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The Met Breuer
The Met Breuer
Nick Solares

Where to Drink and Dine Near the Upper East Side Museums

There are some options on the Upper East Side

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The Met Breuer
| Nick Solares

From the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to the MoMA, to the Guggenheim, many of the nation's finest museums are on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. For your next museum trip, here's a map of 15 restaurants, cafes, and diners, from a ritzy bar for martini-sipping, to a few classic New York burgers.

Note: map is organized alphabetically. This map is updated from Spring 2016.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Balon NYC

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245 E 81st St
New York, NY 10028
(646) 641-2282
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Balon is an intimate restaurant and wine bar that's a short walk from the museums. Here, a team of sommeliers helps diners navigate the French, Spanish, and Italian wines on the list. Snacks include mussels, charcuterie, cheese boards, and a baby rack of lamb.

2. Bemelmans Bar

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35 E 76th St
New York, NY 10021
(212) 744-1600
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There is arguably no bar more elegant in Manhattan, and no fancier martini than the one at The Carlyle Hotel's signature bar. Bemelmans opens daily at noon, at which point vodka, gin, and mixed nuts start flowing. The live piano music and stellar drinks make for a time warp just minutes from the museums.

Photo: The Carlyle

3. Café Boulud

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20 E 76th St
New York, NY 10021
(212) 772-2600
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Daniel Boulud's slightly more relaxed UES haunt Cafe Boulud is a short walk from the steps of the Met, and an even shorter walk to the Met Breuer. It's upscale for sure, but Boulud does offer a few options that are totally reasonable, like two lunch pre-fixes for $39 and $45. Weekend menus through the summer include the three-course French Riviera menu that's for $68. For lovely cuisine and service, Cafe Boulud is an opportunity to treat yourself.

Photo: Cafe Boulud

4. Café Sabarsky

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1048 5th Ave
New York, NY 10028
(212) 288-0665
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The Neue Galerie is home to German and Austrian art and design of the early twentieth-century, and downstairs resides the museum's in house cafe, Cafe Sabarsky. It draws it's inspiration from Viennese cafes, serving sweet and savory pasties in a wood-paneled space. Cafe Sabarsky feels like an extension of the gallery.

5. Candle 79

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154 E 79th St
New York, NY 10075
(212) 537-7179
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For the vegan museum-goer, Candle 79 is a true failsafe. It's just about a one minute walk from the Met Breuer (and about 15 from the Guggenheim), and offers dinner options like spinach ravioli with cashew parmesan, pomegranate BBQ seitan skewers, and a mezze platter. Candle 79 serves brunch, lunch, and dinner. Note that it's closed from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

6. Flora Bar + Flora Coffee

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945 Madison Ave
New York, NY 10021
(646) 558-5383
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The crown jewel of the Upper East Side, Flora Bar and its attached sister Flora Coffee provide a heady mix of options for before, after, or during a museum visit (it's located inside the Met Breuer). Stop in for cafe vibes at Flora Coffee, with a sticky bun and coffee; enjoy a luxe lunch of steak with Béarnaise and a glass of wine; or settle in for dinner with lobster and crab dumplings or lamb ribs. Instant favorites at the Upper East Side restaurant also include stracciatella with meyer lemon, tuna tartare, and a purple endive salad with pecans and blue cheese.

7. J.G. Melon

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1291 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10021
(212) 744-0585

The OG J.G. has been an Upper East Side staple for over 40 years, thanks in part to one of the city's best burgers, even better with a side of cottage fries.

8. Little Frog

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322 E 86th St
New York, NY 10028

Minetta Tavern vet and executive chef Xavier Monge opened Little Frog late last year, bringing a little of that McNally-influenced flare to the Upper East Side. Monge's previous experience also lends to Little Frog dishes like steak tartare with capers, steak frites, and a whole roasted Normandy duck. It's a bright and inviting space, suitable for pre- or post-museum strolling.

Photo: Little Frog

9. Nica Trattoria

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354 E 84th St
New York, NY 10028
(212) 472-5040
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Even if you're not visiting the nearby museums, Nica's gorgonzola gnocchi is reason enough to head to East 84th Street. Other pasta dishes like the tagliatelle Bolognese, spaghetti carbonara, and four-cheese rigatoni have made Nica Trattoria a neighborhood gem for almost a decade.

