Here are seven finds in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, and why they rate.
A Splendid Seven
We know you have a search engine. This little guide to seven Upper East Side gems isn’t a “best of” list you’ll see in the online foodie magazines. (OK, we do include Daniel.) But each of these dining spots, humble or haute, has earned the abiding loyalty of its patrons.
1. Up Thai
A brief walk up Second Avenue from Regency Towers and right near The Wellesley is Up Thai, with its upscale street food. Up Thai receives praise for its romantic mood, an exceptional cocktail menu, and Thai cuisine that won’t disappoint. Among the top menu picks: pineapple vegetable fried rice, papaya salad, and crispy spring rolls filled with carrots, celery, cabbage, and clear noodles, accompanied by a plum dipping sauce.
Midway between Carlton Towers and Central Park, at 60 East 65th Street, is Daniel. The darling of culinary champions also happens to be the #1 Upper East Side dining spot in TripAdvisor's rankings. Founded by Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud, it’s the place for elegant attire, fine wines, and extraordinary service. Every dish is a work of art. To bask in Daniel’s old-world charm, you’re welcome to visit the bar for a white cosmopolitan (with its signature orchid in ice) and an à la carte dessert.
Chef Boulud has won James Beard Awards both for Outstanding Restaurateur and Outstanding Chef.
3. Candle 79
Sustainable cuisine isn’t just a keyword at Candle 79. Located at 154 East 79th Street, this is classic plant-based haute cuisine, served in a chic yet relaxed setting. Standouts include the seitan skewers and the seitan picatta — actually, whatever’s featured as the night’s seitan special is a must-try. Big windows with street views, and kind, attentive service.
4. Candle Café
For a more casual version of Candle 79, try Candle Café at 1307 Third Avenue. The mezze plate and the quesadillas are phenomenal.
5. Bemelmans Bar
This magical place in the Carlyle Hotel at 35 East 76th Street is decorated by Ludwig Bemelmans of the Madeline children’s book fame. It features live jazz (with a cover charge), champagne, and whimsical murals. It attracts a who’s-who clientele. Yet to make it even more charming, the restaurant arranges tea parties for children, too.
At 1582 York Avenue between East 83rd and 84th Streets, Mumtaz has enjoyed a dedicated local following for decades. It’s a low-key Indian spot, well-worn and comforting. Don’t miss the samosas or the Aloo Bengan — a potato and eggplant dish accompanied by dhal and herbed rice with an onion chutney.
At 1431 Third Avenue at East 81st Street, this Turkish café and bar is known for mosaic tile tabletops, pitch-black Turkish coffee, and an airy, bustling vibe. Enjoy a platter of great small plates, such as Yalanci Dolma (stuffed vine leaves), Patlican Domates Soslu (hot eggplant topped with tomato), Barbunya Pilaki (lemony salad of potatoes, kidney beans, and carrots), and fabulous falafel.
Carlyle Property Management Welcomes You
We are delighted to offer best-in-class apartment living at several locations in New York City's elegant Upper East Side. These seven restaurants are just a few of the many local gems to discover while touring our luxury properties. Bon appétit!