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Clockwise, from top left: Chicken yassa with plantains, Moroccan salmon with jollof fonio, fufu with peanut sauce; all sit in white bowls over a yellow tablecloth
A spread of dishes from Teranga.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

Where to Dine on the Upper East Side

From luxe omakase to square pizza slices, here’s where to go on the Upper East Side

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A spread of dishes from Teranga.
| Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

The Upper East Side’s restaurant scene doesn’t exactly scream destination dining, but the options are certainly plentiful. There’s a surprising breadth of cuisine to be found, from excellent Thai fare to satisfying Persian food. Here are the standouts for eating and drinking on the UES, whether it’s for handmade pasta, extravagant omakase, or some standout pastrami sandwiches.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it also poses a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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1. Teranga

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1280 5th Ave
New York, NY 10029
(646) 663-1935
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At the edge of the Upper East Side and northeastern corner of Central Park sits Teranga, which Eater critic Ryan Sutton called the “future of NYC’s fast-casual scene.” The restaurant, which feels more like a chic cafe on the ground floor of the Africa Center, offers chef Pierre Thiam’s take on ingredients like jollof (a rice dish from Senegal), yassa (another Senegalese dish that’s full of onions and spices often paired with fish or poultry), and fufu (giant orbs of plantains). Diners can mix-and-match sides like stews brimming with kale, Moroccan salmon, and even soy-braised beef. On a nice day, it’s a convenient spot to order a dish to enjoy in the park.

Chicken yassa sits in a white bowl alongside sweet plantains and tomato rice at Teranga.
Chicken yassa at Teranga.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

2. Kaia Wine Bar

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1614 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10128
(212) 722-0490
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Kaia is a rare place in the city to find South African fare, such as bunny chow, comprised of a hollowed-out loaf of bread filled with curry, Durban-style Indian samosas, and biltong, a type of meat jerky served with spicy chakalaka relish. It also boasts an extensive South African wine list — making it a solid pick for a glass of wine and snack or a full-fledged meal.

3. Little Frog

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322 East 86th St
New York, NY 10028
(347) 537-5786
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This Yorkville spot, opened in 2016, comes courtesy of chef Xavier Monge, a Minetta Tavern veteran who spent nearly a decade at the West Village staple. The unfussy French fare includes steak tartare, moules frites and a whole roasted duck, served in a classic Parisian bistro-inspired space.

4. PQR (Pizza Quadrata Romana)

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1631 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10028
(646) 449-0889
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Roman pizzaiolo Angelo Iezzi is the pie powerhouse behind this superb spot, his first in the U.S. Iezzi’s pizzas are made using a long-fermented, high-hydration technique, and the crust’s interior is exceptionally delicate. Toppings include burrata and tomato sauce or smoked prosciutto, stracchino cheese, and truffle sauce.

Straciatella and pumpkin slices at PQR
Roman-style pizzas are the specialty at PQR.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

5. Pastrami Queen

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1125 Lexington Ave # 2
New York, NY 10075
(212) 734-1500
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Some of the city’s finest pastrami on rye can be found at this Lexington Avenue spot, which was originally in Forest Hills and dubbed Pastrami King. The sandwiches are dressed simply with grainy mustard or Russian dressing. The corned beef is tasty, too, so order a sandwich with both pastrami and corned beef and enjoy it alongside some crunchy half sour pickles. Another location on the Upper West Side opened during the pandemic.

Half of a pastrami sandwich on rye with mustard
Pastrami on rye at Pastrami Queen.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

6. Sushi Noz

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181 E 78th St
New York, NY 10075
(917) 338-1792
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Sushi Noz landed on the UES to near-immediate acclaim, including a Michelin star. The tranquil room is full of delicate cedar woodwork with an intimate sushi counter carved from a single 200-year-old hinoki tree. Details such as centuries-old ceramics and an ice chest to keep the edomae-style sushi cold are very traditional — though chef Nozomu Abe is a charmer. It’s an expensive omakase at $495 per person.

Chef Nozomu Abe holds a small box filled with binchotan charcoal above slices of tuna to grill them
Chef Nozomu Abe of Sushi Noz.
Matt-Taylor Gross/Eater NY

7. Gracie Mews Diner

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1550 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10028
(212) 861-2290
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The Upper East Side has no shortage of old school diners, but Gracie Mews, which never closes, seems to have an especially comforting quality, in part due to the unfailingly pleasant service. Settle into one of the big booths: There are a wide selection of cakes at the counter, fresh pancakes, loaded waffles, and omelets at any hour, and floor-to-ceiling windows for people watching.

