The Upper East Side has long been a bastion of elegance, known for its tree-lined streets and luxe apartment buildings. Like all of New York, however, it is constantly evolving. This year, although the neighborhood retains its classic style, a slew of restaurant debuts — including uptown openings of downtown favorites — and the sophisticated refresh of The Lowell are giving it a whole new, contemporary persona. Here, we round up our favorite additions.
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Named for the exquisite Marrakech garden created by French artist Jacques Majorelle, The Lowell’s elegant new restaurant (at top, left) serves dishes that combine French and Moroccan flavors, including snapper tajine and saffron and lobster risotto, in a glamorous room done in cream hues, with mosaic marble floors, mahogany furnishings and an outdoor garden. The restaurant’s sleek new bar, Jacques, offers up classic as well as more exotic cocktails. Majorelle details.
The Club Room
The elegant Club Room at The Lowell has been beautifully designed like a gracious salon. With gorgeous paneled walls, plush sofas and chairs, wood-burning fireplaces, antique art and shelves brimming with coffee table books, The Club Room is an intimate spot to relax with a cocktail and a light meal of small plates, such as terrine de foie gras, pizzettes or Gold Ossetra caviar. The Club Room details.
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With just 23 seats set at smooth-hewn wooden tables under hanging lanterns, this Japanese restaurant is a minimalist gem serving reasonably priced omakase menus that change according to the chef’s whims. Plates could include toro topped with black caviar and gold leaf, Japanese barracuda with ginger or seared bluefin tuna in ponzu sauce. Sushi Ishikawa details.
Located just a few doors down from its sister restaurant, Upper East Side mainstay Bilboquet, this café offers a delectable array of pastries and savory tarts in a space outfitted with toile wallpaper and velvet upholstery. Café Bilboquet details.
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This UES outpost of the beloved West Village bistro serves classic French fare — including petits plats like cassolette de ratatouille and entrées like coq au vin — in an atmospheric setting of exposed brick walls and antique maps. AOC East details.
The second location of the downtown Quality Eats, the convivial steakhouse offers an international assortment of starters, such as roasted beet tabbouleh and gazpacho verde, plus, of course, the eatery’s famous steaks. Quality Eats details.
This pizzeria has been drawing rave reviews for its authentic Italian cuisine and welcoming atmosphere. The Italian-born chef and her husband serve thin-crust pizzas as well as such traditional favorites as penne arrabiata and lasagna della nonna. Desserts like tiramisu and ricotta cake and an excellent wine list round out the menu. Donna Margherita details.
Helmed by Suzanna Beall with the help of Diego Moya, who worked at Mario Batali’s Michelin-starred Casa Mono, Blake Lane (at top, right) highlights locally sourced, globally inspired fare, from tom yum chicken soup and Korean bibimbap to charred Spanish octopus and wild tuna poke. Blake Lane details.
This French brasserie, helmed by the former chef of Minetta Tavern, offers traditional fare like cod ceviche and moules frites, but the real draw is the house specialty: a whole Normandy duck flambé with bourbon-orange sauce and Asian spices. Little Frog details.