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Best Restaurants - Upper East Side, New York

Best Restaurants - Upper East Side, New York

Very quietly, the Upper East Side, NY has been turning into a foodie's paradise over the last few years. Enjoy these best bars and restaurants in the UES.

Now, with the influx of hipsters and young professionals settling down in the community, more and more trendy bars and cafes are springing up along Second and Third Avenue (not to mention Lexington), to better serve their needs. The Upper East Side, Manhattan, NY now houses a wide variety of bars and restaurants where you can just relax and be yourself... without having to sacrifice ambiance or the quality of food and drinks.

Infirmary NYC - Upper East Side

Everything about this cool and slightly eccentric restaurant and bar conjures up the distinctive charm of the Big Easy. There's just no city quite like New Orleans anywhere on earth. And, much the same can be said for Infirmary.
 
The Infirmary was opened by a New Orleans native who relocated to New York after Hurricane Katrina.
The welcoming atmosphere and delicious Cajun-Creole food are as authentic as can be. When you are sitting here, enjoying a true taste of New Orleans, you will half expect to see a brass band dancing down the street, as if it were Mardi Gras season.
 
Besides offering great food and drinks, Infirmary is all about giving their customers great value.
The house has a fantastic Brunch Prix Fixe for only Thirty dollars. For your first course, you can choose from such tasty items as their signature Cane river gumbo (with Andouille sausage, organic free range chicken and rice) or  Southern style Caesar salad with Romaine lettuce, chili anchovy dressing and cornbread croutons.
Infirmacy 1
Second-course options are plentiful and one each one is more delicious than the last. The pulled pork hash comes with baked eggs, roasted potatoes and grilled onions and peppers. The Infirmary's signature Po 'Boy is to die for. Ingredients include scrambled eggs, white cheddar, secret dressing and bacon, all on a fresh loaf of New Orleans French Bread.
 
Brunch beverage choices include a VERY spicy Bloody Mary and the Hurricane, a potent drink which consists of Denizen light and dark rum and a blend of fresh fruits.
 
Infirmary's Happy Hour takes center stage Monday through Friday from  4 to 7 PM.
 
Classic cocktails and house originals are all priced at a more than affordable $8. The Louisiana Purchase is Infirmary's version of the classic Vieux Carre. You will savor every sip of this blend of cognac, rye, whiskey, Punt e Mes, cherry liqueur Benedictine, Angostura and Peychaud's bitters as well as a nice pour of Twany 10 year port.
 
The bar has a couple of nice frozen drinks for only $6. The Lady Voodoo will certainly put a spell on you with its' heady mix of Louisiana dark rum, Mezcal and grape punch.
The Absinthe frappe is a drink of a different sort. Creme' de Menthe', Absinthe, Peychaud's bitters and lemon juice make up this wonderful concoction.
 
If you want to add a little romance to the equation order a glass of house red or white wine for just six bucks.  Should a tall glass of frosty beer be your thing, then drink like they do down in New Orleans and order the locally brewed Abita Light or Abita amber, imported straight from  Abita Springs, Louisiana. Select drafts come in at just Five dollars. 

Location and Hours 

1720 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10128
(917) 388-2512
www.infirmarynyc.com
 
Hours
 
Monday to Friday        12 PM to 4 AM
Saturday and Sunday  11 AM to 4 AM

Drunken Munkey - Upper East Side

The vibe here is upscale but the ambiance is all in fun. This beautifully decorated bar and restaurant is inspired by the supper clubs and lounges of "old Bombay", during the 1920's and 30's.
 
If you're on a first (or even a second, third or fourth) date, you will impress your sweetheart no end with an evening spent at the Drunken Munkey.
Small candles adorn every table and the wall paper has a quaint floral and paisley design. Grab a before dinner drink at their small but smart polished wood, curved bar.

If there's a brief lull in the conversation, just direct your date's attention to the ceiling. Take a very close look at the ornate chandeliers which are comprised of hand-carved monkeys that are dressed in British colonial-era red coats. Each monkey is holding two miniature lamps aloft. Cute and very, very unique.
 
The atmosphere is whimsical and playful but the food and drinks being served here are anything but. Your meal here will be more than memorable.
 
The chef's delicious dishes incorporate regional Indian cuisine from the North Western frontier down to the fishing villages of the Southern coast. This is NOT the family style buffet or curry house Indian dining experience that you may be used to.
 