8. Quality Eats

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1496 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10075
(212) 256-9922
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Utilize this meat-centric restaurant for affordable cuts of steak — bavette and hanger for under $35 — and inventive sides, like cacio e pepe orzo, corn crème brûlée, and brown bag curly fries. Dessert is also a standout, like the highly photogenic birthday cake sundae. There’s an additional location in the West Village.

A dining room with windows up front
The dining room at Quality Eats.
Jean Schwarzwalder/Eater NY
1486 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10075
(212) 472-4552

This cozy, casual Italian place that’s been open since 2005 has the look of a country house, with warm lighting, well-worn wood tables, exposed brick, and a hodgepodge of antiques. In fact, its decor is so charming that pieces have even been pilfered over the years, like proprietor Massimo Lusardi’s grandfather’s collection of antique corkscrews. It’s a solid brunch choice, too, for dishes that eclipse standard-issue Benedicts; for late night eating, a special list of dishes like veal meatball sliders, focaccia with Nutella, and pizzas are available after 10 p.m.

10. Maison Bangkok

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355 E 78th St
New York, NY 10075
(212) 628-4442
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New Yorkers might have to go to Elmhurst to find a Thai restaurant this good, and while those places often highlight fiery Isaan fare, this one concentrates on the mellower and more eclectic food of Bangkok. Soups like the coconut-laced chicken scented with lemongrass, along with the wide-ranging salad section (papaya and duck salads are particularly recommended) make it possible to assemble an entire meal of appetizers, but also commendable are the main dishes — including curries, basil stir fries, and a shrimp pad thai deliciously wrapped in an omelet.

Four golden brown shrimp in elongated triangular wrappers.
Shrimp wrapped in wonton skins at Maison Bangkok.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

11. JG Melon

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1291 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10021
(212) 744-0585
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The well-worn barroom was founded in 1972, but feels much older. Like many of its ilk, the menu is extremely limited, featuring so-so chili, predictable sandwiches of turkey and roast beef, entrees that focus mainly on steak — and burgers. Served with cottage fries and cooked in a shallow kitchen in the middle of the joint, these burgers are nothing short of spectacular, based on great fresh beef with just the right amount of fattiness, seared on a griddle by watchful cooks.

A juicy cheeseburger in a basket with pickles and purple onions.
JG Melon’s cheeseburger is unsurpassed in the neighborhood.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

12. Jones Wood Foundry

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401 E 76th St
New York, NY 10021
(212) 249-2700
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Named after a forest that occupied the space in the mid-19th century, Jones Woods Foundry serves traditional English pub fare. It’s one of the city’s best British gastropubs, and was a relatively early arrival of the genre in NYC. Don’t sleep on the fish and chips, made with beer-battered cod and served with triple-cooked fries. Other menu highlights include a bangers and mash, a solid burger, and a Sunday roast served on weekends.

339 E 75th St
New York, NY 10021

NR is the second offering from Shigefumi Kabashima, who owns the excellent ROKC in Harlem. Like the Harlem restaurant, NR serves hearty bowls of ramen, and cocktails in unique vessels, like a porcelain egg, but unlike the small and often cramped ROKC, NR has the capacity to seat more than 100 diners.

A gold and white plate with spaghetti pasta topped with uni and herbs.
Uni spaghetti at NR.
Zenith Richards/NR

14. Bilao

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1437 1st Ave. Store 1
New York, NY 10021
(212) 650-0010
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A couple of nurses opened this restaurant during the pandemic to cater to the many Filipino nurses working at nearby hospitals. From breakfast to dinner, classic dishes from the Philippines shine here, as Eater critic Robert Sietsema noted: a breakfast version of sisig (a pork dish with an egg on top), curry-like kare kare, and desserts with vanilla-scented pandan leaves.

A black metal platter with minced pork parts and skin, plus a raw egg cracked on top.
Sisig at Bilao.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

15. 2nd Ave Deli

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1442 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10021
(212) 737-1700
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This Kosher institution is one of the top places to find reliable Jewish deli fare on the UES. The classics are all there — pastrami and corned beef sandwiches and matzo ball soup — as well as more traditional dishes that are harder to find, like ptcha (jellied calves feet) and kasha varnishkes (bow tie pasta with barley). The original Murray Hill restaurant expanded to this location in 2011, and in 2017 added an upstairs cocktail bar to entice a younger crowd.

