Look I’m going to be honest with you, the Upper West Side(UWS) has a lot of things going for it, the food scene just isn’t one of them. Ask any local which neighborhood has the best restaurants and the honest ones won’t mention the UWS.
The quiet neighborhood is home to a lot of families and older residents who like routine. Don’t expect to find flashy, over-the-top, trendy restaurants on the Upper West Side.
But that’s not to say there aren’t a few gems sprinkled in the charming NYC neighborhood. On the contrary, the few Upper West Side restaurants that do gain buzz and draw in folks are the ones worth the trek.
Luckily, the UWS is chock-full of things to do and places to see. Meaning if you spend long enough exploring the neighborhood, you’re bound to build up an appetite. This is where we come in!
We’ve created a list of the best restaurants in the Upper West Side to help you avoid disappointment and leave loving the neighborhood as much as we do. Because the UWS truly is beautiful and inspiring.
So without further ado, let’s dive right into the best UWS restaurants you can’t afford to miss!
Best Restaurants Upper West Side
Mama’s Too! is a small hole in the wall pizzeria that quickly made itself known as one of the best restaurants in the Upper West Side for pizza. Having only opened in 2017, it lacks the storied history of the other top competitors, but what it lacks for in history is made up with delicious flavor and high-quality products. This newcomer is creeping up on the crown for best pizza in NYC.
With it’s continued rise in popularity New Yorkers are traveling from farther and farther away to try this UWS restaurant. It’s not uncommon to have to wait more than 2+ hours for your pie on the weekends (so order online and skip the line!).
Serving both classic New York slices and Sicilian squares it’s often hard choosing just one. But choose you must, they don’t allow change orders or customizations. They know what they have is gold and they won’t allow anyone to tell them otherwise.
As far as my recommendation, you have to try the Angry Nona. If that brings back memories of your grandma chasing you around with a belt I’m sorry. This Sicilian slice combines a hot salami with Calabrian chili oil and hot honey for a *chef’s kiss* pizza.
Address: 2750 Broadway, New York, NY 10025
Further Reading: Curious to know what other pizzerias are considered the best in NYC? Check out 15 EPIC Pizza Joints in New York City You Can’t Afford to Miss.
Charles Pan Fried Chicken
The story of how Charles Pan Fried Chicken became one of the best restaurants in the Upper West Side is a loaded with hard-work over several decades, I’ll give you the quick run-down.
Charles Gabriel was born in in 1947 as one of 21 (yes, 21) kids in a family of sharecroppers. He learned to cook in his mother’s kitchen before moving to New York City at the age of 17.
Once in New York Charles started working at restaurants, learning and building a career through hard work and talent. In the 80’s Charles decided to start working for himself, setting up a table outside of his apartment building in Harlem and selling chicken to his neighbors.
The table turned into a food truck and eventually into brick and mortar locations (with the flagship in Harlem). From then on Charles Pan Fried Chicken has become the pinnacle of soul food in New York City.
Luckily they’ve expanded and opened one of the best restaurants in the Upper West Side, bringing the juiciest, crispiest, most flavor-forward fried chicken to the quiet neighborhood.
The secret lies in how they fry the chicken – in a large cast iron pan, flipping each piece individually. It’s more arduous than using a deep-fryer, but the results are hard to argue with.
The sides are nothing to scoff at either, with mac & cheese, green beans and okra being some of the most popular options.
There is only own down-side to Charles Pan Fried Chicken as far as I can tell. It’s ruined my standard for fried-chicken! Now that I’ve enjoyed one of the best restaurants in the Upper West Side it’s hard to go back to KFC or Popeye’s when I know something to this caliber exists. 😉
Address: 46 W 72nd St, New York, NY 10023
ROKC is an acronym for ramen, oysters, kitchen and cocktails and I’ll be the first to say the UWS restaurant does not disappoint. The reason ROKC made a spot on our list of best restaurants in the Upper West Side is simple, the ramen.
