Eat

Budget

  • Amir's Falafel, Broadway at 114th. Good and inexpensive falafel, shwarma, kebabs, and other standard middle eastern fare.
  • Ayurveda Cafe, 706 Amsterdam Ave (at 94th St). Eat in and take out lunch and dinner. The restaurant/cafe serves a daily fixed menu ideal for vegans, vegetarians and celiac. Exceptionally friendly and warm, while light and charming.
  • Big Nick's also has a second location in the neighborhood at 70 W 71st St (at Columbus Ave). $7-15.
  • El Malecon, Amsterdam between 97th and 98th Streets. A Dominican restaurant known as one of the best places for pollo a la brasa (rotisserie chicken) in Manhattan. They also serve a number of daily specials for lunch and dinner.
  • The Heights, Broadway at 111th St. Tex-Mex. The bar is the best part. A rooftop terrace is open on warm days for al fresco dining. edit
  • Jerusalem Restaurant, 2715 Broadway (between 103rd and 104th Streets). Serves very tasty falafel at inexpensive prices. The place is a little hole-in-the-wall, but you're there for the food.
  • Le Monde, Broadway between 112th & 113th Streets. Faux French food but a great international beer selection and good burgers.
  • Metro Diner, Broadway and 100th. Has everything you could look for in a diner breakfast menu.
  • The Mill, Broadway at 113th St. Started life as a diner many years ago but when the owner started adding a few of his native Korean dishes, they caught on and now it is an excellent Korean restaurant.
  • Massawa, Amsterdam at 121st St. One of the oldest Ethiopian (Eritrean) restaurants in the city with a no frills decor but good food and service.
  • Ollie's, Broadway at 116th. Workday Chinese. Fast and cheap lunch or dinner, but don't expect anything close to average Chinatown quality.
  • Tom's Restaurant, corner of Broadway and 112th St. The restaurant from the comedy series Seinfeld. Strictly located just outside the Upper West Side, this place is a shrine for many TV pilgrims; for the locals, just a diner.

Mid-range

  • Kefi, Columbus between 84th and 85th Streets. A high-quality and very popular Greek restaurant (not a diner in any sense). Reservations strongly suggested, especially for dinner. $30-35 for a full dinner.
  • Indus Valley, Broadway and 99th St. A classy Northern Indian restaurant that serves excellent food. Their lunch special is a bargain; dinner is a little more, but still a fine value.
  • Pio Pio, Amsterdam and 94th St. Manhattan’s outpost of a very popular upscale Peruvian chain. Serves great rotisserie chicken, and tends to be very loud due to the large crowds of locals that come here.
  • Sookk, Broadway between 102nd and 103rd Streets. A cozy Thai restaurant with great traditional and fusion.
  • Turkuaz, Broadway and 100th St. Popular for its Turkish food. It can get a little crazy with crowds and belly dancing at times, but many regulars think it is well worth it.
  • Fatty Crab, Broadway and 75th St. Southeast Asian cuisine.

Splurge

  • Masa, (Time Warner Center). Probably the most expensive restaurant in New York, so go only if money is no object. Those who have been there strongly recommend that you sit at the sushi bar in order to have the best experience. Reservations necessary.
  • Per Se, (Time Warner Center). The New York outpost of Chef Thomas Keller of the French Laundry in Yountville, which is in the Napa Valley of California. Chef Keller is one of the most famous and highly praised chefs in the country. It used to be necessary to call months in advance for reservations, but due to the recession, same-day reservations may be worth attempting.
  • Sapphire Indian, Broadway between 60th and 61st Streets (near Lincoln Center). Excellent unadventurous North Indian food served by knowledgeable waiters in this upscale restaurant. A bit pricey, but you will get a fair value.

Markets

  • Citarella.
  • Fairway, Broadway between 74th and 75th Streets. Probably the best-known supermarket in New York, Fairway sells a wide variety of specialty and prepared items, in addition to usual supermarket fare, and has large produce sections. Lots of good values to be had, but watch out for elbows and aggressive shopping cart drivers at peak times.
  • Lincoln Center Farmers Market.
  • Milano Market, Broadway between 112th and 113th Streets. Italian products with a good deli, reasonable cheeses, and a good selection of international beers.
  • Morningside Heights Farmers Market, Broadway between 114th and 115th Streets. This outdoor market is year round but is best enjoyed in summer and fall. Delicious New York strawberries and blueberries in mid and late summer, fresh apples (including varieties that never make it to the supermarkets) in fall. Pumpkins, fresh local tomatoes, melons, watermelons, lots of apple cider, and a stand that sells preserves of local fruits all make this a worthwhile place for browsing if you have your own kitchen.
  • Schatzie's, 87th and Amsterdam. Totally friendly, great meats, great butchers, order by phone, and cheaper than Citarella. And they will cook dinner for you if you like.
  • Westside Supermarket, 110th and Broadway. An old neighborhood establishment gone upscale. Amazing choice of prepared foods and good fruits and vegetables. The cheese section is outstanding, as also are the meats and fish.
  • Zabar's, 2245 Broadway (at 80th St), ☎ +1-212-787-2000. A very well-known store in New York, with an enormous selection of delicious (and expensive) foods. Foodstuffs (cheeses, olives, prepared foods, etc.) are sold on the first floor. The second floor is where you will find all sorts of devices related to cooking and food processing at price points ranging from inexpensive bargains to very expensive luxury items. As with Fairway, do not go the day before Thanksgiving, and think carefully before going on a busy weekend.

