You know the sweet genius behind the Mookie™, a French macaron gently folded and baked inside a cookie, has good tastes. Dana Pollack, founder of Dana’s Bakery where you can find that delicious dessert mash-up, is also the reason we have the equal parts delicious and visually stunning rainbow black-and-white cookies. So we wondered if someone who knows what we crave before we know ourselves would dish on her neighborhood. We were sure she had to have found hidden gems and underrated Upper East Side restaurants that we passed by multiple times. Spoiler: She did, and she’s willing to share.

 

Dana Pollack’s guide to Upper East Side restaurants, activities and more

Like almost any other NYC neighborhood, there’s no end to the Upper East Side restaurants, activities, coffee shops, and bakeries. But no one has the time to sift through all of them. That’s why we’re tapping someone whose taste we know is tops to tell us where to go. Here are the places Dana Pollack loves in the neighborhood she calls home.

 

Favorite bakery (because, of course)

Dana's Bakery at the Dylan's Candy Bar flagship, obviously! But if you want something a little more traditional (or gluten-full?) visit Orwashers. It's been an institution for generations and has all the New York favorites like sliced rye, pumpernickel, and rugelach.

 

Favorite casual bar

If you never made it to the original Subway Inn before it closed fear not, the owners re-opened it in a new location and brought everything with them right down to the ancient wads of gum stuck underneath the tables. It's also where my husband and I had our second date. I won him over with Metallica and Sam Cooke on the jukebox.

 

Favorite cocktail bar

Bemelmans Bar in the Carlyle Hotel, I love any classic old New York bar scene.

 

upper east side restaurants bemelmans bar

Bemelmans Bar pictured above. Photo: Getty Images

Favorite activity (museum, gym class, etc)

Early AM you can find me at a Tracy Anderson or SLT class. Helps clear my head, and work off ALL the calories I am eating during the day. It's "research," right? I also love to go to the movies. They are opening a new Cinemex theater near me on 62nd and 1st that will have high-end food service and luxury recliners. I could NOT be more excited.

Favorite hidden gem

Lyric Hi-Fi is one of the city's oldest high end audio stores. Even going in there just to browse the headphones is incredible, but if you really want your mind blown ask for a demo of the crazy ultra high-end system they have set up in their backroom. You'll never hear music the same again.

Favorite pizza place

Hate all you want but my favorite pizza is Domino's.

Favorite brunch spot

Freds at Barneys, you cannot beat the people-watching or the French Fries. No matter what I always order the fries, they're that good. So is the Chopped Chicken Salad, and the Chicken Soup.

Favorite date night dinner

East Pole. It's the same owners at the Fat Radish so it feels very downtown, which is tough to pull off on the UES.

Favorite outdoor spot (park, restaurant with a patio, beer garden, etc)

The Central Park Zoo. We live so close I try to go as much as I can with my daughter Leni.

Neighborhood must

If you haven't been to the Met Breuer yet, go! Its smaller scale makes it easy to navigate and somehow it just feels like less of an overwhelming commitment, you can casually pop in and out, or kill an hour or two with a perfect martini and some jamón ibérico at Flora Bar.

MAP: Upper East Side restaurants, shops, bars and more that Dana Pollack loves