Calexico is a California-style Mexican place where you can get jalapeño poppers and/or a burrito in a bowl with extra “crack sauce.” As you probably guessed, it isn’t the absolute best Mexican food in the city - but it’s good for a quick, casual meal when you don't actually feel like using your own kitchen. It’s also perfect for an inexpensive night out with a friend or two. There are several locations in the city, and this one on the Upper East Side has a big bar and plenty of tables.
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Fred's at Barneys NY
Why on earth are we reviewing a famous department store restaurant? Because it’s hilarious, that’s why. Nowhere else will you find such an entertaining mix of blown-out 55-going-on-22 moms, burnt-out post-college city natives, and people who think they look like celebrities but most definitely aren’t.
Le Pain Quotidien, you are officially on notice. Maison Kayser is better, and people can actually pronounce it. Sort of.
An Upper East Side French restaurant from Michael White with very good food. It's fancy, without being too formal.
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Otto’s Tacos is a casual East Village taco place with a simple menu, homemade tortillas, and much-needed West Coast flavor.
Claro is a great Oaxacan-inspired restaurant that’s even better when you’re sitting in the backyard.
Quick, specialty fast foods are something lower Manhattan now thrives on, and Tortaria deserves to be mentioned alongside their fellow low-cost, high-reward brethren. There’s a Mexican sandwich and a taquito for every palate.
Suggested by our writers
The East Pole
With its downtown vibe and solid menu, The East Pole is exactly the youthful shot in the arm the Upper East Side needed.
Sushi Seki Upper East Side
Open late and always excellent, Sushi Seki Upper East Side is our favorite sushi restaurant in NYC. Sit at the counter and order piece by piece.
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