For good people-watching during the summer, stake out an outdoor table in one of the many eateries located directly across from Lincoln Center .
Funky Gray’s Papaya (2090 Broadway, at 72nd St., 212/799-0243) sells some of the city’s best cheap hot dogs—to be eaten standing up.
The hole-in-the-wall La Caridad (2199 Broadway, at 78th St., 212/874-2780, $8) is the best of the Cuban-Chinese restaurants in this part of town—just look at the long line of cab drivers out front.
The no-frills Cafe con Leche (24 Amsterdam Ave., at 80th St., 212/595-7000, $9) is a modern Latin diner with first-rate beans and rice.
The Upper West Side  has become a bit of a brunch destination, due in no small part to restaurants like Sarabeth’s (423 Amsterdam Ave., 212/496-6280, $11).
Another neighborhood favorite is Celest (502 Amsterdam Ave., 212/874-4559) which serves a solid selection of reasonable Italian dishes, though a no reservations policy could mean a wait.
In Central Park , the sleek, upscale Boat House (on East Dr., near 72nd St., 212/517-2233, $27) serves grilled meats and fish, salads, and sandwiches on a patio overlooking the lake.
Barney Greengrass (541 Amsterdam Ave., between 86th and 87th Sts., 212/724-4707, $14) is best-known for its traditional bagels and lox.
For Middle Eastern fare, along with live jazz and a circular bar, try Cleopatra’s Needle (2485 Broadway, between 92nd and 93rd Sts., 212/769-6969, $12).
Tiny Awash (947 Amsterdam Ave., between 106th and 107th Sts., 212/961-1416, $10) is one of the best of the Ethiopian restaurants that dot the Upper West Side .
During warm weather, an outdoor café operates near Lincoln Center ’s fountain. Cafe Mozart (154 W. 70th St., near Broadway, 212/595-9797) serves especially good desserts and other light bites.
Amsterdam Avenue between 79th and 85th street is teaming with bars. Mostly a younger twenty-something crowd prevails, but quieter choices include wine bar Cava (185 W 80th St., 212/724-2282) and the tiny Dead Poet (450 Amsterdam Ave., 212/595-5670).