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.
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.
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.
There are tons of French restaurants on the Upper West Side, but most of them feel like the kinds of places you’d go with someone who has a personal shopper at Brooks Brothers. Le Petit Rooster is an Upper West Side French spot that’s not quite as stiff. During the week, you can come by for a duck sandwich at lunch or $8 glasses of wine during Happy Hour. For dinner, you can expect to hear Tame Impala while sharing rotisserie chicken and mushroom gnocchi. After your meal, be sure to take a moment and appreciate how good it is to be full of French food that doesn't cost too much.
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.