taza’s new york city guide: upper west side + morningside heights

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NYC-GUIDEhello! i’ve been compiling some of my favorite things to do and eat in new york city by neighborhood and would love to begin with my personal favorite, the upper west side. although i might be partial since this is the neighborhood where i went to college, met and married my husband and now live with my little ones.  ;)

we made a small video with jenner brown highlighting a few of our favorite spots, but more are listed below. (music in the video is by natalie prass, hold me close.)

new york city is such a fascinating and incredible place to live.  i feel very lucky to experience it each day (or most days, if i’m being honest.)  there is always a new restaurant or exhibit opening, and it really truly never sleeps (we ordered in sushi the other night at 1AM and i was reminded as we were looking at the options of what was nearby and still open, that we are in the heart of it. thank goodness too, because we couldn’t shake the sushi craving and who know what we would have done!)
as a new york city dweller and blogger, a question i receive most often is usually based around advice as to where to eat or what to do while visiting manhattan.  while i might not know everyone’s preferences or interests, i hope this little guide can help in some way while you plan your next trip to the city!
so here we go!

things to eat on the upper west side:

the smith (get the hot potato chips with bleu cheese fondu!)
1900 broadway (at the corner of 63rd) 212-496-5700
…and don’t forget to use the photobooth in the basement :)
the hummus place
305 amsterdam ave (bwtn 74th and 75th) 212-799-3335

sarabeths (a favorite brunch spot)
423 amsterdam ave (btwn 80th and 81st) 212-496-6280

luke’s lobster
426 amsterdam ave (btwn 80th and 81st) 212-877-8800

jacob’s pickles
509 amsterdam ave 212-470-5566

red farm
2170 broadway (btwn 76th and 77th) 212-724-9700

patsy’s pizza
61 west 74th street 212-579-3000

levain bakery (the dark chocolate chocolate chip cookie is out of this world!)
167 west 74th street 212-874-6080

zabar’s grocery (great to walk around, or grab things to-go and picnic in central park or riverside park close by)
2245 broadway (btwn 80th and 81st) 212-787-2000

shake shack (right behind the museum of natural history, fun to pair together)
336 columbus ave (corner of west 77th st) 646-747-8770

things to do on the upper west side:
american museum of natural history
central park west and 79th street 212-769-5100

the children’s museum (it might just be me, but i feel like this one is a bit of a germ fest since it’s so touch and feel with kids. i pretty much bathe mine in hand sanitizer prior to leaving)
212 west 83rd street 212-721-1223

new york city ballet at lincoln center
david h koch theatre 20 lincoln center plaza 212-496-0600

the metropolitan opera at lincoln center
the juilliard school (some of the best music, dance and drama to be seen in the city and often for free. check their online events for upcoming shows and tickets)
60 lincoln center plaza 212-799-5000

and a few things to do in morningside heights (just north of UWS):
bankstreet bookstore (such a fun little bookstore)
2879 broadway (corner of 112th street) 212-678-1654

st. john the divine cathedral
1047 amsterdam ave 212-316-7540

columbia university (definitely worth walking around the historic campus. so beautiful)
116th street and broadway 212-854-1754

smoke jazz club
2751 broadway (btwn 105th and 106th street) 212-864-6662

and a few things to eat in morningside heights:
absolute bagels (our personal favorite nyc spot for bagels)
2788 broadway (bwten 107th and 108th st) 212-932-2052

community food & juice 
2893 broadway (btwn 112th and 113th st) 212-665-2800

tom’s restaurant (well known from seinfield)
2880 broadway (btwn 112th and 113th st) 212-864-6137

silvermoon bakery
2740 broadway (btwn 105th and 106th st) 212-866-4717

hungarian pastry shop (josh and i used to live here when we were newly married and lived in harlem. it’s one of our favorite city spots.)
1030 amsterdam av (btwn 110th and 111th st) 212-866-4230

and according to josh’s guide, la taqueria y fonda la mexicana (but be prepared to smell like their grill upon leaving)
968 amsterdam (btwn 107th and 108th) 212-531-0383
if i left off any of your own personal upper west side favorites, let me know! i know this doesn’t have every spot or restaurant worth visiting listed, but hopefully it will help get you started.  more nyc neighborhood guides coming your way soon!
  1. Liz

    Great video! Thanks for sharing some of your favorite spots. I bookmarked this so I can review the next time I head to NYC.

  2. I live on the upper westside as well and went to Barnard College so you hit up some of my absolute favorite spots in NYC! Love this video.