Not many restaurants in the Upper West Side are worth the trek, but ROKC is one of the few I feel comfortable telling folks to swing by if in the area. The UWS has a lot of great things to do (like visiting the American Museum of Natural History) but you’re inevitably going to get hungry.
ROKC makes all the dishes with natural ingredients and offers a rotating seasonal menu. As far as the ramen goes, it’s some of the best in the game. Expect to find flavor-filled bowls including my favorite, the Kyoto ramen made with a soy sauce flavored chicken and fish broth that’s drool-worthy.
Something to note, since this is one of the best restaurants on the Upper West Side there is often a line out the door (no reservations, unfortunately).
Address: 3452 Broadway, New York, NY 10031
Further Reading: Big ramen fan? Us too! Check out 12 Tasty Ramen Restaurants in New York City (Perfect For a Chilly Day).
Good Enough to Eat
Opened in 1981, Good Enough to Eat has become one of those restaurants in the Upper West Side that’s cherished by locals, yet visitors rarely know about. You can walk by a hundred times before deciding to actually visit, but when you do you’ll understand why it’s so loved.
The restaurant makes everything from scratch and sources their ingredients from reputable local farms. The menu is full of simple classics like salads, burgers and sandwiches where fresh ingredients are really able to shine.
The main draw at Good Enough to Eat is the brunch, which consists of an unfussy menu that’s hearty like breakfast at grandmas. Folks can’t get enough of their famous strawberry butter, which is why the pancakes are a popular option.
Good Enough to Eat is not a flashy UWS restaurant instead the flavors alone make it one of the best restaurants in the Upper West Side.
P.S. For anybody who is a fan of fried pickles, Good Enough To Eat has the best in the neighborhood.
Address: 520 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024
Sushi Yasaka isn’t the best sushi restaurant in the city, but man it’s a great value. It punches above its weight being one of the best restaurants in the Upper West Side, and the locals know it.
You’ll notice at any given moment most of the tables are full and there’s a small crowd of folks by the entrance waiting on to-go orders. You wouldn’t know if it if you were walking past on the street, but the joint is just as busy as the Times Square subway station.
The peak rush comes during the lunch hour, because Sushi Yasaka has top-notch lunch specials. There’s more than a dozen options, but my wife and I often order the 2 hand-roll option each.
And don’t assume because it’s on special the sushi will be made with cheap, low quality fish. On the contrary, Sushi Yasaka became one of the best restaurants in the Upper West Side thanks to their mouth-watering sushi.
As mentioned, Sushi Yasaska is one of the most popular restaurants in the Upper West Side. Reservations are available, and I encourage you get one to avoid having to wait.
Address: 251 W 72nd St, New York, NY 10023
Nobody Told Me
Technically speaking, Nobody Told Me is an extremely popular cocktail bar. But the food here is exceptional and I’d be remiss if I didn’t include it on our list of best restaurants on the Upper West Side.
The main attraction of course, are the drinks. I think Nobody Told Me is not only one of the best craft-cocktail bars in the Upper West Side, but in New York City as a whole. It’s hard for me to crown one cocktail as my favorite, but if I had to choose I’d reach for the Copy of a Copy (mezcal, hibiscus, herbal bitters, lemon & mint).
In a lot of ways Nobody Told Me is exactly what you’d want from a local neighborhood joint. Small, under the radar, with friendly service and mouthwatering drinks. I suggest visiting before 6PM, because the bar is relatively empty and the sun is still soaking the bar with summery rays.
While the drinks are the reason many folks flock to this UWS restaurant, the food is equally as impressive. The spicy chicken sandwich at Nobody Told Me is memorable and generous enough size to satisfy even the emptiest of bellies.
Nobody Told Me is one of the best restaurants on the Upper West Side for bottomless brunch if you’re a fan of rosé! For just $35 (plus an entree) you can enjoy 90 minutes of unlimited refills of rosé.
Address: 951 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025
Further Reading: Want to keep drinking your way through the UWS? Check out 12+ Wonderful Upper West Side Bars (Perfect for a Tipsy Night Out).