This one of a kind blend of Anglo-Indian cuisine utilizes European cooking techniques and recipes with local Indian ingredients, spices and traditions. The results are mouth-watering and then some. It was in the grand palaces of the Maharajas and the homes of British military families that this culinary style first started.
 
The "Mess Hall " menu features classic cuisine from officers' clubs to the streets of India. You will delight in every bite.
 
Anglo-Indian specialties include  Railway chicken curry, Bombay lamb chops (in a five spice marinade) and Lucknow Meatballs, which are hand-rolled, braised beef meatballs with whole spices and a boiled egg.
 
If you want to go traditional, then order the kitchen's melt in your mouth butter chicken Tikka Masala in a creamy tomato sauce.
Punjabi Tandoori chicken,  Sindhi fish curry,  lamb shank Rogan Josh and Vegetable Korma (fresh veggies in a delectable almond sauce) are also on the menu. The Saag Paneer with spinach and cottage cheese is well worthy of notice. Your taste buds will heartily thank you.
 
There are twenty delicious cocktails to choose from at The Drunken Munkey. Each drink has something special to recommend it. What you choose to order depends upon both your taste and sense of adventure.
 
Why not commence your evening with the very refined Lady Mountbatten cocktail? This blend of Scotch, Pamplemousse, strawberry gastrique, fresh lemon and lime juice and peach bitters if quite refreshing.
 
The bar's East India cocktail utilizes premium Cognac, Combier,  Luxardo Maraschino and Peychaud's bitters for a one of a kind taste.
Their signature drink, the wise Old Munkey, blends rum and Creme' de Banana with Regan's orange bitters. The Scottish Highlander is a delicious and thirst quenching mix of  Scotch, Drambuie and, an unlikely but highly effective ingredient, Limoncello.
 
By the way, you might be interested to know that Paanch is the Hindi word for five. This is where the word punch originated.
The first documented "cocktail" mix style in India, the first punch drinks had five ingredients, (sweet, sour, spice, fruit and alcohol) and drank as a toast to friends and comrades.
 
The Drunken Munkey has a certain flair and style to it. This is not just any bar or lounge but a place to celebrate all that you love about life. 

Location and Hours 

338 East 92nd Street
New York, NY 10128
(646) 998-4600
www.drunkenmunkeynyc.com
 
Hours
 
Monday to Thursday  4:30 PM to 2 AM
Friday                      4:30 PM to 3 AM
Saturday                11:30 AM to 3 AM
Sunday                  11:30 AM to 2 AM

Two Door Tavern - Upper East Side 

This rustic, friendly neighborhood bar is a great place to socialize and chase the cares of the day away.
 
The décor is nothing out of the ordinary but there's a warm, relaxing ambiance here. While Two Doors Down will never make any list of New York's  sexiest drinking establishments, it doesn't really need to. It has so much else going on. Like killer food and drinks, as well as a bar staff that puts customers at their ease.  Come here once and you'll soon be on a first-name basis with the servers and bartenders.
 
The bar emphasizes house-made syrups, herbs and fresh fruit as well as premium spirits. They are not at all into pre-made mixes or shortcuts at Two Door Tavern. It's a little more work but the bar keeps take a lot of pride in what they do.
 
One of the cocktails that they are most proud of is the Shift Drink, which is a favorite of both hospitality industry workers on their way home for the night as well as cocktail lovers everywhere. Tito's vodka, ginger syrup, freshly squeezed lemon juice, club soda make up your delightful ingredients along with a garnish of candied ginger.

The Sugar and Spice, composed of Bulleit rye, house-made brown sugar, simple syrup and orange bitters is crowned with a filthy cherry.
Rose', fresh pressed watermelon juice, muddled berries and jalapenos re-define refreshment in Two Door's take on a classic Sangria. The Grand Tamarindo will spice up your night with silver agave tequila, lime juice, tamarind syrup. When you lift this glass of nectar up to your lips, the first thing you will taste is a spicy chili rim around the glass, as well as a wedge of lime.
 
Egg whites, a splash of both cream and grapefruit soda together with blossom water, orange juice and a shot of gin all combine to make Fair or Fizz one of the best drinks in the city; period.
 
The kitchen turns out a diversified menu of shareable and mains. It's hard not to find something to like here.
 
By far, the most popular bar bite is the smoky and sweet corn on the cob, with chopped bacon and a mustard and maple glaze. Not far behind though, are the crispy artichoke fries with Truffle Aioli.
 