Photo: Nica Trattoria

10. Pastrami Queen

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1125 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10075
(212) 734-1500
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For Eater critic Robert Sietsema, Pastrami Queen is turning out some of the city's best pastrami. Served on rye bread with options like grainy mustard and Russian dressing, the namesake sandwich is certainly the thing to get here. Plus: The Queen also serves a wonderful corned beef. For those looking for a pre-museum visit, breakfast options include salami and eggs, pastrami and eggs, and a four-egg omelet.

Photo: Robert Sietsema

11. Pizza Beach

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1426 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10028
(646) 666-0819
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This is the original Pizza Beach location, where seasonal pies include the zucca with roasted kabocha squash, a four-cheese pizza with ricotta, mozzarella, and gorgonzola, and a roasted pear and Taleggio pizza. Veggie-friendly options include roasted carrots, grilled corn elotes, and sweet potatoes with avocado. The vibe here is fun and playful: a nice contrast before or after a museum visit.

12. Sant Ambroeus Madison Ave

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1000 Madison Ave
New York, NY 10075
(212) 570-2211
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Sandwiched between the Met and Met Breuer, old-school Milanese restaurant Sant Ambroeus is open seven days a week serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Lunch options include a Caprese salad, yellowfin tuna tartare, tagliatelle Bolognese, and a green lasagna. There's also an espresso and cappuccino bar serving gelato, pastries, and homemade cakes.

Photo: Sant Ambroeus

13. Seamstress

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339 E 75th St
New York, NY 10021
(212) 288-8033
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With a bar that opens daily at 5:30 p.m. Seamstress is a great place for a post-museum visit. Diners can sit by the fireplace as they sip on domestic beers and cocktails like the No Say with mezcal, Aperol, pineapple, and lemongrass. Options on the food menu include a burger, roasted Hudson Valley foie gras, pork belly, and oysters Rockefeller.

14. Shake Shack

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152 E 86th St
New York, NY 10128
(646) 237-5035
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A Shack Burger and Chicken Shack are just 10 minutes away from the steps of the Met. This is one of Shake Shack's sleepiest and most spacious locations.

15. The Penrose

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1590 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10028
(212) 203-2751
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The Penrose is one of the better bars on the Upper East Side, often found to be bumping most nights of the week. The menu here lists shareable options like fish tacos, fried shishito peppers, fried calamari, and fried pickles. This is definitely a shift from the peaceful museum vibe.

Photo: The Penrose

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1. Balon NYC

245 E 81st St, New York, NY 10028

Balon is an intimate restaurant and wine bar that's a short walk from the museums. Here, a team of sommeliers helps diners navigate the French, Spanish, and Italian wines on the list. Snacks include mussels, charcuterie, cheese boards, and a baby rack of lamb.

245 E 81st St
New York, NY 10028

2. Bemelmans Bar

35 E 76th St, New York, NY 10021
Photo: The Carlyle

There is arguably no bar more elegant in Manhattan, and no fancier martini than the one at The Carlyle Hotel's signature bar. Bemelmans opens daily at noon, at which point vodka, gin, and mixed nuts start flowing. The live piano music and stellar drinks make for a time warp just minutes from the museums.

35 E 76th St
New York, NY 10021

3. Café Boulud

20 E 76th St, New York, NY 10021
Photo: Cafe Boulud

Daniel Boulud's slightly more relaxed UES haunt Cafe Boulud is a short walk from the steps of the Met, and an even shorter walk to the Met Breuer. It's upscale for sure, but Boulud does offer a few options that are totally reasonable, like two lunch pre-fixes for $39 and $45. Weekend menus through the summer include the three-course French Riviera menu that's for $68. For lovely cuisine and service, Cafe Boulud is an opportunity to treat yourself.

20 E 76th St
New York, NY 10021

4. Café Sabarsky

1048 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028

The Neue Galerie is home to German and Austrian art and design of the early twentieth-century, and downstairs resides the museum's in house cafe, Cafe Sabarsky. It draws it's inspiration from Viennese cafes, serving sweet and savory pasties in a wood-paneled space. Cafe Sabarsky feels like an extension of the gallery.