I’m not the only one who thinks Jin Ramen is one of the best restaurants in the Upper West Side, no no. In fact, the ramen house has on the Michelin Guide‘s radar for more than ten years! It has a Bib Gourmand rating, which is awarded to restaurants that provide a good value.
It’s not hard to see why it’s become so renowned, Jin Ramen uses homemade noodles and brews a broth that I’d drink by the cupful on a cold day. As one of the best restaurants in the Upper West Side the joint provides a consistently satisfying meal that’ll have you saying “ahhhhh” after every bite.
The signature broth is the Tonkotsu, made from pork and is borderline addictive. I like mine with a little spice, just to keep things interested. 😉
There’s also an array of appetizers and drinks, so you already know it’s become one of my go-to restaurants in the Upper West Side for a date. Even if you just swing by solo for a bowl of ramen though, you won’t be disappointed.
Address: 462 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024
Mamoun’s Falafel was founded in 1972, long before there were Middle Eastern food carts lining Manhattan’s streets. Back then, this hole in the wall restaurant was one of a kind and helped introduce this popular dish to America.
For those who don’t know what a falafel is, it’s a deep fried ball made traditionally out of ground chickpeas with a soft center. Mamoun’s is unique in that it primarily uses parsley, which gives it a unique green color.
Mamoun’s is hands down one of the best restaurants on the Upper West Side if you’re trying to save a buck.
Their signature sandwiches are some of the most popular cheap eats in New York City. For $6.50 New Yorkers can order the classic, which comes with falafel, hummus, lettuce, tomato, onions and tahini sauce wrapped in a pita bread pocket.
Mamoun’s is also a one of the most popular restaurants on the Upper West Side for late night munchies. The UWS restaurant stays open as late as 3 AM.
Address: 508 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024
Further Reading: Trying to keep your wallet happy? We hear ya! Check out 20 Satisfying Cheap Eats in New York City You Can Enjoy for Under $10!
Maison pickle offers a quintessential American brunch on the Upper West Side. Expect enormous servings, beautiful presentation and a full array of adult beverages. Beloved by locals, no list of the best restaurants in the Upper West Side would be complete without Maison Pickle.
On our first visit to Maison Pickle the waitress told my husband and I that “skinny people are easier to kidnap – so our portions aim to reduce that risk”.
Even still, we found ourselves unprepared for the mountain of (delicious) food presented to us by our cheery waitress.
I had the Hot Honey Chicken n French Toast and couldn’t have been more satisfied. The chicken was perfectly spiced and had a great kick without being overwhelmingly spicy. And yes, the dish paired beautifully with the Bloody Mary, in case you were wondering. 😉
The large portions ensured we had leftovers the next day (and day after, for that matter). Which trust me when I say, was fine by us.
Not only is this one of the best restaurants on the UWS, it’s also enough food for two full meals! Hard not to love that.
Address: 2315 Broadway, New York, NY 10024
Further Reading: Looking for more brunch restaurants in the Upper West Side? Check out 10+ Toothsome Upper West Side Brunch Spots (Worth the Wait).
A blend between Spanish and Latin-Caribbean cuisines (first off, yum) Tasca knows how to put a growling stomach in its place. As one of the best restaurants in the Upper West Side Tasca makes an array of flavor-loaded dishes that can make even the hangriest of folks smile.
Classics like paella and grilled octopus pair beautifully with the bewitching atmosphere, even more so with a drink in hand. Speaking of which, Tasca has the largest collection of rum in NYC. Boasting over 100 bottles (including some rare and vintage ones).
Maybe it’s the colorful, fresh ingredients used or the perfectly textured grill marks on the meat and fish that also make Tasca one of the best date-night restaurants in the Upper West Side. You can’t help but be impressed, and I’d be willing to bet that whoever you bring will be impressed too.
Address: 505 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024
Confession time, folks. Asset became my go-to restaurant for happy hour on the UWS after I moved to the neighborhood. The aesthetic is seductive and alluring. Plus, if you show up at opening time (5 PM) on a weekday, you might have the place to yourself.
The intimacy that Asset provides makes it a great spot for a date night. But ultimately the reason I return is because of the drinks. They have an great selection of creative cocktails that are guaranteed to satisfy.
