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Ultra-Rad Local Guide to 13 Best Cafes Upper East Side Has to Offer in 2023

If you’re ready to enjoy all of the best cafes Upper East Side NYC has to offer then this is the guide for you!

Because contrary to popular belief, the entire Upper East Side isn’t one giant episode of Gossip Girl. You know, where you see nothing but bougie AF Upper East Side cafes around every turn.

Instead, this iconic uptown hot spot is filled with tons of low-key, super-chill Upper East Side coffee shops where you can roll up in nothing but a hoody and sweatpants.

Plus, the food and drinks are actually really GOOD – something that is surprising in a neighborhood that isn’t typically known for its epic restaurants.

But, I pinkie promise that all these top coffee shops on the Upper East Side are the real deal and well worth your hard-earned dollars.

After all, I’m a 30+ year local who loves the Upper East Side like whoa. So, I am just the person to show you where you should and should not dine in this ritzy area.

So, step away from the guidebook and check out where all the locals hang out when on the Upper East Side.

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1. 787 Coffee

Interior of 787 and one of the best cafes Upper East Side.

With fun, uniquely decorated locations all across the city, 787 Coffee is an easy pick when it comes to best cafes Upper East Side, NYC.

After all, their Upper East Side location is super cute and well-outfitted with white-washed brick walls, cozy wooden furniture, and bookshelves lined with charming knick-knacks.

Yup, just a super quaint spot for some artisanal coffee since this shop also happens to be tucked away in a basement.

Plus, I mean, how can you not include a coffee shop on this list that serves coquito and horchata lattes?

And, spoiler alert, both are excellent since this is one of the best coffee shops on the Upper East Side with drinks that pay homage to the company’s Puerto Rican roots.

After all, all the beans here are first grown and roasted in Puerto Rico before they are brought to the States.

So, order a rum-infused coffee (their specialty), or a vanilla latte, and grab a comfy seat outside so that you can chow down on a chocolate chunk cookie, flavorful scone, or empanada.

Local Tip: Their marzipan latte is also EPIC.

Address: 228 E 80th St, New York, NY 10075

2. Bluestone Lane

To-go counter of Bluestone Lane on Fifth Avenue.

Are you a HUGE fan of Aussie-style brekkie and coffee? If so then head on over to Bluestone Lane NOW and order your flat white with avo toast stat!

Because while this contender for best cafes Upper East Side has multiple locations scattered around the city, the Upper East Side locale is extra special.

After all, it’s nestled inside a former church and features stunning vaulted ceilings and lots of stonework.

Yes, there will be a line and yes, you’ll probably have to wait. But, you know what? The service is efficient and the staff is lovely so it’s not usually a major problem.

So, stop by one of the best brunch spots in NYC and order Aussie faves like the Avocado Smash or the Ancient Grains Bowl.

Then, pair them with a delicious chai tea or golden milk latte and you’ll be good to go.

Pro Tip: The outpost on the Upper East Side is a great place to stop either before or after a visit to the MET.

Address: 1085 5th Ave, New York, NY 10128, United States

Hours: Open Monday through Thursday from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm, Friday from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm. Saturday from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm, and Sunday from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm.

Price: Entrees start at around $11.00 each.

How to Get There: Take the 4/5/6 train to 86th Street and walk from there.

3. Ralph’s Coffee

Green and white decor inside Ralph's Coffee and a pick for best cafes Upper East Side.

Probably one of the cutest cafes on the Upper East Side, Ralph’s Coffee is an amazing place to go for a photo op and a solid caffeine fix.

After all, they whip up espresso-based drinks using La Colombe beans. So, you’ll deffo get a strong cup of Joe if you stop by one of the best cafes on the Upper East Side.

And then there’s the decor, which is elegant and sleek, with a bit of a retro feel – thereby attracting Instagram mavens from around the neighborhood (it could also be because Ralph refers to Ralph Lauren).

There’s also typically seating outside so you can do a bit of people-watching while you sip on your latte.

However, seats fill up so get here right when they open to nab a spot. And while the blueberry corn muffins are decent, they definitely don’t have the best pastries around.

Local Tip: Be prepared for a line since this place is mega popular. Yeah, I feel like it’s one of the best cafes Upper East Side edition that is a place to be SEEN among all the posh AF Upper Eastsiders.

It’s also just generally one of the cutest cafes in NYC so that could be a cause for crowds too. LOL.

Address: 888 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10021

Hours: Open Monday to Thursday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, Friday/Saturday from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm, and Sunday from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Price: $5.50 for a latte.

How to Get There: Take the N/Q/R to 72nd Street and walk from there.

4. Joe Coffee Company

Want a smooth AF cup of coffee on the Upper East Side? Then say “hello” to your new bestie, Joe’s Coffee Company.

Because this beautiful blue spot is one of the best coffee shops in the Upper East Side that conistantly serves up great, well, everything.

And while it’s more of a to-go place, they do have a small terrace outside for you to enjoy when the weather is nice.

Personal faves include the latte and mocha. Plus, the latte art is always on point at this epic spot.

Local Tip: Bring your laptop and chill if there aren’t too many people here.

