Upper East Side
The Barking Dog Luncheonette (1678 3rd Ave., at 94th St., 212/831-1800) is a cheery place with good soups, sandwiches, and simple entrées.
The Lexington Candy Shop (1226 Lexington Ave., at 83rd St., 212/288-0057) is an old-fashioned luncheonette founded in 1925.
Good Persian food can be found at Persepolis (1423 2nd Ave., between 74th and 75th Sts., 212/535-1100, $14), offering succulent kabobs, unusual stews, and sour cherry rice.
A good, reliable Thai restaurant is the unpretentious Sala Thai (1718 2nd Ave., between 89th and 90th Sts., 212/410-5557, $13).
At Serafina (1022 Madison Ave., 212/734-2676, $20), Northern Italian dishes are a pleasure to eat in the upstairs rooftop dining. This is a great location for a bite after visiting the 5th Avenue museums.
Candel Cafe (1307 3rd Ave., 212/472 0970) offers scrumptious vegan food even a carnivore can enjoy.
Rosa Mexicano (1063 1st Ave., at 58th St., 212/753-7407, $20) is a haute-Mexican restaurant serving fresh, flavorful food that draws large crowds.
At languorous, tropical Le Colonial (149 E. 57th St., between Lexington and 3rd Ave., 212/752-0808, $20), it’s easy to imagine yourself in pre-war Saigon. Downstairs is a main dining room serving French-Vietnamese fare, upstairs is a sexy lounge.
Daniel (60 E. 65th St., between Madison and Park Aves., 212/288-0033) namesake of chef Daniel Boulud, wins kudos from food critics all over Manhattan for its superb French cuisine, discerning wine list, and impeccable decor. A prix fixe dinner costs $85–150.
An institution in this part of town is J.G. Melon (1291 3rd Ave., at 74th St., 212/744-0585), a friendly saloon that also serves great burgers.
The famed Elaine’s (1703 2nd Ave., between 88th and 89th Sts., 212/534-8103), celebrity hangout and Italian restaurant, sports a crowded bar that’s especially worth a visit if you’ve just got to spot someone.
For class, stop into the dark and gracious Bemelmans Bar (35 E. 76th St., at Madison Ave., 212/744-1600) in the posh Hotel Carlyle.
The Upper East Side is also home to many singles bars that come and go with the seasons. One that’s been around for a while is Merchants NY (1125 1st Ave., at 62nd St., 212/832-1551), complete with a polished semicircular bar, small tables with flickering candles, and a good bar menu.
© Avalon Travel and Sascha Zuger from Moon New York State, 5th Edition