I have several issues with typical NYC food guides. First of all, they usually ignore the Upper East Side and that’s where I live, so that’s not cool. Secondly, if they do happen to mention the UES, they pretend that the area is roughly East 59th to East 65th Street. Um, no. Also, the guides do not seem relevant to me. I’m not about to go on a date night to a vegan restaurant and I don’t order three appetizers. I just want to know where a girl in her 20’s can have a little fun. Mkay?
So if you are planning on taking a trip to the real Upper East Side and you’re not looking to be the next New York Times food critic, welcome to my favorite UES spots.
Bagels, since it deserves it’s own category: Pick a Bagel
I have a special relationship with Pick a Bagel. We first met in Gramercy, which is the first place I lived in New York. Those six weeks were crazy, but, if anything, I gained a bagel go-to destination amongst all of the competition.
Favorite Meal: Their everything bagel with egg salad, no additional toppings needed. Even at 9 AM, this sandwich tastes like heaven.
UES Locations: 1101 Lexington Ave. (at 77th); 1475 2nd Ave. (between 76th and 77th)
Classy yet boozy brunch: Parlor Steakhouse
My problem with some bottomless brunch places is that they can get really sloppy really fast. I’m not looking for that anymore. Parlor Steakhouse is classy enough to bring your grandparents – I speak from experience here – yet awesome enough to offer a truly delicious “bottoms up” $27 brunch menu.
Favorite Meal: Be prepared to break your diet for the Crispy Chicken Club. The leftovers heat up great, so don’t forget to take the rest home.
Location: 1600 3rd Ave. (at 90th)
No-one-wants-to-cook date night: Gino’s Pizzeria
At the end of the workday, sometimes I just want to trade dinner duty for a glass of wine. We make our own meals most of the time, but Gino’s is our main spot for when we need a little break. It’s nice yet affordable enough to go for no reason other than laziness. You can also order delivery if you are already in your pajamas. Not that I would know anything about that …
Favorite Meal: Linguine with Shrimp (with garlic and olive oil). It’s so simple, but so good. Bonus: I love saving some of the shrimp for an omelet the next day.
Location: 345 E. 83rd St. (between 1st and 2nd)