Where to Eat When Visiting Manhattan’s Museum Mile

The best restaurants on the Upper East Side to head to after a day of museum-hopping.

Spending hours walking the galleries of Manhattan’s famous museums can certainly make you hungry. Museum Mile has a concentration of cultural institutions to satisfy every interest, whether it’s classical art, New York City history, or the fascinating rhythms of the city’s Latinx community. It’s fitting that you choose a restaurant to harmonize with these diverse offerings.

Museum Mile stretches along Fifth Avenue from 82nd Street to 105th Street and encompasses eight cultural institutions. While Fifth Avenue itself has a paucity of restaurants, nearby Madison Avenue offers quite a variety. Here we offer some choices to keep you refreshed and fed as you absorb the culture of Museum Mile.

Café Sabarsky

Cafe Sabarsky

Image: Café Sabarsky

Located in the mansion housing Neue Galerie at the corner of 86th Street and Fifth Avenue, Café Sabarsky is a glorious trip to Austria. Inspired by Viennese cafes, the room is done up in authentic period pieces, including an original Bösendorfer grand piano and furniture by Adolf Loos. Complementing the art pieces upstairs from artists Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, the menu offers Austrian standards like wiener schnitzel, spätzle and bratwurst with sauerkraut and roasted potatoes. Café Sabarsky’s apple strudel and Sachertorte are musts. If you’re not feeling like a heavy Austrian meal, stop by for dessert and coffee as they do in Vienna. Café Sabarsky is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day except Tuesday and Wednesday. 1048 Fifth Ave., 212-288-0665,

Bluestone Lane

Bluestone Lane Upper East Side

Image: Bluestone Lane

A perpetually busy outdoor and indoor coffee shop on Fifth Avenue at the entrance to the Central Park Reservoir at 90th Street (Engineer’s Gate), Bluestone Lane is a favorite among visitors to the Guggenheim Museum and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. The restaurant is an example of creative retrofitting, set inside part of the Church of the Heavenly Rest, with extensive outdoor table seating. Australian beverages and food are featured with a healthy-oriented breakfast and lunch menu including brekkies of granola or avocado smashes with feta, tahini or poached eggs; bowls with chicken or veggies; and a variety of sandwiches and wraps. The coffee menu highlights the Australian favorite, a flat white made with double espresso, mil, and micro-foam. Note that the restaurant closes at 5pm despite its popularity. 1085 Fifth Ave., 718-374-6858,



Image: Vicolina

There are numerous Italian restaurants along Madison Avenue to satisfy your pasta cravings. High-end with top service to match, Vicolina serves up Northern Italian favorites like veal chop Milanese, spaghetti al filetto di pomodoro, and mustard-roasted chicken for perfect pairing with selections from its international wine list. For something lighter, Vicolina also offers paninis including vegetarian options. The new outdoor shed is decorated with flowers and lights to create a festive atmosphere while indoors is quietly elegant. Vicolina is especially convenient when visiting museums at the upper end of Museum Mile like the Museum of the City of New York, the Jewish Museum or Museo del Barrio. 1302 Madison Ave., 212-464-8426,

Paola’s Osteria

Paola's Osteria

Image: Paola's Osteria

Also on Madison Avenue and behind the Guggenheim Museum and the National Academy Museum and School, Paola’s Osteria offers a more casual Italian dining experience. Taking its cues from friendly Roman osterie, Paola’s pizza oven turns out red versions like diavoletta with spicy salami or white pizzas with cheese, pears and gorgonzola. Daily specials complement menu staples like minestrone soup, pasta Bolognese, veal saltimbocca and a perfectly prepared Caesar salad. There’s a nice selection of Italian wines by the glass and a chilled limoncello pairs perfectly with white chocolate tartuffo or cannoli for dessert. The restaurant also has outdoor shed and sidewalk seating. 1246 Madison Ave., 212-923-5820,

Serafina Fabulous Pizza

Serafina Fabulous Pizza, Upper East Side

Image: Serafina Fabulous Pizza

Two-story Serafina Fabulous Pizza is the original location of the popular Serafina restaurant group. At the corner of 79th Street and Madison Avenue, Serafina is a favorite for celebrities, locals, and tourists, offering specialty pizzas, salads, pastas, meat, and fish dishes. Reservations can be difficult to score, and you’ll need to specify whether you prefer the main dining room or the lovely glass-enclosed rooftop (my personal favorite). Service is friendly albeit sometimes rushed due to the crowds. Order a tiramisù or a creamy affogato to add a sweet finish to your meal. 1022 Madison Ave., 212-734-2676,


You may not think of a coffee shop as being fine dining, but this one adjacent to Museum Mile certainly qualifies. The breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus here are typical Greek coffee shop, with pages and pages of everything that a short-order cook could make along with Greek specialties like moussaka, gyros, and souvlaki. Nectar’s menu skews to fine-dining dishes as well with fine-dining prices. You’ll find choices like a portobello wrap and New York strip steak, not usually found on a coffee shop menu. Prepare for an expensive meal—this isn’t your typical coffee shop and the quality goes far beyond that of a typical coffee shop as well. Nectar is especially popular among visitors to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, just one block away. 1090 Madison Ave., 212-772-0916

Table d’Hôte

Table d'Hote

Image: Table d'Hôte

Table d’Hôte is a well-established boîte for those visiting Museum Mile. Just east of Madison Avenue on 92nd Street, this tiny sweetheart of a restaurant is all about traditional French dining. Each night features a changing special menu for a set price, or you can choose from classics like steak frites, boeuf Bourguignon, duck à la orange, escargots, and French onion soup from the à la carte menu. It can get loud in the small, bright inside, and reservations can be difficult to score because of the restaurant’s limited number of tables. Book well in advance for the weekend brunch. A happy addition is the outdoor patio (aka sidewalk shed) with five tables offering a quieter space. Service is top notch, and the wine list is as you’d expect from a French restaurant, heavy with a variety of French vintages both by the glass or in bottles. 44 E. 92nd St., 212-348-8125,


Island NYC

Image: Island

A favorite in Carnegie Hill, Island is a comfortable restaurant where you can order lunch and dinner in a setting reminiscent of an oceanside yacht club or, if you prefer, in the outside shed. Comfort food predominates with selections like Maine lobster roll, burgers, chopped Cobb salad and crab cakes. The restaurant is busy at any time of the day, and you’ll find a casual crowd of both locals and out-of-towners exchanging tips about which museum to visit (and where to shop!). You can pretend you’ve gone on a coastal jaunt, here to New England or Bermuda, a fitting complement to a visit to the El Museo del Barrio. Be sure to order Island’s wonderful Key Lime meringue pie for dessert. 1305 Madison Ave., 212-996-1200,



Image: Conmigo

The new kid on the block, Conmigo is a fun Mexican restaurant closer to the upper end of Museum Mile. Also on Madison Avenue, the restaurant has bar seating as well as tables. Conmigo’s menu features authentic Mexican street food, classic appetizers, and heartier dishes including beef birria and barbacoa tacos, and a variety of oversized tortas. Drinks are a highlight with the talented bartenders mixing up mezcalitas with your favorite fruit juice (try the pineapple one) or traditional margaritas, either frozen or on the rocks. 1410 Madison Ave., 212-368-1684,

Bringing a group to NYC? Free planning services

Let us know what you are looking for and we will try to connect you directly and get discounts.

Enter the code: 3972

More Articles