NYC Restaurants

East River Cafe
1111 First Avenue
New York, NY, 10021
(212) 980-3144 Map

Cuisine: Italian , Pizza

Menu:   View the Menu

Reader Ratings:

Cititour Review:
Few topics inspire as much debate in New York as pizza. Everyone has their favorite spots – John’s, Grimaldi’s, Lombardi’s, Nick’s, Dean’s, Patsy’s, Frankie’s, Joe’s – the list is practically endless. But one of the most interesting things about eating in New York is that great pizzas can be found in places that don’t make the dish its raison d’etre.

Take East River Café, the longtime Upper East Side mainstay that has been feeding hungry shoppers and local residents for more than a decade. (Not to mention entertaining them, if you like piano music with your dinner.) With its vast array of appetizers, pastas, and entrees, it’s easy to overlook the small section of the menu devoted to pizzas. Don’t do it! The freshly made pies have an excellent thin crust and first-rate toppings. I especially like the San Gennaro pizza blessed with a generous portion of delicious sausage, peppers and onion.

If you want, consider splitting a pizza as an appetizer before moving onto your next course, though you will have to forego such delicacies as shrimp wrapped in prosciutto, grilled calamari, and a host of enticing-sounding salads. Take note, as well, while listed as a starter, the enormous crab cake topped with a huge crown of guacamole and crispy leeks is large enough to serve as dinner.

In addition to the superb pizza, the kitchen serves up one of the better lasagnas in town, made in the classic Bolognese fashion, with just the right amount of meat between the layers of noodles – in this case, a veal ragu – a minimum of cheese and a lovely béchamel sauce. The house also offers homemade gnocchi, made in variety of preparations.

Fish fanciers would be wise to gravitate towards the Tonno Magico, a first-rate cut of tuna steak coated in sesame seeds and napped in a nicely balanced mango sauce. Carnivores can choose from a host of options, ranging from veal scallopini to filet mignon with truffle sauce to a sautéed pork chop with Fontina cheese.

Indeed, it’s the something-for-everyone attitude that has kept East River Café an area favorite for so many years.
Review By: Brian Scott Lipton

Neighborhood: East 60s

Hours: Fri-Sat: 11:30am-3am
Sun-Thu: 11:30am-11pm

Entree Price: $15-20

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