Here is our esteemed list of the very best restaurants that the upper west side has to offer.
From restaurants that have been built into the terrain of the upper west side, to the sprouting of new, adventurous restaurants that add to the brilliance of this city.
Yes, this is your exclusive restaurant review of some of the most fantastic restaurants the upper west side has to offer.
To make this review friendly to a variety of budgets, we’ve sectioned the article to review the very best of the high-end, medium-range, and budget-friendly restaurants.
Rest assured that no matter the price tag, all the selected restaurants have one thing in common: culinary excellence.
The Best High-End Upper West Side Restaurants
First up is our selection of the best high-end upper west side restaurants.
These are some of the most exclusive restaurants, that boast not only status but of fantastic cuisine. We only recommend restaurants that are truly up to our standards. These restaurants understand the importance of refined cuisine and the transforming experience of great food.
First up on our list, is the charming Marea.
If you’re looking for a restaurant that combines modern and chic, Marea is for you. Imagine the romantic flavors of coastal Italy, swirling with the style that only New York City can offer. Imagine a delightful sea breeze amidst the daring chaos of NYC, captured and placed in a captivating restaurant.
If you haven’t gathered, Marea is an Italian seafood restaurant.
Those who travel to Marea do so not only for their extraordinary food but also for their premise. They seek to indulge those who want to elevate their senses, celebrate food, and enjoy each moment. Each bite is a taste experience, built around dazzling scenery and fueled by pristine service.
What To Expect
If you choose to dine at this exclusive restaurant, you’ll be greeted with some of the best seafood and Italian cuisine that New York has to offer.
You will witness a selection of their luxurious freshly made pasta. The Pansotti is a squid ink lobster ravioli, with a coral bottarga — which tastes several delicious. We also recommend the Gnocchetti, which includes shrimp, chili, and rosemary oil.
You can also expect to see a lovely section of fish dishes. The Capesante includes sea scallops, squash, stuffed blossom, chanterelle, and pistachio. A fantastic combination of ingredients results in a magnificent dish.
You’ll be sure to find a range of exclusive caviar and oysters, and a delightful selection of desserts to choose from.
The Marea is a wonderful restaurant, highlighting the variety and splendor of Italian seafood dishes. We strongly recommend this restaurant, and we’re quite sure you will have a wonderful time.
Porter House Bar and Grill is an award-winning restaurant, a contemporary restaurant from renowned chef Michael Lomonaco. While the menu is seasonally inspired, to ensure the very best ingredients, the foundation of the restaurant is a twist on beloved American classic cuisine.
Porter House revolutionizes traditional dishes through the means of refining and crafting, to evolve dishes into states of pure excellence.
They also serve expertly crafted cocktails and have an acclaimed wine menu, where you can find a range of exclusive and luxury wines. This fantastic restaurant ensures warm hospitality, with the whole team wishing you a pleasant experience.
This daring restaurant overlooks Columbus Circle and Central Park, providing you with gorgeous views while you dine peacefully.
What To Expect
If you choose to dine at this exclusive restaurant, you’ll be greeted with a complex take on American classic cuisine.
Think prime dry-aged beef, exclusive wagyu beef, and butter-poached lobsters.
If you’re more into pasta, try out their exceptional spaghetti alla chitarra served with San Marzano tomatoes and basil. We also recommend the roast Lancaster chicken, roasted with oyster mushrooms and tarragon.
Oh, and if you’re looking for a side dish — check out the black truffle mashed potatoes. They taste like divinity crafted into a bed of mashed potato.
Be sure to check out Porter House if you’re looking for hearty food, that’s been refined by culinary excellence. It’s a wonderful place to dine.
Next up, is the exclusive sushi restaurant and bar, Bar Masa.
Bar Masa is one of the few restaurants that seek to give an experience and be the experience. Every aspect of the restaurant has been finely tuned and individually selected to give rise to shibui.
If you’re not acquainted with the term shibui, it is a zen concept. It refers to total clarity, simplicity, and naturalness that give rise to inner meaning. What that means for Bar Masa, is that the restaurant is a serving board for its impeccable food.
Bar Masa’s sushi is exclusive, a celebration of life and the fresh, invigorating nature of food.