Entrée selections range from a succulent coffee and brown sugar rubbed steak frites and lobster mac and cheese to the Two Door burger that's topped with Swiss cheese, fried onions and spinach dip. Now, that's an inventive burger! 

Location and Hours 

1576 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10128
(212) 828-1388
www.twodoortavern.com
 
Hours
 
Monday to Wednesday 12 PM to 12 AM
Thursday and Friday     12 PM to 1 AM
Saturday                    10 AM to 1 AM
Sunday                      10 AM to 12 AM

Bondurants  -  Upper East Side

A cool place to hang out and watch the world go by, Bondurants has become go-to for the hipster and young professional crowd on the Upper East Side.
 
The chill vibe and cozy ambiance make it a great date spot, during the week. On Saturday and Sunday, however, Bondurants turns into one of the hottest brunch places in the neighborhood.
When it's not too hot or cold outside, the management throws open the front picture windows, transforming the tables near the sidewalk into an "outdoor" patio.
 
The bar here is celebrated for its' distinctive list of small batch bourbons, many of which are sourced from local distilleries. This is a big draw for serious drinkers from all over the east side of town.
You can also enjoy a select list of draft beers that rotate on a seasonal basis. There's always something new to discover and christen as your new favorite beer. Until that is, you find something else that captivates you, the next time around.
 
Awesome cocktails rule at Bondurants, including the latest addition to their drink list, Summer Comes and Gose, This flavorful beverage is the bars' first beer cocktail.
This refreshing portion consists of  J.M. Amaro Montenegro, falernum, ginger, lime, coconut water, Pina Colada, tiki bitters and Westbrook Key Lime Gose.
bondurants
Catch a wave of sheer bliss when you drown your sorrows in the Sweet Georgia peach whose ingredients are Larceny bourbon,  apricot Du Roussillon, Darjeeling tea liqueur and lemon juice.  The Fernet Me Not blends Templeton Rye with Fernet  Branca, chartreuse, lime and grapefruit bitters.
 
The Frose' mixes late harvest rose' with blackberry juice and a lemon slushie. It's a perfect light drink to accompany your brunch.
 
As with many bars and cafes, brunch takes on a southern accent here at Bondurant.
 
The Southern style French Toast, with strawberries, bananas, fresh whipped cream and sorghum-maple syrup, is one of their most popular dishes.
The  Smash to skillet, though, is the kitchen's signature brunch creation.  You have got to put this on your foodie bucket list. House-made tater tots are smashed up in a cast iron skillet and then mixed with pork belly, gooey melted cheddar and a fried egg. You also get toast your way and a side of mixed greens.
 
Their sausage and gravy brunch option is the best kind of wake-up call you can have. Aside, of course, from one of their magnificent cocktails. This dish gives you a generous portion of Berkshire pork sausage and bacon, together with a biscuit and fried egg. And, let's not forget the sage and black pepper gravy.
 
The term happy place was coined just for establishments like Bondurants.

Location and Hours

303 East 85th Street
New York, NY 10028
(212) 249-1509
www.bondurantsnyc.com
 
Hours
 
Monday to Thursday  4 PM to 2 AM
Friday              3 PM to 4 AM
Saturday           11 AM to 4 AM
Sunday             11 AM to 2 AM

Jones Wood Foundry  -  Upper East Side

Inspired by the proud tradition of Great Britain's public houses, Jones Wood Foundry places as much emphasis on food and hospitality as it does on what's in your glass. Chef and partner Jason Hicks have whipped up a menu that honors typical pub comfort food, but with a very contemporary spin.
 
Chef Jason wants his customers to feel that Jones Wood Foundry is, more or less, an extension of their home. Whether you are in the mood for just a quick drink at the bar or want to stay awhile and savor a round of drinks together with a good meal, you are more than welcome.
Sit and chat with your companion for the evening or with a group of friends. You'll never feel rushed. The atmosphere is nurturing. Vintage furnishings, collected over the years by Jason and co-owner Yves Jadot, decorate the cozy main dining room.

A long communal table, perfectly suited to small gatherings, overlooks a romantic, secret courtyard garden. The entire restaurant is a throwback to a less rushed and hectic era in time.
 
No story about this delightful gastropub could be complete without telling our readers just how the name came about.
Way, way, back in the day, before it was known as the upper east side or Yorkville, the area between 66th and 77th Streets, bordered by Third Avenue and the East River, was known by locals as Jones Wood. The origins of the building that house the pub, dating back to the 1880's. So there is a considerable amount of history within these walls.
 
