The Upper East Side has a restaurant for just about every cuisine and every budget you can imagine. Treat yourself to omakase sushi one night, and grab-and-go pho the next; savor Georgian khachapuri (the cheese bread that is the European country’s national food) or Peruvian ceviche, porterhouse steak or a hot pastrami sandwich. And if you can’t decide, walk along Second Avenue between 70th and 92nd Streets and you’re all but guaranteed to find a restaurant you’ll want to try.
One of only two UES restaurants to have been awarded Michelin stars in 2021, Daniel is owned by acclaimed French chef Daniel Boulud. The menu, which encompasses four- and seven-course tasting menus as well as à la carte options, pairs French techniques and artistry with ingredients from near and far for dishes with global panache—Florida frog legs with Napa cabbage, Gulf of Maine bluefish tuna with togarashi pepper, Scottish langoustine with matsutake mushrooms. The interior, like the food, is elegant, pampering, and welcoming without ever venturing toward the pretentious.
Don’t be fooled by Sushi Noz’s minimalist appearance. At the only other UES restaurant to have earned a Michelin star this year, the absence of art on the walls and colorful adornments among the artisanal furnishings ensures that nothing distracts you from the tasting menus of seasonal dishes prepared by Nozomu Abe and his skilled team. At the eight-person counter, Chef Noz himself will serve the dishes; there’s a second room that seats up to seven people. You can never be quite sure what will be served on a given night, but you can rest assured that it will be a sensory delight.
No longer do you have to head down to the East Village for Cacio e Pepe’s stellar rendition of its namesake pasta dish. Chef Salvatore Corea and partner Giusto Priola opened a second restaurant of the same name on York Avenue in spring 2021. Featuring homemade tonnarelli, the flagship dish will transport you to a Roman trattoria, as will the eggplant parmesan timballo and braised veal breast with escarole, burrata, and rice.
Even newer to the local culinary scene is Marwin Thai, which opened this past summer. It offers Thai standards—chicken satay, pad Thai, green curry—along with dishes you’re less likely to find in local Thai restaurants. Wellness Fish, for instance, is a stir-fry with a lightly battered fillet, vegetables, ginger, bean paste, and oyster sauce; the spicy Belly Delight combines Chinese broccoli, fresh chilis, crispy pork belly, and homemade garlic sauce. And if you have a hankering for homemade hibiscus juice, you’ll definitely want to swing by.
Another summer 2021 launch, the Blue dubs itself Manhattan’s first Mediterranean mezze bar. You’ll find small plates to please every palate, from stalwarts such as baba ghanoush and falafel to pan-fried phyllo rolls filled with aged beef, cheese, tomatoes, and green peppers. Don’t want to share? The menu includes entrees such as grilled lamb chops with mashed potato and sea bass served with roasted potatoes and asparagus.