Address: 1045 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10021

Hours: Open daily from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Price: Coffee starts at $3.00 each.

How to Get There: Take the 4/5/6 to 77th Street and walk from there.

5. Maman

The exterior of Maman, one of the best coffee shops on the Upper East Side.

With multiple locations all across the city, Maman is basically a local treasure of epic proportions.

See, this French-inspired bakery was initially started in SoHo. And it basically stayed there until Oprah proclaimed their chocolate chip cookie to be one of her official “favorite things”.

Since then, this brand’s popularity exploded and it now easily tops this list of the best cafes Upper East Side, NYC with its whimsical decor, delft china, and strong coffee.

And because this place is so beloved by locals, do expect a line as you order personal faves like their quiche, chocolate croissant, macadamia nut cookie, and lattes.

Address: 1424 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10028

Hours: Open daily from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm, except on weekends when they open at 8:00 am.

Price: Coffee starts at $3.50.

How to Get There: Take the 4/5/6 train to 77th Street and walk from there.

6. Oslo Coffee Roasters

Holding a to-go cup at Oslo Offee Roasters in front of some bags of ground coffee.

This fine purveyor of artisanal coffee is originally from Brooklyn and first started slinging caffeine to hardcore caffeine addicts like me in 2011.

Since then, Oslo Coffee Roasters has expanded and now has multiple locations all across the city, including one that sits on the East Side of Central Park.

It low-key serves up some of the best coffee Upper East Side NYC is known for since people just can’t get enough of their super smooth brew.

So, head to their itty bitty shop on a low-key, tree-lined street and embrace the place’s socially conscious ethos since they only source ingredients from local businesses.

Yeah, it’s an all-around cozy little place that makes delicious espresso-based drinks/cold brews using their very own coffee roast. So, order their macchiato and you will not walk away disappointed.

Local Tip: This is a great place to chill since they have daily newspapers for you to read. Plus, lots of dog owners bring their pups to the shop so you’ll have fun saying, “hi”.

Address: 422 E 75th St, New York, NY 10021

Hours: Open daily from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm, except on weekends when they open at 8:00 am.

Price: $3.25 and up.

How to Get There: Take the 4/5/6 to 68th Street station and walk from there.

7. Cafe Bleriot XI

Vintage French-inspired interior of Cafe Bleriot XI on the Upper East Side

Initially opened in 2018, this is easily one of the cutest cafes in NYC on this list.

After all, this place has next-level awesome French vibes thanks to marble tabletops, vintage wooden seats/booths, historic paintings on the wall, and old-world style wallpaper.

And that makes sense since this Upper East Side coffee shop was named after French pilot, Louis Blériot.

Yeah, he was apparently the first person to fly over the English Channel and attributed his success to eating a solid breakfast.

So, you should DEFFO do the same since the coffee here is strong and the food is delicious. I personally had the spinach and goat cheese quiche and chased it down with a Chaga-ccino.

Yup, super good and well-priced since the quiche was BIG and only $8.50.

Plus, while there are only like three tables in the joint, it’s still a great place to relax since it’s a bit off the beaten path (unlike Variety down the street which is always PACKED).

The staff are also super friendly too which makes visiting the best cafes Upper East Side NYC even better.

Address: 226 E 83rd St, New York, NY 10028

Hours: Open daily from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm, except on Sundays when they open at 8:00 am.

Price: Drinks start at around $4.50 each.

How to Get There: Take the N/Q/R to 86th Street and walk from there.

8. Birch Cofee

Believe it or not, this cafe is so beloved that there are actually two locations in the Upper East Side alone – one on 88th Street and one on 62nd Street.

And while both are awesome, I prefer the one on 88th Street. It’s just a bit more out of the way and slightly less crowded.

But, both are awesome, cozy little cafes where you can grab a great cup of coffee since they roast their own locally-sourced beans on-site.

So, relax on a long wooden bench, admire the exposed wooden beams above you, enjoy the plant life around you, and order a delish cup of coffee.

Personal faves include the vanilla latte, their special fall inspired latte, and a croissant/peanut butter cookie. Yeah, all of the above are super duper good.

Local Tip: Get here early since seating is limited and fills up FAST.

Address: 171 E 88th St, New York, NY 10128

Hours: Open daily from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm.

Price: Espresso starts at $3.00 each.

How to Get There: Take the 4/5/6 train to 86th Street station and walk from there.

9. Hutch + Waldo

Brekkie Sando with egg and kale from Hutch + Waldo.

This is one of the best cafes Upper East Side NYC has to offer if you’re looking for all the Aussie vibes.

After all, this place was initially started in 2016 and has developed quite a following since the interior is enchanting and the brunch menu is delish.

Therefore, many Upper East Siders now consider this to be one of the best brunch spots in NYC.

Personally, I had the Brekkie Sando and it was OKAY. Kind of bland IMHO. The bread was good though.

However, others swear by the grilled chicken salad with sweet potatoes and the kale and quinoa salad.

It’s also worth noting that this place is take away only now. So, you can order your food/coffee to go and enjoy it in their outdoor seating area.

