MANHATTAN – Looking to expand your culinary palette by introducing new international cuisine and dishes to your diet in 2022? You’re in luck. The Upper East Side is home to some of the most flavorful and diverse range of restaurants that span our world’s six continents (sorry, no Antarctica-icy flavors here). Whether you’re feeling Spanish tapas or authentic South African plates, our neighborhood has the options for you!
Escape Manhattan and hide away in an authentic Alps ski lodge at Hütte. What we love about this restaurant is that it’s a true hidden gem– really.
Behind Schaller and Weber Sausage Bar on Second Avenue between East 85th and 86th Streets, is a discreetly marked door– look for the golden plate reading Hütte to the right. Once you walk in, walk straight down the stairs and venture into their back patio where heaters greet you in a wonderful ambiance!
What to order: With so many traditional Austrian dishes on the menu, it’s hard to choose just one! Suggestions for the table include: the wiener schnitzel, Tyrolean cheese dumpling, vegetable spätzle and cheese fondue.
Fun Fact: Hütte is their seasonal Fall and Winter restaurant (serving us major alpine lodge vibes). In the Spring and Summer, the restaurant then turns to Blume, an Austrian garden theme.
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A favorite of the New York Times and a Crown Princess of Greece– there’s a good reason why Pig Heaven has risen to the top of our list when there are so many wonderful and authentic Chinese restaurants in our neighborhood– everything is incredibly delicious.
Located on Third Avenue between East 80th and 81st Streets, Pig Heaven’s barbecue spare ribs were voted one best in the city– with the highest ratings on Yelp.
What to order: In addition to the BBQ spare ribs, you can’t go wrong with their Peking duck, pork dumplings, crispy orange chicken and the beef and broccoli.
Runner up: Xi’an Famous Foods for the best noodles in the city.
Immediately transport yourself to a romantic Parisian restaurant by stepping into AOC East!
Live your best Emily in Paris moments at this restaurant, located on First Avenue near the corner of East 83rd Street, by sitting at the bar and chatting away with the incredibly friendly staff– or order a bottle of French wine for a girls’ night at one of the tables in the back.
What to order: The mussels con frites are a classic staple. Pair with your favorite glass of white wine on the menu.
Fun Fact: Stop by for live music at AOC East every Wednesday.
When thinking of international meals, authentic Georgian food may not come to mind– but it should. Oda House on East 73rd Street between First and York Avenues is the real deal. Imagine fresh cracked eggs melting in scorching cheese surrounded by homemade dough. If that doesn’t paint the perfect picture, we’re not sure what will.
What to order: The khinkali (boiled or fried dumplings), and the Adjaruli (a cheesy bread bowl).
Fun fact: If you’re starting off 2022 on a healthy note, Oda House has Keto friendly dishes that use almond flour for their authentic Georgian dishes instead of traditional flour. Great for gluten-free, whole30, paleo, keto and more.
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Budapest – Andre’s Cafe & Bakery
An unpretentious bakery sitting on Second Avenue between East 84th and 85th Streets is a wonderful nod to Eastern Europe in our little neighborhood. Complete with a few tables in the back, order from the menu full of traditional Hungarian dishes.
What to order: For savory, you can’t go wrong with goulash, stuffed peppers, or Rakon Krumpli (layered potatoes). For sweets, anything on their menu! Some token favorites are the strudel, palacsinta (Hungarian crepes), and rugelach– this journalist’s personal favorite.
Fun Fact: Their lunch special, served from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday through Thursday, offers a cup of soup or salad, choice of entree and a dessert for $19.95.
From Uva to Arturos, the list of restaurants with authentic flavors and delicious pastas and pizzas in our neighborhood is seemingly endless. However, when measuring out pizza versus pastas, antipasto, salads and hero subs – San Matteo just excelled in all!
What to order: Fusilli Al Ragu, hands down.
Fun Fact: San Matteo has two locations in the Upper East Side, the 1559 Second Avenue location– near East 81st Street– has more menu items and is better for sitting down. The 1731 Second Avenue location, near East 90th street, offers some iconic hero sandwiches.
Like Italian food, Mexican food in the Upper East Side is plentiful and delicious. However, there’s one incredible dish that makes Conmigo, located on First Avenue between East 87th and 88th Streets, stand apart from the rest– the traditional Chicken tortilla soup. Creamy, rich, and just tasty, Conmigo delivers on warming us up this winter with their incredible soup dish.
What to order: The chicken tortilla soup
Fun Fact: If you call Conmigo for delivery, they’ll instruct you to order online and give you a $10 off code.
As someone who spent a month living in Lima, I was doubtful I’d ever find a spot outside of Peru that could replicate the perfect Pisco Sour and Aji Chicken. I found it, and then some! Mission Ceviche, located on Second Avenue between East 72nd and 73rd Streets, is everything I love and miss about Peru. It’s lively, delicious and each of the staff members are not only passionate about their dishes and cocktails– you can tell they are family there.
What to order: While you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. In true Peruvian fashion the Pisco Sour is an incredible cocktail to pair with the Aji de Gallina, Pulpo Al Olivo, and anything from their ceviche bar. Bonus: the truffle yuca fries are deliciously addictive!
Fun Fact: Mission Ceviche has live music every Wednesday and Sunday.
🇿🇦 South Africa
Kaia Wine Bar
South African cuisine is deliciously unique and Kaia offers all the true traditional dishes you could find in Capetown or Johannesburg. Head to the restaurant, located on Third Avenue between East 90th and 91st Streets, for a wide variety of dishes and protein options you’ve likely never tasted before (wild boar anyone?). Pair with some delicious wine from the Cape and you’re in for a special evening.
What to order: The lamb burger is an iconic staple at Kaia that is well rated on their Yelp and Google reviews. Keep in mind they don’t recommend ANY substitutions– you must order their iconic burger as is.
Fun Fact: Kaia is on the NYC deals app Pulsd, where you can get a three-course dinner for two, for only $65 dollars!
What’s special about authentic Spanish-style tapas is the option to fill an entire table with a variety of dishes with all different flavors and share it amongst loved ones. Pil Pil, located on East 78th Street near Second Avenue, delivers just that. Sit at one of their long wooden tables with a friend– or four– and fill your table with meats, cheeses, seasoned veggies and impeccable seafood.
What to order: Pulpo a la gallega (octopus), patatas bravas (fried potatoes), mac and cheese croquettes and the pollo picante (chicken wrapped in jamon).
Fun fact: Pil Pil offers a signature brunch option that gives you the opportunity to select a region of Spain and the chef curates the most authentic dish for you.
What do you get when you combine the best of southern, northern, and fusion Thai dishes? The menu at Bua Thai on Second Avenue between East 83rd and 84th Streets. Combined with Japanese ramen offerings, Bua is unique in style, taste, and delivery. While it does stray from tradition in some ways, it’s one of the only Thai restaurants in the city where you have an authentic pok pok salad.
What to order: Pad see-ew, Phuket noodle soup and Pok Pok papaya salad.
Runners Up: Up Thai and Thep Thai are wonderful alternative options on the Upper East Side.
Have a favorite international dish or restaurant we’ve left off our list? Comment with your recommendations below, we’d love to hear from you.