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These Are the 12 Best Restaurants near the Guggenheim Museum

The Guggenheim’s storied, spiral-shaped galleries, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, offer one of the world’s most unique museum experiences. After you’ve taken your winding stroll up the spiral and back down again, you’ll need a place to eat, drink, and talk art. These Upper East Side restaurants provide the perfect ambiance and satisfying meals to keep you soaking in the culture for the rest of the day. If you’re ready for another museum afterward, The Met is located just a few blocks south on Fifth Avenue’s Museum Mile. Otherwise, Central Park awaits just across Fifth Avenue from the Guggenheim!

Naruto Ramen

Naruto

If you’re craving soup, check out the shoyu-style ramen at Naruto Ramen. This small shop is quick, affordable, and always tasty. Try their classic bowl of ramen with curly noodles, fish cake, bean sprouts, and choice of protein, or try a spicier variation. You can also have a plate of chicken teriyaki or curry, as well as starters like buns and edamame. Lunch specials start at just $12. The only trouble is finding a seat at the bar (but once you do, you’ve got a front-row seat to the open kitchen). 1596 3rd Ave., 212-289-7803, narutoramenex.com
 

Shake Shack

Located near the 4/5/6 subway on Lexington Avenue, Shake Shack is another quick, cheap option with New York credibility. Their burgers, fries, and shakes can hold their own against any competition, which the constant crowds can vouch for. This location also has a large outdoor seating area so you can enjoy your burger in good weather. 154 E 86th St., 646-237-5035, shakeshack.com/location/upper-east-side

Sarabeth’s 

This classic brunch spot is located just a couple of blocks from The Guggenheim. From the comfort of this light, airy dining room, sample Sarabeth’s famous eggs benedict, or lemon ricotta pancakes on the sweet side. Their signature cocktail is the Spring 44 Bloody Mary with pickled vegetables. At lunch, enjoy steak frites or a baby gem caesar salad (don’t worry, the eggs benedict is available then too). Sarabeth’s also serves drinks and dinner in the evenings. 1295 Madison Ave., 212-410-7335, sarabethsrestaurants.com/locations/upper-east-side/

Cafe Sabarsky

The Guggenheim stands on Fifth Avenue with several other illustrious museums on Museum Mile. A few blocks south is Neue Galerie, where Cafe Sabarsky draws museum-goers and Austrian cafe enthusiasts alike. The atmospheric antique fixtures only highlight the sweetness of pastries like the chocolate rum cake and apple strudel. Order a Kleiner Brauner coffee, and you’re set for the afternoon. Austrian entrees like beef goulash with spatzle round out the all-day menu, which also features sandwiches, salads, and a wine list. The menu was created by Michelin-starred chef Kurt Gutenbrunner. 1048 5th Ave., 212-288-0665, neuegalerie.org/cafes/sabarsky

Cafe D’Alsace

Cafe D'Alsace

Visit a French bistro just two blocks from the new Q stop. With a killer brunch menu and delectable dinner selections, you can’t go wrong at any meal at Cafe D’Alsace. At brunch, enjoy the Eggs Petatou (poached eggs on potato salad with Munster cheese) or the Belgian Waffle. At dinner, the Baeckeoffe is the dish of choice. A traditional Alsatian stew, Baeckeoffe is made with oxtail, bacon, and potatoes cooked in pinot gris. There are sausage selections like the lamb Merguez, or other French entrees like Duck Confit. In case you weren’t already booking a table, D’Alsace also offers beer, and lots of it. 1695 2nd Ave., 212-722-5133, cafedalsace.com

The Drunken Munkey

Drunken Munkey

A popular Indian spot, the Drunkey Munkey brings some downtown quirk uptown. The vibe is eclectic vintage with monkeys on the chandeliers and sconces. Try the Butter Chicken Tikka Masala, which is creamy, tomato-y perfection. Go for the Indian take on a crepe for brunch with the London Curried Chicken Dosa. The Drunken Munkey also specializes in craft cocktails. We recommend the scotch-based Blood & Sand. 338 E 92nd St., 646-998-4600, drunkenmunkeynyc.com

Bluestone Lane 

Among the best Australian cafes popping up all over the city, Bluestone Lane will satisfy your craving for avocado-smashed toast, granola with fruit, and a bright cup of coffee. This location is housed in a large side-chamber of the Church of the Heavenly Rest and has lovely arched stonework on the ceiling. Come for brunch, Guggenheim, and a walk in Central Park across the street. Or, if you visit the museum later in the day, come to Bluestone Lane’s “Local’s Hour,” where they serve drinks and appetizers during sunset. 2 E 90th St., 646-869-7812, bluestonelane.com

Kaia Wine Bar

Kaia distinguishes itself as one of the only South African restaurants in the city. Take our word for it that the imported wine is delicious, and don’t miss the $6 selections during happy hour. They also serve oysters for $1.50 all day and night! The food is homey and flavor-filled, like the BunnyChow: Indian-curry chicken in a bread bowl. Other standouts are the lamb burger and baked lemons with artichokes, capers, cherry tomatoes, and sheep’s milk cheese. You’ll be looking up plane tickets to the Ivory Coast by the time your check comes. 1614 3rd Ave., 212-722-0490, kaiawinebar.com

Sfoglia

Sfoglia

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Sfoglia is the beautiful, burnished Italian cafe you didn’t know you needed after the bright white walls of the museum. Order a glass or bottle from the impressive wine list, and prime your palate for some of the Upper East Side’s best pasta. Stay on-theme with the Guggenheim, and go for the unbeatable spiral-shaped Fusilli, topped with house-made ricotta. Or you might prefer the Pappardelle alla Bolognese for the deep, rich flavor of the sauce. The cheese plate with homemade jam is the ultimate appetizer, or the butternut squash soup when it’s in season. If you’re feeling dessert (and we think you will), go for the Pear Tart. 1402 Lexington Ave., 212-831-1402, sfogliarestaurant.com

The Wright


You won’t have to walk far to The Wright, located inside the Guggenheim Museum. This farm-to-table menu shines at brunch and lunch, when you’ll be treated to seasonal cuisine made with fresh ingredients. Right now, lunch options include chicken salad on toast, made with Bell & Evans chicken, and a quinoa bowl with falafel and sweet potato. Chef Alejandro Cortez developed the menu for The Wright, which has won a James Beard Award and is named for the museum building’s architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. 1071 5th Ave., 212-427-5690, racafes.compass-usa.com

Siena

Another Italian bistro on the Upper East Side, Siena will provide the pasta power you need after spending hours on your feet. Their impressive appetizer list is difficult to choose from, with soft Agnolotti pasta and Burrata cheese topped with strawberries and pistachio pesto. The spaghetti and meatballs are a classic done right, and the Lemon Sole is the seafood of choice on the menu. 1580 3rd Ave., 212-410-5588, sienacafe.com

Table L’Hote

Table L'Hote


Table L’Hote is a charming French cafe near Museum Mile. What might at first glance look like a limited menu is only proof that each dish is impeccably made. Taste for yourself: the French toast at brunch will not disappoint. For brunch or lunch, go with the dynamite Croque Monsieur. Their dinner menu features a beet salad with goat cheese, dill, and tarragon, and Foie Gras Torchon with brioche bread. As a main course, order the Short Ribs with celery root puree and truffle oil. Magnifique! 44 E 92nd St., 212-348-8125, tabledhote.info

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About the Author

Merrill Lee Girardeau lives and writes in Brooklyn.

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