We selected Bar Masa as you can independently choose your dish, and we appreciate the experimental nature that Bar Masa seeks to capture. However, the wonderful chef and owner of Bar Masa is also the owner of the restaurant Masa. Here, if you prefer a curated menu by one of the finest Japanese chefs located in NYC, Masa is a great option for you. We enjoy the innovativeness of Bar Masa, but Masa is a beacon of elegance and culinary godliness.
What To Expect
If you choose to dine at this exclusive restaurant, you’ll be greeted with some of the finest sushi New York has to offer.
There are a few particular dishes that we believe deserve outward recognition, but all the sushi at Bar Masa is exquisite.
The Masa Toro Tartare with Caviar is a taste explosion and is served with grilled milk bread to add crunch and texture. The Tai Seabream Truffle is daring, as is the Seared salmon avocado crispy flakes.
If you’re looking for rice dishes, we recommend the Steamed Salmon Ikura Mushroom Rice. For noodle dishes, be sure to check out the Nabeyaki Udon Shrimp Tempura.
Whether you live for the variety found within Japanese cuisine, or if it’s your first time trying sushi, you will love Bar Masa. While it most certainly is on the high-end, the price is reflected in the quality of food.
We highly recommend Bar Masa.
The Best Medium-Range Upper West Side Restaurants
Next up is our selection of the very best medium-range restaurants, located in the upper west side.
Like always, we only recommend restaurants that fulfill our critical standards. There are a plethora of medium-range restaurants that are outstanding in quality and presentation.
The restaurants on our list go above and beyond our expectations, and we thoroughly recommend them. Any restaurant can be of exceptional quality, and these restaurants are changing the game.
First up, is The Milling Room.
This romantically inspired, American cuisine-focused restaurant features seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. While it is a restaurant, The Milling Room has is tavern-inspired, given it a rustic feel. The romance funnels in when you bear witness to the glorious sky-lit dining room, allowing guests to gaze upwards as they dine.
While The Milling Room first opened in 2014, it’s built on the foundation of the 1890 luxurious Endicott Hotel. This establishment was once one of the finest hotels in New York City. The hotel featured a glass-roofed Palm Room, which The Milling Room took a modern swing on with their stunning sky-lit dining room.
Yes, this is a restaurant that is built on top of classic New York history. It continues to be a beacon of elegance, extravagance, and excitement. For all you social butterflies, be sure to flock to The Milling Room. It is not to be missed.
What To Expect
If you choose to dine at this wonderful restaurant, you’ll be greeted with a modern and romantic take on American cuisine.
You’ll find the likes of Smoked Salmon Tartare served with salmon roe caviar and grilled bread. You also may come across hearty American classics like Potato Leek Soup and Burrata & the well-loved Kale Caesar Salad.
When it comes to entrées, the Alaskan Black Cod served with brussels sprouts, asparagus, turnips, and yuzu is a delicacy. They also serve the finest Grilled Wagyu Steak, accompanied by asparagus, corn, wild mushrooms, béarnaise.
For my pasta lovers, they also have you covered. The Milling Room serves a Pescatore Pasta that consists of cockles, mussels, calamari, tomato, and simply delicious uni butter.
The Milling Room has other fantastic options and is truly a grand restaurant to dine in. We strongly recommend this modern-American restaurant.
Next on our list of the best upper west side restaurants is Greek delicacy, Loi Estiatorio.
This is a casual fine dining restaurant, which reflects authentic Greek cuisine and culture. When you walk into the restaurant, you’ll be soothed with a sense of freshness and vibrancy. With pops of white, paired against cozy wooden tables, you’ll feel a sense of homeliness when you enter this restaurant.
The owner of Loi Estiatorio, and the chef, is the talented Chef Maria Loi.
Chef Maria Loi is the official Ambassador of Greek Gastronomy, appointed by the Chef’s Club of Greece. With a vast understanding of Greek cuisine and culinary philosophy, Chef Loi curated her philosophy which reflects the fresh, healthy, and vibrant nature of Greek cuisine.
What To Expect
If you choose to dine at this wonderful restaurant, you’ll be greeted with authentic Greek cuisine.
You’ll find the likes of freshly prepared Calamari paired with arugula, lemon, and olive oil. Traditional Greek favorites such as Grilled Halloumi with lemon, olive oil, and oregano. And for entrées, try the Seafood Orzo. The seafood is specially selected, and paired with tomato, onion, garlic, and feta.
If you’re looking for something with vegan and vegetarian options, Loi Estiatorio has a great selection.
