Who doesn’t love Maman? There is something calming about the iconic, rustic French provincial decor that permeates throughout Maman. The baked goods are noteworthy with a wide variety of pastries inspired by the mothers of co-founders Benjamin Sormonte and Elisa Marshall. Maman, after all, means “mother” in French. The cafe updates its menu as the seasons change, but you can expect to find breakfast goodies – such as quiches, smashed avocado tartines, and granola parfaits – soups, salads, and sandwiches. For this Spring, be sure to order their Antonia Salad made with baby spinach, kale, arugula, and strawberries. You can also grab a coffee or tea and try their famous nutty chocolate chip cookie. Maman makes the perfect pit stop for those waiting for a show or performance to start nearby. Find it at 152 Columbus Ave between 67th St and 66 St in the Upper West Side.
Take in sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline as you enjoy an intimate moment with friends at Darling. Described as Central Park South’s only rooftop lounge, Darling is on the 47th floor of the Park Lane Hotel. Guests can expect an indoor area and an outdoor patio. A standout cocktail includes the wasabi & blood orange margarita, a generous pour of Tepozan Reposado infused with wasabi honey, lavender, lime, and blood orange. DJs spin every Friday and Saturday, and in addition to cocktails, you can get food like a seafood tower and spicy chicken sliders. Darling also hosts an array of eccentric midweek programming like tarot readings and magicians, with one magic show scheduled for May 11th. Be sure to check their website often for event updates and schedule. Darling offers a menu exclusively for Park Lane Hotel guests for those looking for breakfast. We’ll see you at the magic show at 36 Central Park South.
Just Pho You is more than just a clever name. While small during its soft opening, the menu is tightly packed with flavorful, inventive dishes. A must-try is their addictive sugarcane shrimp, prepared by grilling shrimp surimi on a sugarcane stick with peanut garnish and their signature house sauce on the side. The explosive taste of the sugarcane juice blending with the meat is an experience worth having. Owner Wan Chen is excited for customers to check out the ever-growing menu, “Our recipe is one of a kind. It is passed down. I went from being a personal shopper to living the dream of running a restaurant! This menu means everything to me” she tells us. With their signature pho, you can’t go wrong, topped with scallion, onion, and cilantro and served with bean sprouts, Thai basil, lime, and jalapeno for an added kick. “Best beef broth in the Upper West Side,” remarks a fellow foodie reviewer. We’ll see you there with Jasmine tea in hand at 2656 Broadway between 102nd and 101 St in Manhattan Valley.
A friendly atmosphere, ample seating, and a great menu make up the majesty of Mayan Bistro. Started by three brothers, the head chef Margarito Guzman has worked in restaurants for 18 years and previously worked at Bistro 1018 (now Marlowe Bistro on 110th and Amsterdam). When asked about the theme behind Mayan Bistro, Margarito claims, “Food making is a skill to all of us here. We’re a family-owned bistro, so everyone does their part to make amazing food for our guests.” Mayan Bistro serves a wide range of palates from pasta, burgers, seafood, and brunch on the weekends. We love their titular Mayan Bistro, one of their signature dishes, made with chorizo, shallots, pacifico beer, cilantro, and jalapeño. For the time being, Columbia University students get a 10% discount. Find Mayan Bistro at 854 Amsterdam Ave on the Upper West Side.
The latest outpost of the famed fast-casual soul food spot, located at 146 West 72nd Street between Amsterdam and Columbus, is now serving some of the best wings and mac and cheese in the neighborhood. According to their Instagram page, Charles Pan-Fried Chicken offers the kind of chicken worth traveling long distances and we can see why many Brooklynites make the trek. It is cooked to perfection, golden, simply seasoned, and crispy yet juicy, and you can make a sandwich of it for about $10. Other menu highlights include the popular turkey wings, barbecued pulled pork, and shrimp and grits. Expect long lines, but the wait is short. Come see what all the hype is about.
Created by Chef Julian Medina and Louis Skibar of the Toloache Restaurant Group, El Fish Shack is a New England-style fish and seafood restaurant featuring fresh-caught whole lobster, whole fish, and a wide range of seafood. You can have it served grilled, steamed, broiled, or fried, and seasoned with the creative style and Mexican touch of Chef Medina. Try their delectable and savory mussels or their ‘Lobsta waffle,’ which features an unexpected kick of heat to start off the rest of your day. Be sure to check El Fish Shack out at 153 Amsterdam Ave between 67th street and Amsterdam in the Upper West Side. El Fish Shack also has another location in Astoria.
