Three Upper West Side Restaurants Included in NY Times’ List of NYC’s Best 100

  Last modified on April 28th, 2024

For the second year in a row, three Upper West Side restaurants have made it onto the New York Times’ list of the 100 best restaurants in the city.

The coveted list is curated and compiled by the newspaper’s food critic, Pete Wells. The 2024 list was published online on Monday and will be in the Times’ April 7 print edition.

Tatiana by Kwame Onwuachi

c/o Tatiana by Kwame Onwuachi

At number one, also for a second year in a row, is Tatiana By Kwame Onwuachi in Lincoln Center. With a menu featuring American-Caribbean-Creole-style dishes, the four-dollar sign hot spot (it’s expensive) was inspired by owner and chef Onwuachi’s Bronx upbringing.

Advertisement




“With an upbringing rooted in and around the Bronx and the old neighborhood of San Juan Hill, there was no shortage of culinary inspiration for Chef Kwame to draw from: Italian bakeries, Chinese takeout, Caribbean roti shops, corner stores and local bodegas — which is why Tatiana’s menu reflects those proud and diverse origins,” states the restaurant’s website.

The restaurant – which has been praised by plenty of other outlets since it opened less than two years ago – is also a tribute to his mother and older sister, Tatiana, who cared for young Kwame when their mother was working and encouraged his love of food.

A few popular menu items include short rib pastrami suya, braised oxtails, fried branzino and honeynut piri piri salad.

Plan far ahead if you want to go to Tatiana, warns Mr. Wells.

“Tatiana remains among the very few places in town where reservations are truly hard to come by. It’s quickly becoming an institution,” he writes.

Mr. Onwuachi is a James Beard Award-winning chef and author of the critically-acclaimed cookbook, My America. His memoir, Notes from a Young Black Chef, was published in 2020.

jean-georges ny times top 100

Photo by cityfoodsters via Flickr

Get ILTUWS In Your Inbox

At number 19 on the list, Jean-Georges (at 1 Central Park West) moved down six spots from last year when it held the 13th position. Named for chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, this 27-year-old Columbus Circle eatery also has four dollar symbols as its impressive food comes with an impressive bill.

Advertisement


“Jean-Georges presents exquisitely crafted dishes blending French, American, and Asian influences. The local farmer’s market is the driving force behind the seasonal, ever-changing menu,” states its website, which also notes the restaurant has been awarded four stars by the New York Times and two Michelin stars.

Jean-Georges offers a ten-course omnivore menu at $398 and a six-course vegetarian menu at $218. Although it’s been open since 1997, the restaurant still delivers creative cuisine.

“By this point, Jean-Georges Vongerichten shouldn’t have any tricks left up his sleeve. But a six- or 10-course dinner at his urbane, understated restaurant on Columbus Circle is almost sure to deliver something you didn’t quite see coming,” writes Mr. Wells. “Wagyu tenderloin with braised endive might look like a simple steakhouse riff, but how can that sticky and intensely fruity hoisin sauce get along so well with a jus that carries the fragile perfume of bergamot?”

Indeed, on the vegetarian menu, the chrysanthemum tofu and beet mosaic sound inviting, as does the black truffle consommé. On the omnivore menu, two popular items include the king crab with vermouth fondue and nori and the black sea bass with glazed cabbage and sauerkraut.

Raised in France, Mr. Vongerichten is one of the world’s most famous chefs, according to the website which bears his name. He runs a number of three- and four-star restaurants worldwide.

barney greengrass top 100 ny times

Photo by Edsel Little via Flickr

At 541 Amsterdam Avenue (at 87th Street), Barney Greengrass is one of the Upper West Side’s most beloved and iconic institutions. This year, the unassuming eatery landed at number 66 on the list, up a whopping 25 spots from 2023 when it was sitting at number 91.

Advertisement


“The place is a cyclone of smoked-fish commerce on weekends and before any major Jewish holiday. On certain other days, a diner at Barney Greengrass can achieve a state close to serenity,” gushes Mr. Wells.

With just two dollar signs, Barney Greengrass’ prices are a little more within reach for many of us. But just be sure to follow Mr. Wells’ advice when it comes to flattering the staffers who serve up comedy along with whitefish and bagels.

“There are minor rituals to be observed — the most sacred of all is laughing at the servers’ jokes,” he writes. “Staring at the faded antebellum scenes of the French Quarter on the wallpaper can lead to the sensation that time has stopped moving forward. By your third cup of coffee and second order of latkes, it should be clear that you are sitting at the spiritual center of the Upper West Side.”

Barney’s menu items include a variety of smoked fishes and fish salads, staples like pickled herring and lox, bagels, caviar and corned beef and pastrami. Specialities include their “Famous Borscht” and matzo ball soup.

The restaurant is over 115 years old. It was opened in Harlem in 1908 by Barney Greengrass, the “Sturgeon King” and grandfather of current owner Gary Greengrass.

“When my grandfather, Barney Greengrass, first opened his doors in Harlem in 1908, he had but one desire — to operate a ‘food store for those who demand the best,’” writes Gary Greengrass on the restaurant’s website. “In 1929, he moved the store to its present location on Amsterdam Avenue. His customers followed him and his popularity grew. Soon all of New York knew him as “The Sturgeon King.”


.





Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Advertisement