The Uptown Hit List: The Best New Restaurants Above 59th Street
photo credit: Jo Jo
Everybody wants to know about the best new restaurants in New York. And for that, you can head to our Hit List. But, if you live above 59th Street, you probably don’t want to regularly take a 45-minute train or cross a river just so you can eat a new Neapolitan pizza that everyone is talking about.
So if you’ve ever wondered what’s new and exciting uptown right now, you’ve come to the right place. The Uptown Hit List is your guide to the city’s best new spots in Harlem, the Upper East Side, and the Upper West Side. It’s our record of every restaurant that’s opened above Columbus Circle in the past year or so that we think is worthy of your time and money.
Moonrise Izakaya is permanently closed
Moonrise Izakaya is the coolest place to have a group dinner on the UWS right now. As soon as you sit down, someone will probably hand you a complimentary glass of sake. Which, scientifically, will only encourage you to drink more sake and set up a temporary living room in the loud space here. We’d suggest ordering a bunch of small Japanese plates like a skillet of hot cheesy corn and some delicately fried karaage (and then excusing yourself to admire the ode to Sailor Moon in the bathroom). Between the sake, the shareable food, and the fun neighborhood feel, Moonrise Izakaya is perfect for the next time you want to spend a few rowdy hours with some friends near West 96th Street.
photo credit: Francesco Sapienza
If you haven’t been to the original Daily Provisions in Union Square, know that the excitement around it is more than justified (and not just for the crullers). Their new uptown location has the same juicy rotisserie chicken, incredible sandwiches, and pastries, with the added bonus of more seating. To get a cruller, you’ll have to come early, but otherwise you should use this spot whenever you want something light and quick on a weeknight, or at 11am on a Sunday when the only thing that can get you out of your apartment is a bacon, egg, and cheese (and your dog).
The Uptown Garrison works for pretty much every dining situation. We say “pretty much” so you don’t complain to us after showing up to this all-day spot in Washington Heights looking for a white tablecloth restaurant to celebrate an anniversary or a divorce. But from breakfast on your way to work or fried chicken with a group to cocktails and pizza with a date, this restaurant and bar a block from the 181st Street A train is one of the most useful places to know about uptown.
Like Sushi Ishikawa, Sushi Of Gari, and Tanoshi Sushi, Sushi Jin serves several high-end tasting options for around $100. The one that costs $95 comes with 12 pieces (including an uni handroll) as well as soup, dessert, and green tea. All 12 bites come out at once, delicately laid out like a valuable collection of baseball cards. It’d be easy to eat the whole plate in about two minutes, but we suggest taking your time with it. Each piece - like sea eel from the Tokyo Bay, cherry sea bream, or seared Japanese barracuda - is thoughtfully dressed with dabs of sauce, yuzu zest, or tiny flakes of hard-boiled egg yolk.
Teranga closes at 7pm (and 9pm on Friday and Saturday), but even if you need to schedule a “doctor’s appointment” during lunch or eat dinner while the sun is still up, you should find a way to get to this counter-service West African spot as soon as possible. Inside The Africa Center on the northeast corner of Central Park, the all-day restaurant serves DIY grain bowls as well as a few preset options. You should focus on ones with fonio (like light, nutty couscous) and tender grilled chicken with lots of garlic and lime. No matter which bowl you order, make sure to get a side of kelewele - spicy fried plantains that are crunchy on the outside and very soft inside. The most expensive bowl is $14, so it’s a great option for a quick and inexpensive meal, which you can either eat in the bright, casual space or across the street in Central Park.
Nobody becomes a one-name celebrity overnight. Ringo played drums in dive bars, Beyonce was in Carmen: A Hip Hopera, and Jean-Georges - who now has more than 35 restaurants around the world - started at a stuffy French spot in a brownstone on the Upper East Side. It’s been around since 1991, but recently closed, and after updating the space and menu, reopened as a place that feels like a nice date spot in the West Village. The French-leaning dishes are still excellent, like the roasted chicken with crispy skin and perfectly cooked meat. But no matter what entree you order, make sure to start with the crab dumplings, which have dough that dissolves when you bite into them.
Once you eat at The Tang, you’ll instinctively wander back whenever you need some good, quick food that’s not too pricey. This is a Chinese noodle bar on the Upper West Side with a big selection of things like dan dan noodles, roasted bone marrow, fried pork buns. If you just want one thing, go for the signature beef noodle soup with chewy noodles, tender beef, and a smokey soft-boiled egg. There’s a bar overlooking the kitchen where you can eat by yourself, and there are also a bunch of tables in the sleek space where you can grab a casual weeknight dinner with a friend.
North Miznon is permanently closed
Miznon North is an Israeli restaurant with sister locations in Tel Aviv, Paris, and a counter-service spot in Chelsea Market we like a lot. Unlike the other NYC version, this 72nd Street restaurant is full-service and massive. It’s fun and busy in here, but it doesn’t get too loud. Which makes it a great place for dinner with a group or just someone you’ve been married to for thirty years. We especially like the run-over potato (which comes smashed as thin as a wedding invitation) and the golden whole fried branzino in a pan full of roasted vegetables.
About two blocks away from Miznon North is Leyla. This Turkish spot is in the bottom of a townhouse on 74th Street, and it’s the kind of nice place where people stay out later than they normally do in the neighborhood. The bar works if you want to stop by for a drink or a solo dinner, and then there’s a narrow dining room that goes back inexplicably far. The menu is split up in pide (Turkish flatbreads), mezze and hot appetizers, and main courses that all fall within the $25 range. Whichever main you go with, try a pide as well - each comes with a ton of cheese in a little boat shape.
If you live near Made In New York Pizza, consider yourself lucky. Maybe even go outside and plant a tree or say something nice to one of your neighbors in order to pay it forward. Once you’re done with that, come here and get a slice. The margherita is delicious, as are the white square and the upside-down slices covered in a sweet tomato sauce - but the best thing here is the square pepperoni slice. It’s crispy on the bottom and covered in thick pepperoni cups, and the dough isn’t so thick that it feels like you’re just eating a big piece of bread with toppings on it. This is some of the best pizza on the UWS, and there are a bunch of tables inside if you don’t feel like carrying your food all the way home.
If you’ve been to Oda House in the East Village, know that the UES location is more upscale, and involves chandeliers and servers in uniform. But don’t worry, you can still eat a wide variety of very good Georgian food in your gym clothes here. Ask your waiter if they have any specials - we did and we still can’t stop thinking about the crunchy imeruli khachapuri (Georgian cheese bread) that we got out of it. There are also about 20 other types of bread, kebabs, and dumplings (called khinkali) on the menu.
After paying $98 per person to secure your reservation at Reverence, you’ll be asked whether you want your five-course tasting menu to be protein or vegetable-focused. That’ll be as close to a menu as you’ll receive at this 18-seat chef’s counter in Harlem. After finding your name tag and sitting down, you’ll hear how all of the dishes are inspired by cuisines and ingredients from different parts of California. By far our favorite thing we’ve had here is a mound of creamy uni wrapped in zucchini and served with melted brown butter. While the two-plus-hour dinner could definitely be classified as fine dining, it never feels stuffy thanks to friendly chefs and servers who casually chat with you while making sure that your wine glass is never empty.