There are many reasons for which you might find yourself in Midtown East and in search of a meal, whether it be because your job forces you to work in this part of town, or high rents have forced you to live here.
We’ve spent a good deal of time eating our way through this part of town, both because of previous jobs and apartments. Our Midtown Lunch guide can guide you to the best things to quickly eat on the go or at your desk, but let this collection of the best restaurants in Midtown East be your guide on where to have dinner with a client, drinks with a friend, and maybe even brunch, should you find yourself here on a weekend.
One of the few restaurants in Midtown East that’s “Perfect For” a lot of things, even though The Upsider is probably best known for brunch. It’s great for your Saturday avocado toast fix, but it’s also great for dinner and happy hour. Especially when the weather is nice and their outdoor seats can be taken advantage of.
Our personal favorite restaurant in this hood, thanks to the fact that the food is excellent, the service is always great, and their $1 oyster deal during the week can’t be beat. Use Crave for date night or dinner with your boss, but whatever you do, use it.
Located down the stairs in the back of the lobby in a nondescript office building, Sakagura is not only one of the coolest spaces in midtown, it’s one of the coolest spaces in the whole city. Once you get downstairs, you enter a dark cave of full of sake and Japanese food that could easily be located in Japan. The menu is full of excellent small plates ranging from sashimi to soba to chicken meatballs to rice bowls topped with uni. Order a lot of them, and a lot of sake.
Hide-Chan has long been the best place for a bowl of ramen in this part of town, and the fact that it’s open until 1am on Thursday and 4am on Friday makes it even better. The waits for a table can stretch to more than an hour, but once you sit down at this extremely authentic, extremely delicious ramen spot, you’ll see that it’s worth your time.
Don’t want to wait for Hide-Chan? Hit up Totto Ramen, which is on the street level, right under Hide-Chan. Totto opened this East Side location in 2014, and it’s been a popular spot ever since, especially for lunch. The difference between this and the ramen spot upstairs is that Totto is far more modern, and their ramen is a chicken-based broth, as opposed to Hide-Chan’s more traditional pork. We love them both.
Naya is a Lebanese restaurant that sort of looks like a modern shower inside a boutique hotel. It’s a narrow room with lots of white tile, and really weird little booths. But once you get past that, you’ll see that they serve some of the best Middle Eastern food in town. We’ve been eating here for years, and everything from the hummus to the lamb and chicken kebab is worth an order. Get Naya into your Midtown East rotation.
You know The Smith. You’ve probably been to one of their other locations around town, probably with a big group of friends or your baby, or your baby’s big group of friends. And just like the other Smiths in the city, this Midtown location is a good spot for a big crew of people with different tastes, and it’s a good spot for brunch too. Just know that this place gets really loud at night, and the bar can be very crowded.
Grab a drink, eat a burger, watch some sports. Hudson Malone is the best place to do all three of those things in the area, and the service is good too.
The National is the ultimate utility spot – it’s great for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and it’s close to Grand Central. As a result, it’s been one of the places we recommend the most when people are in need of a Midtown East meal. Put it in your back pocket.
A popular spot amongst Japanese business folk who work in the area, and amongst those who know that where Japanese business folk eat, good Japanese food is all but guaranteed. Hatsuhana is our favorite sushi spot in Midtown East, thanks largely to The Box of Dreams, a $40 offering that consists of 9 different types of sashimi over rice.