Drink

While a relatively quiet nightlife spot, the Upper West Side offers many options to grab a drink and socialize. Trendy wine and cocktail bars are common along Columbus Ave between 70th and 80th St. Amsterdam Ave around 80th street contains several sports bars and Irish pubs. Further uptown, near Columbia University, cheap college bars are the norm. Some excellent places to grab a drink include:

  • Abbey Pub, 105th St (off Broadway). An old style pub popular with Columbia University students.
  • Smoke Jazz Club and Lounge, 2751 Broadway (between 105th and 106th Streets). Live jazz seven days a week. Performers often jam late into the night so go for the late set if you can.
  • Amsterdam Ale House, (75th and Amsterdam). Local pub specializing in microbrews
  • George Keeleys, (84th and Amsterdam). Excellent beer selection

Happy Hour specials are very popular among bars in the Upper West Side, with most establishments offering deals such as 1/2 price drinks and $1 oysters after work on weekdays. This can be a great way to go out on a budget, or to interact with New York's after work crowd. Websites such as Hour and Mobile Apps such as Upper West Sliders maintain up-to-date listings of happy hours in the area.

Cafes

The Upper West Side has many idiosyncratic cafes, some of long standing in the neighborhood. Of course, there is no shortage of Starbucks in the area, but for something different try one of the following:

  • Cafe Lalo, 83rd St between Amsterdam Ave and Broadway. Around in the neighborhood for almost twenty years, Cafe Lalo is packed with a mostly young crowd until late in the night. Excellent cakes and pastries, coffee and tea in many varieties. Featured in You've Got Mail.
  • Max Cafe, Amsterdam Ave between 122nd and 123rd Streets. A laid back place for coffee, tea, sandwiches, and free wireless in the Columbia University neighborhood.
  • Oren's, Broadway between 112th and 113th Streets. A local chain with good coffee and excellent teas.
  • Alice's Tea Cup, 73rd and Columbus. Good tea selection, excellent scones and an Alice in Wonderland theme. Very popular with families with daughters
  • Levain's Bakery, 74th and Amsterdam. Bakery best known for their big, dense cookies.
  • Crumbs, 75th and Amsterdam. Bakery specializing in cupcakes, including the Oreo cupcake and the Hostess cupcake.
  • Magnolia, 69th and Columbus. Part of the cupcake bakery chain.

Sleep

Budget

  • Belnord Hotel, 209 W 87th St. Budget hotel near Broadway comprises two adjoining buildings with a hotel section and seasonal accommodations in a dormitory. Complimentary wireless internet access and luggage storage. Guest laundry available.
  • Broadway Hotel & Hostel, 230 W 101st St, ☎ +1-212-865-7710. From $30.
  • Hostelling International New York, 891 Amsterdam Ave (at 103rd St; Subway 1 to 103rd St or B/C to 103rd St), ☎ +1-212-932-2300. One of the largest hostels in NYC. Close to the subway, with internet, 24-hour reception, laundry, a lounge area, a small cafe, and no curfew. The building is old, but in decent shape and pretty clean. Dorms $45/night in the summer.
  • Hotel Newton, 2528 Broadway. Newly refurbished budget hotel with amenities like microwave ovens, mini refrigerators and flat screen televisions.
  • Jazz Hostels, (Subway 1, B or C trains to 103rd St; Bus: M10 from Penn Station to W 103rd St and Central Park West), ☎ +1-212-932-1600. On-site cafe, 24 hour internet and reception, ATM, laundry, no curfew.
  • Marrakech Hotel, 2688 Broadway, ☎ +1-212-222-2954. A boutique-style hotel with a chic design, newly renovated accommodations, near Columbia University and jazz bars. No elevator though.
  • Morningside Inn Hotel, 235 W 107th St.
  • Riverside Tower Hotel, 80th St and Riverside Drive, (toll free: +1-800-724-3136).
  • Royal Park Hotel.
  • West Side YMCA, 63rd St between Central Park West and Broadway. Rates are a bit more than your average youth hostel but still inexpensive for Manhattan.

Mid-range

  • Central Park Inn, 19 W 103rd St (at Manhattan Ave; Subway: B/C trains to 103rd St), ☎ +1-212-678-0491, info@centralparkinn.com. Recently renovated studio apartments; extended stay.
  • Comfort Inn Central Park West, 31 West 71st St. Free high-speed internet, complimentary breakfast, and an exercise room.
  • Milburn Hotel, 242 West 76th St. A spacious apartment-like hotel with kitchenettes and upscale amenities. The hotel has a lobby with fireplace, library/lounge and soft couches, computer room and exercise facility.
  • Union Theological Seminary. Well-appointed rooms are set around a beautiful cloister. Under $150, less for visitors with a Columbia University affiliation.

Splurge

  • Excelsior Hotel, 45 W 81st St (between Central Park W and Columbus Ave; near the American Museum of Natural History. A luxury four-star French motif hotel.
  • Lucerne Hotel, 201 W 79th St. is an upscale boutique hotel fully restored and recently recognized as a landmark building.
  • Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 60th St and Broadway (Time Warner Building). The hotel has a spa, upscale dining at Asiate, amazing views, and a fitness center on the premises.
  • On the Avenue, 2178 Broadway (at 78th St), (toll free: +1-800-509-7598). The rooms are larger than in most Manhattan hotels, with a modern design. $200-250.
  • Trump International Hotel Towers, 1 Central Park W, (toll free: +1-888-448-7867). An elegant 52-story hotel designed by noted architects Philip Johnson and Costas Kondylis.

Internet

  • Columbia University. Free unsecured wireless service in the neighborhood (best on campus) if you have your own computer with a wireless card.
  • New York Public Library. The NYPL branch libraries at Morningside Heights (114th and Broadway); Bloomingdale (100th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam); St Agnes (Amsterdam Avenue and 81st Street); Riverside (Amsterdam Ave at 65th St); and the Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center (Amsterdam Ave between 64th and 65th Streets) all have computer terminals for public use (library membership is not necessary).