On the lower half of the Upper West Side, Lincoln Center is undoubtedly the hub for cultural activity in New York City. That its dalliance with Fashion Week has run its course is proof enough that the perfoming arts center will focus more on film, theater and dance than ever before. This week saw the start of the month-long Lincoln Center Festival, a multi-art event featuring world-class programming, from the National Ballet of China to a stage-adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore. Whether you’re heading uptown for a matinée or a late-night showing, here are restaurants near Lincoln Center, from uptown outposts of downtown classics to tried-and-true Upper West Side establishments.
The Upper West Side got a little bit cooler this week when the Blue Ribbon empire expanded to 72nd St. with this vaguely French brasserie. It has an upscale, non-stuffy feel that fits right in with the neighborhood. There won’t be sushi à la other Blue Ribbon joints, but get a table on Sunday or Monday nights for the speciality fried chicken. (20 W. 72nd St.)
What to order: Shrimp alonso, striped bass with fennel and citrus salad, chicken-fried short ribs.
Distance from Lincoln Center: .5 miles
Don’t be fooled by the casual diner aesthetic—Rich Torisi and Mario Carbone’s uptown spot of the Mulberry St. original is anything but. Dishing up Italian-American soul food like meatball parmesan heros, pizza knots, and fried calamari, this place delivers the works, plus ice cream cake for dessert. It’s buzzy and open until midnight on the weekends, so it works for a post-show meal. (235 Columbus Ave)
What to order: Meatball parm, linguine vongole, baked ziti.
Distance from Lincoln Center: 0.4 miles
Bill Telepan’s green-focused New American isn’t really a “cool” restaurant, but one of those classy places you go if you’re feeling like making a night out of dinner and the theater. Telepan has been doing the farm-to-table thing long before it became overused restaurant jargon, and the menu truly rotates with the seasons. (72 W. 69th St.)
What to order: If you’re dining on a Monday, go for the Meatless Monday tasting menu. Or order à la carte — perhaps chilled pea soup with a plate of lobster bolognese?
Distance from Lincoln Center: .3 miles
Don’t be so quick to turn your nose up at this red-checker-tablecloth spot. Not only does its location right across from Lincoln Center make it the most convenient restaurant on our list, but its classic American menu is also the most trustworthy. Know that you’ll be surrounded by suits and ties, but that’s part of the charm of this legendary New York saloon. (44 W. 63rd St.)
What to order: The Clarke burger, a lobster roll, cast-iron baked macaroni and cheese
Distance from Lincoln Center: Right across the street
Shun Lee West
Getting a table at this upscale Chinese on Christmas Day is near impossible, but on a breezy night in July? Ain’t no thang. It’s no Chinatown dive but the menu is hyper-traditional. The space is semi-formal, so if you’re looking for a dim sum cart situation, head next door to the more casual Shun Lee cafe. (43 W. 65th St.)
What to order: Go big or go home and order the Beijing Duck, served tableside with pancakes, scallion, and hoisin sauce.
Distance from Lincoln Center: .1 miles
Looking for more places to eat and drink right now? Check out the New York City section of the BlackBook city guides.