  3. ahh and one other recommendation by columbia, The Mill – it’s an incredible korean restaurant that my boyfriend and I (he’s korean) have been going to now for years! It’s on 113th and Broadway.

  4. this makes me want to visit Manhattan even more! can’t wait to try all of these places. fun video!! :)

  5. LOVE it, this makes me want NYC to be the next place I get to live in!!!!! also those kiddies….the CUTEST!!!!!


  6. Dalia

    Samson is the cutest little boy ever! :)

    Thanks for this post! I hope to visit NYC some time soon.

  7. Becks

    I’m hoping to come to NYC for my birthday next month so this guide is so perfect for me!

    Can’t wait to hear more about your favourite places and recommendations!

  8. Lucy

    Such great tips!! I’m so excited to visit NYC in July and try these out :) xoxo

  9. Tammy

    I love it! What a fun video and an incredible adventure through NY. I cannot wait to visit the Museum of Natural History this summer…and now I know of some other places to check out :D Also, I also dream of ‘Eataly’!

    Isn’t NY the most amazing place?? I took a quiz the other day that determines which city in the world best suits you. I got NYC. Of course. I’m right where I should be :)

    Have a spectacular day.


  10. Grace

    this is wonderful! and such perfect timing as I’m moving to this part of the city this summer to attend grad school at Columbia. thank you, thank you! xx

  11. Joy

    I grew up on 114th! Tea Magic on 112th has great bubble tea. Try the Taro flavor. I also go to Le Monde on 112th street for a late night glass of wine and fries, and there’s this AMAZING little italian restaurant on 106th between Columbus + Manhattan Ave called Gastronomia Culinaria. Such a gem — try the octopus appetizer!

  12. It’s a fact, I seriously need to visit NYC. And you two are such foodies I love it!

    Adorable video, and of course, adorable fam!


    Michaela (from California)


  13. Eleese

    YES, I have been secretly dreaming that you would do a NYC guide! This is amazing, thank you!

  14. Maureen

    I love the Hungarian Pastry Shop! I used to live at 106th and Amsterdam so that place was a favorite!

  15. bri

    this is such a great list! i hate going to a city and not knowing a single place to eat or see. now, if i can only convince my husband we need a vacation ;)

  16. Melissa

    Can you share with me what lip color you are wearing in the video? :)

  17. Summer

    Thank you! You were kind enough to give us a few awesome tips when we visited last summer with our two little boys and now I’m itchin for the big city again!! :)


    Wish I had this guide when I was living over there last summer!
    Great tips that I never knew about!

    Michaela x


  19. Tamar

    Totally agree about Taqueria! I live in LA now, and there are no less than 5 mexican places within a 3 block walk from me, but I still miss Taqueria. Hint: the burritos at Noche Mexicana (if that’s still open) are almost identical to Taqueria but the place has better ventilation. Still, smelling like the Taqueria grill is a small price to pay for those monster burritos!

  20. Court

    Ah! How fun is this! I plan on showing my husband this video later in hopes that I can convince him to take a trip to NYC later in the summer :) I can’t wait for the rest of the city guides to come. You and Jenner Brown make a great team!

  21. loved this post, taza!

  22. caitlin

    You always have the best videos!!

  23. What a cute video! I loved it and now I definitely can’t wait for us to leave for NYC this summer. I can’t for a reunion with this beautiful and opportunity-rich city.

  24. Bea

    This is a WONDERFUL idea!!!
    I have to come to ny!
    So, I know where we have to go!

  25. Madelyn

    Hi Taza,

    What’s the song playing in the video? It’s adorable! Thanks.

  26. Sophie

    Guess what! I´m in an applicationprocess for an internship and if everything will work out, I´ll spend 8 months in NYC (from September). I was already thinking that I should check your blog for advices, but that it would be a lot of work. And now that guide?!?! It´s truely amazing. Now I just gotta hope that I´ll get the internship :)

  27. bridget

    this is a great idea! jenner brown is so talented. great video.

  28. Teresa

    This is perfect!!! I’ve been asking around for good child friendly activities to do around the city and places to eat. This is perfect!!!!

  29. Aww this is so cute! And it was nice to see the bakery you took Gala and I too in there. Man, those cookies were GOOD.