A brick building in New York City with 2nd Ave Deli on the ground floor.
2nd Ave Deli on the Upper East Side.
Ben Fractenberg/Eater NY

16. Mission Ceviche

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1400 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10021
(212) 650-0014
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This Peruvian spot focuses on fresh, bright ceviches from chef José Luis Chávez. This is the chef’s first sit-down restaurant, where he pairs tuna tartare-like tuna tiradito with typical Peruvian dishes like ají de gallina, shredded chicken breast in a creamy yellow pepper sauce. His ceviches are the star of the show, though — they landed the restaurant a one-star review in the Times.

17. Daniel

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60 E 65th St
New York, NY 10065
(212) 288-0033
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This two-Michelin-starred, James Beard Award-decorated fine French institution from chef Daniel Boulud is the epitome of a special-occasion restaurant. It’s extremely refined, fancy, and expensive. But for any fine dining enthusiast, Daniel is worth checking off the bucket list.

18. Donohue's Steak House

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845 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10065
(212) 744-0938

Dining at this family-owned steakhouse is like revisiting old New York. Regulars, from locals to literary types, hold court at the black leather booths or a seat the long bar sipping cocktails. The menu includes the usual cuts of steaks but other old-timey items include the chopped steak, chicken pot pie, and burgers.

A plate with chopped steak topped with onions and served with a side of fries.
Chopped steak at Donohue’s.
Bao Ong/Eater NY

19. Sushi Seki

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1143 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10065
(212) 371-0238
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Once known as a late-night sushi den, Sushi Seki offers a la carte and omakase menus which features all the classic rolls, sushi, and sashimi, as well as a Golden Flower Trio that comes with three special rolls: Golden Tuna Tofu, Golden Salmon Tomato, and Golden Eel Avocado. The restaurant has two other locations in Chelsea and Times Square, but this original outpost remains the favorite amongst chefs.

20. Ravagh

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1135 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10065
(212) 861-7900
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Head to Ravagh when a craving strikes for satisfying skewers of meat: The barg kababs, featuring chunks of beef tenderloin, and jujeh kebabs, comprised of cornish hen marinated in lemon and saffron, come highly recommended. Charred tomato and onion accompany meat entrees; choose from an array of soups, dips, stews, and desserts, too. The Iranian-run Persian chainlet has thre other locations throughout the New York metropolitan area, including on in Midtown.

1. Teranga

1280 5th Ave, New York, NY 10029
Chicken yassa sits in a white bowl alongside sweet plantains and tomato rice at Teranga.
Chicken yassa at Teranga.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

At the edge of the Upper East Side and northeastern corner of Central Park sits Teranga, which Eater critic Ryan Sutton called the “future of NYC’s fast-casual scene.” The restaurant, which feels more like a chic cafe on the ground floor of the Africa Center, offers chef Pierre Thiam’s take on ingredients like jollof (a rice dish from Senegal), yassa (another Senegalese dish that’s full of onions and spices often paired with fish or poultry), and fufu (giant orbs of plantains). Diners can mix-and-match sides like stews brimming with kale, Moroccan salmon, and even soy-braised beef. On a nice day, it’s a convenient spot to order a dish to enjoy in the park.

1280 5th Ave
New York, NY 10029

2. Kaia Wine Bar

1614 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10128

Kaia is a rare place in the city to find South African fare, such as bunny chow, comprised of a hollowed-out loaf of bread filled with curry, Durban-style Indian samosas, and biltong, a type of meat jerky served with spicy chakalaka relish. It also boasts an extensive South African wine list — making it a solid pick for a glass of wine and snack or a full-fledged meal.

1614 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10128

3. Little Frog

322 East 86th St, New York, NY 10028

This Yorkville spot, opened in 2016, comes courtesy of chef Xavier Monge, a Minetta Tavern veteran who spent nearly a decade at the West Village staple. The unfussy French fare includes steak tartare, moules frites and a whole roasted duck, served in a classic Parisian bistro-inspired space.

322 East 86th St
New York, NY 10028

4. PQR (Pizza Quadrata Romana)

1631 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028
Straciatella and pumpkin slices at PQR
Roman-style pizzas are the specialty at PQR.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

Roman pizzaiolo Angelo Iezzi is the pie powerhouse behind this superb spot, his first in the U.S. Iezzi’s pizzas are made using a long-fermented, high-hydration technique, and the crust’s interior is exceptionally delicate. Toppings include burrata and tomato sauce or smoked prosciutto, stracchino cheese, and truffle sauce.

