Strollers crisscross with lawyers and Lenox Hill Hospital workers in the micro-micro-neighborhood centered around 72nd Street and Second Avenue. Indian and Mexican food are noticeably underrepresented, but you can still find damn good diner eats, tasty burgers, and above-average Chinese takeout.
BusinessTrata Estiatorio You might as well be on Mykonos at this authentic Greek restaurant, which boasts a sweeping selection of supremely fresh fish in a beachside-like setting. There’s an exclusively Greek, 300-plus-bottle wine list as well as exceptionally flaky loup de mer, charcoal-grilled to near perfection, and a beyond-tender octopus appetizer. Cap off the meal with a luscious Greek yogurt, bathed in honey, sour cherries, and pistachios. (Locals slip in for a daily dessert fix.) 1331 Second Ave., nr. 70th St.; 212-535-3800.
Shabu-Shabu 70 Share this low-key gem’s simmering, scallion-spiked signature beef shabu-shabu, which brims with fresh Japanese vegetables and silky udon noodles. If you’re feeling too lazy for a cook-it-yourself lunch, order the first-rate sushi bento box with a buttery bluefin tuna. 314 E. 70th St., nr. Second Ave.; 212-861-5635.
Uskudar This tiny, unassuming find offers unusually moist lamb kebabs and fresh-from-the-oven Turkish pita. But do enlist a partner and explore the menu — the lamb alone comes prepared twelve different ways. 1405 Second Ave., nr. 73rd St.; 212- 988-2641.
Delizia Ristorante & Pizza Expect exceptionally crispy thin-crust pizzas and garden-fresh non-pizza offerings, including an addictive, garlicky linguine with clam sauce, at this charming spot. Crust obsessives can order theirs as they like, from lightly cooked to well done. 1372 First Ave., nr. 73rd St.; 212-517-8888.
PJ Bernstein This outwardly grungy deli offers well-executed, tried-and-true nosher specialties, like savory-sweet cheese blintzes. They’ve also got juicy, stuff-yourself-silly half-pound burgers. If you’re feeling under the weather, try their soothing, old-fashioned chicken noodle soup. 1215 Third Ave., nr. 70th St.; 212-879-0914.
Sable’s After honing his skills at Zabar’s, owner Kenny Sze built this smoked-fish mecca, which boasts seven kinds of salmon and a luscious lobster salad at the counter. Plus, the adjoining hole-in-the-wall shop offers a great pastrami sandwich to go. 1489 Second Ave., nr. 72nd St.; 212-249-6177.
Six Happiness This frenetic Cantonese takeout joint dishes out pillowy pork dumplings and succulent spareribs. Just brace yourself as you place your order — hospitality is not the house specialty. 1413 Second Ave., nr. 74th St.; 212-988-8002.
Grace’s Marketplace Take a number at the gourmet-food counter and ask for zesty baked lemon chicken or homey tuna salad — they could well put your mother’s to shame. Just watch the scale, as the costs can mount quickly. 1237 Third Ave., nr. 71st St.; 212-737-0600.