It’s hard to think of a better drink on a warm summer day than the strawberry Frosé, akin to a slushy for adults. Pair any of the cocktails with the truffle and Asiago steak fries and I guarantee you’ll be making plans to return to this Upper West Side restaurant in no time.
Address: 329 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10023
Further Reading: Looking to stretch your dollar? Check out 10+ Satisfying Happy Hours in the Upper West Side.
No trip to the UWS would be complete without swinging by for brunch at The Consulate, one of the most charming restaurants in the Upper West Side. Restaurant by day and elegant bar by night, The Consulate offers an air of sophistication that will leave you feeling like Don Draper.
And since nothing is done halfway, allow me to share that the brunch menu pairs well with the aesthetic. This Upper West Side restaurant offers unique twists on classics. Some standouts are the burrata waffle (which is a must-order in my book). Or more amusing items on the menu like the hangover burger (which can be ordered void of judgment at this classy joint).
The exterior is both welcoming and inviting. With plenty of tables outside and inside, snagging a table at one of the best restaurants in the Upper West Side shouldn’t be a problem. Our server at The Consulate was also very kind. And we all know that good service is not to be discounted!
Address: 519 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024
I first heard of Han Dynasty by pure accident. Having recently moved to the neighborhood I was at Good Enough to Eat (another one of the best restaurants in the Upper West Side) eavesdropping on the table next to us.
They were discussing their favorite Chinese food joints in town, and one of them mentioned Han Dynasty. He talked about how it’s the perfect spot when you want casual Chinese food. And so that Friday, having no plans, I decided to pay them a visit.
I wish I knew this mans name so I could thank him personally because Han Dynasty has become my go to Chinese restaurant in the Upper West Side.
I order it for take out when I just want to watch Netflix at home, I’ve met with friends there, hell I even had it delivered when I had COVID on my birthday last year (luckily I didn’t lose my taste).
There’s something comforting about plopping down with a mountain of noodles, chicken, and fried vegetables in front of you. Or even better, with chopsticks in the little to-go boxes like in the movies, while watching a movie.
They have all your favorite Chinese takeout classics, my favorite of which is the lo-mein. So if you’re ever looking for the best restaurants in the Upper West Side for take-out, Han Dynasty should be at the top of your list!
Address: 215 W 85th St, New York, NY 10024
You can’t come to NYC and not try Dominican food. It’s an underrated cuisine that’s loaded with unique flavors and textures. Luckily Malecon, one of the best restaurants in the Upper West Side, is ready to make the introduction.
There are a few staple dishes you can’t afford to miss, especially if you’re looking for the full experience. For starters, the rotisserie chicken is crispy and well seasoned on the outside and each bite is wonderfully moist.
The mofongos are another staple dish, made with fried green plantains. You mash them up and pair it with a variety of ingredients like chicken, cheese or shrimp (but my favorite is the fried pork).
And the maduros (fried yellow plantains) are a non-negotiable side that pairs well with any of the main dishes. Of course Malecon is one of the best restaurants in the Upper West Side so the menu is much larger, but this should get you started.
Address: 764 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025
Vin sur Vingt
Vin sur Vingt translates to “wine in twenty” and everything about this authentic Parisian wine bar oozes with French charm. It’s one of my favorite restaurants on the Upper West Side for wine. Perfect for parking myself at an outdoor table.
Offering an impressive rotating menu of 50 wines by the glass, you’re sure to find something that suits your Francophile fancy. Pair your wine with French-inspired appetizers and you’ll be reminiscing about Paris in no time.
Make sure to have a good friend in tow because the hours slip by when the cold rosé hits the table. The charm and easygoing nature makes this one of the best restaurants in the Upper West Side for a date night or meeting up with pals.
But bear in mind, this UWS restaurant has no reservations — it’s first come, first served only. Show up early and try to get an outdoor table, especially in the spring!