1631 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10028

5. Pastrami Queen

1125 Lexington Ave # 2, New York, NY 10075
Half of a pastrami sandwich on rye with mustard
Pastrami on rye at Pastrami Queen.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Some of the city’s finest pastrami on rye can be found at this Lexington Avenue spot, which was originally in Forest Hills and dubbed Pastrami King. The sandwiches are dressed simply with grainy mustard or Russian dressing. The corned beef is tasty, too, so order a sandwich with both pastrami and corned beef and enjoy it alongside some crunchy half sour pickles. Another location on the Upper West Side opened during the pandemic.

1125 Lexington Ave # 2
New York, NY 10075

6. Sushi Noz

181 E 78th St, New York, NY 10075
Read Review |
Chef Nozomu Abe holds a small box filled with binchotan charcoal above slices of tuna to grill them
Chef Nozomu Abe of Sushi Noz.
Matt-Taylor Gross/Eater NY

Sushi Noz landed on the UES to near-immediate acclaim, including a Michelin star. The tranquil room is full of delicate cedar woodwork with an intimate sushi counter carved from a single 200-year-old hinoki tree. Details such as centuries-old ceramics and an ice chest to keep the edomae-style sushi cold are very traditional — though chef Nozomu Abe is a charmer. It’s an expensive omakase at $495 per person.

181 E 78th St
New York, NY 10075

7. Gracie Mews Diner

1550 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10028

The Upper East Side has no shortage of old school diners, but Gracie Mews, which never closes, seems to have an especially comforting quality, in part due to the unfailingly pleasant service. Settle into one of the big booths: There are a wide selection of cakes at the counter, fresh pancakes, loaded waffles, and omelets at any hour, and floor-to-ceiling windows for people watching.

1550 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10028

8. Quality Eats

1496 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10075
A dining room with windows up front
The dining room at Quality Eats.
Jean Schwarzwalder/Eater NY

Utilize this meat-centric restaurant for affordable cuts of steak — bavette and hanger for under $35 — and inventive sides, like cacio e pepe orzo, corn crème brûlée, and brown bag curly fries. Dessert is also a standout, like the highly photogenic birthday cake sundae. There’s an additional location in the West Village.

1496 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10075

9. Uva

1486 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10075

This cozy, casual Italian place that’s been open since 2005 has the look of a country house, with warm lighting, well-worn wood tables, exposed brick, and a hodgepodge of antiques. In fact, its decor is so charming that pieces have even been pilfered over the years, like proprietor Massimo Lusardi’s grandfather’s collection of antique corkscrews. It’s a solid brunch choice, too, for dishes that eclipse standard-issue Benedicts; for late night eating, a special list of dishes like veal meatball sliders, focaccia with Nutella, and pizzas are available after 10 p.m.

1486 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10075

10. Maison Bangkok

355 E 78th St, New York, NY 10075
Four golden brown shrimp in elongated triangular wrappers.
Shrimp wrapped in wonton skins at Maison Bangkok.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

New Yorkers might have to go to Elmhurst to find a Thai restaurant this good, and while those places often highlight fiery Isaan fare, this one concentrates on the mellower and more eclectic food of Bangkok. Soups like the coconut-laced chicken scented with lemongrass, along with the wide-ranging salad section (papaya and duck salads are particularly recommended) make it possible to assemble an entire meal of appetizers, but also commendable are the main dishes — including curries, basil stir fries, and a shrimp pad thai deliciously wrapped in an omelet.

355 E 78th St
New York, NY 10075

11. JG Melon

1291 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10021
A juicy cheeseburger in a basket with pickles and purple onions.
JG Melon’s cheeseburger is unsurpassed in the neighborhood.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

The well-worn barroom was founded in 1972, but feels much older. Like many of its ilk, the menu is extremely limited, featuring so-so chili, predictable sandwiches of turkey and roast beef, entrees that focus mainly on steak — and burgers. Served with cottage fries and cooked in a shallow kitchen in the middle of the joint, these burgers are nothing short of spectacular, based on great fresh beef with just the right amount of fattiness, seared on a griddle by watchful cooks.