1048 5th Ave
New York, NY 10028

5. Candle 79

154 E 79th St, New York, NY 10075

For the vegan museum-goer, Candle 79 is a true failsafe. It's just about a one minute walk from the Met Breuer (and about 15 from the Guggenheim), and offers dinner options like spinach ravioli with cashew parmesan, pomegranate BBQ seitan skewers, and a mezze platter. Candle 79 serves brunch, lunch, and dinner. Note that it's closed from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

154 E 79th St
New York, NY 10075

6. Flora Bar + Flora Coffee

945 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10021

The crown jewel of the Upper East Side, Flora Bar and its attached sister Flora Coffee provide a heady mix of options for before, after, or during a museum visit (it's located inside the Met Breuer). Stop in for cafe vibes at Flora Coffee, with a sticky bun and coffee; enjoy a luxe lunch of steak with Béarnaise and a glass of wine; or settle in for dinner with lobster and crab dumplings or lamb ribs. Instant favorites at the Upper East Side restaurant also include stracciatella with meyer lemon, tuna tartare, and a purple endive salad with pecans and blue cheese.

945 Madison Ave
New York, NY 10021

7. J.G. Melon

1291 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10021

The OG J.G. has been an Upper East Side staple for over 40 years, thanks in part to one of the city's best burgers, even better with a side of cottage fries.

1291 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10021

8. Little Frog

322 E 86th St, New York, NY 10028
Photo: Little Frog

Minetta Tavern vet and executive chef Xavier Monge opened Little Frog late last year, bringing a little of that McNally-influenced flare to the Upper East Side. Monge's previous experience also lends to Little Frog dishes like steak tartare with capers, steak frites, and a whole roasted Normandy duck. It's a bright and inviting space, suitable for pre- or post-museum strolling.

322 E 86th St
New York, NY 10028

9. Nica Trattoria

354 E 84th St, New York, NY 10028
Photo: Nica Trattoria

Even if you're not visiting the nearby museums, Nica's gorgonzola gnocchi is reason enough to head to East 84th Street. Other pasta dishes like the tagliatelle Bolognese, spaghetti carbonara, and four-cheese rigatoni have made Nica Trattoria a neighborhood gem for almost a decade.

354 E 84th St
New York, NY 10028

10. Pastrami Queen

1125 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10075
Photo: Robert Sietsema

For Eater critic Robert Sietsema, Pastrami Queen is turning out some of the city's best pastrami. Served on rye bread with options like grainy mustard and Russian dressing, the namesake sandwich is certainly the thing to get here. Plus: The Queen also serves a wonderful corned beef. For those looking for a pre-museum visit, breakfast options include salami and eggs, pastrami and eggs, and a four-egg omelet.

1125 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10075

11. Pizza Beach

1426 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10028

This is the original Pizza Beach location, where seasonal pies include the zucca with roasted kabocha squash, a four-cheese pizza with ricotta, mozzarella, and gorgonzola, and a roasted pear and Taleggio pizza. Veggie-friendly options include roasted carrots, grilled corn elotes, and sweet potatoes with avocado. The vibe here is fun and playful: a nice contrast before or after a museum visit.

1426 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10028

12. Sant Ambroeus Madison Ave

1000 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10075
Photo: Sant Ambroeus

Sandwiched between the Met and Met Breuer, old-school Milanese restaurant Sant Ambroeus is open seven days a week serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Lunch options include a Caprese salad, yellowfin tuna tartare, tagliatelle Bolognese, and a green lasagna. There's also an espresso and cappuccino bar serving gelato, pastries, and homemade cakes.

1000 Madison Ave
New York, NY 10075

13. Seamstress

339 E 75th St, New York, NY 10021

With a bar that opens daily at 5:30 p.m. Seamstress is a great place for a post-museum visit. Diners can sit by the fireplace as they sip on domestic beers and cocktails like the No Say with mezcal, Aperol, pineapple, and lemongrass. Options on the food menu include a burger, roasted Hudson Valley foie gras, pork belly, and oysters Rockefeller.

339 E 75th St
New York, NY 10021

14. Shake Shack

152 E 86th St, New York, NY 10128

A Shack Burger and Chicken Shack are just 10 minutes away from the steps of the Met. This is one of Shake Shack's sleepiest and most spacious locations.

152 E 86th St
New York, NY 10128

15. The Penrose

1590 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028
Photo: The Penrose

The Penrose is one of the better bars on the Upper East Side, often found to be bumping most nights of the week. The menu here lists shareable options like fish tacos, fried shishito peppers, fried calamari, and fried pickles. This is definitely a shift from the peaceful museum vibe.

1590 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10028

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