To the casual observer, Midtown East is a wasteland of Starbucks and Subways. However, this Midtown East Restaurant Guide will show you that it’s more than that.
Midtown East holds some of the city’s greatest sites, like Grand Central Station, the Chrysler Building, and Bryant Park, but it’s mostly full of office workers who need fast-casual dining for fast casual lunch breaks. Spend enough time here, though, and you’ll discover great food around every corner. Use this guide to find a better meal than you’d ever get at a chain.
Cask Bar and Kitchen
This wine bar seems cozy when you walk in, but you’ll find that it expands into a large venue. Long oak tables and booths line the walls of both the main-floor dining room and the smaller bar below.
Happy hour runs from 4-8 p.m. on weekdays, featuring $28 bottles of house Red and White and an array of $8 Cask twists on classic cocktails, like the dark and stormy, margarita, and sangria. Munch on their Roasted Lamb Nachos and Mushroom Flatbread, or split a Charcuterie plate if you’re feeling generous.
Cask is located at 167 E 33rd St, New York, NY 10016
For the true New York lunch experience, get something to-go from a food truck. Uncle Gussy’s has been setting up shop on the corner of Park Avenue for 39 years, serving made-to-order Greek food to the masses every weekday (you’ll know you’ve found it when you see the line of suits that ends about a block from the truck).
Uncle Gussy’s staff is used to the crowds, so you’ll only wait a few minutes for your Souvlaki Skewer, Lamb Platter, or Chicken Pita. Vegetarian sandwiches and plates are available as well. Make sure that, regardless of what you get, your order is smothered in their signature tzatziki sauce.
Uncle Gussy’s is located at the corner of 51st Street and Park Ave
This popular Midtown East Japanese restaurant specializes in exactly what you’d think: noodles. The broth in their classic ramen is chicken-based, giving it a lighter flavor than traditional pork broth. The soup is also packed with meat and veggies, but that doesn’t have to stop you from trying their Char Siu Pork Buns or a Shaved Ice dessert as well.
It’s cash-only, so make sure you hit up an ATM before the check comes.
Totto Ramen is located at 248 E 52nd St, New York, NY 10022
This intimate bistro will give you a taste of authentic French cuisine without having to leave 2nd Avenue. Their Boeuf Bourguignon – based on a Julia Child’s recipe – is excellent, but their Wild Mushroom Risotto, Steak Tartare, and Duck Magret shouldn’t be missed either. End the meal with Chocolate Mousse, Ile Flottante, or Crème Brûlée.
Matisse also has an extensive bar selection, and glasses of wine are half-priced at happy hour. You’ll feel less guilty drinking six since you technically only bought three.
Matisse is located at 924 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10022
New York City does bagels like no other, and this shop has an established reign as the best place to get one in Midtown East. Their shmear selection is huge: get your average house-made Plain, Veggie, or Lox varieties, or step up your bagel game with Pumpkin, Oreo, or Banana Nut cream cheese. Vegan cream cheese flavors are available too, along with cold cuts and salads.
Ess-A-Bagel is a full-service bakery, but their specialty is their namesake. The key to a good New York bagel is a perfect combination of crispy crust and doughy interior, so do not ask for it toasted unless you want to mark yourself as an out-of-towner.
Ess-a-Bagel is located at 831 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10022
What’s your favorite place to eat in Midtown East? Share with us in the comments below!