1291 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10021

12. Jones Wood Foundry

401 E 76th St, New York, NY 10021

Named after a forest that occupied the space in the mid-19th century, Jones Woods Foundry serves traditional English pub fare. It’s one of the city’s best British gastropubs, and was a relatively early arrival of the genre in NYC. Don’t sleep on the fish and chips, made with beer-battered cod and served with triple-cooked fries. Other menu highlights include a bangers and mash, a solid burger, and a Sunday roast served on weekends.

401 E 76th St
New York, NY 10021

13. NR

339 E 75th St, New York, NY 10021
A gold and white plate with spaghetti pasta topped with uni and herbs.
Uni spaghetti at NR.
Zenith Richards/NR

NR is the second offering from Shigefumi Kabashima, who owns the excellent ROKC in Harlem. Like the Harlem restaurant, NR serves hearty bowls of ramen, and cocktails in unique vessels, like a porcelain egg, but unlike the small and often cramped ROKC, NR has the capacity to seat more than 100 diners.

339 E 75th St
New York, NY 10021

14. Bilao

1437 1st Ave. Store 1, New York, NY 10021
A black metal platter with minced pork parts and skin, plus a raw egg cracked on top.
Sisig at Bilao.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

A couple of nurses opened this restaurant during the pandemic to cater to the many Filipino nurses working at nearby hospitals. From breakfast to dinner, classic dishes from the Philippines shine here, as Eater critic Robert Sietsema noted: a breakfast version of sisig (a pork dish with an egg on top), curry-like kare kare, and desserts with vanilla-scented pandan leaves.

1437 1st Ave. Store 1
New York, NY 10021

15. 2nd Ave Deli

1442 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10021
A brick building in New York City with 2nd Ave Deli on the ground floor.
2nd Ave Deli on the Upper East Side.
Ben Fractenberg/Eater NY

This Kosher institution is one of the top places to find reliable Jewish deli fare on the UES. The classics are all there — pastrami and corned beef sandwiches and matzo ball soup — as well as more traditional dishes that are harder to find, like ptcha (jellied calves feet) and kasha varnishkes (bow tie pasta with barley). The original Murray Hill restaurant expanded to this location in 2011, and in 2017 added an upstairs cocktail bar to entice a younger crowd.

1442 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10021

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16. Mission Ceviche

1400 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10021

This Peruvian spot focuses on fresh, bright ceviches from chef José Luis Chávez. This is the chef’s first sit-down restaurant, where he pairs tuna tartare-like tuna tiradito with typical Peruvian dishes like ají de gallina, shredded chicken breast in a creamy yellow pepper sauce. His ceviches are the star of the show, though — they landed the restaurant a one-star review in the Times.

1400 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10021

17. Daniel

60 E 65th St, New York, NY 10065

This two-Michelin-starred, James Beard Award-decorated fine French institution from chef Daniel Boulud is the epitome of a special-occasion restaurant. It’s extremely refined, fancy, and expensive. But for any fine dining enthusiast, Daniel is worth checking off the bucket list.

60 E 65th St
New York, NY 10065

18. Donohue's Steak House

845 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10065
A plate with chopped steak topped with onions and served with a side of fries.
Chopped steak at Donohue’s.
Bao Ong/Eater NY

Dining at this family-owned steakhouse is like revisiting old New York. Regulars, from locals to literary types, hold court at the black leather booths or a seat the long bar sipping cocktails. The menu includes the usual cuts of steaks but other old-timey items include the chopped steak, chicken pot pie, and burgers.

845 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10065

19. Sushi Seki

1143 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10065

Once known as a late-night sushi den, Sushi Seki offers a la carte and omakase menus which features all the classic rolls, sushi, and sashimi, as well as a Golden Flower Trio that comes with three special rolls: Golden Tuna Tofu, Golden Salmon Tomato, and Golden Eel Avocado. The restaurant has two other locations in Chelsea and Times Square, but this original outpost remains the favorite amongst chefs.

1143 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10065

20. Ravagh

1135 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10065

Head to Ravagh when a craving strikes for satisfying skewers of meat: The barg kababs, featuring chunks of beef tenderloin, and jujeh kebabs, comprised of cornish hen marinated in lemon and saffron, come highly recommended. Charred tomato and onion accompany meat entrees; choose from an array of soups, dips, stews, and desserts, too. The Iranian-run Persian chainlet has thre other locations throughout the New York metropolitan area, including on in Midtown.

1135 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10065

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