  30. Hanna

    Ahhhh LOVE the video!! Extremely stylish, sweet & too much fun. Even tho I live in NY, I get so excited when I hear more recommendations from fellow NYers, love this city too much! I highly agree w/ Levain’s cookies & Shake Shack! I have yet to try out Sarabeths ;)

  31. Love this! It really makes me wanna get on a plane and go visit soon!

  32. Janis

    Will have to try some of these spots next time we visit! :)

  33. Michaela DeRosa

    SWOOOOOOON! I’m going to live in Morningside Heights this summer as I’ll be interning in the city and this video just made my heart skip a few beats! As if I wasn’t already excited enough, I’ve added quite a few things to the summer bucket list! :))

    And if ya need a good babysitter, I’m totally available ;)

  34. Veronika

    I just moved back to Germany after living in NYC for a few months and well…your video just made me cry! That’s my neighbourhood. All the memories…Thank you!

  35. Anne

    It is funny how sometimes it is the smallets things that can light up your day, this was the case for me when I watched this movie of yours.

    For some annoying reason I have felt so demotived all day. But watching your movie about one of my all time favorite cities in the world really just lighted up my mood.

    I have been to NYC a couple of times, and the first time I visited I actually stayed at a hostel on the Upper West Side right next to Central Park. However that was way before I knew about your blog. I am sure I will one day, sooner or later, have the opportuinity to go visit some of these places you enhance during the movie.

    Samson’s smile while sliding down the stairs with Josh and E is a great shot.

    Thankyou for sharing your positive view on life.

    Anne, Denmark

  36. R

    What a lovely video! Your family is truly a great example of love & holding together, being a team. I wish I could study in NYC one day, it would mean a world to me!

    Take care!

  37. I LOVE THIS!! what a great little series idea! I’ll definitely tuck this away for our next NY trip. thanks so much!!

  38. Di

    Saravana bhavan – their dosas are out of this world.

  39. Perri

    You must try Cocina Economica for amazing mexican on Amsterdam/82nd!

  40. Tytti

    Thank you so much! I lovedlovedloved the video! I´m going to be in NYC for the whole June and have been looking out for tips what to do, where to eat etc. So: Finland thanks :) …and is waiting for more :)
    Enjoying your blog really much, your posts usually make my day.

  41. sonja

    this is so great thanks!!! ALso that first photo of yo with the banksy piece is fantastic!!!!!! :o)

  42. Love it!! Those cookies look delicious :)))))

  43. Such a sweet, sweet video! I wish I had this guide during my month in New York only just this past April… but alas, I will definitely be using it the next time I’m in the city! <333

  44. This is so darling! man oh man do I wish I was visiting New York much sooner!!!!

  45. Love this!!! Small note though – I think it’s Natalie Prass, not Natalia?

  46. Sarah

    Oh man…this would’ve been so handy last week! My husband and I took our 16-year old to NYC for a b-day trip just this past Fri-Mon. We were hanging around the upper west side on Sunday (after we went to church at the Morningside Heights Ward at 9:00.) We ended up eating at some crepes place on Columbus Ave. Well, anyhow…I guess I just file this info away for the next time we visit! :)

  47. I used to live on Amsterdam between 107th and 108th and this guide is so spot on! I’m glad Absolute Bagels was included in this list-literally the best :)

  48. Kylie L.

    I used to live on Amsterdam between 107th and 108th and this guide is so spot on! I’m glad Absolute Bagels was included in this list-literally the best :)


  49. Emily

    So cute!!!

  50. Yum yum yum. Such a great list! Levain is a must, as well as Jacob’s Pickle. Will have to check out Absolute Bagel, sounds delish! We live on the UWS as well and LOVE brunch at Good Enough to Eat, the pastrami sandwich at Columbus Cafe, and the margherita pizza at Cotta. I could probably go on and on…

  51. lacey

    super cute video! if we ever come to new york, we’re totally hitting up some of these spots. thanks for the info!

  52. Louise

    Love this video and all the ones y’all make! Keep ’em coming!!

  53. Naomi,

    Thank you SO much. I have been to the city so many times, and often, I am looking it at it through tourist eyes. While that can be nice, I love feeling like I belong there, if that makes sense. I promised myself I would someday live there…I know it’s not for the faintest of hearts. But it is so beautiful and has so much to offer, like you outlined here.

    I will be back to the city in August, and I can’t wait to check some of these places out! Thanks for all of the ideas and letting us enjoy a bit of the city from all over the world.


  54. Beth

    Hampton Chutney!!!

  55. You have just raised the bar for travel blogging / vlogging. Amazing!

  56. Dania

    Love your video! I know where to go now! Thanx for sharig!