Most regulars agree that, while there isn't a bad cocktail in the house; there are three selections that really stand out.
 
The very un-British named La Vie En Rose is a cocktail comprised of Dolin Blanc, lime juice, seltzer water and organic Pomegranate juice. The Italian Diplomat is one sexy and slightly mysterious drink, whose ingredients are vino Amaro, Carpano Antica, Dolin Blanc, Dolin Dry and Cardamaro.

If you desire a classic champagne cocktail, Jones Wood's bartenders have one of the best. The Classic consists of Brut sparkling, Angostura bitters and a single, solitary cube of brown sugar. This is a drink that definitely hits the spot.
jones wood foundry
Without a doubt, you'll also be able to toast the night with an extensive selection of local craft and imported beers, available by the bottle or draft.
 
They've also got something that you will be hard-pressed to find at even the most beer centric pubs and bars, cask ale.
Cask Ales have filled the cellars of English pubs for centuries. Beer is fermented and served in a time-honored way, pulled to your glass with a hand pump. Cask beer is somewhat less fizzy than the draft beer that you may be used to, so it's easier on the stomach. Unlike room temperature suds, this beer is best sipped when it has been slightly chilled.
 
As far as food goes, Chef Jason certainly does not disappoint. He infuses the pub staple, Bangers and Mash with a little contemporary zest and sizzle.  Fish and Chips are elevated to another level. Chef's beer battered cod comes with triple cooked chips, lemon seasoning and house tartar sauce.
 
The half Long Island Duck with wilted kale and a risotto cake is another popular item on the menu as is the tea brined spring chicken with fava bean puree. 

Hours and Location

401 East 76th Street
New York, NY 10021
(212) 249-2700
www.joneswoodfoundry.com
 
Hours
 
Monday and Tuesday    3 PM to 12 AM
Wednesday to Friday  12 PM to 2 AM
Saturday             11 AM to 2 AM
Sunday               11 AM to 12 AM

Felice 83 -  Upper East Side

The charming and personable owner of Felice 83, Jacopo Giustiniani is proud to bring the centuries' old traditions of his family's vineyard and winery to the Upper East Side.
Born and raised in Florence, Jacopo became fascinated with all things related to wine, from a very early age, earnestly watching his parents and their team, at work in the winery, which is located just outside the city of the Medici.
 
After graduating from the University of Florence, Jacopo and his brother took over management duties at the vineyards, implementing modern techniques and introducing new grape varietals. They also built farmhouse accommodations for visitors who wanted to tour the winery.
 
Seeking new challenges, Jacopo moved to New York, where he worked as the wine buyer for the Sant Ambroeus Group.
In December of 2007, Jacopo opened  Felice 83. It's really two establishments in one. You can dine in their ristorante, which has 64 seats as well as a 34 seat patio or stops by for a snack and cocktail at Bar Felice, which adjoins the main restaurant area.
 
The décor at Felice 83 blends a rustic theme with sleek and sexy contemporary sensibilities. Wood paneled walls hold shelves of wine bottles alongside gorgeous banquettes and cozy, comfy booths.
 
Bar Felice has the ambiance of a hip lounge, which would not be out of place in Milan or New York's Meat Packing District. Long candles are the centerpiece at each table and the walls are decorated with photos of legendary Italian soccer stars.
Both the ristorante and bar are a stylish breath of fresh air.
 
When it's time to sit back and sip, you can order most of the cocktails on the menu at both the restaurant and bar. However, Bar Felice does have a slightly more expansive drink list.
 
Their signature cocktails are tasty and pack a pretty good punch. There's no watered down nonsense going on here. And, at $14, the prices are very much in line for the neighborhood.
 
The Mona is named after Florence's most famous painting and contains an artful blend of  Gin, St. Germain Elder flower liqueur, lemon juice, and Prosecco.
You will feel very passionate about the Passione after you take a couple of sips of this tremendous cocktail.  Bacardi 8 rum, passion fruit puree', lime juice and simple syrup are the ingredients.
A touch of basil and cucumber are the highlights of the Basilicata, which also contains Elderflower, lemon juice, gin and simple syrup.
 