Oh, and as you’d expect from any Australian cafe, the coffee is quite good and the flat white is not to be missed.

Address: 247 E 81st St, New York, NY 10028

Hours: Open daily from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Price: Entrees start at $11.00/$12.00 each.

How to Get There: Take the N/Q/R to 86th Street and walk from there.

10. Eat Pretty

A giant teddy bear sitting in front of pastel flowers on a bench inside eat pretty cafe.

Formerly Yorkafe, this one of the best cafes Upper East Side NYC has to offer that rebranded to Eat Pretty.

And you know what? I’m so glad they did since this uber-cute, pink cafe now has tons of charming, pastel-pink-inspired outdoor seating that is protected by small umbrellas.

Yes, the interior of the cafe is quite small. However, you can savor your coffee and food outside while you take photos of/with pink wrought iron benches, giant teddy bears, and pastel-hued flowers.

iI’s also one of those hole-in-the-wall places that isn’t usually overflowing with people. Therefore, you can enjoy your brew in peace.

And if you’re not sure what to order, go with a latte, the cocoa, the avo toast, the steak taco, or the plain Bagel BLT.

Yeah, either me or one of my friends has tried these items and enjoyed them. Also, don’t forget to order a cupcake since all of the desserts here are baked on-site – just not the croissants.

Address: 501 1/2 E 83rd St, New York, NY 10028

Hours: Open Monday through Saturday from 7:30 am to 7:00 pm and Sunday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Price: Coffees start at like $5.00 each.

How to Get There: Take the N/Q/R to 86th Street and walk from there.

11. Black Star Bakery

Exterior of the Black Star Bakery on the Upper East Side of NYC.

Ready to party like a rockstar and kick a little ass at one of the best cafes Upper East Side New York City has to offer?

Okay, truth be told the vibe at Black Star Bakery isn’t exactly party, party, party.

But, this is one of the best coffee shops in the Upper East Side that does have a sleek, clean, modern layout. It’s also spacious so you definitely won’t have to worry about finding a seat – unless you go at a popular time.

Therefore, grab your laptop, hang out, and enjoy epic baked goods and even better coffee.

My go to items here are the iced white mocha with a giant chocolate chip cookie or a belgian waffle. Because at Black Star Bakery, foodie dreams really do come true.

Local Tip: There’s seating outside in the back and they have lots of healthy options too.

Address: 1597 York Ave, New York, NY 10028

Hours: Open Monday through Friday from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm and on weekends from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Price: Entrees start at like $8.50 each.

How to Get There: Take the N/Q/R train to 86th Street and walk from there.

12. Café Sabarsky

Copy of a Klimt painting from the Nueue Gallerie in NYC.

Whatever you do, do NOT roll up to this sleek, European-style cafe in a pair of ratty sweatpants.

Because you will 100% feel super awkward while dining at one of the best Upper East Side cafes NYC has to offer.

See, Café Sabarsky is actually located on the ground floor of the Neue Museum. Therefore, it has this ritzy, almost Viennese feeling that channels the vintage, high-end, European feel of the museum itself.

So, expect to find Wagner fabric from the 1900s on the banquettes, furniture from Adolf Loos in the dining room, and even a Bösendorfer grand piano. You know, just for added flair.

And then there’s the menu, which is brimming over with German-Austrian-inspired fare. Just be sure to make a reservation since, like the museum, this quaint cafe is popular.

What, not sure what to order? Well, I’m so glad you asked because you can’t beat the wiener schnitzel, the bratwurst, and the Mozarttorte (pistachio/nougat) or the Klimttorte (hazelnut chocolate cake) for dessert.

And the coffee, get any of their coffee.

Local Tip: This place is expensive so come prepared to spend money.

Address: 1048 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028

Hours: Open Thursday/Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, Saturday/Sunday from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm, and Monday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Price: Coffee starts at $8.00 each.

How to Get There: Take the 4/5/6 train to 86th Street and walk from there.

13. Mellow Yellow

Vibrant yellow exterior of Mellow Yellow Cafe on the Upper East Side.

This fun and funky cafe kind of feels like a low-key Mediterranean diner. Sure, it’s decorated way better than a diner – and actually has ambiance – but they still do counter service.

Therefore, DEFFO not a formal spot. However, who cares when the vibes are this good and the coffee is even better?

So, embrace the eclectic feel of this spot and the wood-inspired decor. Also, be sure to order standout dishes like moussaka, shakshuka, and the green omelet sandwich.

Pair them with an aromatic chai latte and you’ll leave one of the best cafes Upper East Side NYC has to offer wondering when you can return!

Address: 1729 1st Ave., New York, NY 10128

Hours: Open daily from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Price: A Turkish Coffee is like $5.50.

How to Get There: Take the N/Q/R train to 86th Street and walk from there.

Map of the Best Cafes Upper East Side

Map of best cafes Upper East Side NYC.
Click here for the full map.

Additional NYC Resources You’ll Love

There you have it! That just about wraps up this guide to the best cafes on the Upper East Side.

Tell me, did your picks for the best Upper East Side cafes NYC has to offer to make the list? If not then let me know!

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