  57. So helpful! My husband is in Manhattan for work for the next three months, & I’m counting minutes until I get to visit him & that wonderful city of yours. Thank you for putting this together!

  58. Lexie

    Adorable! Josh just seems like such a hands-on papa. Eleanor and Samson are lucky to have you two as parents.

  59. This is where my sister lived when she went to grad school in NYC – I was SO charmed by this neighborhood when I visited! Levain is AMAZING!

  60. Kirsten Reeder

    Awesome as always. I’ve followed you for forever, but have always been too shy to comment. Just want you to know I think you and your family are great and the kids are so adorable. Love this guide. Can’t wait to go back to NYC.

  61. LOVE! So glad you’re doing this. I sure love that UWS. A recent Greek fave is Kefi. Their chicken souvlaki sandwich is too delish!

    Thanks for sharing. Can’t wait to see the next neighborhood :)

  62. csilla

    Those dobos cake looks sooooo delicious. :) I wanna go to NYC next summer. :)

  63. What a lovely video! Your kids are too cute! And you too :)
    I’ve always wanted to visit New York but every time we plan to go, something else comes up and we can’t travel!
    But I hope we made it someday. Then, I will take this guide with me!

  64. Sinead

    I love this! My boyfriend and I recently decided that we’re going to visit New York for the first time next year so your guides will really come in useful :-)

  65. What a cute video!! Thanks for all the awesome suggestions : )

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  69. Elsa su

    Total love from Spain!

  70. Stacy

    haha Josh sliding down the handrail with the kids was really really cute.

  71. This is pretty much the cutest video that has ever existed :)
    Love it! Thank you so much for sharing.

  72. Lori P.

    Great video! I live in in Queens, but work in Midtown, I need to check out those places

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  74. Sofia

    love this. You should do more of these often please. I will be traveling to NYC for the first time this summer and will like to know where to go visit, this helps a lot!!! :)

  75. Ashley

    Such a great guide! I would only add to visit Riverside Park, especially the promenade. It’s fantastic (with the plus of being less crowded and a bit more quieter than Central Park) and it also has the hidden Boat Basin on 79th St which opens during spring-early fall.

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  77. Laura

    I would LOVE more of these posts for different neighborhoods all over the city!!!
    Thanks to this post I just reserved a Mother’s Day Jazz Brunch at Smoke with my beau who will be visiting from Boston and said he wanted to “spend time in the neighborhoods where real NYers live.” This post was perfect as I’ve never really explored the upper upper west side even though I’ve lived in the NYC burbs all my life. Looking forward to walking the area and going to St. John the DIvine, Columbia, Toms exterior (because he’s an S fan) and just taking in the neighborhood vibe.
    Thank you again!!!

  78. Rebecca

    hi Taza!
    I just discovered your blog – I’m a fellow upper west sider and mom of two :) I really enjoyed your guide!
    I wanted to add a couple of other places you may or may not know of:
    Tessa (brand new on Amsterdam and 77th)
    Pisticci on La Salle (amazing food and very kid friendly)


  79. Irina

    My sister and I stopped in at Barney Greengrass when she was visiting in January and we loved it! It was some of the best smoked salmon I’ve had, and the bagels were phenomenal!

  80. Grimaldi’s Pizza – 656 Avenue of the Americas (and other locations in NYC also). Simple, as well as simply delicious!
    And Absolute Bagels is my Absolute Favourite! xo

  81. Elaine

    I was just in NYC for a few days a couple weeks ago. Would have loved to hit up all these spots. Alas, maybe next time. P.S you have probably one of the most beautiful faces and I bet you don’t have a inch of makeup on! So pretty and so lucky.

  82. I love this video, I look forward to you showing me around the rest of New York! This really makes me want a little trip to the city! Happy Weekend!

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  84. lauren

    although i dont live in NYC i have bookmarked this for when im visiting again! such a cute video.

  85. One of my favourite things I ate in NYC was the cookies from Levain – they are incredible! I can’t wait to visit NYC again soon, I feel like all of your suggestions need to go on my “to eat at” list! :-)


  86. chelsey

    yay I love that you are doing nyc guides!! that video is the cutest, so well done. thanks for all the great tips, now I must plan a trip out there:)


  87. what a lovely video! i love new york city and definitely going to save this list. always nice to get some tips from those who live in the city itself :) thanks for sharing!
    xo, cheyenne

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  89. LOOOOVED this video, cant wait for next one! Big hugs from Sweden!