Address: 66 W 84th St, New York, NY 10024
The Owl’s Tail
Power couple Lawrence and Stephanie Bondulich really knew what they were doing when they decided to open The Owl’s Tail in 2018. Locals can’t seem to get enough. Its quickly become one of the best restaurants in the Upper West Side (especially for happy hour)!
In the winter months the velevet booths and floor to ceiling windows make The Owl’s Tail one of the coziest UWS restaurants. In the summer the outdoor seating is warm and bright, only made better with a refreshing cocktail.
I love the strawberry rum spritz because let me tell you, that drink is dangerous. It goes down so smooth you run the risk of having more than you should. You start to realize only when it’s too late and you’re wobbling home!
As far as food goes, The Owl’s Tail makes flavorsome dishes. In fact, it’s one of the best restaurants in the Upper West Side for dinner and drinks. Admittedly the menu is a bit small, but it makes up for it with top-notch flavors (the steam dumplings are divine).
Address: 215 W 75th St, New York, NY 10023
If you’ve never been to the great American southwest you’re missing out. The warm (sometimes blistering) sun rays, antiquated charm and infused Mexican-American cuisine all make it worth checking out.
Cilantro, one of the best restaurants in the Upper West Side, is the next best thing. The joint does a great job replicating a southwestern restaurant’s atmosphere and the staff is quick and friendly.
But of course when considering the best restaurants in the Upper West Side what really matters is the food — and Cilantro is no slouch. They serve an array of burritos, enchiladas, faijtas and more than can bring a grown man to his knees. They make a mean margarita too. 😉
Address: 485 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024
Affectionately known as “La Petite Amélie”, this UWS restaurant is smaller and more intimate than the original Amelie located in the West Village. Offering French-inspired brunch fare in a cozy setting, this is the place to go if you’re celebrating something special.
As one of the best restaurants in the Upper West Side for brunch, something to keep in mind is that brunch at Amelie is only offered on weekends. From Friday thru Sunday the special runs from 12-3pm. Boasting a Bib Gourmand Michelin rating (prestigious award given to good value restaurants) this Upper West Side restaurant warrants a visit.
The biggest struggle here (for me personally) is deciding between the Eggs Norweigan or trying something new. My struggle doesn’t last long though, because after two mimosas I’m usually ordering a charcuterie board and feigning surprise as brunch melts into an official lunch.
Address: 566 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024
Banh had peaked my interest thanks to its charming storefront (the yellow awning is an attention grabber) and frequent crowds. I decided to finally see what all the hype was about and now I’m part of said “frequent crowds.”
As one of the best restaurants in the Upper West Side you’ll find an array of Vietnamese classics. The namesake, banh, is a Vietnamese sandwich that can be ordered a variety of ways (including vegan) but the BBQ pork option is my go-to.
There is also the iconic Vietnamese stew, called pho, available. It’s made with beef, chicken or vegetable stock and is loaded with deliciously thin noodles.
Choosing what to order is the hardest part because it’s all tempting! That’s why I always visit with my spouse. She gets one thing and I get another and we go halfsies on each.
Address: 942 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025
Sala Thai is one of the most popular restaurants in the Upper West Side, made evident by the crowds of folks waiting for a table along their entrance on Amsterdam Ave.
It’s not hard to see why the restaurant has so many people enthralled. The interior is borderline majestic with intricate wall paintings and beautiful woodwork.
And the food matches, being as regal as the decor. As you might have assumed, Sala Thai makes Thai food and Upper West Siders can’t get enough.
The panang curry and dumplings are especially memorable, but it’s impossible to go wrong with anything on the menu.
Address: 307 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10023
Best Restaurants in the Upper West Side (Post Summary)
- Mama’s TOO!
- Charles Pan Fried Chicken
- Good Enough to Eat
- Sushi Yasaka
- Nobody Told Me
- Jin Ramen
- Mamoun’s Falafel
- Maison Pickle
- The Consulate
- Han Dynasty
- Vin sur Vingt
- The Owl’s Tail
- Sala Thai
Map of the best UWS Restaurants
And there you have it! The best restaurants in the Upper West Side. Let me know if I missed any of your favorites!