The micro-micro-neighborhood centered around 70th Street and Columbus Avenue boasts upscale haunts and casual wine bars for private-practice doctors, ABC staffers, and Apple Bank employees, while the area’s cozy cafés cater to freelancers and thirtysomething stroller-pushers.
• Telepan Suits flock to Bill Telepan’s elegant greenmarket temple for the $28 three-course prix fixe. Try the butternut-squash pierogi with nutty aged balsamic and pomegranate-accented duck confit — perfect for pairing with a fruity Brachetto by the glass. (Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.) 72 W. 69th St., nr. Columbus Ave.; 212-580-4300.
• Café des Artistes Intimate banquettes, soft Central Park light, and Howard Chandler Christy’s stunning nymph murals make up for hit-or-miss entrées at this prewar bastion. Stick to the charcuterie platter with duck rillettes and saucisson sec, or chat over frothy cappuccinos and the rich chocolate-walnut torte. 1 W. 67th St., at Central Park W.; 212-877-3500.
• Arte Café A standout for its amply portioned $9.95 lunch special, this Italian nook radiates charm with exposed brick and white linen. Savor old-school standbys like linguine alla vongole and chicken parm, or order à la carte favorites like silky beef carpaccio and a heaping bowl of mussels in a garlicky white-wine broth. 106 W. 73rd St., nr. Columbus Ave.; 212-501-7014.
• Alice’s Tea Cup This bustling Alice in Wonderland–themed salon offers over 100 teas, from aromatic Darjeelings to delicate white jasmines. Share the Mad Hatter, a towering tier of moist, dense scones, and sandwiches like Lapsang-smoked chicken with goat cheese. Alice’s delicacies are also available at the takeout counter, including their addictive red-velvet cupcakes. 102 W. 73rd St., nr. Columbus Ave.; 212-799-3006.
• Bin 71 Perennially packed at night, this charming wine bar has a calm daytime scene. Mix and match cheeses and panini with the extensive by-the-glass list: Taste tangy chèvre with a crisp Austrian Gruner, or go for the beef-and-Gorgonzola sandwich with a robust Rhone red. 237 Columbus Ave., nr. 71st St.; 212-362-5446.
• Café Mozart Settle in with a complementary paper at this pleasant, wood-paneled spot that draws a busy noon crowd. Start with seven-grain toast with melted Gruyère and a soft egg, but leave room for mouthwatering desserts like linzer torte and airy tiramisu. 154 W. 70th St., nr. Broadway; 212-595-9797.
• Café Ronda Single diners are the mainstay of this Pan-Latin joint’s lunchtime business. Snag a window table, relax with a caipirinha cocktail, and people-watch as you chow down on spicy corn with creamy cotija cheese and a pressed Cubano with pickles and crispy fries. 249 Columbus Ave., nr. 71st St.; 212-579-9929.
• Fine and Schapiro Pop into this classic kosher deli for gigantic Reubens slathered with sauerkraut and Russian dressing, and beef brisket over fried onions. Pony up an extra 50 cents and get your sandwich on a sturdy roll — with the requisite pickles on the side. 138 W. 72nd St., nr. Columbus Ave.; 212-877-2721.
• O-I-Shi-I Sushi at Ivy’s Café Grab impeccably fresh sashimi, inventive sushi rolls (especially salty ikura — salmon roe — and velvety toro), and plump pork buns at this unassuming Chinese-plus-sushi bar. Or try the garlic prawns — a favorite of Asian dignitaries, who dial for delivery from Ivy’s during U.N. stopovers. 154 W. 72nd St., nr. Broadway; 212-787-0165.
• Santa Fe The interior’s more spartan than a cubicle at this Tex-Mex joint, but luckily, the food travels well. Order gooey nacho pizza — smothered with ground beef and sour cream — or healthier fare like a grilled-fish wrap with guacamole and pepper jack. 73 W. 71st St., at Columbus Ave.; 212-724-0822.