality northern Italian food, good prices, and charming atmosphere conducive to conversation, an increasing rarity, now. No UWS list can be regarded seriously without its inclusion.
Hello, it’s JDS, I wrote the list. Here for questions and comments. I love West Side Rag so figured why not mix it up.
To answer some questions off the bat: No, I do not live in the UWS. I live in Kensington, Brooklyn. I am also no longer a 26-year-old writer but a 38-year-old one. I did however live on the UWS (Morningside Heights) for years and am frequently up there.
Another thing to consider is that in creating the list I tried not to be too duplicative in terms of genres. Thus if Absolute is mentioned, I wouldn’t put another bagel place, if that makes sense.
Anyway, happy to address any of the concerns raised. I’ll also take praise, fwiw.
Hey Joshua! Thanks for jumping in.. I love both NYMag and Grubstreet (and Vulture, but i digress). Just wondering what kind of research goes into a piece like this? I am interested because NYMag puts out so many “Best Of” lists and am wondering how much time and how many visits you make to different restaurants?
Without trying to be disrespectful – all of us who live on the UWS agree that this list is well….ridiculous. It’s kind of like you just slapped some places you kind of tried, but really did not engage and seek out places with any great effort. Gray’s Papaya? Really? We are offended and disappointed. Back to the drawing board for you, sir.
You obviously can’t make a list and please everyone so in light of these responses I’m just going to say thanks for putting a spotlight on some of these places and giving some suggestions of places to try! I look forward to reading more of your pieces 🙂
@ Ted, regarding vegan/vegetarian options… YES!
Josh, have you tried Gennaro? I’m curious how you came to place Celeste above it.
Thanks for jumping into the conversation (you could also see my other comment below).
Your sneering, snarky, dismissive attitude toward the populace of this neighborhood as described in the article disqualifies you from criticizing anything. The inclusion of Shun Lee West marks you as coming from an actual flyover state.
What about Thai Market and Saiguette? Or even something like Xi’an (or is that considered a chain)
Hey Josh… You left off Peace Food, Blossom, and Saravanaa Bhavan which are all vegetarian but you included a disgusting hot dog stand!?! Great job on your genres. Unbelievable!
I leave all of those restaurants more hungry than when I came in. Yuck!
Thanks JDS! Quick question from the Rag: why not include any of the “Pickle” restaurants –Jacob’s, Maison and Lucky? They are very popular up here.
Hello West Sider,
First thing I want to say is that I’m speaking strictly from my personal point of view. The following shouldn’t be construed as the opinion of Grub Street or NYM. Just me. But again, I am responsible for the list.
As for Jacob’s Pickle, Maison PIckle and Lucky Pickle Dumpling. So part of my criteria for the list was sort of a vector. On one axis you have uniqueness to the UWS, whether it was a level of historicity or a sort of resonance for the neighborhood. On the other you have the level of execution of the food. So Shun Lee and Gray’s — whose inclusion I note has gotten a lot of pushback — score pretty highly on what I might call the sociological or cultural index. Places like Leonti and Oxbow (despite the opinion of a few of your commenters) score quite highly on the culinary acuity. They also have a fair amount of history to each, if not in their current iteration than in the space they occupy.
The Pickle Hospitality Places, again in my opinion, though popular as you note, are middling in both regards. I think the food is…fine but not noteworthy. And I don’t see — though I might be wrong — anything beyond an accident of location that they are in the UWS. Murray’s Sturgeon, on the other hand and by way of counterpoint, could ONLY exist in the UWS. Does that make sense?
Shun Lee is a joke of a Chinese restaurant. Overpriced mediocre-to-bad Chinese food. The decor and service are slightly better than most Chinese restaurants which misleads diners into believing they are getting higher quality food. Don’t be fooled. My Taiwanese immigrant parents thought it was horrible when I brought them there. I had serious GI problems after my last meal there and refuse to go back. Clearly this guy is uninformed.
Any list which includes Shun Lee West has to be a complete joke…
The place is a health hazard and likewise has a 2.5 star Yelp rating.
I agree in theory but relying on Yelp as a guide for fine dining is an amateur mistake
Sushi Kaito is delicious and the ambiance of Milling Room is very nice (setting aside the hit or miss food), but they’ve missed basically all of the truly good spots on the UWS. What about Sirenetta and Mermaid Inn? What about Mokum? What about Jacob’s Pickles or Sala Thai or Tessa or Salumeria Rossi?
Shun Lee is s joke. Over-priced and over-rated. No idea why it is on this list. And Murray’s Sturgeon is not a restaurant.
This list needs a re-do.
Best bagels are at Tal on Broadway 90th. Their bialys are even better.
Agree! Their bialys are amazing!
Piffle. Absolute is so much better.
Agree with a lot of folks, Oxbow Tavern is mediocre. And Gray’s Papaya is overrated. This list is so sad! It doesn’t have Maison Pickle or Jacob’s Pickles which are popular UWS staples. WSR, please start a reader’s recommendation list!
The best chicken on the uws: Malecon, Bdwy & 97. A tie for my favorite Thai places: Thai 72 & Senn.
I have to agree, along with their amazing cafe con leche.
try chirping chicken, a whole or half chicken or the cutlets. incredible flavor.
I don’t see how you could overlook La Sirene UWS. It’s much better than Luxembourg.
This is a saaaaad list. Not even close to representing the best of the UWS. Sad.
According to Eater the top Chinese place in NYC is Atlas Kitchen on west 109th. Anyone been there?
haven’t been to Atlas, yet, but Szechuan Garden on 105 is really, really good.
A real UWSider can not afford to eat at Atlas Kitchen. Checked out the menu and found out the prices too high, and a mediocre menu.
Crave Fishbar should be on this list
It should…but it’s an offshoot and therefore against the arbitrary rules in the article.
How can you forget La Boite en Bois?!
café du soleil & gennaro for sure!!!!! my first choices!!!!
Any list that includes sushi and omits Sushi Yasaka is making a big mistake!
When was this list? Where is Elea? La Sirene. I don’t think of Gray’s Papaya or most of these as “best” – sadly, it’s mssing the best….and while very good, Leonti is out of most people’s budgets…
if you left the UWS, which of these restaurants (or any UWS restaurants ) would you go make a point of going back to
now that is a great criterion; and here’s my reply: tessa; la sirene; milling room; boulud sud; cafe du soleil; the great tapas place that i will not name b/c it’s overcrowded already (hint: used to be called vin’s tapas); boulevard seafood (ex-henry’s). i would come back for all these places. oh, & mokja for the bibimbap.
Haha… I knew what restaurant you were talking about right away. “Vins (no apostrophe) Tapas” just means “Wines Small Plates”. I used to think that was the name, too because of the overhanging sign, but then I saw the little brass plaque next to the door with the restaurant’s real name. Either way, agree it’s a hidden gem!
Han Dynasty is the best Chinese food in the neighborhood, hands down. And Oxbow Tavern? No way!
I’d rather have a baguette from Maison Kayser than suffer through any place on this sorry list.
I cannot believe that Shun Lee could be included in this list. While it is one of the few remaining Chinese restaurants that serves traditional Chinese food, it has taken a nose dive in past years. It’s always been a favorite of mine, and am sorely disappointed that it is no longer a go-to place.