Owner and chef Gaurav Anand looks to change the Indian cuisine landscape with Baazi in the Upper West Side. Instead of the usual butter chicken and samosas that have become prevalent menu items across many Indian restaurants in America, Baazi offers imaginative dishes without losing the roots of classic Indian flavors and spices. “Indian food doesn’t have to be rustic and heavy; our menu is more sophisticated with layers of flavor,” says Anand. “We want to push the creative boundaries and create a menu that reflects cooking inspired by travel and global influence.” Customers can expect signature items such as the Chicken Cafreal, a Portuguese Goan dish with cornish hen flambeed with iconic Old Monk Rum; and eye-catching orders like the Baghaar-e-Baingan, an eggplant dish prepared in the Middle Eastern style (smoked on the grill) paired with a spicy Hyderabadi sauce and topped with toasted coconut, peanuts, and bedgi chili. Discover it all at 2588 Broadway between 93rd street and 94th in Manhattan Valley.
Upper West Siders have been clamoring for a new Mexican spot and Nina’s Great Burrito Bar has answered the call. Nina’s Great Burrito Bar offers at least three different salsas to go with their burritos and other items like carnitas tacos and octopus tostadas. Roja asada, tomatillo verde and arbol taqueria are among the delectable salsas you can choose from. Their chipotle chicken burrito is already an instant favorite featuring a giant twelve-inch flour tortilla, rice, beans, monterey jack cheese, lettuce, pico de gallo, and your choice of their signature salsas. Enjoy an extensive list of beers and cocktails, or turn your beer into a michelada for an extra $4. Hanging out with friends? On Fridays and Saturdays, you can stick around until 2 am. Find Nina’s Great Burrito at 522 Columbus Ave between 85th and 86th St.
Visitors to Venchi's newest chocolaty outpost will indulge in everything from chocolate fountains to Venchi's colorful cones and signature chocolate wall. Need a fun photo-opp to go with your treats? Venchi creates a magical atmosphere where shoppers can immerse themselves in the world of fine Italian chocolate. In addition to its wide selection of chocolates and gelato, Venchi’s specialties include creamy and rich hot chocolate, European-style coffee, and its Suprema Crepes made with hazelnut spread in milk or dark chocolate. You can find Venchi at 198 Columbus Ave between 69t street and 68th in the Upper West Side.
Another local favorite that was forced to close during the pandemic has reopened. Prohibition, which has been around since 1996 on the Upper West Side, gives off a 1940’s jazz age vibe. Prohibition still offers plenty of live music, so you can sit back, grab a cocktail and enjoy a few sets. Bringing a date? This is an ideal spot. You can order food like cheesesteak egg rolls, bourbon baby back ribs, and wild mushroom risotto while you enjoy a guitarist crooning the night away. Find Prohibition at 503 Columbus Ave between 84th and 85th Streets.
Black Lab Café will have two sections — play space for dogs where they can roam off-leash similar to a dog park, and a hangout area for humans where they can drink coffee and eat sandwiches. This family-owned business is run by Kris Powers, Nik Powers, and their mom Lise Evans, who owns two black labs, Daisy and Lola. According to an interview Lise gave to West Side Rag, the family plans to hold special events such as a “grooming event for poodles.” The 500-square foot space will also be available to rent for dog birthdays. Enough said. Host your poodle’s party at 80th and Amsterdam, starting in March 2022.
Have an hour to spare? Sushi W has three omakase options that range from $33 (only available at lunch) to $63 (15 pieces of nigiri and two hand rolls), and all of these meals are served within a 60-minute time frame. You can also order from a full à la carte menu if you wish. Omakase is a traditional tasting menu, but it is also a Japanese phrase, meaning “I leave it up to you.” Sushi W’s website says, “Each piece of sushi is handcrafted in front of the diner one-by-one, allowing diners to eat each piece at its freshest point while witnessing the art of sushi-making firsthand.” Expect fast service as well, with three chefs working in tandem, you won’t have to wait long between pieces. You can grab a seat at 2673 Broadway on W 102nd Street and Broadway.
Suram Sushi & Ramen has opened at 21 West End Avenue, between 61st and 60th street, sending a shockwave of excitement among locals. A new sushi spot is always a cause for celebration, especially when it is as affordable as this one. We’re hearing great things about their spicy crab roll with avocado and yellowtail jalapeño. Suram is a cashless establishment, suitable for small groups and sports a more traditional sushi bar setup rather than tables. You can have the Sushi Deluxe for $27 and enjoy nine pieces of chef-selected sushi with tuna maki.
Mexican and Belizean street food collide when Lolo’s Tacos opens its doors later this month in the Upper West Side. Expect a dynamic mix of fried fish, pork tacos, and a variety of snacks commonly sold on the streets of Belize. Broaden your taste buds with some plantain-wrapped tamales and a couple of fried salbutes for good measure. Lolo’s Tacos second location is slated to be on 2799 Broadway, at West 108th Street.