For appetizers, try the Bean Salad. It consists of Greek beans, scallions, dill, parsley, green pepper, lemon, and olive oil. While the Stuffed Eggplant involves baby eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, onion, tomato, and anthotyros — if you ask for it without the cheese, you’ll have a delicious vegan main.
This authentic Greek restaurant serves immaculate food and a wonderful dining experience. If you can’t travel to a beautiful Greek island right now, pop on down to Loi Estiatorio. It’s the next closest thing.
The Best Budget-Friendly Upper West Side Restaurants
Lastly, we have our best budget-friendly restaurants located in the upper west side.
These are excellent restaurants, that serve wonderful food at a very reasonable price. You do not have to spend a whole paycheck on a fantastic dining experience. Great restaurants exist in every price bracket.
So, here’s our best budget-friendly restaurants.
First up on our budget-friendly section, is the mysterious Shalel Lounge.
The Shalel Lounge is arguably one of the coolest restaurants that we have on our entire list. It’s an underground restaurant. When you walk through dark nooks and rose petals, you will journey to the lounge.
Once inside, you’ve been transported to a romantic, intimate, fairyland. Here, amidst the rocky walls and the petals, is a daring waterfall. The Shalel Lounge is one of the most romantic and exclusive restaurants on the upper west side.
Inspired by the roots of Morocco, the Shalel Lounge is riddled with candles and red lanterns. Prepare to be excited, enthralled, and blown away by the majestic Shalel Lounge.
What To Expect
If you choose to dine at this charming restaurant, you’ll be greeted with Moroccan-inspired cuisine.
When you arrive at Shalel Lounge, you’ll notice the menu consists of several hot and cold mezze options. We love mezze, and we have a couple of personal favorites.
When it comes to cold mezze, try the Assorted Mediterranean Spreads. This consists of hummus, tzatziki, babaghanoush, and harissa. The Broccolini Salad is also delightful. It’s served with tomatoes, red onions, and maftoul (a type of Israeli couscous).
For your hot mezze options, the Sicilian Cauliflower and Halloumi Cheese are wonderful. It’s paired with labneh, lemon-tahini spread, and a citrus vinaigrette. They also serve a range of tagines, such as chicken and lamb.
Shalel Lounge is a mysterious and eclectic restaurant that served wonderful Moroccan-inspired dishes. We highly recommend this restaurant.
The last restaurant we’re going to introduce to you is Parm.
Parm seeks to modernize traditional Italian-American cuisine. They focus on revamping hearty, traditional Italian-American dishes so that you can experience authenticity at a low cost. Chefs Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi are Michelin-starred, so you can rest assured that you’re getting the very best dining experience, at such an amazing price.
If you’re looking for a restaurant that is fun, vibrant and rests on traditional familial values, you’re going to love Parm. Think pops of electric red contrasted with white, in a traditional Italian diner setting. It’s one lively restaurant.
Parm is fantastic value for money and shows you what great Italian-American food tastes like.
What To Expect
If you choose to dine at this charming restaurant, you’ll be greeted with a revitalized Italian-American cuisine.
Immediately, you’re going to be thrown away by the fantastic choice of beloved dishes. For appetizers, try some delicious freshly cut Mozzarella Sticks. The lightly Fried Zucchini is a delightful number. Or, try some crusty Garlic Bread with some creamy parsley butter.
When it comes to mains, the Chicken Parm Dinner takes the stage. If you’re not a meat-eater, no worries — try the Eggplant Parm Dinner instead.
You’ll also see the likes of traditionally served Spaghetti and Meatballs, sprinkled with basil. There is also a wonderful Baked Ziti option, and a Penne Scampi filled with shrimp and garlic sauce.
Homely, heartily, and prepared by true professionals. We highly recommend Parm.
So, my lovely friends, that’s our selection of the best upper west side restaurants.
We hope that you’ve found something perfect for you, there’s a range of absolutely wonderful and diverse restaurants on our list. Whether you’re looking for high-end restaurants or budget-friendly restaurants, we’ve got you covered.
Also, remember that the price tag doesn’t always reflect the quality of the food. We’ve ensured that all the restaurants on our list are wonderful. But, in some cases, a budget restaurant can be even better than a high-end restaurant. Remember, it’s all about the quality of the food, and the passion that the chefs have for cooking.
Anyway, we hope that you choose one of these amazing restaurants.
And always, thank you for reading.