If you prefer to stick to the classics, you can choose from a delicious Moscow mule, Aperol Spritz, Dark and Stormy or an Espresso martini. The Felice Negroni, by the way, is made with sweet vermouth that has been aged in an oak barrel.
felice83
Italian style snacks and small plates are featured at Bar Felice. Even if you are not particularly hungry when you arrive, you'll end up ordering something, once you look at the tantalizing menu.
 
Right off the bat, the Melanzane alla Parmigiana,(baked layers of sliced eggplant, mozzarella and Parmigiano in a tomato basil sauce), will capture your attention.
They do a wonderful Frito Misto here with fried calamari, zucchini, carrots, onions, eggplant and asparagus, accompanied by a jalapeno aioli.
 
You've got to try their Italian home fries which are sliced fried potatoes that are generously dusted with Parmesan cheese and truffle olive oil.
Other delights include Ricotta with truffle honey, Tuscan style crostini selections, veal meatballs and Barbabietole, a traditional dish of roasted heirloom beets, yogurt, basil, honey and balsamic vinegar.
 
Needless to say, Felice 83's wine list is second to none. But, what else would you expect from a restaurant and wine bar that is run by a former winemaker?

Location and hours

1593 First Avenue
New York, NY 10028
(212) 249-4080
www.felice83.com
 
Hours
Monday through Sunday   11:30 AM to 11 PM

Cascabel Taqueria - Upper East Side

From the second that you lay eyes on this colorful Mexican themed restaurant and bar, you just know that you are in for a whole of fun. Come with the girls for a festive ladies night out. Bring along the guys from work and enjoy sips and bites that are way more tasty and different from your usual Friday night watering hole.
 
Cascabel Taqueria also works as a date night place or family friendly spot where you can feel comfortable bringing along your spouse and kids.  After all, their tagline is "Eat. Drink. Love Tacos". What could be wrong with that?
 
The restaurant's walls are awash in bright lemon and lime colors. Photos of Mexican Luchadores (Pro Wrestlers), decorate the bar area. The staff is always smiling, even on the busiest of nights.
There's a charming wrap around patio outside the restaurant. The tables may be a conservative black color, but the seating runs from neon blue and yellow to green. Yet, despite the brightness of your surroundings, the decor never distracts from the food or drinks. That's the real reason why this authentic Taqueria is such a popular neighborhood staple.
 
Cascabel Taqueria calls their happy hour fiesta time and it is a very appropriate name.
 
This lengthy happy hour runs, Monday through Friday, from 11 AM until 7 in the evening. So, by all means, make this your lunch hour pick-me-up go-to place.

Select bottles and drafts of both craft beer and popular brands are available for just five dollars. House wine comes in at $8 a glass as do the bars' delicious Margaritas.
 
Taco Madness rules the day every Monday from 5 PM until closing. For the unheard of price of only $19.95, you can enjoy sixty tasty minutes of the kitchens' wonderful tacos. Choices include chorizo, veggie, chicken chipotle and Baja fish. Just keep ordering and those tacos will keep coming to your table.
 
You may be interested to know that the bar offers organic tequilas as well as a primo selection of Brunch and anytime cocktails.

The Sangria is made from scratch with absolutely no off the shelf, pre-measured mixes involved. Their Mimosas are made with cava and fresh squeezed orange juice.
 
The signature sip here is La Lola, a potent concoction of cava, fresh grapefruit juice and Aperol.  The El Capitan is a great way to start your day. The ingredients, (passion fruit, cava and domain de canton) are quite basic but they do the trick.
You can order your Margarita two ways; traditional or on the spicy side. The classic version consists of tequila, lime juice, organic agave and a chili salt rim. The contents are the same for the Spicy Margarita except for one notable difference... jalapeno infused tequila.

Brunch is a popular meal at Cascabel Taqueria The Breakfast Burrito which is stuffed with eggs, chorizo, fingerling potatoes, mushrooms, pico de gallo and Chihuahua cheese, comes with a side of sweet potato fries.
 
The kitchen also has a Benedict which features griddled corn bread, slow roasted pork, poached eggs and a delicious chipotle Hollandaise sauce.
 
You may also order traditional brunch dishes such as pancakes, French Toast, and eggs your way. One of their standout sides is the Rabano, which is a radish with cilantro, sea salt and cracked pepper.
 
Cascabel Taqueria wishes you Buen Provecho, which means good appetite!

Location and Hours 

1556 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10028
(212) 717-7800
www.cascabeltaqueria.com/
 
Hours
 
Sunday through Thursday   11 AM to 11 PM
Friday and Saturday       11 AM to 12 AM

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