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Union Square Café

Same sign. Different address. First went there in 1994 when Danny Meyer was an up-and-coming restaurateur. American fare with attention to service and fresh ingredients. The original was a little bit downstairs. This later iteration has the same vibe but with an above-the-ground and upstairs feel. Yet. Both intimate and inviting. Uniquely New York. Reminiscent of its dining heyday.

The Mark

A Jean-Georges restaurant in the tony Upper East Side hotel. The place to see and be seen. Glitterati abounds. Bustling bar into the back room. A festive atmosphere to meet friends during the holidays. Don’t go for great food. Go for the scene and Sancerre.

Asset

Columbus Avenue gets another much-needed booster shot. A vibrant young crowd in a cool space with good food and a DJ to enhance the lively mood. It’s not for everyone. But, it’s fun. Baby clams, carpaccio and tuna tartare excellent. Wine list extensive and reasonable. More of a cocktail-centric crowd. It’s from the owners of Tessa (backwards = Asset) on Amsterdam. But a much different experience.

Da Capo Columbus

The  best  UWS spot morning,  noon  or  nite.  Friendly  and  fun.  Chic  ambience.  Back  room  perfect  for a special  occasion gathering.  From coffee  to  cocktails.  A neighborhood  treat.

Lure Fishbar SoHo

A traditional celebratory favorite over the years. This year, our son’s 30th birthday with family was no exception. Still fun and lively. Attentive service. Great raw clams. Succulent and perfectly cooked fish. It is the only place in Manhattan I’ll actually go downstairs to dine for its ship-like atmosphere. We’ll never forget a few years back when Mike Bloomberg and Chuck Schumer stopped by to say hi. And stayed for a long chat. Always a people-watching scene. And. One of those consistently good spots for return rendez-vous.

Harvest Kitchen UWS

In its third iteration since we have moved to the UWS 3 years ago. On Columbus and 73rd, A.G. Kitchen was really good. The Flying Fisherman was really not. Now. Harvest Kitchen has potential. In the first week under a new name, not sure about management, lunch was good. Spicy Red Snapper tacos tasty and fresh. Hamburgers a little too fussy. Huevos rancheros a bit skimpy looking. Service fine. Glazed windows and curtains a little claustrophobic, open glass was better. But. Glad it has improved for another option in the ‘hood.

Osteria Cotta UWS

So many Italian restaurants on the Upper West Side. Most of them mediocre. Cotta is casual with outside tables. Inside it is dark and loud with blaring music. But. The homemade pasta is superb. Sauces fresh and delicious. Sets it apart from any of the other choices. For the food.